The Baldwin Library
Sir Toady Lion
"As the Highlanders had clung to the cavalry stirrups at Balaclava."
WITH TH-OS OF
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Copyright 897 in the United States of America
by Frederick A. Stokes Conipany
Goo 13 rsYS
NOT AI-LOWE Q
To RIEAO MiS I0ooK
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WELr3nMRR.SHAL Nr'1POLRoN StriTH
I. PRISSY, HUGH JOHN, AND SIR TOADY LION I
II. THE GOSPEL OF DASHT-MEAN II
III. HOW HUGH JOHN BECAME GENERAL NAPOLEON 21
IV. CASTLE PERILOUS 30
V. THE DECLARATION OF WAR .. 35
VI. FIRST BLOOD 42
VII. THE POOR WOUNDED HUSSAR 50
'VIII. THE FAMILIAR SPIRIT 55
IX. PUT TO THE QUESTION 62
X. A SCOUTING ADVENTURE 71
- XI. ENEMY'S COUNTRY 79
XII. MOBILIZATION 86
XIII. THE ARMY OF WINDY STANDARD 98
XIV. THE BATTLE OF THE BLACK SHEDS 10
XV. TOADY LION PLAYS A FIRST LONE HAND 113
XVI. THE SMOUTCHY BOYS 120
XVII. BEFORE THE INQUISITION 127
XVIIL THE CASTLE DUNGEON 136
XIX. THE DROP OF WATER 145
XX. THE SECRET PASSAGE 152
XXI. THE RETURN FROM THE BASTILLE 163
XXII. MUTINY IN THE CAMP 175
XXIII. CISSY CARTER, BOYS' GIRL 184
XXIV. CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME-AND ENDS THERE 194
XXV. LOVE'S (VERY) YOUNG DREAM 209
XXVI. AN IMPERIAL BIRTHDAY 224
XXVII. THE BANTAM CHICKENS 233
XXVIII. THE GIPSY CAMP 241
XXIX. TOADY LION'S LITTLE WAYS 250
XXX. SAINT PRISSY, PEACEMAKER 256
XXXI. PRISSY'S PICNIC 268
XXXII.*PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 287
XXXIII. TOADY LION'S SECOND LONE HAND 295
XXXIV. THE CROWNING MERCY 311
XXXV. PRISSY'S COMPROMISE 325
XXXVI. HUGH JOHN'S WAY-GOING 338
XXXVIT. THE GOOD CONDUCT PRIZE 346
XXXVIII. HUGH JOHN'S BLIGHTED HEART 355
XXXIX. .' GIRLS ARE FUNNY THINGS" 371
"AS THE HIGHLANDERS HAD CLUNG TO THE
CAVALRY STIRRUPS AT BALACLAVA" rontisfiece
SIR TOADY LION Title-page
HUGH JOHN HAD A SISTER .. I
THE HIGHWAY LIES DESERTED II
MR. DICK TURPIN, LATE OF YORK AND TYBURN 13
HE STOOD ON THE ROADSIDE 21
IT COULD NOT HAVE BEEN BETTER DONE FOR A FIELD-
CASTLE PERILOUS .30
AT THE END OF THE STEPPING-STONES 35
JANET SHEEPSHANKS AWAITED THIS SORRY PROCESSION
WITH A GRIM TIGHTENING OF THE LIPS 37
"I COULDN'T HELP GETTING BEATEN, FATHER 42
SUCCESS OFTEN BRED ENVY. 50
A FEARFUL BLACK COUNTENANCE NODDED AT HIM 62
xii List of Illustrations
HUGH JOHN TOOK HIS WAY DOWN THE AVENUE .. 71
"WAIT TILL THE NEXT TIME" 75
HE WAS OBLIGED TO CLIMB A TREE 79
HUGH JOHN TUGGED HER HAIR 86
GENERAL FIELD MARSHAL SMITH DEPOSITED IN THE
GENERALS OF DIVISION, EQUAL IN RANK 93
THE ARMY WAS FINALLY MUSTERED .98
THE BLACK SHEDS. 105
THE BATTLE OF THE BLACK SHEDS ... 09
CAUTIOUSLY HE RETURNED THROUGH THE HEDGE 113
" OH, THE BONNY LADDIE!" 117
"SURRENDER !" CRIED NIPPER DONNAN 120
THE HEAD SMOUTCHY .. 124
SGOT YOU AT LAST 127
SWILL YE SAY NOW THAT THE CASTLE IS YOUR FATHER'S?" 133.
"BUT I WON'T CRY-EVEN TO MYSELF" 136
HE BENT THE WEIGHT OF HIS BODY THIS WAY AND THAT 139
THE PINING CAPTIVE 145
THE SECRET PASSAGE 52
HE SAW A STRETCH OF RIPPLED RIVER .. 159
HE FLOUNDERED THROUGH 163
"I CREATE YOU GENERAL OF THE COMM'SARIAT" 171
"DON'T YOU. SPEAK AGAINST MY FATHER" 175
SAMMY CARTER MUTINOUS 177
List of Illustrations xiii
"ONE, TWO, THREE-AND A TIGER" 184
"LOOK AT HIM, MADAM," SAID MRS. BAKER 187
TOADY LION SITS PLUMP DOWN 194
"LET ME LOOK AT HIM," SHE SAID 197
LOVE'S YOUNG DREAM 209
"HIT HARD, BRAVE SOLDIER 211
WASN'T IT SPLENDID 219
TOADY LION PREFERRED TO SLEEP IN THE MOST CURIOUS
POSITIONS ... 224
BANTAM CHICKENS 233
THE GIPSIES' WOOD 241
SHE CARRIED A BACK LOAD OF TIN-WARE 245
THE OLDEST IMPLEMENTS INVENTED FOR THE PURPOSE. 250
SHE WENT ON HER WAY 256
"OH, PLEASE DON'T, SIR 263
IN THIS MANNER PRISSY ENTERED THE CASTLE 268
THE RETURN OF THE TWO SWIFT FOOTMEN 272
HYDRAULIC PRESSURE 274
PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 287
TROTTING STEADILY THROUGH THE TOWN. 295
THE BOUNDING BROTHERS 311
THE LIVING CHAIN 317
SIXPENCE FOR ADMISSION 325
"THEN," SAID PRISSY, "I THINK IT CAN BE MANAGED" 331
TOADY LION STOOD LOOKING ON. 338
xiv List .of Illustrations
A SLIM BUNDLE OF LIMP WOE 343
THE GOOD CONDUCT PRIZE. 346
" SMELL THAT!" 352
A BLIGHTED BEING 355
HE SPRANG OVER THE STILE 371
"IT LOOKS LIKE HALF OF A SIXPENCE. HOW QUAINT 1" 375"
AS IF HER HEART WERE LIGHT WITHIN HER 379
Sir Toady Lion
PRISSY, HUGH JOHN, AND SIR TOADY LION
T is always difficult to be great,
but it is specially difficult when
greatness is thrust upon one, as
it were, along with the additional
burden of a distinguished histo-
rical name. This was the case
with General Napoleon- Smith. Yet when this'
story opens he was not a general. That came
later, along with the cares of empire and the
management of great campaigns.
But already in secret he was Napoleon Smith,
2 Sir Toady Lion
though his nurse sometimes still referred to him
as Johnnie, and his father-but stay. I will re-
veal to you the secret of our soldier's life right
at the start. Though a Napoleon, our hero was
no Buonaparte. No, his name was Smith-plain
Smith; his father was the owner of four large
farms and a good many smaller ones, near that
celebrated Border which separates the two hostile
countries of England and Scotland. Neighbours
referred to the General's father easily as Picton
Smith of Windy Standard," from the soughing,
mist-nursing mountain of heather and ffr-trees
which gave its name to the estate, and to the
large farm he had cultivated himself ever since
the death of his wife, chiefly as a means of
distracting his mind, and keeping at a distance
loneliness and sad thoughts.
Hugh John Smith had never mentioned the
fact of his Imperial descent to his father, but in
a moment of confidence he had told his old
nurse, who smiled with a world-weary wisdom,
which betrayed her knowledge of the secrets of
courts-and said that doubtless it was so. He
had also a brother and sister, but they were
not, at that time, of the race of the Corporal of
Ajaccio. On the contrary, Arthur George, the
younger, aged five, was an engine-driver. There
was yet another who rode in a mail-cart, and
puckered up his face upon being addressed in
Prissy, Hugh John, and Sir Toady 3
a strange foreign language, as "Was-it-then ? A
darling-goo-goo-then it was!" This creature,
however, was not owned as a brother by Hugh
John and Arthur George, and indeed may at this
point be dismissed from the story. The former
went so far as stoutly to deny his brother's sex,
in the face of such proofs as were daily afforded
by Baby's tendency to slap his sister's face
wherever they met, and also to seize things
and throw them on the floor for the pleasure of
seeing them break. Arthur George, however,
had secret hopes that Baby would even yet
turn out a satisfactory boy whenever he saw him
killing flies on the window, and on these occa-
sions hounded him on to yet deadlier exertions.
But he dared not mention his anticipations to
his soldier brother, that haughty scion of an
Imperial race. For reasons afterwards to be
given, Arthur George was usually known as
Then Hugh John had a sister. Her name
was Priscilla. Priscilla was distinguished also,
though not in a military sense. She was literary,
and wrote books on the sly," as Hugh John said.
He considered this secrecy the only respectable
part of a very shady business. Specially he
objected to being made to serve as the hero of
Priscilla's tales, and went so far as to promise
to "thump" his sister if he caught her intro-
4 Sir Toady Lion
during him as of any military rank under that of
either general or colour-sergeant.
"Look here, Pris," he said on one occasion, "if
you put me into your beastly girl books all about
dolls and love and trumpery, I'll bat you over
the head with a.wicket!"
Hum-I dare say, if you could catch me,"
said Priscilla, with her nose very much in the air.
"Catch you! I'll catch and bat you now if
you say much."
"Much, much! Can't, can't! There! 'Fraid
cat! Um-m-um "
".By Jove, then, I just will!"
