With Moore At Corunna by G. A. Henty
Chapter VII. The Advance
"It is enough to drive Sir John out of his senses," the colonel said, as the news was discussed after mess. "These people must be the champion liars of the world. Not content with doing nothing themselves, they seem to delight in inventing lies to prevent our doing anything for them. Who ever heard of an army marching, without artillery and cavalry, one way, while these arms travelled by a different road entirely, and that not for a march of twenty miles, but for a march of three hundred? One battery is to go with us. But what will be the use of six guns against an enemy with sixty? Every day the baggage is being cut down owing to these blackguard Portuguese breaking their engagements to furnish waggons, and we shall have to march pretty nearly as we stand, and to take with us nothing beyond one change of clothes."
Loud exclamations of discontent ran round the table. It was bad enough that in the midst of a campaign waggons should break down and baggage be left behind, but that troops should start upon a campaign with scarcely the necessaries of life had caused general anger in the army; and no order would have been more willingly obeyed than one to march upon Lisbon, shoot every public official, establish a state of siege, and rule by martial law, seizing for the use of the army every draught animal, waggon, and carriage that could be found in the city, or swept in from the country round. The colonel had not exaggerated matters. The number of tents to be taken were altogether insufficient for the regiment, even with the utmost crowding possible. The officers' baggage had been cut down to twenty pounds a head--an amount scarcely sufficient for a single change of clothes and boots. Even the amount of ammunition to be taken would be insufficient to refill the soldiers' pouches after the supply they carried was exhausted.
The paucity of baggage would not have mattered so much had the march begun at the commencement of summer, instead of just as winter was setting in. In the former case, men could have slept in the open air, and a solitary blanket and one change of clothes would have sufficed; but with the wet season at hand, to be followed by winter cold, the grievance was a very serious one. Terence had already learned that the brigade was to march in two days, and that the great bulk of the baggage was to be stored at Torres Vedras, which was to be occupied on their leaving by some of the troops that would remain in Portugal.
"Faith, it is an evil look-out, Terence," O'Grady, who was sitting next to him, said, pathetically. "Sorra a drop of whisky is there in the camp, and now we sha'n't be able to have even a drink of their bastely spirits, onless we can buy it at the towns; and as Anstruther's division has gone on ahead of us, it is likely that every drop has been drunk up."
"It will be all the better for you, O'Grady. Daly tells me that your arm is not fully healed yet. I know that you would not like to be left behind when we have once started."
"That is true enough, but a drop of the cratur hurts no one."
"I beg your pardon, O'Grady, it is very bad for anything like a wound. The doctor told me, when I was chatting with him before dinner, that he really did not think that you could go, for you would not obey his orders to give up spirits altogether."
"Well, I own that it has been smarting a good deal the last few days," O'Grady admitted, reluctantly, "though I have not said as much to the doctor. I don't know that you are not about right, Terence; but faith, after being kept upon bastely slops by O'Flaherty, it was not in human nature to drink nothing but water when one gets a chance. At any rate, I am not likely to find any great temptation after we have started."
"Well, you had better begin to-night, O'Grady. I am going to get away as soon as I can, and if you will take my advice you will come too."
"What! and us to march in two days? It is not to be thought of. You mane well, Terence, but a lad like you must not take to lecturing your supayrior officer. Shure, and don't I know what to do for meself better than any other?"
Terence saw that it was useless to endeavour to persuade him to move, and presently went round to Dr. Daly and said, quietly:
"Doctor, O'Grady tells me that his arm has been hurting him a good deal more during the last two days. I expect they will make a night of it this evening, and again to-morrow, and if he once begins, nothing will stop him until they break up. Could not you do anything?"
"I will talk to him like a father, Terence. You are a good boy to have told me; I might have gone away without thinking of it."
"Don't mention my name, Doctor."
The doctor nodded, and Terence went away and took a vacant seat at some distance from him. Presently the doctor got up and went round to O'Grady. The supply of claret had just been finished, and bottles of spirits had been placed upon the table. O'Grady stretched out his hand to one near him, but the doctor quietly removed it.
"Not for you, O'Grady," he said; "you have had more than sufficient wine already. I have been doubting whether you are fit to go on with the regiment; and, by the powers, if you touch spirits to-night or to-morrow, I will put your name down in the list of those who are to be left behind as unfit for service!"
"Sure you are joking, Doctor?"
