With Moore At Corunna by G. A. Henty
Chapter III. Disembarked
As soon as the vessels were under way again it was found that the lugger was obliged to lower her main-sail to keep in her position astern of the Sea-horse, while the brig was forced to take in sail after sail until the whole of the upper sails had been furled.
"It is tedious work going along like this," O'Driscol said; "but it does not so much matter, because as yet we do not know where we are going to land. Sir Arthur has gone on in a fast ship to Corunna to see the Spanish Junta there, and find out what assistance we are likely to get from Northern Spain. That will be little enough. I expect they will take our money and arms and give us plenty of fine promises in return, and do nothing; that is the game they have been playing in the south, and if there were a grain of sense among our ministers they would see that it is not of the slightest use to reckon on Spain. As to Portugal, we know very little at present, but I expect there is not a pin to choose between them and the Spaniards."
"Then we are not going to Lisbon?" Terence said, in surprise.
"I expect not. Sir Arthur won't determine anything until he joins us after his visit to Corunna, but I don't think that it will be at Lisbon, anyhow. There are strong forts guarding the mouth of the river, and ten or twelve thousand troops in the city, and a Russian fleet anchored in the port. I don't know where it will be, but I don't think that it will be Lisbon. I expect that we shall slip into some little port, land, and wait for Junot to attack us; we shall be joined, I expect, by Stewart's force, that have been fooling about for two or three months waiting for the Spaniards to make up their minds whether they will admit them into Cadiz or not. You see, at present there are only 9,000 of us, and they say that Junot has at least 50,000 in Portugal; but of course they are scattered about, and it is hardly likely that he would venture to withdraw all his garrisons from the large towns, so that the odds may not be as heavy as they look, when we meet him in the field. And I suppose that at any rate some of the Portuguese will join us. From what I hear, the peasantry are brave enough, only they have never had a chance yet of making a fight for it, owing to their miserable government, which never can make up its mind to do anything. I hope that Sir Arthur has orders, as soon as he takes Lisbon, to assume the entire control of the country and ignore the native government altogether. Even if they are worth anything, which they are sure not to be, it is better to have one head than two, and as we shall have to do all the fighting, it's just as well that we should have the whole control of things too."
For four days they sailed along quietly. On the morning of the fifth the signal was run up from the Sea-horse for the prizes to close up to her. Mr. Woods, the mate on board the brig, at once sent a sailor up to the mast-head.
"There is a large ship away to the south-west, sir," he shouted down.
"What does she look like?"
"I can only see her royals and top-sails yet, but by their square cut I think that she is a ship-of-war."
"Do you think she is French or English?"
"I cannot say for certain yet, sir, but it looks to me as if she is French. I don't think that the sails are English cut anyhow."
Such was evidently the opinion on board the Sea-horse, for as the prizes came up within a hundred yards of her they were hailed by the major through a speaking-trumpet, and ordered to keep at a distance for the present, but to be in readiness to come up alongside directly orders were given to that effect.
In another half-hour the look-out reported that he could now see the lower sails of the stranger, and had very little doubt but that it was a large French frigate. Scarcely had he done so before the two prizes were ordered to close up to the Sea-horse. The sea was very calm and they were able to lie alongside, and as soon as they did so the troops began to be transferred to them. In a quarter of an hour the operation was completed, Major Harrison taking his place on board the lugger; half the men were ordered below, and the prize sheered off from the Sea-horse.
"The Frenchman is bearing down straight for us," he said to O'Driscol; "she is bringing a breeze down with her, and in an hour she will be alongside. I shall wait another half-hour, and then we must leave the Sea-horse to her fate; except for our stores she is worthless. Well, Terence, have you any suggestion to offer? You got us out of the last scrape, and though this is not quite so bad as that, it is unpleasant enough. The frigate when she comes near will see that the Sea-horse is a slow sailer, and will probably leave her to be picked up at her leisure, and will go off in chase either of the brig or us. The brig is to make for the north-west and we shall steer south-east, so that she will have to make a choice between us. When we get the breeze we shall either of us give her a good dance before she catches us--that is, if the breeze is not too strong; if it is, her weight would soon bring her up to us."
"Yes, Major, but perhaps she may not trouble about us at all. She would see at once that the lugger and brig are French, and if they were both to hoist French colours, and the Sea-horse were to fly French colours over English, she would naturally suppose that she had been captured by us, and would go straight on her course without troubling herself further about it."