It is sad to be obliged to state here, in the
very beginning of these veracious chronicles,
that at this time Prissy and Napoleon Smith
were by no means model children, though Prissy
afterwards marvellously improved. Even their
best friends admitted as much, and as for their
enemies-well, their old gardener's remarks when
they .chased each other over his newly planted
beds would be out of place even in a military
periodical, and might be the means of prevent-
ing a book with Mr. Gordon Browne's nice
pictures from being included in some well-con-
ducted Sunday-school libraries.
General Napoleon Smith could not catch
Priscilla (as, indeed, he well knew before he
started), especially when she picked, up her
Prissy, Hugh John, and Sir Toady 5
skirts and went right at hedges and ditches
like a young colt. Napoleon looked upon this
trait in Prissy's character as degrading and un-
sportsmanlike in the extreme. He regarded long
skirts, streaming hair, and flapping, aggravating
pinafores as the natural handicap of girls in the
race of life, and as particularly useful when they
" cheeked" their brothers. It was therefore
wicked to neutralise these equalising disadvan-
tages by strings tied round above the knees, or
by the still more scientific device of a sash sus-
pended from the belt before, passed between
Prissy's legs, and attached to the belt behind.
But, then, as Napoleon admitted even at ten
years of age, girls are capable of anything; and
to his dying day he has never had any reason
to change his opinion-at least, so far as he has
"All right, then, I will listen to your old stuff
if you will say you are sorry, and promise to be
my horse, and let me lick you for an hour after-
wards-besides giving me a penny.
It was thus that Priscilla, to whom in after
times great lights of criticism listened with ap-
proval, was compelled to stoop to artifice and
bribery in order to secure and hold her first
audience. Whereupon the authoress took paper
6 Sir Toady Lion
from her pocket, and as she did so, held the
manuscript with its back to Napoleon Smith,
in order to conceal the suspicious shortness of
the lines. But that great soldier instantly de-
tected the subterfuge.
It's a penny more for listening to poetry!"
he said, with sudden alacrity.
"I know it is," replied Prissy sadly, "but you
might be nice about it just this once. I'm dread-
fully, dreadfully poor this week, Hugh John!"
"So am I," retorted Napoleon Smith sternly;
"if I wasn't, do you think I would listen at all
'to your beastly old poetry? Drive on!"
Thus encouraged, Priscilla meekly began-
My love he is a soldier bold,
And my love is a knight;
He girds him in a coat of mail,
When he goes forth to fight."
"That's not quite so bad as usual," said Napo-
leon condescendingly, toying meanwhile with the
lash of an old dog-whip he had just "boned"
out of the harness-room. Priscilla beamed grate-
fully upon her critic, and proceeded-
"He rides him forth across the sanzd- "
"Who rides whom ?" cried Napoleon. "Didn't
the fool ride a horse ?"
It means himself," said Priscilla meekly.
Prissy, Hugh John, and Sir Toady 7
"Then why doesn't it say so?" cried the critic
triumphantly, tapping his boot with the boned "
dog-whip just like any ordinary lord of creation
in presence of his inferiors.
"It's poetry," explained Priscilla timidly.
It's silly!" retorted Napoleon, judicially and
Priscilla resumed her reading in a lower and
more hurried tone. She knew that she was
skating over thin ice.
He rides him forth across the sand,
Upon a stealthy steed."
"You mean 'stately,' you know," interrupted
Napoleon-somewhat rudely, Priscilla thought.
Yet he was quite within his rights, for Priscilla had
not yet learned that a critic always knows what
you mean to say much better than you do yourself.
"No, I don't mean 'stately,'" said Priscilla, I
mean 'stealthy,' the way a horse goes on sand.
You go and gallop on the sea-shore and you'll
"I shan't. I haven't got any sea-shore," said
Napoleon. But do hurry. I've listened quite
a pennyworth now."
"He rides him forth across the sand,
Upon a stealthy steed,
And wken he sails upon the sea,
He plays upon a rced "
8 Sir Toady Lion
"Great soft he was," cried Napoleon Smith;
"and if ever I hear you say that I did such a
Priscilla hurried on more quickly than ever.
"In all the world there's none can do
The deeds that he hath done .
When he hath slain his enemies,
Then he comes back alone."
"That's better!" said Napoleon, nodding en-
couragement. "At any rate it isn't long. Now,
give me my penny.
"Shan't," said. Priscilla, the pride of successful
achievement swelling in her breast; "besides, it
isn't Saturday yet, and you've only listened to
three verses anyway. You will have to listen to
ever so much more than that before you get a
Hugh John! Priscilla! came a voice from a
The great soldier Napoleon Smith instantly
effected a retreat in masterly fashion behind a
"There's Jane calling us," said Priscilla; "she
wants us to go in and be washed for dinner."
"Course she does," sneered Napoleon; "think
she's out screeching like that for fun ? Well, let
her. I am not goirig in to be towelled till I'm all
Prissy, Hugh John, and Sir Toady 9
over red and scurfy, and get no end of soap in
But Jane wants you; she'll be so cross if you
"Idon't care for Jane," said Napoleon Smith
with dignity, but all the same making him-
self as small as possible behind his gooseberry
But if you don't come in, Jane will tell
"I don't care for father-" the prone but gal-
lant General was proceeding to declare in the
face of Priscilla's horrified protestations that he
mustn't speak so, when a slow heavy step was
heard on the other side of the hedge, and a deep
voice uttered the single syllable, "Johon!"
"Yes, father," a meek young man standing up
behind the gooseberry bush instantly replied:
he was trying to brush himself as clean as cir-
cumstances would permit. "Yes, father; were
you calling me, father ?"
Incredible as it seems, the nmeek and apologetic
words were those of that bold enemy of tyrants,
General Napoleon Smith.
Priscilla smiled at the General as he emerged
from the hands of Jane, "red and scurfy," just as
he had said. She smiled meaningly and aggrava-
tingly, so that Napoleon was reduced to shaking
his clenched fist covertly at her.
io Sir Toady Lion
"Wait till I get you out," he said, using the
phrase time-honoured by such occasions.
Priscilla Smith only smiled more meaningly
still. "First catch your hare!" she said under
Napoleon Smith stalked into lunch, the chil-
dren's dinner at the house of Windy Standard,
with an expression of fixed and Byronic gloom
on his face, which was only lightened by the
sight of his favourite pigeon-pie (with a lovely
crust) standing on the side-board.
"Say grace, Hugh John," commanded his
And General Napoleon Smith said grace with
all the sweet innocence of a budding angel sing-
ing in the cherub choir, aiming at the same time
a kick at his sister underneath the table, which
overturned a footstool and damaged the leg of.a
THE GOSPEL OF DASHT-MEAN
T was on the day preceding a great
review near the Border town of
Edam, that Hugh John Picton
Smith first became a soldier and
a Napoleon.. His father's house
was connected by a short avenue
with a great main road along which king and
beggar had for a thousand years gone posting
to town. Now the once celebrated highway lies
deserted, for along the heights to the east run
certain bars of metal, shining and parallel, over
which rush all who can pay the cost of a third-
class ticket-a roar like thunder preceding them,
white steam and sulphurous reek wreathing after
them. The great highway beneath is abandoned
12 Sir Toady Lion
to the harmless impecunious bicyclist, and on the
North Road the sweeping cloud dust has it all its.
But Hugh John loved the great thoroughfare,
deserted though it was. To his mind there could
be no loneliness upon its eye-taking stretches, for
who knew but out of the dust there might come
with a clatter Mr. Dick Turpin, late of York
and Tyburn; Robert the Bruce, charging south
into England with his Galloway garrons, to
obtain some fresh English beef wherewithal to
feed his scurvy Scots; or (best of all) his Majesty
King George's mail-coach Highflyer, the picture
of which, coloured and blazoned, hung in his
People told him that all these great folks were
long since dead. But Hugh John knew better
than to believe any "rot" grown-ups might choose
to palm off on him. What did grown-ups know
anyway ? They were rich, of course. Unlimited
shillings were at their command; and as for
pennies-well, all the pennies in the world lived
in their breeches' pockets. But what use did
they make of these god-like gifts ? Did you ever
meet them at the tuck-shop down in the town
buying fourteen cheese-cakes for a shilling, as
any sensible person would ? Did they play
with "real-real trains," drawn by locomotives of
shining brass? No! they preferred either one
" Mr. Dick Turpin, late of York and Tyburn."
The Gospel of Dasht-Mean 15
lump of sugar or none at all in their tea. This
showed how much they knew about what was
good for them.
So if such persons informed him that Robert
the Bruce had been dead some time, or showed
him the rope with which Turpin was hung, coiled
on a pedestal in a horrid dull museum (free on
Saturday, 10 to 4), Hugh John Picton looked
and nodded, for he was an intelligent boy. If
you didn't nod sometimes as if you were taking
it all in, they would explain it all over again to
you-with abominable dates and additional par-
ticulars, which they would even ask you afterwards
if you remembered.
For many years Hugh John had gone every
day down to the porter's lodge at the end of the
avenue, and though old Betty the rheumaticky
warder was not allowed to let him out, he stared
happily enough through the bars. It was a
white gate of strong wood, lovely to swing on
if you happened to be there when it was opened
for a carriageful of calling-folk in the afternoon,
or for Hugh John's father when he went out
But you had to hide pretty quick behind the
laurels, and rush out in that strictly limited period
before old Betty found her key, and yet after the
tail of Agincourt, his father's great grey horse,
had switched round the corner. If you were the
Sir Toady Lion
least late, Betty would get ahead of you, and the
gates of Paradise would be shut. If you were
a moment too soon, it was just as bad-or even
worse. For then the voice of He-whom-
it-was-decidedly- most-healthy- to-obey would
sound up the road commanding instant return to
the Sand-heap or the High Garden.
So on these occasions Hugh John mostly
brought Sir Toady Lion with him--otherwise
Arthur George the Sturdy, and at yet other
times variously denominated Prince Murat, the
Old Guard, the mob that was scattered with the
whiff of grapeshot, and (generally) the whole
Grand Army-of the First Empire, Toady Lion
(his own first effort at the name of his favourite
hero Richard Cceur-de-Lion) had his orders, and
with guile and blandishments held Betty in check
till the last frisk of Agincourt's tail had dis-
appeared round the corner. Then Hugh John
developed his plans of assault. and was soon
swinging on the. gate.