"Never was more earnest in my life, O'Grady. You don't want to be left behind, I suppose, in some filthy Portuguese town, while we march on, and that is what it will come to if your wound inflames. I told you this morning that it was not doing as well as it ought to, and that you must cut off liquor altogether. I have had my eye upon you, and you have taken down more than a bottle of wine already. I don't think I ought to let you go with us, even as it is; but, by the piper that played before Moses, if you don't go off to your quarters, without touching a drop more, I will have you left behind!"
"You are mighty hard on a poor fellow, and must have a heart of stone to treat a man, who has lost his arm and wants a bit of comfort, in such fashion. Faith, I would not do it to a dog."
"There would be no occasion, O'Grady; a dog has got sense."
"And I haven't? Thank ye for the compliment. I will appeal to the colonel. Colonel, the doctor says if I drink a drop of spirits to-night or to-morrow he will put me down in the black list. Now, I ask you, do the regulations justify his using such a threat as that?"
"I think they do," the colonel said, with a laugh. "I think that his order is good and sensible, and I endorse it. You know yourself that spirits are bad for you, with an arm only just healed up. Now, behave like a raisonable fellow, and go off to your quarters. You know well enough that if you stop here you won't be able to keep from it."
"Faith, if the two of you are against me I have nothing more to say. It is mighty hard that after having lost an arm in the service of my country I should be treated like a child and sent off to bed."
"I am going, too, O'Grady," Terence, who had gone back to his original place, now said. "There is no occasion to go to bed. I have a box of good cigars in my tent, and we can sit there and chat as long as you like."
But O'Grady's dignity was ruffled.
"Thank you, Mr O'Connor," he said, stiffly; "but with your lave I will do as I said"
"That is the best thing," the doctor said. "You have not had a long night's rest since you rejoined. I am going myself, and I see that some of the others are getting up, too, and it would be a good thing if all would do so, for, with such work as we have got before us, the more sleep we get, while we can, the better."
As nearly half the officers now rose from their seats, O'Grady was mollified, and as we went out he said:
"I think, after all, Terence, I will try one of those cigars of yours."
On the 14th of October Fane's brigade left Torres Vedras.
A number of the troops had been stationed along the line of route to be followed, and these had started simultaneously with the departure of Fane's brigade from Torres Vedras. The discontent as to the reduction of baggage ceased as soon as the troops were in motion. They were going to invade Spain, and ignorant as the soldiers were of the real state of affairs, none doubted but that success would attend them there. Among the officers better acquainted with the state of things there was no such feeling of confidence, but they hoped that they should at least give as good an account of themselves as before, against any French force of anything like equal strength they might encounter. O'Grady, influenced by the doctor's threats, which he knew the latter would be firm enough to carry out, had obeyed his orders, and had confided to Terence, when the regiment formed up at daybreak for the march, that his arm felt much better.
"I don't say that the doctor may not have been right, Terence, but he need not have threatened me in that way, at all, at all."
"I don't know," Terence replied. "I feel pretty sure that if he hadn't, you would not have knocked off spirits. Well, it is a glorious morning for starting, but I am afraid the fine weather won't last long. Everyone says that the rains generally begin about this time."
As Terence fell in with his company the adjutant rode up.
"Mr. O'Connor, you are to report yourself to the brigadier."
Wondering much at the message, Terence hurried to the house occupied by General Fane. He and several officers were standing in front of it.
"I am told that you wish to speak to me, General," he said, saluting.
"Oh, you are Mr. O'Connor! Can you ride?"
"Yes, sir," Terence replied; for he had often had a scamper across the hills around Athlone on half-broken ponies, and occasionally on the horses of some of his friends in the regiment.
"I have a vacancy on my staff. Lieutenant Andrews was thrown when riding out from Lisbon with a despatch last night, and broke a leg. I was on board the flag-ship when your colonel brought his report about the fight between the transport and the two privateers. I read it, and was so much struck with the quickness and intelligence you displayed, that I made a note at the time that if I should have a vacancy on my staff I would appoint you."
"I am very much obliged, General," Terence said, "but I have no horse."
"I have arranged that. Lieutenant Andrews will not be fit for service for a long time. It is a compound fracture, and he will, the doctor says, probably be sent back to England by the first ship that arrives after he reaches Lisbon. His horse is therefore useless to him, and as it is only a native animal and would not fetch a ten-pound note, he agreed at once to hand it over to his successor, and in fact was rather glad to get it off his hands. He has an English saddle, bridle, and holsters; he will take five pounds for them. If you happen to be short of cash the paymaster will settle it for you."
