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The Yeoman Adventurer   By:

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The Yeoman Adventurer

By George Gough

To

A. D. Steel Maitland, M.P.

In Gratitude and Admiration

CONTENTS

I. THE GREAT JACK

II. THE SERGEANT OF DRAGOONS

III. MISTRESS MARGARET WAYNFLETE

IV. OUR JOURNEY COMMENCES

V. THE ANCIENT HIGH HOUSE

VI. MY LORD BROCTON

VII. THE RESULTS OF LOSING MY VIRGIL

VIII. THE CONJURER'S CAP

IX. MY CAREER AS A HIGHWAYMAN

X. SULTAN

XI. IN WHICH I SLIP

XII. THE GUEST ROOM OF THE "RISING SUN"

XIII. PHARAOH'S KINE

XIV. "WAR HAS ITS RISKS"

XV. IN THE MOORLANDS

XVI. BONNIE PRINCE CHARLIE

XVII. MY NEW HAT

XVIII. THE DOUBLE SIX

XIX. WHAT CAME OF FOPPERY

XX. THE COUNCIL AT DERBY

XXI. MASTER FREAKE KNOWS AT LAST

XXII. A BROTHER OF THE LAMP

XXIII. DONALD

XXIV. MY LORD BROCTON PILES UP HIS ACCOUNT

XXV. I SETTLE MY ACCOUNT WITH MY LORD BROCTON

XXVI. THE WAY OF A MAID WITH A MAN

EPILOGUE: THE LITTLE JACK

CHAPTER I

THE GREAT JACK

Our Kate, Joe Braggs, and I all had a hand in the beginning, and as great results grew in the end out of the small events of that December morning, I will set them down in order.

It began by my refusing point blank to take Kate to the vicar's to watch the soldiers march by. I loved the vicar, the grave, sweet, childless old man who had been a second father to me since the sad day which made my mother a widow, and but for the soldiers nothing would have been more agreeable than to spend the afternoon with the old man and his books. But my heart would surely have broken had I gone. A caged linnet is a sorry enough sight in a withdrawing room, but hang the cage on a tree in a sunlit garden, with free birds twittering and flitting about it, and you turn dull pain into shattering agony. The vicar's little study, with the rows of books he had made me know and love with some small measure of his own learning and passion, was the perch and seed bowl of my cage, the things in it, after my sweet mother and saucy Kate, that made life possible, but still part of the cage, and it would have maddened me to hop and twitter there in sight of free men with arms in their hands and careers in front of them. Jack Dobson would march by, the sweetness of life for Kate little dreamed she that I knew it but for me the bitterness of death. Jack Dobson! I liked Jack, but not clinquant in crimson and gold, with spurs and sword clanking on the hard, frost bitten road. I laughed at the idea; Jack Dobson, whom I had fought time and time again at school until I could lick him as easily as I could look at him; Jack Dobson, a jolly enough lad, who fought cheerily even when he knew a sound thrashing was in store for him, but all his brains were good for was to stumble through Arma virumque cano , and then whisper, "Noll, you can fire a gun and shoot a man, but how can you sing 'em?" And because his thin, shadowy, grasping father was a man of much outward substance and burgess for the ancient borough, Jack was cornet in my Lord Brocton's newly raised regiment of dragoons, this day marching with other of the Duke of Cumberland's troops from Lichfield to Stafford. And for me, the pride of old Bloggs for Latin and of all the lads for fighting, the most stirring deed of arms available was shooting rabbits. So, consuming inwardly with thoughts of my hard fate, I refused to go to the vicar's. Mother should go. For her it would be a real treat, and Kate would be the better under her quiet, seeing eyes.

"Well then," said Kate, "grump at home over your beastly Virgil." Mother, who understood as only mothers can, said nothing, and prepared my favourite dishes for dinner.

The meal over, and the house place 'tidied,' which seldom meant more than the harassing of a few stray specks of dust, Kate in her best fripperies and mother in her churchgoing gown started for the vicar's. I stood in the porch and watched them across the cobbled yard and along the road till they dropped out of sight beyond the bridge... Continue reading book >>




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