"Out of the way with you, Betty," he would
cry, "or you will get hurt-sure."
For the white gate shut of itself, and you had
only to push it open, jump on, check it at the
proper place on the return journey, and with
your foot shove off again to have scores and
scores of lovely swings. Then Betty would go
up the avenue and shout for her husband, who
The Gospel of Dasht-Mean 17
was the aforesaid crusty old gardener. She
would -have laid down her life for Toady Lion,
but by no means even a part of it for Hugh
John, which was unfair. Old Betty had once
been upset by the slam of the gate on a windy
day,, and so was easily intimidated by the shouts
of the horseman and the appalling motion of his
white five-barred charger.
Such bliss, however, was transient, and might
have to be expiated in various ways-at best
with a slap from the hand of Betty (which was
as good as nothing at all), at worst, by a visit to
father's workroom-which could not be thought
upon without a certain sense of solemnity, as if
Sunday had turned up once too often in the
middle of the week.
But upon this great day of which I have to
tell, Hugh John had been honourably digging
all the morning in the sand-hole. He had on
his red coat, which was his most secret pride,
and he was devising a still more elaborate
system of fortification. Bastion and trench,
-scarp and counter-scarp, lunette and ravelenta
(a good word), Hugh John had made them all,
and he was now besieging his own creation with
the latest thing in artillery, calling "Boom!"
when he fired off his cannon, and "Bang-whack!"
as often as the projectile hit the wall and
brought down a foot of the noble fortification,
18 Sir Toady Lion
lately so laboriously constructed and so tenderly
patted into shape.
Suddenly there came a sound which always
made the heart of Hugh John beat in his side.
It was the low thrilling reverberation of the
drum. He had only time to dash for his cap,
which he had filled with sand and old nails in
order to "be a bomb-shell "; empty it, put it on
his head, gird on his London sword-with-the-
gold-hilt, and fly.
As he ran down the avenue the shrill fifes kept
stinging his ears and making him feel as if
needles were running up and down his back.
It was at this point that Hugh John had a
great struggle with himself. Priscilla and Toady
Lion were playing at "House" and "Tea-
parties" under the weeping elm on the front
lawn. It was a debasing taste, certainly, but
after all blood was thicker than water. And-
well, he could not bear that they should miss
the soldiers. But then, on the other hand, if he
went back the troops might be past before he
reached the gate, and Betty, he knew well, would
not let him out to run after them, and the park
wall was high.
In this desperate strait Hugh John called all
the resources of religion to his aid.
"It would," he said, be dasht-mean to go off
without telling them."
The Gospel of Dasht-Mean
Hugh John did not know exactly what dasht-
mean" meant. But he had heard his cousin Fred
(who was grown up, had been a year at school,
and wore a tall hat on Sundays) tell how all the
fellows said that it was better to die-and-rot than
to be "dasht-mean;" and also how those who
in spite of warnings proved themselves "dasht-
mean" were sent to a place called Coventry-
which from all accounts seemed to be a "dasht-
So Hugh John resolved that he would never
get sent there, and whenever a little thing tugged
down in his stomach and told him "not to,"
Hugh John said, "Hang it! I won't be dasht-
Grown-ups call these things conscience and
religion; but this is how it felt to Hugh John,
and it answered just as well-or even better.
So when the stinging surge of distant pipes
sent the wild blood coursing through his veins,
and he felt his face grow cold and prickly
all over, Napoleon Smith started to run down
the avenue. He could not help it. He must
see the soldiers or die. But all the same Tug-
tug went the little string remorselessly in his
"I must see them. I must-I must!" he
cried, arguing with himself and trying to drown
the inner voice.
20 Sir Toady Lion
Tug-lug-fug!" went the string, worse than
that which he once put round his toe and hung
out of the window, for Tom Cannon the under-
keeper to wake him with at five in the morning
to go rabbit-ferreting.
Hugh John turned towards the house and the
"It's a blooming shame," he said, "and they
won't care anyway. But I can't be dasht-mean!"
And so he ran'with all his might back to the
weeping elm, and with a warning cry set Prissy
and Sir Toady Lion on the alert. Then with
anxious tumultuous heart, and legs almost as in-
visible as the twinkling spokes of a bicycle, so
quickly did they pass one another, Hugh John
fairly flung himself in the direction of the White
HOW HUGH JOHN BECAME GENERAL NAPOLEON
VEN dull Betty had heard the
music. The White Gate was
open, and with a wild cry Hugh
John sprang through. Betty
had a son in the army, and her
deaf old ears were quickened by
the fife and drum.
"Come back, Master Hugh!" she cried, as he
passed through and stood on the roadside, just
as the head of the column, marching easily,
turned the corner of the White Road and came
dancing and undulating towards him. Hugh
John's heart danced also. It was still going
fast with running so far; but at sight of the
22 Sir Toady Lion
soldiers it took a new movement, just like little
waves on a lake when they jabble in the wind,
so nice and funny when you feel it-tickly too-
down at the-bottom of your throat.
The first who came were soldiers in a dark
uniform with very stern, bearded officers, who
attended finely to discipline, for they were about
to enter the little town of Edam, which lay just
below the white gates of Windy Standard.
So intently they marched that no one cast a
glance at Hugh John standing with his drawn
sword, giving the salute which his friend Sergeant
Steel had taught him as each company passed.
Not that Hugh John cared, or even knew that
they did not see him. They were the crack
volunteer regiment of the Grey City beyond the
hills, and their standard of efficiency was some-
Then came red-coats crowned with helmets,
red-coats tipped with Glengarry bonnets, and
one or two brass bands of scattering volunteer
regiments. Hugh John saluted them all. No
one paid the least attention to him. He did not
indeed expect any one to notice him-a small
dusty boy with a sword too big for him standing
at the end of the road under the shadow of
the elms. Why should these glorious creations
deign to notice him-shining blades, shouldered
arms, flashing bayonets, white pipe-clayed belts?
How Hugh John became General 23
Were they not as gods, knowing good and
But all the same he saluted every one of them
impartially as they came, and the regiments swung
past unregarding, dust-choked, and thirsty.
Then at last came the pipes and the waving
tartans. Something cracked in Hugh John's
throat, and he gave a little cry, so that his
old nurse, Janet Sheepshanks, anxious for his
welfare, came to take him away. But he struck
at her-his own dear Janet-and fled from her
grasp to the other side of the road, where he was
both safer and nearer to the soldiers. Swing-
ing step, waving plumes, all in review order
on came the famous regiment, every man step-
ping out with a trained elasticity which went
to the boy's heart. Thus and not otherwise the
Black Watch followed their pipers. Hugh John
gave a long sigh when they had passed, and the
pipes dulled down the dusky glade.
Then came more volunteers, and yet more and
more. Would they never end? And ever the
sword of Hugh John Picton flashed to the
salute, and his small arm waxed weary as it
rose and fell.
Then happened the most astonishing thing in
the world, the greatest event of Hugh John's life.
For there came to his ear a new sound, the clatter
of cavalry hoofs. A bugle rang out, and Hugh
24 Sir Toady Lion
John's eyes watched with straining eagerness the
white dust rise and swirl behind the columns.
Perhaps-who knows?-this was his reward for
not being dasht-mean But now Hugh John had
forgotten Prissy and Toady Lion, father and
nurse alike, heaven, earth-and everything else.
There was no past for him. He was the.soldier
of all time. His dusty red coat and his flashing
sword were the salute of the universal spirit of
man to the god of war-also other fine things of
which I have no time to write.
For the noble grey horses, whose predecessors
Napoleo-n had watched so wistfully at Waterloo,
came trampling along, tossing- their heads with
an obvious sense of their own worth as a spec-
tacle. Hugh John paled to the lips at sight of
them, but drew himself more erect than ever.
He had seen foot-soldiers and volunteers before,
but never anything like this.
On they came, a- fine young fellow leading
them, sitting carelessly on the noblest charger of
all. Perhaps he was kindly by nature. Perhaps
he had a letter from his sweetheart in his breast-
pocket. Perhaps-but it does not matter, at any
rate he was young and happy, as he sat erect,
leading the "finest troop in the finest regiment in
the world." He saw the small dusty boy in the
red coat under the elm-trees. He marked his
pale twitching face, his flashing eye, his erect
"It could not have been better done for a field-marshal."
How Hugh John became General 27
carriage, his soldierly port. The fate of Hugh
John stood on tiptoe. He had never seen any
being so glorious as this. He could scarce com-
mand himself to salute. But though he trembled in
every limb, and his under lip "wickered" strangely,
the hand which held the sword was steady, and
went through the beautiful movements of the
military salute which Sergeant Steel of the Welsh
Fusiliers had taught him, with exactness and
The young officer smiled. His own hand
moved to the response almost involuntarily, as if
Hugh John had been one of his own troopers.
The boy's heart stood still. Could this thing
be ? A real soldier had saluted him !
But there was something more marvellous yet
to come. A sweet spring of good deeds welled
up in that young officer's breast. Heaven speed
him (as doubtless it will) in his wooing, and make
him ere his time a general, with the Victoria Cross
upon his breast. But though (as I hope) he rise
to be Commander-in-Chief, he will never do a
prettier action than that day, when the small
grimy boy stood under the elm-trees at the end
of the avenue of Windy Standard. This is what
he did. He turned about in his saddle.
Attention, men, draw swords !" he cried, and
his voice rang like a trumpet, so grand it was-
at least so Hugh John thought.
28 Sir Toady Lion
There came a glitter of unanimous steel as the
swords flashed into line. The horses tossed their
heads at the stirring sound, and jingled their
accoutrements as the men gathered their bridle
reins up in their left hands.
"Eyes right Carry swords!" came again the
And every blade made an arc of glittering light
as it came to the salute. It could not have been
better done for a field-marshal.
No fuller cup of joy was ever drunk by mortal.
The tears welled up in Hugh John's eyes as he
stood there in the pride of the honour done to
him. To be knighted was nothing to this. He
had been acknowledged as a soldier by the
greatest soldier there. Hugh John did not doubt
that this glorious being was he who had led the
Greys in the charge at Waterloo. Who else
could have done that thing?