"Thank you, sir; I have the money about me, and I am very much obliged to you for making the arrangement."
Terence was indeed in funds, for in addition to the ten pounds that had fallen to him as his share of the prize money, his pay had been almost untouched from the day he left England, and his father had, on embarking, added ten pounds to his store.
"I won't want it, Terence," he said; "I have got another twenty pounds by me, and by the time I get to England I shall have another month's pay to draw, and shall no doubt be put in a military hospital, where I shall have no occasion for money till I am out again."
"But I sha'n't want it either, father."
"There is never any saying, lad; it is always useful to have money on a campaign. You may be in places where the commissariat breaks down altogether, and you have to depend on what you buy; you may be left behind wounded, or may be taken prisoner, one never can tell. I shall feel more comfortable about you if I know that you are well provided with cash, whatever may happen. My advice is, Terence, get fifteen or twenty pounds in gold sewn up in your boot; have an extra sole put on, and the money sewn inside. If it is your bad luck to be taken prisoner, you will find the money mighty useful in a great many ways."
Terence had followed this advice and had fifteen pounds hidden away, besides ten that he carried in his pockets; he therefore hurried to the hut where Lieutenant Andrews was lying. He was slightly acquainted with him, as he had been Fane's aide-de-camp from the time of landing. The young lieutenant's servant was standing at the door with a horse ready saddled and bridled.
"I am very sorry to hear of your injury," he said to the young officer.
"Yes, it is a horrible nuisance," the other replied; "and just as we were starting, too. There is an end of my campaigning for the present. I should not have minded if it had been a French ball, but to be merely thrown from a horse is disgusting."
"I am extremely obliged to you for the horse, Andrews, but I would rather pay you for it; it is not fair that I should get it for nothing."
"Oh, that is all right! It would be a bother taking it down, and I should not know what to do with it when I got to Lisbon; it would be a nuisance altogether, and I am glad to get rid of it. The money is of no consequence to me one way or the other. I wish you better luck with it than I have had."
"At any rate here are five pounds for the saddle and bridle," and he put the money down on the table by the bed.
"That is all right," the other said, without looking at it; "they are well off my hands, too. I hope the authorities will send me straight on board ship when I get to Lisbon; my servant will go down with me. If I am kept there, he will of course stay with me until I sail; if not, he will rejoin as soon as he has seen me on board. He is a good servant, and I can recommend him to you; he is rather fond of the bottle, but that is his only fault as far as I know. He is a countryman of yours, and you will be able to make allowances for his failing," he added, with a laugh.
There was no time to be lost--the bugles were sounding--so, with a brief adieu, Terence went out, mounted the horse and rode after the general, who had just left with his staff, and taken his place at the head of the column. As he passed his regiment, he stopped for a moment to speak to the colonel.
"I heard that you were wanted by the general, Terence," the latter said, "and I congratulate you on your appointment. I am sorry that you are leaving us, but, as you will be with the brigade, we shall often see you. O'Driscol is as savage as a bull at the loss of one of his subalterns. Well, it is your own luck that you have and another's; drop in this evening, if you can, and tell us how it was that Fane came to pick you out."
"It was thanks to you, Colonel. If you remember, you told us at Vigo that Fane was on board when you went to make your report, and that he and Sir Arthur's adjutant-general read it over together, and asked you a good many questions. It was owing to that affair that he thought of me."
"That is good, lad. I thought at the time that more might come of it than just being mentioned in orders, and I am very glad that it was for that you got it. At any rate, come in this evening; I want to hear where you have stolen that horse from, and all about it."
Terence rode off and took his place with his fellow aide-de-camp behind the two other officers of the staff. He scarcely knew whether to be glad or sorry, at present, at the change that had so suddenly taken place. It was gratifying to have been selected as he had been. It was certainly more pleasant to ride through a campaign than to march; and there would be a good many more chances of distinguishing himself than there could be as a regimental officer; while, on the other hand, he would be away from the circle of his friends and comrades, and should greatly miss the fun and jollity of the life with them.
"An unfortunate affair this of Andrews," Lieutenant Trevor, his fellow aide-de-camp, said.