"So she might, Terence. At any rate the scheme is worth trying. If they have anything like good glasses on board they could make out our colours miles away. If she held on towards us after that, there would be plenty of time for us to run, but if we saw her change her course we should know that we were safe. Your head is good for other things besides mischief, lad."
The lugger sailed up near the ship again, and the major gave the captain instructions to hoist a French ensign over an English one, and then, sailing near the brig, told them to hoist French colours.
"Keep all your men down below the line of the bulwarks, O'Grady. Mr. Woods, you had better get your boat down and row alongside of the ship, and ask the captain to get the slings at work and hoist some of our stores into her; we will do the same on the other side. Tell the captain to lower a couple of his boats; also take twenty soldiers on board with you without their jackets; we will do the same, so that it may be seen that we have a strong party on board getting out the cargo."
In a few minutes the orders were carried out, and forty soldiers were at work on the deck of the Sea-horse, slinging up tents from below, and lowering them into the boats alongside. The approach of the frigate was anxiously watched from the decks of the prizes. The upper sails of the Sea-horse had been furled, and the privateers, under the smallest possible canvas, kept abreast of her at a distance of a couple of lengths. The hull of the French frigate was now visible. "She is very fast," the mate said to the major, "and she is safe to catch one of us if the breeze she has got holds."
As she came nearer the feeling of anxiety heightened.
"They ought to make out our colours now, sir."
Almost immediately afterwards the frigate was seen to change her course. Her head was turned more to the east. A suppressed cheer broke from the troops.
"It is all right now, sir," the mate said; "she is making for Brest. We have fooled her nicely."
The boats passed and repassed between the Sea-horse and the prizes, and the frigate crossed a little more than a mile ahead.
"Five-and-twenty guns a-side," the major said. "By Jove! she would have made short work of us."
As it was not advisable to make any change in the position until the frigate was far on her way, the boats continued to pass to and fro, carrying back to the Sea-horse the stores that had just been removed, until the Frenchman was five or six miles away.
"Don't you think that we might make sail again, Captain?" the major then hailed.
"I think that we had better give him another hour, sir. Were she to see us making sail with the prize to the south it would excite suspicion at once, and the captain might take it into his head to come back again to inquire into it."
"Half an hour will surely be sufficient," the major said. "She is travelling at eight or nine knots an hour, and she is evidently bound for port. It would be unlikely in the extreme that her commander would beat back ten miles on what, after all, might be a fool's errand."
"That is true enough, sir. Then in half an hour we shall be ready to sail again."
The major was rowed to the Sea-horse. "We may as well transfer the men at once," he said. "We have had a very narrow escape of it, Captain, and there is no doubt that we owe our safety entirely to the sharpness of that young ensign. We should have been sunk or taken if he had not suggested our manning the lugger in the first place, and of pretending that the ship had been captured by French privateers in the second."
"You are right, Major. Another half-hour and the craft would have foundered under us; and the frigate would certainly have captured the Sea-horse and one of the prizes if the Frenchman had not, as he thought, seen two privateers at work emptying our hold. He is a sharp young fellow, that."
"That he is," the major agreed. "He has been brought up with the regiment, and has always been up to pranks of all kinds; but he has used his wits to good purpose this time, and I have no doubt will turn out an excellent officer."
Before sail was made the major summoned the officers on board the Sea-horse. The troops from the lugger and brig were drawn up on deck, and the major, standing on the poop, said in a voice that could be heard from end to end of the ship:
"Officers and men, we have had a narrow escape from a French prison, and as it is possible that before we arrive at our destination we may fall in with an enemy again and not be so lucky, I think it right to take this occasion at once of thanking Mr. O' Connor, before you all, in my own name, and in yours, for to his intelligence and quickness of wit it is entirely due that we escaped being captured when the brig was pounding us with its shot, without our being able to make any return, and it was certain that in a short time we should have had to haul down our flag or be sunk. It was he who suggested that we should take possession of the lugger, and with her guns drive off the brig. As the result of that suggestion this craft was saved from being sunk, and the brig was also captured.