He was no longer a little dusty boy. He
stood there glorified, ennobled. The world was
almost too full.
"Eyes front! Slope swords!" rang the words
The pageant passed by. Only the far drum-
throb came back as he stood speechless and
motionless, till his father rode up on his way
home, and seeing the boy asked him what he
was doing there. Then for all reply a little
How Hugh John became General 29
clicking hitch came suddenly in his throat. He
wanted to laugh, but somehow instead the tears
ran down his cheeks, and he gasped out a word
or two which sounded like somebody else's voice.
I'm hot hurt, father," he said, I'm not cry-
ing. It was only that the Scots Greys saluted
me. And I can't help it, father. It goes tick-
tick in my throat, and I can't keep it back. But
I'm not crying, father! I'm not indeed ["
Then the stern man gathered the great soldier
up and set him across his saddle-for Hugh John
was alone, the others having long ago gone back
with Janet Sheepshanks. And his father did not
say anything, but let him sit in front with the
famous sword in his hands which had brought
about such strange things. And even thus rode
our hero home-Hugh John Picton no more, but
rather General Napoleon Smith; nor shall his
rank be questioned on any army roster of strong
But late that night Hugh John stole down the
hushed avenue, his bare feet pattering through
the dust which the dew was making cool. He
climbed the gate and stood under the elm, with
the wind flapping his white nightgown like a
battle flag. Then clasping his hands he took
the solemn binding oath of his religion, The
Scots Greys saluted me. May I die-and-rot if
ever lam dasht-mean again !"
N one corner of the property of
Hugh John's father stood an
ancient castle-somewhat doubt-
fully of it, however, for it was
claimed as public property by the
adjoining abbey town, now much
decayed and fallen from its high estate, but de-
sirous of a new lease of life as a tourist and
manufacturing centre. The castle and the abbey
had for centuries been jealous neighbours, treach-
erous friends, embattled enemies, according to the
fluctuating power of those who possessed them.
The lord of the castle harried the abbot and
his brethren. The abbot promptly retaliated by
launching, in the name of the Church, the dread
ban of excommunication against the freebooter.
The castle represented feudal rights, the abbey
popular and ecclesiastical authority.
And so it was still. Mr. Picton Smith had,
indeed, only bought the property a few years
before the birth of our hero; but, among other
encumbrances, he had taken over a lawsuit with
the town concerning the castle, which for years
had been dragging its slow length along. Edam
Abbey was a show-place of world-wide repute,
and the shillings of the tourist constituted a very
important item in the finances of the overbur-
dened municipality. If the Council and magis-
trates of the good town of Edam could add the
Castle of Windy Standard to their attractions,
the resultant additional sixpence a head would
go far toward making up the ancient rental of
the town parks, which now let for exactly half of
their former value.
But Mr. Picton Smith was not minded thus
tamely to hand over an ancient fortress, secured
to him by deed and charter. He declared at
once that he would resist the claims of the town by
every means in his power. He would, however,
refuse right-of-way to no respectable sightseer.
The painter, all unchallenged, might set up his
easel there, the poet meditate, even the casual wan-
derer in search of the picturesque and romantic,
Sir Toady Lion
have free access to these gloomy and desolate
halls. The townspeople would be at liberty to
conduct their friends and visitors thither. But
Mr. Smith was resolved that the ancient forta-
lice of the Windy-Standard should not be made
a vulgar show. Sandwich papers and ginger-
beer bottles would not be permitted to profane
the green sward of the courtyard, across which
had so often ridden all the chivalry of the dead
"Those who want sixpenny shows will find
plenty at Edam Fair," was Mr. Picton Smith's
ultimatum. And when he had once committed
himself, like most of his stalwart name, Mr. Smith
had the, reputation of being very set in his mind.
But in spite of this the town asserted its right-
of-way through the courtyard. A footpath was
said to have passed that way by which-persons
might go to and fro to kirk and market.
"I have no doubt a footpath passed through
my dining-room a few centuries ago," said Mr.
Smith, "but that does not compel me to keep
my front and back doors open for all the rabble
of Edam to come and go at their pleasure."
And forthwith he locked his lodge gates and
bought the largest mastiff he could obtain. The
castle stood on an island rather more than a mile
long, a little below the mansion-house. A wooden
bridge led over the deeper, narrower, and more
rapid branch of the Edam River from the direc-
tion of the abbey and town. Across the broader
and shallower branch there could be traced, from
the house of Windy Standard, the remains of an
ancient causeway. This, in the place where the
stream was to be crossed, had become a series
of stepping-stones over which Hugh John and
Priscilla could go at a run (without falling in
and wetting themselves more than once in three
or four times), but which still constituted an im-
pregnable barrier to the short fat legs of Toady
Lion-who usually stood on the shore and pro-
claimed his woes to the world at large till some-
body carried him over and deposited him on the
Affairs were in this unsettled condition when,
at twelve years of age, Hugh John ceased to be
Hugh John, and became, without, however, losing
his usual surname of Smith, one of the august and
imperial race of the Buonapartes.
It was a clear June evening, the kind of night
when the whole landscape seems to have been
newly swept, washed down, and generally spring-
cleaned. All nature spoke peace to Janet Sheep-
shanks, housekeeper, nurse, and general responsible
female head of the house of Windy Standard,
when a procession came towards her across the
stepping-stones over the broad Edam water from
the direction of the Castle Island. Never had such
34 Sir Toady Lion
a disreputable sight presented itself to the eyes
of Janet Sheepshanks. At once douce and severe,
sharp-tongued and covertly affectionate, she re-
presented the authority of a father who was
frequently absent from them, and the memory
of a dead mother which remained to the three
children in widely different degrees. To Priscilla
her mother was a loving being, gracious alike by
the tender sympathy of her voice and by the magic
of a touch which healed all childish troubles with
the kiss of peace upon the place "to make it
well." To Hugh John she had been a confidante
to whom he could rush, eager and dishevelled,
with the tale of the glorious defeat of some tin
enemy (for even in those prehistoric days Hugh
John had been a soldier), and who, smoothing
back his .ruffled hair, was prepared to join as
eagerly as himself in all his tiny triumphs. But
to Toady Lion, though he hushed the shrill per-
sistence of his treble to a reverent murmur when
he talked of "muvver," she was only an imagina-
tion, fostered mostly by Priscilla-his notion of
motherhood being taken from his rough-handed
loving Janet Sheepshanks; while the tomb in
the village churchyard was a place to which he
had no desire to accompany his mother, and from
whose gloomy precincts he sought to escape as
soon as possible.
THE DECLARATION OF WAR
U T, meanwhile, Janet Sheepshanks
stands at the end of the stepping-
stones, and Janet is hardly a person
to keep waiting anywhere near the
house of Windy Standard.
Over the stepping-stones came
as leader Priscilla Smith, her head thrown back,
straining in every nerve with the excitement of
carrying Sir Toady Lion, whose scratched legs
and shoeless feet dangled over the stream.
Immediately beneath her, and wading above the
knee in the rush of the water, there staggered
Sir Toady Lion
through the shallows Hugh John, supporting his
sister with voice and hand-or, as he would have
said, "boosting her up" whenever she swayed
riverward with her burden, pushing her behind
when she hesitated, and running before to offer
his back as an additional stepping-stone when the
spaces were wide between the boulders.
Janet Sheepshanks waited grimly for her
charges on the bank, and her eyes seemed to
deceive her, words to fail her, as the children
came nearer. Never had such a sight been seen
near the decent house of Windy Standard. Miss
Priscilla and her pinafore were represented by
a ragged tinkler's lass with a still more ragged
frill about her neck. Her cheeks and hands were
as variously scratched as if she had fallen into a
whole thicket of brambles. Her face, too, was
pale, and the tattooed places showed bright scarlet
against the whiteness of her skin. She had lost
a shoe, and her dress was ripped to the knee by
a great ragged triangular tear, which flapped wet
about her ankles as she walked.
Sir Toady Lion was somewhat less damaged,
but still showed manifold signs of rough usage.
His lace collar, the pride of Janet Sheepshanks'
heart, was torn nearly off his shoulders, and
now hung jagged and unsightly down his back.
Several buttons of his well-ordered tunic were
gone, and as to his person he was mud as far
SNo wonder that Janet Sheepshanks awaited this sorry procession with
a grim tightening of the lips."
The Declaration of War
above the knees as could be seen without turning
him upside down.
But Hugh John-words are vain to describe
the plight of Hugh John. One eye was closed,
and began to be discoloured, taking on above
the cheekbone the shot green and purple of a
half-ripe plum. His lip was cut, and a thin
thread of scarlet stealing down his brow told
of a broken head. What remained of his gar-
ments presented a ruin more complete, if less
respectable, than the ancient castle of the Windy
Standard. Neither shoe nor shoe-string, neither
stocking nor collar, remained intact upon him.
On his bare legs were the marks of cruel kicks,
and for ease of transport he carried the dc1bris
of his jacket under his arm. He had not the
remotest idea where his cap had gone to.
No wonder that Janet Sheepshanks awaited
this sorry procession with a grim tightening of
the lips, or that her hand quivered with the
desire of punishment, even while her kind and
motherly heart yearned to be busy repairing
damages and binding up the wounded. Of this
feeling, however, it was imperative that for the
Present, in the interests of discipline, she should
It was upon Priscilla, as the eldest in years and
senior responsible officer in charge, that Janet first
turned the vials of her wrath.
40 Sir Toady Lion
Eh, Priscilla Smith, but ye are a ba-a-ad, bad
lassie. Ye should ha'e your bare back slashit wi'
nettles! Where ha'e ye been, and what ha'e ye
done to these twa bairns ? Ye shall be marched
straight to your father, and if he doesna gar ye
loup when ye wad rather stand still, and claw
where ye are no yeuky, he will no be doing his
duty to the Almichty, and to your puir mither
that's lang syne in her restin' grave in the kirk-
yaird o' Edom."
By which fervent address in her native tongue,
Janet meant that Mr. Smith would be decidedly
spoiling the child if on this occasion he spared
the rod. Janet could speak good enough formal
English when she chose, for instance to her mas-
ter on Sabbath, or to the minister on visitation
days; but whenever she was excited she returned
to that vigorous ancient Early English which
some miscall a dialect, and of which she had a
noble and efficient command.
