Waggons halt. Two of the wounded who have just died are taken out, laid down by the roadside, and some muddy snow scraped over them. Exeunt waggons and waggon-sergeant
An interval. More English troops pass on horses, mostly shoeless and foundered
Enter SIR JOHN MOORE and officers. MOORE appears in the pale evening light as a handsome man, far on in the forties, the orbits of his dark eyes showing marks of deep anxiety. He is talking to some of his staff with vehement emphasis and gesture. They cross the scene and go on out of sight, and the squashing of their horses' hoofs in the snowy mud dies away.
FIFTH DESERTER (incoherently in his sleep)
Poise fawlocks—open pans—right hands to pouch —handle ca'tridge—bring it—quick motion—bite top well off—prime—shut pans—cast about—load------
FIRST DESERTER (throwing.a shoe at the sleeper)
Shut up that! D'ye think you are a 'cruity in the awkward squad still ?
I don't know what he thinks, but I know what I feel I Would that I were at home in England again, where there's old-fashioned tipple, and a proper God A'mighty instead of this eternal 'Ooman and baby;— ay, at home a-leaning against old Bristol Bridge, and no questions asked, and the winter sun slanting friendly over Baldwin Street as 'a used to do! 'Tis my very belief, though I have lost all sure reckoning, that if I wer there, and in good health, 'twould be New Year's day about now. What it is over here I don't know. Ay, to-night we should be a-setting in the tap of the " Adam and Eve "—lifting up the tune of " The Light o' the Moon." Twer a romantical thing enough. 'A used to go som'at like this (he sings in a nasal tone):—
" O I thought it had been day, And I stole from her away ; But it proved to be the light o' the moon! " 262