"In the second place, when that French frigate was bearing down upon us and our capture seemed certain, it was he who suggested to me, that by hoisting the French flag and appearing to be engaged in transferring the cargo of the ship to the privateers, we might throw dust into the eyes of the Frenchmen. As you saw, the ruse succeeded perfectly. I therefore, Mr. O'Connor, thank you most heartily in my own name, and in that of your fellow-officers, also in the name of the four hundred men of the regiment, and of the ship's company, for the manner in which you have, by your quickness and good sense, saved us all from a French prison, and saved his Majesty from the loss of the wing of a fine regiment."
As he concluded the men broke into loud cheering, and the officers gathered around Terence and thanked and congratulated him most heartily on the service that he had rendered them.
"You are a broth of a boy, Terence," Captain O'Grady said. "I knew that it was in you all along. I would not give a brass farthing for a lad who had not a spice of divil-ment in him. It shows that he has got his wits about him, and that when he steddys down he will be hard to bate."
Terence was so much overpowered at the praise he had received that, beyond protesting that it was quite undeserved, he had no reply to make to the congratulations that he received from the captain. O'Driscol, seeing that he was on the verge of breaking down, at once called upon him to take his place in the boat, and rowed with him to the lugger.
A few minutes later all sail was set on the Sea-horse, and with her yards braced tautly aft she laid her course south, close-hauled; a fresh breeze was now blowing, and she ploughed her way through the water at a rate that almost justified O'Grady's panegyrics upon her. In another three days she entered the port of Vigo, where the convoy was to rendezvous, and all were glad to find that the whole fleet were still there. On anchoring, the major went on board the Dauphin, which had brought the headquarters, and the other wing of the regiment. He was heartily greeted by the colonel.
"We were getting very uneasy about you, Harrison," he said. "The last ship of the convoy came in three days ago, and we began to fear that you must have been either dismasted or sunk in the gale. I saw the senior naval officer this morning, and he said that if you did not come in during the day he would send a frigate out in search of you; but I could see by his manner that he thought it most likely that you had gone down. So you may imagine how pleased we were when we made out your number, though we could not for the life of us make out what those two craft flying the English colours over the French, that came in after you, were. But of course they had nothing to do with you. I suppose they were two privateers that had been captured by one of our frigates, and sent in here with prize crews to refit before going home. They have both of them been knocked about a bit."
"I will tell you about them directly, Colonel; it is rather a long story. We have had a narrow squeak of it. We got through the storm pretty well, but we had a bad time of it afterwards, and we owe it entirely to young O'Connor that we are not, all of us, in a prison at Brest at present."
"You don't say so! Wait a moment, I will call his father here; he will be glad to hear that the young scamp has behaved well. I may as well call them all up; they will like to hear the story."
Turning to the group of officers who were standing on the quarter-deck a short distance away, waiting to hear the news when the major had given his report, he said: "You may as well come now and hear Major Harrison's story; it will save his telling it twice. You will be glad to hear, O'Connor, that Terence has been distinguishing himself in some way, though I know not yet in what; the major says that if it had not been for him the whole wing of the regiment would have now been in a French prison."
"Terence was always good at getting out of scrapes, Colonel, though I don't say he was not equally good in getting into them; but I am glad to hear that this time he has done something useful."
The major then gave a full account of their adventure with the privateers, and of the subsequent escape from the French frigate.
"Faith, O'Connor," the colonel said, warmly, holding out his hand to him, "I congratulate you most heartily, which is more than I ever thought to do on Terence's account. I had some misgivings when I recommended him for a commission, but I may congratulate myself as well as you that I did so. I was sure the lad had plenty in him, but I was afraid that it was more likely to come out the wrong way than the right; and now it turns out that he has saved half the regiment, for there is no doubt from what Harrison says that he has done so."
"Thank you, Colonel; I am glad indeed that the boy has done credit to your kindness. It was a mighty bad scrape this time, and he got out of it well."
"Of course, Major, you will give a full report in writing of this, and will send it in to Sir Arthur; he arrived this morning. I will go on board the flag-ship at once and report as to the prizes. Who they belong to I have not the least idea. I never heard of a transport capturing a couple of privateers before; but, I suppose, as she is taken up for the king's service and the prizes were captured by his Majesty's troops, they will rank as if taken by the navy, that is, a certain amount of their value will go to the admiral. Anyhow, the bulk of it will go, I should think, to the troops--the crew and officers of the ship, of course, sharing."
"It won't come to much a head, Colonel, anyhow. You see, they were both empty, and there is simply the value of the ships themselves, which I don't suppose would fetch above five or six hundred apiece."