To Janet's attack, Priscilla answered not a
word either of explanation or apology. She
recognized that the case had gone far beyond
that. She only set Sir Toady Lion on his feet,
and bent down to brush the mud from' his tunic
with her usual sisterly gesture. Janet Sheep-
shanks thrust her aside without ceremony.
"My wee man," she said, "what have they
done to you ?"
The Declaration of War
Toady Lion began volubly, and in his usual
shrill piping voice, to make an accusation against
certain bad boys who had hit him," and hurted
him," and "kicked him." And now when at last
he was safely delivered and lodged in the well-
proven arms of Janet Sheepshanks his tears flowed
apace, and made clean furrows down the woebe-
gone grubbiness of his face.
Priscilla walked by Janet's side, white and
silent, nerving herself for the coming interview.
At ordinary times Janet Sheepshanks was terrible
enough, and her word law in all the precincts
of Windy Standard. But Priscilla knew that
she must now face the anger of her father; and
so, with this in prospect, the railing accusations
of her old nurse scarcely so much as reached her
John Hugh, stripped of all military pomp,
limped behind--a short, dry, cheerless sob shak-
ing him at intervals. But in reality this was
more the protest of ineffectual anger than any
concession to unmanly weakness.
--- ~ --z-
EN minutes later, and without,
as Jane Sheepshanks said, "so
S muckle as a sponge or a brush-
,'* 1 and-comb being laid upon them,"
the three stood before their father.
Silently. Janet had introduced
them, and now as silently she stood aside to listen
to the evidence-and, as she put it, "keep the
master to his duty, and mind him o' his responsi-
bilities to them that's gane."
Janet Sheepshanks never forgot'that she had
been maid for twenty years to the dead mother of
the children, nor that she had received the bits o'
weans at her hand as a dying charge. She con-
sidered herself, with some reason, to be the direct
representative of the missing parent, and referred
to Priscilla, Toady Lion, and Hugh John as "my
bairns," just as, in moments of affection, she would
still speak- to them of "my bonnie lassie your
mither," as if the dead woman were still one of
For a full minute Mr. Picton Smith gazed
speechless at the spectacle before him. He had
been writing something that crinkled his brow
and compressed his lips, and at the patter of the
children's feet in the passage outside his door,
as they ceremoniously marshalled themselves to
enter, he had turned about on his great office
chair with a smile of expectation and anticipation.
The door opened, and Janet Sheepshanks pushed
in first Sir Toady Lion, still voluble and calling
for vengeance on the bad, bad boys at.the castle
that had strike him and hurted his dear Prissy."
Priscilla herself stood white-lipped and dumb, and
through the awful silence pulsed the dry, recur-
rent, sobbing catch in the throat of Hugh John.
Mr. Picton Smith was a stern man, whose great
loss had caused him to shut up the springs of his
tenderness from the world. But they flowed the
sweeter and .the rarer underneath; and though his
grave and dignified manner daunted his children
on the occasion of any notable evil-doing, they
had no reason to be afraid of him.
44 Sir Toady Lion
"Well, what is the meaning of this? he said,
his face falling into a greyer and graver silence at
the sound of Hugh John's sobs, and turning to
Priscilla for explanation.
Meanwhile Sir Toady Lion was pursuing the
subject with his usual shrill alacrity.
Be quiet, sir," said his father. I will hear
you all one by one, but let Priscilla begin-she is
We went to the castle after dinner, over by
the stepping-stones," began Priscilla, fingering
nervously the frill of the torn pinafore about her
throat, and when we got to the castle we found
out that our pet lamb Donald had come after us
by the ford; and he was going everywhere about
the castle, trying to rub his bell off his neck on
the gate-posts and on the stones at the corners."
Yes, and I stooded on a rock, and Donald he
butted me over behind!" came the voice of Sir
Toady Lion in shrill explanation of his personal
share in the adventure.
"And then we played on the grass in the
inside of the castle. Toady Lion and I were plait-
ing daisy-chains and garlands for Donald, and
Hugh John was playing at being the Prisoner of
Chilly-on: he had tied himself to the gate-post
with a rope."
"'Twasn't," muttered Hugh John, who was a
stickler for accuracy; "it was a plough chain!"
"And it rattled," added Sir Toady Lion, not
to be out of the running.
"And just when we were playing nicely, a lot
of horrid boys from the town came swarming and
clambering in. They had run over the bridge
and climbed the gate, and then they began call-
ing us names and throwing mud. So Hugh
John said he would tell on them."
Didn't," interrupted Hugh John indignantly.
"I said I'd knock the heads off them if they
didn't stop and get out; and they only laughed
and said things about father. So I hit one of
them with a stone."
Then," continued Priscilla, gaining confidence
from a certain curious spark of light which began
to burn steadily in her father's eyes, after Hugh
John threw the stone, the horrid boys all came
and said that they would kill us, and that we had
no business there anyway."
"They frowed me down the well, and I went
splass! Yes, indeedy !" interrupted Toady Lion,
who had imagination.
"Then Donald, our black pet lamb, that is,
came into the court, and they all ran away after
him and caught him. First he knocked down
one or two of them, and then they put a rope
round his neck and began to take rides on his
"Yes, and he bleated and 'kye-kyed' just
46 Sir Toady Lion
feeful!" whimpered Toady Lion, beginning to
weep all over again at the remembrance.
But the Smith of the imperial race only clenched
his torn hands and looked at his bruised knuckles.
"So Hugh John said he would kill them if
they did not let Donald go, and that he was a
soldier. But they only laughed louder, and one
of them struck him across the lip with a stick-I
know him, he's the butch- "
"Shut up, Pris!" shouted Hugh John, with
sudden fierceness; "it's dasht mean to tell
"Be quiet, sir," said his father severely; "let
your sister finish her story in her own way."
But for all that there was a look of some pride
on his face. At that moment Mr. Picton Smith
was not sorry to have Hugh John for a son.
Well," said Priscilla, who had no such scruples
as to telling on her enemies, I won't tell if you
say not. But that was the boy who hurt Donald
"Well, I smashed him for that!" muttered
And then when Hugh John saw them drag-
ging Donald away and heard him bleating- "
"And 'kye-kying' big, big tears, big as cher-
ries!" interjected Toady Lion, who considered
every narrative incomplete to which he did not
"He was overcome with rage and anger"-
at this point Priscilla began to talk by the book,
the dignity of the epic tale working on her, "and
he rushed upon them fearlessly, though they
were ten to one; and they all struck him and
kicked him. But Hugh John fought like a lion."
"Yes, like Wichard Toady Lion," cried the
namesake of that hero, "and I helped him and
bited a bad boy on the leg, and didn't let go
though he kicked and hurted feeful! Yes,
"And I went to their assistance and fought
as Hugh John showed me. And-I forget the
rest," said Priscilla, her epic style suddenly failing
her. Also she felt she must begin to cry very
soon, now the strain was over. So she made
haste to finish. "But it was dreadful, and they
swore, and said they would cut Donald's throat.
And one boy took out a great knife and said he
knew how to do it. He was the butch- "
Shut up, Pris! Now don't you dare!" shouted
Hugh John, in his most warning tones.
And when Hugh John rushed in to stop him,
he hit him over the head with a stick, and Hugh
John fell down. And, oh! I thought he was dead,
and I didn't know what to do (Priscilla was crying
in good earnest now); "and I ran to him and
tried to lift him up. But I could not-he was so
wobbly and soft."
48 Sir Toady Lion
"I bited the boy's leg. It was dood. I bited
hard!" interrupted Toady Lion, whose mission
had been vengeance.
"And when I looked up again they had taken
away p-p-poor Donald," Priscilla went on spas-
modically between her tears, 'and I think they
killed him because he belonged to you, and-
they said he had no business there! Oh, they
were such horrid cruel boys, and much bigger
than us. And I can't bear that Don should
have his throat cut. I was promised that he
should never be sold for mutton, but only clipped
for wool. And he had such a pretty throat to
hang daisy-chains on, and was such a dear, dear
I don't think they would dare to kill him,"
said Mr. Smith gravely; "besides, they could not
lift him over the gate. I will send at once and
see. In fact I will go myself! "
There was only anger against the enemy now,
and no thought of chastisement of his own in
the heart of Mr. Picton Smith. He was rising
to reach out his hand to his riding-whip, when
General Napoleon Smith, who, like most great
makers of history, had taken little part in the
telling of it, created a diversion which put all
thought of immediate action out of his father's
head. He had been standing up, shoulders
squared, arms dressed to his side, head erect, as
he had seen Sergeant Steel do when he spoke
to his Colonel. Once or twice he had swayed
slightly, but the heart of the Buonapartes, which
beat bravely in his bosom, brought him up again
all standing. Nevertheless he grew ever whiter
and whiter, till, all in a moment, he gave a
little lurch forward, checked himself, and again
looked straight before him. Then he sobbed out
once suddenly and helplessly, said I couldn't
help getting beaten, father-there were too many
of them!" and fell over all of a piece on the
At which his father's face grew very still and
angry as he gathered the great General gently in
his arms and carried him upstairs to his own little
THE POOR WOUNDED HUSSAR
T is small wonder that Mr. Picton
Smith was full of anger. His
castle had been invaded and dese-
crated, his authority as proprietor
defied, his children insulted and
abused. As a magistrate he felt
bound to take notice both of the outrage and of
the theft of his property. As a father he could
not easily forget the plight in which his three
children had appeared before him.'
But in his schemes of vengeance he reckoned
without that distinguished military officer, General-
Field-Marshal Napoleon Smith. For this soldier
The Poor Wounded Hussar 51
had been promoted on his bed of sickness. He
had read somewhere that in his profession (as
in most others) success quite often bred envy
and neglect, but that to the unsuccessful pro-
motion and honour were sometimes awarded as
a sort of consolation sweepstakes. So, having
been entirely routed and plundered by the enemy,
it came to Hugh John in the watches of the
night-when, as he put it, "his head was hurt-
ing like fun," that it was time for him to take
the final step in his own advancement.
