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"In course, she is in the house, sir," replied the negro, with a grin.
Any strangers there?"
"There was plenty of 'em a little while ago, but they've been gone a good bit."
5. Robinson, having thus satisfied himself as to the safety of his visit, directed the boy to take his horse and lead him up to the door. He then entered the dwelling.
"Mistress Ramsay," said he, walking up to the dame, who was occupied at a table, with a large trencher before her, in which she was plying that household thrift which the negro described, "luck to you, ma'am, and all your house!"
6. "Good lack, Mr. Horse Shoe Robinson!" exclaimed the matron, offering the sergeant her hand. "What has brought you here? What news? Who are with you? For patience' sake, tell me!"
"I am alone," said Robinson, "and a little wet," he added as he took off his hat and shook the water from it; "it has just begun to rain, and it looks as if it was going to give us enough of it. Where's Davy?"
"He's gone over to the meeting-house on Ennoree, hoping to hear something of the army at Camden. Perhaps you can tell us the news from that quarter ?"
7. "Faith, that's a mistake, Mistress Ramsay. At this present speaking I command the flying artillery. We have but one man in the corps-and that's myself; and all the guns we have is this piece of ordnance that hangs in this old belt by my side" (pointing to his sword), " and that I captured from the enemy at Blackstock's. I was hoping I might find John Ramsay at home: I have need of him as a recruit."
8. "Ah, Mr. Robinson, John has a heavy life of it over
there with Sumter. I haven't the heart to complain, as long as John's service is of any use, but it does seem like needless tempting of the mercies of Providence. We thought that he might have been here to-day; yet I am glad he didn't come-for he would have been certain to get into trouble. Who should come in this morning, just after my husband had cleverly got away on his horse, but a young ensign that belongs to Ninety Six, and four great Scotchmen with him, all in red coats; they had been out thieving, I warrant, and were now going home again. Here they were, swaggering all about my house, and calling for this and calling for that, as if they owned the feesimple of everything on the plantation. And it made my blood rise, Mr. Horse Shoe, to see them run out in the yard and catch up my chickens and ducks and kill as many as they could string about them, and I not daring to say a word: though I did give them a piece of my mind, too."
9. "Who is at home with you?" inquired the ser
"Nobody but my youngest boy, Andrew," answered the dame.
"What arms have you in the house?"
"We have a rifle, and a horseman's pistol that belongs to John. They must call for drink, too, and turn my house, of a Sunday morning, into a tavern—”
"They took the route toward Ninety Six, you said, Mistress Ramsay?"
"Yes, they went straight forward upon the road. But, look you, Mr. Horse Shoe, you're not thinking of going after them?"
"Isn't there an old field, about a mile from this, on that road?" inquired the sergeant, still intent upon his own thoughts.
"There is," replied the dame, "with the old schoolhouse upon it."
"A lop-sided, rickety log-cabin in the middle of the field. Am I right, good woman?"
"And nobody lives in it? It has no door to it?" "There ha'n't been anybody in it these seven years." 10. "I know the place very well," said the sergeant, thoughtfully; "there is woods just on this side of it." "That's true," replied the dame. "But what is it you are thinking about, Mr. Robinson ? "
"How long before this rain began was it that they quitted this house?"
"Not above fifteen minutes."
"Mistress Ramsay, bring me the rifle and pistol, bothand the powder-horn and bullets."
"As you say, Mr. Horse Shoe," answered the dame, as she turned round to leave the room; "but I am sure I can't suspicion what you mean to do."
HORSE SHOE ROBINSON (1) is the hero of a story of that name. The scene is laid in the South during the Revolutionary War, and the language of the characters is somewhat different from that of the present day.-NINETY SIX (1) is a village in Abbeville, South Carolina.-ENNOREE (2) is a river in South Carolina.—“ In course (4) is an illiterate way of saying "of course."-CAMDEN (6) is the county-seat of Kershaw County, South Carolina.-"This piece of ordnance" (7) is a humorous way of referring to the sword, which is not a piece of ordnance.-SUMTER (8) is General Thomas Sumter, a hero of the Revolutionary War.
Explain the expressions: "plying that household thrift " (5); "There ha'n't been anybody" (9).
"... When a great man dies,
The light he leaves behind him lies
1. rife; a. abounding.
10. för lôrn'-hōpe; n. appointed to lead an assault. 11. tăr′ried; v. waited.
12. lěv' ěl; n. line of direction of the aim.
6. ticklish; a. difficult.
8. quạr' ter; n. merciful treat- 12. můs' tẽr-rōll; n. list of
A Military Stratagem. Part II.
1. In a few moments the woman returned with the weapons, and gave them to the sergeant.
"Where is Andy?" asked Horse Shoe.
The hostess went to the door and called her son, and almost immediately afterward a sturdy boy, of about twelve or fourteen years of age, entered the apartment, his clothes dripping with rain. He modestly and shyly seated himself on a chair near the door, with his soaked hat flapping down over a face full of freckles, and not less rife with the expression of an open, dauntless hardihood of character.
2. "How would you like a scrummage, Andy, with them Scotchmen that stole your mother's chickens this morning?" asked Horse Shoe.
"I'm agreed," replied the boy, "if you will tell me what to do."
"You are not going to take the boy out on any of your desperate projects, Mr. Horse Shoe?" said the mother, with the tears starting instantly into her eyes. "You wouldn't take such a child as that into danger?" "Bless your soul, Mistress Ramsay, there is not the least danger about it! It's a thing that is either done at a blow, or not done-and there's an end of it. I want the lad only to bring home the prisoners for me, after I have taken them."
3. "Ah, Mr. Robinson, I have one son already in these wars-God protect him!—and you men don't know how a mother's heart yearns for her children in these times. I cannot give another," she added, as she threw her arms over the shoulders of the youth and drew him to her bosom.
"Oh, it isn't anything," said Andrew, in a sprightly tone. "It's only snapping of a pistol, mother. Pooh! If I'm not afraid, you oughtn't to be."
4. "I give you my honor, Mistress Ramsay," said Robinson, "that I will bring or send your son safe back in one hour; and that he sha'n't be put in any sort of danger whatsoever come, that's a good woman!"
"You are not deceiving me, Mr. Robinson ?" asked the matron, wiping away a tear. "You wouldn't mock the sufferings of a weak woman in such a thing as this?" "On the honesty of a soldier, ma'am," replied Horse Shoe, "the lad shall be in no danger, as I said before— whatsoever."
"Then I will say no more," answered the mother. "But, Andy, my child, be sure to let Mr. Robinson keep before you."
5. Horse Shoe now loaded the firearms, and, having slung the pouch across his body, he put the pistol into the hands of the boy; then, shouldering his rifle, he and his young ally left the room.
Now, Andy, my lad," said Horse Shoe, after he had mounted his horse, "you must get up behind me. Turn the lock of your pistol down," he continued, as the boy sprung upon the horse's back, "and cover it with the flap of your jacket, to keep the rain off. It won't do to hang fire at such a time as this."
The lad did as he was directed, and Horse Shoe, hav