"Still, the thing must be done in a regular way, and I must leave it in the admiral's hands. I will take your boat, Major, and go to him at once. You will find pen and ink in my cabin, and I should be glad if you would write your report by the time that I return; then I will go off at once to Sir Arthur."
"I have it already written, Colonel," the major said, producing the document.
"That looks to me rather long, Harrison, and busy as Sir Arthur must be, he might not take the trouble to read it. I wish you would write out another, as concise as you can make it, of the actual affair, saying at the end that you beg to report especially the conduct of Ensign O'Connor, to whose suggestions the escape of the ship both from the privateers and French frigate were due. I will hand that in as the official report, and with it the other, saying that it gives further details of the affair. Of course, with them I must give in an official letter from myself, inclosing your two reports. But first I will go and see the admiral."
In a little over half an hour he returned. "The admiral knows no more than I do whether the navy have anything to do with the prizes or not. Being so small in value he does not want to trouble himself about it. He says that the matter would entail no end of correspondence and bother, and that the crafts might rot at their anchors before the matter was decided. He thinks the best thing that I can do will be to sell the two vessels for what they will fetch, and divide the money according to prize rules, and say nothing about it. In that way there is not likely ever to be any question about it, while if the Admiralty and Horse Guards once get into a correspondence over the matter, there is no saying what bother I might have; and that he should advise me, if I do not adopt that plan, to simply scuttle them both, and report that they have sunk. Now I will just write my official letter and take it to head-quarters."
In two hours he was back again.
"I have not seen the chief," he said, "but I gave the reports to his adjutant-general. General Fane was with him; he is an old friend of mine, and I told him the story of your voyage, and the adjutant-general joined in the conversation. Fane was waiting to go in to Sir Arthur, who was dictating some despatches to England, and he said that if he had a chance he would mention the affair to Sir Arthur; and, at any rate, the other officer said that he would lay the reports before him, with such mention that Sir Arthur would doubtless look through them both. I find that there is a bit of insurrection going on in Portugal, but that no one thinks much will come of it, as bands of unarmed peasants can have no chance with the French. Nothing is determined as yet about our landing. Lisbon and the Tagus are completely in the hands of the French.
"Sir Arthur is going down to Oporto to-morrow, where it is likely that he will learn more about the situation than he did at Corunna. Fane says that he hopes we shall soon be ashore, as the general is not the man to let the grass grow under his feet."
After holding counsel with his officers the colonel determined to adopt the advice he had received, and to sell the two craft for what they would fetch, the officers all agreeing to refund their shares if any questions were ever asked on the subject. The captain of the Sea-horse agreed to accept the share of a captain in the line, and his mates those of first and second lieutenant. The colonel put himself in communication with some merchants on shore, and the two craft were sold for twelve hundred pounds.
"This gave something over a pound a head to the 400 soldiers and the crew, twice that amount to the non-commissioned officers, and sums varying from ten pounds apiece to the ensigns to fifty pounds to the major. The admiral was asked to approve of the transaction, and said, 'I have no right formally to sanction it, since, so far as I know, it is not a strictly naval matter; but I will give you a letter, Colonel, saying that you have informed me of the course that you have adopted, and that I consider that under the peculiar circumstances of the capture, and the fact that there are no men available for sending the prizes to England, the course was the best and most convenient that could possibly be adopted, though, had the craft been of any great value, it would, of course, have been necessary to refer the matter home.'"
A week passed without movement. The expedition had left England on the 12th of July, 1808, and Sir Arthur rejoined it towards the end of the month. He had learned at Oporto from Colonel Brown, our agent there, that, contrary to what he had been told at Corunna, there were no Spanish troops in the north of Portugal, but that a body of some 8,000 Portuguese irregulars and militia, half-armed and but slightly disciplined, were assembled on the river Mondego. After a consultation with Admiral Sir Charles Cotton, Sir Arthur had concluded that an attack at the mouth of the Tagus was impracticable, owing to the strength of the French there, the position of the forts that commanded the entrance of the river, and the heavy surf that broke in all the undefended creeks and bays near. There was then the choice of landing far enough north of Lisbon to ensure a disembarkation undisputed by the French, or else to sail south, join Spencer, and act against the French army under Dupont.