So on the next morning he announced the
change in his name and style to his army as it
filed in to visit him. The army was on the whole
"' But I'm afraid I shall never remember all that,
Mr. General-Field-Marshal Napoleon Smith!"
"Well, you'd better!" returned the wounded
hero, as truculently as he could for the bandages
and the sticking-plaster, in which he was swathed
after the fashion of an Egyptian mummy partially
What a funny smell," piped Toady Lion.
" Do field-marshals all smell like that ?"
Get out, silly !" retorted the wounded officer.
" Don't you know that's the stuff they rub on the
wounded when they have fought bravely. That's
52 Sir Toady Lion
"And what do they yub on them when they
don't fight bravely?" persisted Toady Lion, who
had had enough of fighting, and who in his heart
was resolved that the next time he would "yun
away as hard as he could, a state of mind not
unusual after the z@i-zz@ of bullets is heard for the
First of all they catch them and kick them
for being cowards. Then they .shoot at them till
they are dead; and may the Lord have mercy on
their souls! Amen! said General Smith, mixing
things for the information and encouragement of
Sir Toady Lion.
Presently the children were called out to go and
play, and the wounded hero was left alone. His
head ached so that he could not read. Indeed, in
any case he- could not, for the room was darkened
.-with the intention of shielding his damaged eyes
from the light. General Napoleon could only
watch the flies buzzing round and round, and wish
in vain that he had a fly-flapper at the end of a
pole in order to "plop" them, as he used to do
all over the house in the happy days before Janet
Sheepshanks discovered what made the walls
and windows so horrid with dead and dying
"Yes; the squashy ones were rather streaky! "
had been the words in which Hugh John ad-
mitted his guilt, after the pole and leather flapper
The Poor Wounded Hussar
were taken from him and burned in the wash-
Thus in the semi-darkness Hugh John lay
watching the flies with the stealthy intentness
of a Red Indian scalper on the trail. It was
sad to lie idly in bed, so bewrapped and swathed
that (as he mournfully remarked), if one of the
brutes were to settle on your nose, you could
only wait for him to crawl up, and then snatch
at him with your left eyelid."
Suddenly the disabled hero bethought himself
of something. First, after listening intently so as
to be quite sure that "the children were outside
the bounds of the house, the wounded general
raised himself on his elbow. But the effort hurt
him so much that involuntarily he said Outch !"
and sank back again on the pillow.
Crikey, but don't I smell just!" he muttered,
when, after one breath of purer air, he sank back
into the pool of arnica vapour. I suppose" I'll
have to howl out for Janet. What a swot! "
Janet !-Ja-a-a-a-net !" he shouted, and sighed-
a sigh of relief to find that at least there was one
part of him neither bandaged nor drowned in
"Deil tak' the laddie!" cried Janet, who went
about her work all day with one ear cocked
toward the chamber of her brave sick soldier;
"what service is there in taking the rigging aff
54 Sir Toad-y Lion
the hoose wi' your noise? Did ye think I was
doon at Edam Cross? What do ye want, callant,
that ye deafen my auld lugs like that ? I never
heard sic a laddie! "
But General Smith did not answer any of these
questions. He well knew Janet's tone of simulated
anger when she was "putting it on."
Go and fetch it he said darkly.
THE FAMILIAR SPIRIT
OW there was a skeleton in the
cupboard of General Napoleon
Smith. No distinguished family
can be respectable without at
least one such. But that of the
new field-marshal was particularly
dark and disgraceful.
Very obediently Janet Sheepshanks vanished
from the sick-room, and presently returned with
an oblong parcel, which she handed to the hero
Thank you," he said; "are you sure that the
children are out ? "
They are sailing paper boats on the mill-
dam," said Janet, going to the window to look.
56 Sir Toady Lion
Hugh John sighed a sigh. He wished he
could sail boats on the mill-dam.
I hope every boat will go down the mill
lade, and get mashed in the wheel," he said
"For shame, Master Hugh!" replied Janet
Sheepshanks, shaking her head at him, but con-
scious that he was exactly expressing her own
mind, if she had been lying sick a-bed and had
been compelled to listen to some other house-
keeper jingling keys that once were hers, ran-
sacking her sacredest repositories, and keeping
in order the menials of the house.
Hugh John proceeded cautiously to unwrap
his family skeleton. Presently from the folds of
tissue paper a very aged and battered Sanibo"
emerged. Now a Sambo is a black woolly-
haired negro doll of the fashion of many years
ago. This specimen was dressed in simple and
airy fashion in a single red shell jacket. As to
the rest, he was bare and black from head to
foot. Janet called him "that horrid object;"
but, nevertheless, he was precious in the eyes
of Hugh John, and therefore in hers.
Though twelve years of age, he still liked to
carry on dark and covert intercourse with his
ancient "Sambo." In public, indeed, he preached,
in season and out of season, against the folly and
wickedness of dolls. No one but a lassie or a
The Familiar Spirit
"lassie-boy" would do such a thing. He laughed
at Priscilla for cleaning up her doll's kitchen once
a'-week, and for organising afternoon tea-parties
for her quiet harem. But secretly he would
have liked very well to see Sambo sit at that
Nevertheless, he instructed Toady Lion every
day with doctrine and reproof that it was "only
for girls" to have dolls. And knowing well that
none of his common repositories were so remote
and sacred as long to escape Priscilla's unsleeping
eye, or the more stormy though fitful curiosity of
Sir Toady Lion, Hugh John had been compelled
to take his ancient nurse and ever faithful friend
Janet into his confidence. So Sambo dwelt in
the housekeeper's pantry, and had two, distinct
odours. One side of him smelt of paraffin, and
the other of soft soap, which, to a skilled detec-
tive, might have revealed the secret of his dark
But let us not do our hero an injustice.
It was not exactly as a doll that General Smith
considered Sambo. By no means so, indeed.
Sometimes he was a distinguished general who
came to take orders from his chief, sometimes an
awkward private who needed to be drilled, and
then knocked spinning across the floor for in-
attention to orders. For, be it remembered, it
was the custom in the army of Field-Marshal-
58 Sir Toady Lion
General Smith for the Commander-in-Chief to
drill the recruits with his own voice, and in the
by no means improbable event of their proving
stupid, to knock them endwise with his own
But it was as Familiar Spirit, and in the pursuit
of occult divination, that General Napoleon most
frequently resorted to Sambo. He had read all
he could find in legend and history concerning
that gruesomely attractive goblin, clothed all in
red, which the wicked Lord Soulis kept in an
oaken chest in a castle not so far from his own
father's house of Windy Standard.
And Hugh John saw no reason why Sambo
should not be the very one. Spirits' do not die.
It is a known fact that they are fond of their
former haunts. What, then, could be clearer?
Sambo was evidently Lord Soulis' Red Imp risen
from the dead. Was Sambo not black? The
devil was black. Did Sambo not wear a red
coat? Was not the demon of the oaken chest
attired in flaming scarlet, when all cautiously he
lifted the lid at midnight and looked wickedly
out upon his master ?
Yet the general was conscious that Sambo
Soulis was a distinct disappointment in the part
of familiar spirit. He would sit silent, with his
head hanging idiotically on one side, when he was
asked to reveal the deepest secrets of the future,
The Familiar Spirit 59
instead of toeing the line and doing it. Nor was
it recorded in the chronicles of Soulis that the
original demon of the chest had had his nose
"bashed flat" by his master, as Hugh John
vigorously expressed the damaged appearance of
his own familiar.
Worse than all, Hugh John had tried to keep
Sambo in his rabbit-box. But not only did he
utterly fail to put his fearful head, crowned with
a red night-cap" over the edge of the hutch at
the proper time-as, had he been of respectable
parentage, he would not have failed to do, but,
in addition, he developed in his close quarters an
animal odour so pungent and unprofitable that
Janet Sheepshanks refused to admit him into
the store-cupboard till he had been thoroughly
fumigated and disinfected. So for a whole
week Sambo Soulis swung ignominiously by
the neck from the clothes-line, and Hugh John
went about in fear of the questioning of the chil-
dren or of the confiscation by his father of his
well-beloved but somewhat unsatisfactory familiar
It was in order to consult him on a critical
point of doctrine and practice that Hugh John
had now sent for Sambo Soulis.
He propped him up before him against a
pillow, on which he sat bent forward at an acute
angle from the hips, as if ready to pounce upon
60 Sir Toady Lion
his master and rend him to pieces so soon as the
catechism should be over.
Look here," said General-Field-Marshal Smith
to the oracle, "supposing the governor tells me
to split on Nipper Donnan, the butcher boy, will
it be dasht-mean if I do?"
Sambo Soulis, being disturbed by the delicacy
of the question or perhaps by the wriggling of
Hugh John upon his pillow, only lurched drivel-
"Sit up and answer," cried his master, "or
else I'll hike you out of that pretty quick, for
a silly old owl! "
SAnd with his least bandaged hand he gave
Sambo a sound cuff on the side of his venerable
battered head, before propping him up at a new
angle with his chin on his knees.
"Now speak up, Soulis," said General Smith;
" I ask you would it be dasht-mean? "
The oracle was understood to joggle his chin
and goggle his eyes. He certainly did the latter.
I thought so," said Soulis' master, as is usual
in such cases, interpreting the reply oracular
according to his liking. "But look here, how
are we to get back Donald unless we split?
Would it not be all right to split just to get
Sambo Soulis waggled his head again. This
time his master looked a little more serious.
The Familiar Spirit .61
"I suppose you are right," he said pensively,
"but if it would be dasht-mean to split, we must
just try to get him back ourselves-that is, if the
beasts have not cut his throat, as they said they
/ / Ib
PUT TO THE QUESTION
N the chaste retirement of his sick
room the field-marshal had just
reached this conclusion, when he
heard a noise in the hall. There
was a sound of the gruff un-
mirthful voices of grown-ups, a
scuffling of feet, a planting of whips and walking-
sticks on the zinc-bottomed hall-stand, and then,
after a pause which meant drinks, heavy footsteps
in the-passage which led to the hero's chamber.