"Most unfortunate. I little thought when you and he lunched with us two days since that to-day he would be down with a broken leg and I riding in his place. Just at present I certainly do not feel very delighted at the change. You see, from my father being a captain in the regiment, I have been brought up with it, and to be taken so suddenly away from them seems a tremendous wrench."
"Yes, I can understand that," the other said. "In my case it is different. My regiment was not coming out, and of course I was greatly pleased when the general gave me a chance of going with him. Still, you see, as your regiment is in the brigade you will still be able to be with it when off duty, and when the end of the campaign comes you will return to it. Besides, there are compensations--you will at least get a roof to sleep under, at any rate nine times out of ten. I don't know how you feel it, but to me it is no small comfort being on horseback instead of tramping along these heavy roads on foot. The brigadier is a capital fellow; and though he does keep us hard at work, at any rate he works hard himself, and does not send us galloping about with all sorts of trivial messages that might as well be unsent. Besides, he is always thoughtful and considerate. Is he related to you in any way?"
"Not at all."
"Then I suppose you had good interest in some way, or else how did he come to pick you out?"
"It was just a piece of luck," Terence said; "it was because he had heard my name in connection with a fight the transport I came over in had with two French privateers."
"Oh, yes, I remember now," the other said; "I had forgotten that the name was O'Connor. I remember all about it now. He told us the story at Vigo, and you were put in general orders by Sir Arthur. I know the chief spoke very highly about your conduct in that affair. It is just like him to remember it, and to pick you out to take Andrews' place. Well, you fairly won it, which is more than one can say for most staff appointments, which are in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred the result of pure favouritism or interest.
"Well, O'Connor, I am very glad to have you on the staff. You see, it makes a lot of difference, when there are only two of us, that we should like each other. I own I have not done anything as yet to get any credit, for at Vimiera it was just stand up and beat them back, and I had not a single message to carry, and, of course, at Rolica our brigade was not in it; but I hope I shall get a turn some day. Then it was your father who was badly wounded?"
"Yes; I saw him off to England four days ago. I hope that he will be able to rejoin before long, but it is not certain yet that the wound won't bring on permanent lameness. I am very anxious about it, especially as he has now got his step, and it would be awfully hard on him to leave the service just as he has got field-officer's rank."
"Yes, it would be hard. However, I hope that the sea-voyage and English air will set him up again."
Presently one of the officers who were in front turned and said: "The general wishes you to ride back along the line, Mr. Trevor, and report whether the intervals between the regiments are properly kept, and also as to how the baggage-waggons are going on."
As Trevor turned to ride back the general cantered on, followed by the three officers and the four troopers who served as orderlies. Two miles ahead they came to a bridge across a torrent. The road, always a bad one, had been completely cut up by the passage of the provision and ammunition carts going to the front, and was now almost impassable.
"Will you please to ride back, Mr. O'Connor, and request the colonel of the leading regiment to send on the pioneers and a company of men at the double to clear the road and make it passable for the waggons."
The work was quickly done. While some men filled up the deep ruts, others cut down shrubs and bushes growing by the river bank, tied them into bundles, and put them across the narrow road, and threw earth and stones upon them, and in half an hour from the order being given the bugle sounded the advance. The head of the column had been halted just before it reached the bridge, and the men fell out, many of them running down to the stream to refill their water-bottles. As the bugle sounded they at once fell in again, and the column got into motion. General Fane and his staff remained at the bridge until the waggons had all crossed it.
"It is not much of a job," Fane said. "Of course the four regiments passing over it flattened the earth well down, but the waggons have cut it all up again. The first heavy shower will wash all the earth away, and in a couple of days it will be as bad as before. There are plenty of stones down in the river, but we have no means of breaking up the large ones, or of carrying any quantity of small ones. A few hundred sappers and engineers, with proper tools, would soon go a long way towards making the road fairly fit for traffic, but nothing can be done without tools and wheel-barrows, or at least hand-barrows for carrying stones. You see, the men wanted to use their blankets, but the poor fellows will want them badly enough before long, and those contractors' goods would go all to pieces by the time they had carried half a dozen loads of stones. At any rate, we will content ourselves with making the road passable for our own waggons, and the troops who come after us must do the same. By the way, Mr. O'Connor, you have not got your kit yet."
"No, sir; but I have no doubt that it is with the regimental baggage, and I will get it when we halt to-night."
"Do so," the general said. "Of course it can be carried with ours, but I should advise you always to take a change of clothes in your valise, and a blanket strapped on with your greatcoat."