Sir Arthur finally determined that the Mondego River was the most practicable for the enterprise. The fort of Figueira at its mouth was already occupied by British marines, and the Portuguese force was at least sufficient to deter any small body of troops approaching the neighbourhood. Therefore, to the great joy of the troops, the order was given that the fleet should sail on the following morning; two days later they anchored off the mouth of the Mondego. Just before starting a vessel arrived with despatches from Spencer, saying that he was at St. Mary's and was free to act with Sir Arthur, and a fast vessel was despatched with orders to him to sail to the Mondego.
On arriving there Sir Arthur received the mortifying intelligence that Sir Hew Dalrymple had been appointed over his head, nevertheless he continued to push on his own plans with vigour, pending the arrival of that general. With this bad news came the information that the French general, Dupont, had been defeated. This set free a small force under General Anstruther, and some fast-sailing craft were at once despatched to find his command, and order it to sail at once to the Mondego. Without further delay, however, the landing of the troops began on the 1st of August, and the 9,000 men, their guns and stores, were ashore by the 5th.
On that day Spencer fortunately arrived with 3,300 men. He had not received Sir Arthur's orders, but the moment that Dupont surrendered he had sailed for the Tagus, and had learned from Sir C. Cotton, who commanded the fleet at the entrance to the river, where Sir Arthur was, and at once sailed to join him. While the troops were disembarking Sir Arthur had gone over to the Portuguese head-quarters, two miles distant, to confer with Bernardin Friere, the Portuguese commander-in-chief. The visit was a disappointing one. He found that the Portuguese troops were almost unarmed, and that their commander was full of inflated ideas. He proposed that the forces should unite, that they should relinquish the coast, and march into the interior and commence an offensive campaign, and was lavish in his promises to provide ample stores of provisions. The English general saw, however, that no effectual assistance could be hoped for from the Portuguese troops, and as little from the promises of their commander. He gave Friere 5,000 muskets for his troops, but absolutely declined to adopt the proposed plan, his own intention being to keep near the coast, where he could receive his supplies from the ships and be joined by reinforcements.
As soon as they had landed the Mayo regiment was marched to a village two miles inland, and, with two others of the same brigade, encamped near it. All idea of keeping up a regimental officers' mess had been abandoned, and as soon as the tents were pitched and the troops had settled down in them, O'Grady said to Terence:
"We will go into the village and see if we can find a suitable place for taking our meals. It may be that in time our fellows will learn how to cook for us, but, by jabers! we will live dacent as long as we can. My servant, Tim Hoolan, has gone on ahead to look for such a place, and he is the boy to find one if there is one anyhow to be got. As our companies are number 1 and 2, it is reasonable that we should stick together, and though O'Driscol's a quare stick, with all sorts of ridiculous notions, he is a good fellow at heart, and I will put up with him for the sake of having you with me."
As they entered the village the servant came up. "I have managed it, Captain; we have got hold of the best quarters in the village; it is a room over the only shebeen here. The ould scoundrel of a landlord wanted to keep it as a general room, but I brought the Church to bear on him, and I managed it finally."
"How did you work it, Tim?"
"Sure, your honour, I went to the praste, and by good luck his house is in front of the church. I went into the church, and I crossed myself before the altar and said a prayer or two. As I did so who should come out of the vestry but the father himself. He waited until I had done and then came up to me, and to my surprise said in good Irish:
"'So it's a Catholic you are, my man?'
"'That am I, your riverence,' said I, 'and most all of the rigiment are; sure, we were raised in the ould country, and belong, most of us, to County Mayo, and glad we were to come out here to fight for those of the true religion against these Frenchmen, who they say have no religion at all, at all. And how is it you spake the language, your riverence, if I may be so bold as to ask?'"
"Then he told me that he had been at college at Lisbon, where the sons of many Catholic Irish gentlemen were sent to be educated, and that he had learned it from them.
"'And how is it that you are not with your regiment, my man?'
"'I am here to hire rooms for the officers, your riverence, just a place where they can ate a dacent meal in peace and quietness. I have been to the inn, but I cannot for the life of me make the landlord understand. He has got a room that would be just suitable, so I thought I would come to your riverence to explain to you that the rigiment are not heretics, but true sons of the Church. I thought that, being a learned man, I might make shift to make you understand, and that you would maybe go wid me and explain the matter to him.'
"'That will I,' says he; and he wint and jabbered away with the innkeeper, and at last turned to me and said: 'He will let you have a room, seeing that it is for the service of good Catholics and not heretics.'"