Hugh John snatched up Sambo Soulis and
thrust him deep beneath the bedclothes, where
he could readily push him over the end with
Put to the- Question 63
his toes, if it should chance to be "the doctor-
beast come to uncover him and "fool with the
bandages." I have said enough to show that the
general was not only frankly savage in sentiment,
but resembled his great imperial namesake in
being grateful only when it suited him.
Before General Napoleon had his toes fairly
settled over the back of Sambo Soulis' neck, so
as to be able to remove him out of harm's way
on any sudden alarm, the door opened and his
father came in, ushering two men, the first of
whom came forward to the bedside in an easy
kindly manner, and held out his hand.
"Do you know me?" he said, giving Hugh
John's second sorest hand such a squeeze that
the wounded hero was glad it was not the very
"Yes," replied the hero promptly, "you are
Sammy Carter's father. I can jolly well lick- "
Hugh John," interrupted his father severely,
"remember what you are saying to Mr. Davenant
"Well, anyway I can lick Sammy Carter till
he's dumb-sick!" muttered the general between
his teeth, as he avoided the three pairs of eyes
that were turned upon him.
Oh, let him say just what he likes !" said Mr.
Davenant Carter jovially. Sammy is the better
of being licked, if that is what the boy was going
,.64 Sir Toady Lion
to say. I sometimes try my hand at it myself
with some success."
The other man who had come in with Mr.
Smith was a thick-set fellow of middle height,
with a curious air of being dressed up in some-
body else's clothes. Yet they fitted him very
well. He wore on his face (in addition to a
slight moustache) an expression which somehow
made Hugh John think guiltily of all the orchards
he had ever visited along with Toady Lion and
Sammy Carter's sister Cissy, who was "no end
of a nice girl in Hugh John's estimation.
"This, Hugh," said his father, with a little
wave of his hand, "is Mr. Mant, the Chief
Constable of the county. Mr. Carter and he
have come to ask you a few questions, which
you will answer at once."
"I won't be dasht-mean!" muttered Napoleon
Smith to himself.
"What's that? ejaculated Mr. Smith, catching
the echo of his son's rumble of dissent.
"Only my leg that hurted," said the hypo-
critical hero of battles.
Don't you think we should have the other
children here?" said Mr. Chief Constable Mant,
speaking for the first time in a gruff, move-on-
"Certainly," assented Mr. Smith, going to the
Put to the Question
Yes, sir "
The answer came from immediately behind the
The Field-Marshal's brow darkened, or rather
it would have done so if there had been no white
bandages over it. This is the correct expression
anyhow-though ordinary brows but seldom be-
have in this manner.
"Prissy's all right," he thought to himself;
"but if that little fool Toady Lion- "
And he clenched his second sorest hand under
the clothes, and kicked Sambo Soulis to the foot
of the bed in a way which augured but little
mercy to Sir Toady Lion if, after all his training,
he should turn out "dasht-mean in the hour of
Presently the other two children were pushed
in at the door, Toady Lion trying a bolt at the
last moment, which Janet Sheepshanks easily
foiled by catching at the slack of his trousers
behind, while Prissy stood holding her hands
primly as if in Sunday -school class. Both
afforded to the critical eye of Hugh John com-
plete evidence that they had only just escaped
from the Greater Pain of the comb and soaped
flannel-cloth of Janet Sheepshanks. Prissy's curls
were still wet and smoothed out, and Toady
Lion was trying in vain to rub the yellow soap
out of his eyes.
66 -Sir Toady Lion
So at the headquarters of its general, the army
of Windy Standard formed up. Sir Toady
Lion wished to get within supporting distance
of Prissy, and accordingly kept snuggling nearer
all the time, so that he could get a furtive hold
of her skirts at awkward places in the examina-
tion. This he could do the more easily that
General-Field-Marshal Smith was prevented by
the bandages over his right eye, and also by
the projecting edges of the pillow, from seeing
Toady Lion's left hand.
"Now, Priscilla," began her father, "tell Mr.
Davenant Carter and Mr. Mant what happened
in the castle, and the names of any of the bad
boys who stole your pet lamb."
"Wasn't no lamb-Donald was a sheep, and
he could fight," began Toady Lion, without re-
levance, but with his usual eagerness to hear
the sound of his own piping voice. In his zeal
he took a step forward and so brought himself
on the level of the eye of his general, who from
the pillow darted upon him a look so freezing
that Sir Toady Lion instantly fell back into the
ranks, and clutched Prissy's skirt with such energy
as almost to stagger her severe deportment.
Now," said the Chief Constable of Border-
shire, "tell me what were the names of the
He was listening to the tale as told by Prissy
Put to the Question 67
with his note-book ready in his hand, occasionally
biting at the butt of the pencil, and anon wetting
the lead in his mouth, under the mistaken idea
that by so doing he improved its writing qualities.
I think," began Prissy, "that they were- "
"A-chew!" came from the bed and from
under the bandages with a sudden burst of
sound. Field-Marshal Napoleon Smith had
sneezed. That was all.
But Prissy started. She knew what it meant.
It .was the well-known signal not to commit her-
self under examination.
Her father looked round at the open windows.
"Are you catching cold with the draught,
Hugh John?" he asked kindly.
I think I have a little cold," said the wily
general, who did not wish all the windows to be
"Don't know all their names, but the one that
hurted me was- began Toady Lion.
SBut who the villain was will never be known,
for at that moment the bed clothes became vio-
lently disturbed immediately in front of Sir Toady
Lion's nose. A fearful black countenance nodded
once at him and disappeared.
Black Sambo!" gasped Toady Lion, awed
by the terrible appearance, and falling back
from the place where the wizard had so suddenly
68 Sir Toady Lion
What did I understand you to say, little
boy?" said Mr. Mant, with his pencil on his
"Ow-it was Black Sambo!" Toady Lion
almost screamed. Mr. Mant gravely noted the
"What in-the world does he mean?" asked
Mr. Mant, casting his eyes searchingly from
Prissy to General Napoleon and back again.
"He means 'Black Sambo!'" said Prissy,
devoting herself strictly to facts, and leaving the
Chief Constable to his proper business of in-
"What is his other name? said Mr. Mant.
Soulis !" said General Smith from the bed.
The three gentlemen looked at each other,
smiled, and shook their heads.
What did I tell you?" said Mr. Davenant
Carter. Try as I will, I cannot get the sim-
plest thing out of my Sammy and Cissy if they
don't choose to tell."
Nevertheless Mr. Smith, being a sanguine
man and with little experience of children, tried
"There is no black boy in the neighbourhood,"
said Mr. Smith severely; now tell the truth, chil-
dren-at once-when I bid you! "
He uttered the last words in a loud and com-
Put to the Question 69
"Us is telling the troof, father dear," said
Toady Lion, in the 'coaxy-woaxy' voice which
he used when he wanted marmalade from Janet
or a ride on the saddle from Mr. Picton Smith.
Perhaps the boy had blackened his face to
deceive the eye," suggested Mr. Mant, with the
air of one familiar from infancy with the tricks
and devices of the evil-minded of all ages.
Was the ringleader's face blackened ?-
Answer at once!" said Mr. Smith sternly.
The general extracted his bruised and battered
right hand from under the clothes and looked at it.
"I think so," he said, leastwayss some has
come off on my knuckles !"
Mr. Davenant Carter burst into a peal of jovial
"Didn't I tell you?-It isn't a bit of use
badgering children when they don't want to
tell. Let's go over to the castle."
And with that the three gentlemen went out,
while -Napoleon Smith, Prissy, and Sir Toady
Lion were left alone.
The general beckoned them to his bedside
with his nose-quite an easy thing to do if you
have the right kind of nose, which Hugh John
Now look here," he said, "if you'd told, I'd
have jolly well flattened you when I got up.
'Tisn't our business to tell p'leecemen things."
70 Sir Toady Lion
"That wasn't a p'leeceman," said Sir Toady
Lion; "hadn't no shiny buttons."
"That's the worst kind," said the general in a
low, hissing whisper; "all the same you stood to
it like bricks, and now I'm going to get well and
begin on the campaign at once."
"Don't you be greedy-teeth and eat it all
yourself!" interjected Toady Lion, who thought
that the campaign was something to eat, and that
it sounded good.
"What are you going to do?" said Prissy,
\\ho had a great belief in the executive ability of
I know their secret hold," said General-Field-
Marshal Smith grandly, "and in the-hour of their
fancied security we will fall upon them and- "
"And what?" gasped Prissy and Toady Lion
together, awaiting the revelation of the horror.
"Destroy them!" said General Smith, in a
tone which was felt by all parties to be final.
He laid himself back on his pillow and motioned
them haughtily away. Prissy and Sir Toady
Lion retreated on tiptoe, lest Janet should catch
them and send them to the parlour-Prissy to
read her chapter, and her brother along with
her to keep him out of mischief.
And so the great soldier was left to his medi-
tations in the darkened hospital chamber.
A SCOUTING ADVENTURE
GENERAL SMITH, having now
partially recovered, was mustering
his forces and arranging his plans
of campaign. He had spoken
no hasty word when he boasted
that he knew the secret haunt of
the robbers. For some time before, during a
brief but glorious career as a pirate, he had been
brought into connection with Nipper Donnan, the
strongest butcher's boy of the town, and the ring-
leader in all mischief, together with Joe Craig,
Nosie Cuthbertson, and Billy M'Robert, his ready
Hugh John had once been a member of the
72 Sir Toady Lion
Comanche Cowboys, as Nipper Donnan's band
was styled; but a disagreement about the objects
of attack had hastened a rupture, and the affair
of the castle was but the last act in a hostility
long latent. In fact the war was always simmer-
ing, and was ready to boil over on the slightest
provocation. For when Hugh John found that
his father's orchards, his father's covers and hen-
coops were to be the chief prey (being safer than
the farmers' yards, where there were big dogs al-
ways loose, and the town streets, where "bobbies"
mostly congregated), he struck. He reflected that
one day all these things would belong to himself.
He would share with Prissy and Sir Toady Lion,
of course; but still mainly they would belong to
him. Why then plunder them now? The argu-
ment was utilitarian but sufficient.