"I have Mr. Andrews' blanket, sir. It was strapped on when I mounted, and I did not notice it."
"That is all right. The store blankets are very little use for keeping off rain, but we all provided ourselves with good thick horse-cloths before leaving England. They are a great deal warmer than blankets, and are practically water-proof. I have no doubt that Mr. Andrews told his servant to strap it on as usual."
Many and many a time during the campaign had Terence good reason for thinking with gratitude of Andrews' kindly thought. His greatcoat, which like those of all the officers of the regiment, had been made at Athlone, of good Irish frieze lined with flannel, would stand almost any amount of rain, but it was not long enough to protect his legs while lying down. But by rolling himself in the horse-cloth he was able to sleep warm and dry, when without it he would have been half-frozen, or soaked through with rain from above and moisture from the ground below. He found that the brigadier and his staff carried the same amount of baggage as other officers, the only difference being that the general had a tent for himself, his assistant-adjutant and quartermaster one between them, while a third was used as an office-tent in the day, and was occupied by the two aides-de-camp at night.
The baggage-waggon allotted to them carried the three tents, their scanty kits, and a box of stationery and official forms, but was mainly laden with musketry ammunition for the use of the brigade. After marching eighteen miles the column halted at a small village. The tents were speedily pitched, rations served out, and fires lighted. The general took possession of the principal house in the village for the use of himself and his staff, and the quartermaster-general apportioned the rest of the houses between the officers of the four battalions. The two aides-de-camp accompanied the general in his tour of inspection through the camp.
"It will be an hour before dinner is ready," Trevor said, as they returned to the house, "and you won't be wanted before that. I shall be about if the chief has any orders to send out. I don't think it is likely that he will have; he is not given, as some brigadiers are, to worrying; and, besides, there are the orderlies here to take any routine orders out, so you can be off if you like."
Terence at once went down to the camp of the Mayo Fusiliers. The officers were all there, their quartermaster having gone into the village to fix their respective quarters.
"Hooray, Terence, me boy!" O'Grady shouted, as he came up, "we all congratulate you. Faith, it is a comfort to see that for once merit has been recognized. I am sure that there is not a man in the regiment but would have liked to have given you a cheer as you rode along this morning just before we started. We shall miss you, but as you will be up and down all day and can look in of an evening, it won't be as if you had been put on the staff of another brigade. As to Dicky Ryan, he is altogether down in the mouth, whether it is regret for your loss or whether it is from jealousy at seeing you capering about on horseback, while he is tramping along on foot, is more than I know."
"If you were not my superior officer, Captain O'Grady, I should make a personal onslaught on you," Ryan laughed. "You will have to mind how you behave now, Terence; the brigadier is an awfully good fellow, but he is pretty strict in matters of discipline."
"I will take care of meself, Dicky, and now that you will have nobody to help you out of your scrapes, you will have to mind yourself too."
"I am glad that you have got a lift, Terence," Captain O'Driscol said; "but it is rather hard on me losing a subaltern just as the campaign is beginning in earnest."
"Menzies likes doing all the work," Terence said, "so it won't make so much difference to you."
"It would not matter if I was always with my company, Terence, but now, you see, that I am acting as field-officer to the left wing till your father rejoins, it makes it awkward."
"I intend to attach Parsons to your company, O'Driscol," the colonel said. "Terence went off so suddenly this morning that I had no time to think of it before we marched, but he shall march with your company to-morrow. You will not mind, I hope, Captain Holland?"
"I shall mind, of course, Colonel; but, as O'Driscol's company has now really only one officer, of course it cannot be helped, and as Menzies is the senior lieutenant, I have no doubt that he can manage very well with Parsons, who is very well up in his work."
"Thank you, Captain Holland; it is the first compliment that you ever paid me; it is abuse that I am most accustomed to."
"It is thanks to that that you are a decent officer, Parsons," Captain Holland laughed. "You were the awkwardest young beggar I ever saw when you first joined, and you have given me no end of trouble in licking you into shape. How do you think you will like your work, Terence?"
"I think I shall like it very much," the lad replied. "The other aide-de-camp, Trevor, is a very nice fellow, and every one likes Fane; as to Major Dowdeswell and Major Errington, I haven't exchanged a word with either of them, and you know as much about them as I do."
"Errington is a very good fellow, but the other man is very unpopular. He is always talking about the regulations, as if anyone cared a hang about the regulations when one is on service."