"But, you rascal, you know that we are not Catholics."
"Sure, your honour, didn't I say that most all the rigiment were Catholics; I did not say all of them."
"I must go and explain the matter to him, Hoolan. If he calls upon us, as like he may do, he would find out at once that you have desaved him."
"Sure, your honour, if you think that it is necessary, of course it must be done; but would it not be as well to go to the shebeen first and to take possession of the room, and to get comfortably settled down in it before ye gives me away?"
"I think it might be worth while, Tim," O'Grady said, gravely. "What do you say, Terence?"
"I think the matter will keep for a few hours," Terence said, laughing, "and when we are once settled there it will be very hard to turn us out."
The room was found to be larger than they had expected, and O'Grady proposed that they should admit the whole officers of their wing to share it with them, to which Terence at once agreed heartily. "I think that with a little squeezing the place would hold the officers of the five companies, and the major and O'Flaherty. The more of us there are, the merrier, and the less fear of our being turned out."
"That is so. We had better put the names up on the door. You go down and try and make that black-browed landlord understand that you want some paper and pen and ink."
With some difficulty and much gesticulation Terence succeeded. The names of the officers were written down on a paper and it was then fastened on the door.
"Now, Terence, I will go and fetch the boys; you and Hoolan make the landlord understand that we want food and wine for fifteen or sixteen officers. Of course they won't all be able to get away at once. We must contint ourselves with anything we can get now; afterwards we will send up our rations, and with plenty of good wine and a ham (there are lots of them hanging from the ceiling down below), we shall do pretty well, with what you can forage outside."
Terence left this part of the work to Hoolan, who, by bringing up a number of plates and ranging them on the table, getting down a ham and cutting it into slices, and by pointing to the wine-skins, managed to acquaint the landlord with what was required. In this he was a good deal aided by the man's two nieces, who acted as his assistants, and who were much quicker in catching his meaning than was the landlord himself. Very soon the room below was crowded with officers from other regiments, and Hoolan went up to Terence:
"I think, Mr. O'Connor, that it would be a good job if you were to go down and buy a dozen of them hams. A lot of them have been sold already, and it won't be long before the last has gone, though I reckon that there are three or four dozen of them still there."
"That is a very good idea, Tim. You come down with me and bring them straight up here, and we will drive some nails into those rafters. I expect before nightfall the place will be cleared out of everything that is eatable."
The bargain was speedily concluded. The landlord was now in a better temper. At first he had been very doubtful of the intentions of the new-comers. Now that he saw that they were ready to pay for everything, and that at prices much higher than he could before have obtained, his face shone with good-humour. He and the two girls were already busy drawing wine and selling it to the customers.
"I will get some wood, your honour, and light a fire here, or it is mighty little dinner that you will be getting. The soldiers will soon be dropping in, that is, if they don't keep this place for officers only, for there are two other places where they sell wine in the village. When I came up two officers had a slice of ham each on the points of their swords over the fire."
"That will be a very good plan, Tim; you had better set to work about it at once, and at the same time I will try and get some bread."
By the time that O'Grady returned with seven or eight other officers the fire was blazing. Terence had managed to get a sufficient number of knives and forks; there was, however, no table-cloth in the house. He and Terence were cooking slices of ham on a gridiron over the fire.
"This is first-rate, O'Grady," Major Harrison said; "the place is crowded down below, and we should have fared very badly if you had not managed to get hold of this room."
"If some of the boys will see to the cooking, Major, I will go down with Hoolan and get a barrel of wine and bring it up here; then we shall do first-rate."
"How about the rations, Major?" Terence asked.
"They have just been served out. I sent my man down to draw the rations for the whole wing at once, and told him to bring them up here."
"And I have told mine," Captain O'Driscol said, "to go round the village and buy up two or three dozen chickens, if he can find them, and as many eggs as he can collect. I think that we had better tell off two of the men as cooks. I don't think it is likely that they will be able to get much done that way below. Hoolan and another will do."
"I should think it best to keep Hoolan as forager; he is rather a genius in that capacity. I think he has got round those two girls, whether by his red hair or his insinuating manners I cannot say, but they seem ready to do anything for him, and we shall want lots of things in the way of pots and pans and so on."
"Very well, Terence, then we will leave him free and put two others on."