"I expect that if Fane were not such a good fellow Dowdeswell would make himself a baste of a nuisance, and be bothering us about pipe-clay and buttons, and all sorts of rigmarole," O'Grady said; "as if a man would fight any the better for having his belt white as snow!"
"He would not fight any the better, O'Grady, but the regiment would do so," the colonel put in. "All these little matters are nothing in themselves, but still they have a good deal to do with the discipline of the regiment; there is no doubt that we are not as smart in appearance as we ought to be, and that the other regiments in the brigade show up better than we do. It is a matter that must be seen to. I shall inspect the regiment very carefully before we march to-morrow."
There was a little silence among the group, but a smile stole over several of the faces. As a rule, the colonel was very lax in small matters of this kind, but occasionally he thought it necessary to put on an air of severity, and to insist upon the most rigid accuracy in this respect; but the fit seldom lasted beyond twenty-four hours, after which things went on pleasantly again. Some of the officers presently sauntered off to warn the colour-sergeants that the colonel himself intended to inspect the regiment closely before marching the next morning, and that the men must be warned to have their uniforms, belts, and firearms in perfect order.
Terence remained for some little time longer chatting, and then got possession of his kit, which was carried by Tim Hoolan across to his quarters.
"We are all sorry you've left us, yer honour," that worthy said, as he walked a short distance behind Terence; "the rigiment won't be like itself widout you. Not that it has been quite the same since you joined us reg'lar, and have taken to behaving yourself."
"What do you mean, you impudent rascal?" Terence said, with a pretence at indignation.
"No offence, yer honour, but faith the games that you and Mr. Ryan and some of the others used to play, kept the boys alive, and gave mighty contintment to the regiment."
"I was only a lad then, Hoolan."
"That was so, yer honour, and now you are a man and an officer, it is natural it should be different."
"Tim Hoolan, you are a humbug," Terence said, laughing.
"Sorra a bit of one, yer honour. I am not saying that you won't grow a bit more; everyone says what a fine man you will make. But sure ye saved our wing from being captured, and you would not have us admit that, if it had not been for a boy, a wing of the Mayo Fusiliers would have been captured by the French. No, your honour, when we tell that story we spake of one of our officers who had the idea that saved the Sea-horse, and brought thim two privateer vessels into Vigo."
"Well, Tim, it is only three months since I joined, and I don't suppose I have changed much in that time; but of course I cannot play tricks now as I used to do, before I got my commission."
"That is so, yer honour; the rigiment misses your tricks, though they did bother us a bit. Three times were we turned out at night, under arms, when we were at Athlone, once on a wet night too, and stood there for two hours till the colonel found out it was a false alarm, and there was me and Mr. Ryan, and two or three others as was in the secret, nigh choking ourselves with laughter, to hear the men cursing and swearing at being called out of bed. That was a foine time, yer honour."
"Attention, Tim!" Terence said, sharply.
They had now entered the village, and the burst of laughter in which Hoolan indulged at the thought of the regiment being turned out on a false alarm was unseemly, as he was accompanying an officer. So Tim straightened himself up, and then followed in Terence's footsteps with military precision and stiffness.
"There is a time for all things, Tim," the latter said, as he took the little portmanteau from him. "It won't do to be laughing like that in sight of head-quarters. I can't ask you to have a drink now; there is no drink to be had, but the first time we get a chance I will make it up to you."
"All right, yer honour! I was wrong entirely, but I could not have helped it if the commander-in-chief had been standing there."
Terence went up to the attic that he and Trevor shared. There was no changing for dinner, but after a wash he went below again.
"You are just in time," Trevor said, "and we are in luck. The head man of the village sent the general a couple of ducks, and they will help out our rations. I have been foraging, and have got hold of half a dozen bottles of good wine from the priest.
"We always try to get the best of things in the village, if they will but part with them. That is an essential part of our duties. To-morrow it will be your turn."
"But our servants always did that sort of thing," Terence said, in some surprise.
"I dare say, O'Connor, but it would not do for the general's servant to be going about picking up things. No matter what he paid, we should have tales going about in no time of the shameful extortion practised by our servants, who under threats compelled the peasantry to sell provisions for the use of their masters at nominal prices."
"I did not think of that," Terence laughed. "Yes, as the Portuguese have circulated scores of calumnious lies on less foundation, one cannot be too particular. I will see what I can do to-morrow."