Though he did not mention the fact to Prissy
or Sir Toady Lion, Hugh John was perfectly
well acquainted with the leaders in the fray at
the castle. He knew also that there were motives
for the enmity of the Comanche Cowboys other
and deeper than the town rights to the possession
of the Castle of Windy Standard.
It was night when Hugh John cautiously pushed
up the sash of his window and looked out. A few
stars were high up aloft wandering through the
grey-blue fields of the summer night, as it were
listlessly and with their hands in their pockets.
A Scouting Adventure 73
A corn-crake cried in the meadow down below,
steadily, remorselessly, like the aching of a tooth.
A white owl passed the window with an almost
noiseless whiff of fluffy feathers. Hugh John
sniffed the cool pungent night smell of the dew
on the near wet leaves and the distant mown
grass. It always went to his head a little, and
was the only thing which made him regret that
he was to be a soldier. Whenever he smelt it,
he wanted to be an explorer of far-off lands, or
an honest poacher-even a gamekeeper might do,
in case the other vocations proved unattainable.
Hugh John got out of the window slowly,
leaving Sir Toady Lion asleep and the door
into Prissy's room wide open. He dropped
easily--and lightly upon the roof of the wash-
house, and, steadying himself upon the tiles, he
slid down till he heard Caesar, the black New-
foundland, stir in his kennel. Then he called
him softly, so that he might not bark. He could
not take him with him to-night, for though Caesar
was little more than a puppy his step was like
that of a cow, and when released he went blun-
dering end on through the woods like a festive
avalanche. Hugh John's father, for reasons of his
own, persisted in calling him The Potwalloping
So, having assured himself that Caesar would
not bark, the boy dropped to the ground, taking
74 Sir Toady Lion
the roof of the dog-kennel on the way. Caesar
stirred, rolled himself round, and came out breath-
ing hard, and thump-thumping Hugh John's
legs with his thick tail, with distinctly audible
Then when he understood that he was not. to
be taken, he sat down at the extremity of his
chain and regarded his master wistfully through
the gloom with his head upon one side; and
as Hugh John took his way down the avenue,
Caesar moaned a little, intoning his sense of
injury and disappointment as the parson does a
At the first turn of the road Hugh John had
just time to dart aside into the green, acrid-
scented, leathery-leaved shrubbery, where he lay
crouched with his hands on his knees and his
head thrust forward, while Tom the keeper went
slowly by with. his arm about Jane Housemaid's
"Aha!" chuckled Hugh John; "wait till the
next time you won't lend me the ferret, Tom
Cannon! O-ho, Jane Housemaid, will you tell
my father the next time I take your dust scoop
out to the sand-hole to help dig trenches? I
And Hugh John hugged himself in his pleasure
at having a new weapon so admirably double-
barrelled. He looked upon the follies of love, as
A Scouting Adventure. 75
manifested in the servants' hall and upon the
outskirts of the village, as so much excellent
material by which a wise man would not fail to
profit. Janet Sheepshanks was very severe on
" Wait till the next time you won't lend me the ferret, Tom Cannon O-ho, Jane
Housemaid, will you tell my father the next time I take your dust scoop?"
such delinquencies, and his father-well, Hugh
John felt that Tom Cannon would not wish to
appear before his master in such a connection.
He had a vague remembrance of a certain look
76 Sir Toady Lion
he had once seen on his father's face when Allan
Chestney, the head-keeper, came out from Mr.
Picton Smith's workroom with these words ring-
ing in his ear, Now, sir, you will do as I tell
you, or I will give you a character-but, such a
character as you will carry through the world
with you, and which will be buried with you when
Allan was now married to Jemima, who, had
once been cook at the house of Windy Standard.
Hugh John went over to their cottage often to
eat her delicious cakes; and when Allan came
in from the woods, his wife ordered him to take
off his dirty boots before he entered her clean
kitchen. Then Allan Chestney would re-enter
and play submissively and furtively with Patty
Pans, their two-year-old child, shifting his chair
obediently whenever Cook Jemima told him.
But all the same, Hugh John felt dimly that
these things would not have happened, save for
the look on his father's face when Allan Chestney
went in to see him -that day in the grim pine-
So, much lightened in his mind by his dis-
covery, Hugh John took his way down the
avenue. At the foot of it, and before he came
to the locked white gate and the cottage of
Betty, he turned aside through a copse, over a
little green patch of sward on which his feet
A Scouting Adventure 77
slid smooth as velvet. A hare sat on the edge
of this, with her fore-feet in the air. She was for
the moment so astonished at Hugh John's ap-
pearance that it was an appreciable period of time
before she turned, and with a quick, sidelong rush
disappeared into the wood. He could hear the
soughing rush of the river below him, which took
different keys according to the thickness of the
tree copses which were folded about it; now sing-
ing gaily through the thin birches and rowans;
anon humming more hoarsely through the alders;
again rustling and whispering mysteriously through
the grey shivery poplars; and, last of all, coming
up, dull and sullen, through the heavy oak woods,
whose broad leaves cover all noises underneath
them as a blanket muffles speech.
Hugh John skirted the river till he came to the
stepping-stones, which he crossed with easy con-
fidence. He knew them-high, low, Jack, and
game, like the roofs of his father's outhouses. He
could just as easily have gone across blindfold.
Then he made his way over the wide, yellowish-
grey spaces of the Castle Island, avoiding the
copses, of willow and dwarf birch, and the sandy-
bottomed "bunkers," which ever and anon gleamed
up before him like big tawny eyes out of the
dusky grey-green of the short grass. After a
little the walls of the old castle rose grimly
before him, and he could hear the starlings
78 Sir Toady Lion
scolding one another sleepily high up in the
crevices. A .black-cap piped wistfully among
the sedges of the water-marsh. Hugh John
had often heard that the ruin was haunted, and
certainly he always held his breath as he passed
it. But now he was on duty, and, if need had
been, he would that night have descended to the
deepest dungeon, and faced a full Banquo-board
of blood-boltered ghosts.
E presently came to the wooden
bridge and crossed it. He was
2 now on the outskirts of the town,
i and in enemy's country. So, more
L. from etiquette than precaution, he
took the shelter of a wall, glided
through a plantation, among the withy roots of
which his foot presently caught in a brass "grin,"
or rabbit's snare. Hugh John grubbed it up grate-
fully and pocketed it. He had no objections
whatever to spoiling the Egyptians.
SHe was now in butcher Donnan's pastures,
where many fore-doomed sheep, in all the bliss
of ignorance, waited their turns to be made
80 Sir Toady Lion
into mutton. Very anxiously Hugh John scruti-
nised each one. He wandered round and round
till he had made certain that Donald was not
At the foot of the pasture were certain black-
pitched wooden sheds set in a-square, with a little
yard like a church pew in the midst. Somewhere
here, he knew, slept Donnan's slaughterman, and
it was possible that in this place Donald might be
held in captivity.
Now it was an accomplishment of our hero's
that he could bleat like any kind of sheep-except
perhaps an old tup, for which his voice was as yet
too shrill. In happy, idle days he had elaborated
a code of signals with Donald, and was well accus-
tomed to communicating with him from his bed-
room window. So now he crouched in the dusk
of the hedge, and said Maa-aaa!" in a tone of
Instantly a little answering bleat came from the
black sheds, a sound which made Hugh's heart
beat faster. Still he could not be quite sure.
He therefore bleated again more pleadingly, and
again there came back the answer, choked and
feeble indeed, but quite obviously the voice of
his own dear Donald. Hugh John cast prudence
to the winds. He raced round and climbed the
bars into the enclosure, calling loudly, Donald!
Enemy's Country 81
But hardly had his feet touched the ground
when a couple of dogs flew at him from the
corner of the yard, and he had scarcely time to
get on the top of a stone wall before they were
clamouring and yelping beneath him. Hugh
John crouched on his "hunkers" (as he called
the posture in which one sits on a wall when
hostile dogs are leaping below), and seizing a
large coping-stone, he dropped it as heavily as
he could on the head of the nearer and more
dangerous. A howl most lamentable immediately
followed. Then a man's voice cried, "Down,
Towser! What's the matter, Grip? Sic' them!
It was the voice of the slaughterman, roused
from his slumbers, and in fear of tramps or
other midnight marauders upon his master's
Hugh ran on all fours along the wall to the
nearest point of the woods, dropped over, and
with a leaping, anxious heart sped in the direc-
tion of home. He crossed the bridge in safety,
but as he ran across the island he could hear the
dogs upon the trail and the encouraging shouts
of his pursuer. The black looming castle fell
swiftly behind him. Now he was at the stepping-
stones, over which he seemed to float rather
than leap, so completely had fear added to his
usual strength wings of swiftness.
82 Sir Toady Lion
But at the farther side the dogs were close
upon him. He was obliged to climb a certain
low tree, where he had often sat dangling his legs
and swinging in the branches while he allowed
Prissy to read to him.
The dogs were soon underneath, and he could
see them leaping upward with snapping white
teeth which gleamed unpleasantly through the
darkness. But their furious barking was promptly
answered. Hugh John could hear a heavy tread
approaching among the dense foliage of the trees.
A dark form suddenly appeared in the glade and
poised something at its shoulder.-Flash! There
came a deafening report, the thresh of leaden
drops, a howl of pain from the dogs, and both
of them took their way back towards the town
with not a few bird shot in their flanks.
Hugh John's heart stood still as the dark
figure advanced. He feared it might prove to
be his father. Instead it was Tom Cannon, and
the brave scout on the tree heaved a sigh of
Who's up there?" cried the under-keeper
gruffly; "come down this moment and show
yourself, you dirty poacher, or by Heaven I'll
shoot you. sitting! "
"All right, Tom, I'm coming as fast as I
can," said Hugh John, beginning to clamber
Enemy's Country 83
Heavens and earth, Master Hugh-what be
you doing here? Whatever will master say? "
He won't say anything, for he won't know,
Tom Cannon," said Hugh John confidently.
"Oh yes, he will," said the keeper. I won't
have you bringing a pack of dogs into my covers
at twelve of the clock-blow me if I will "
"Well, you won't tell my father, anyway!"
said Hugh John calmly, dusting himself as well
as he could.
"And why not?" asked the keeper indig-
"'Cause if you do, I 'll tell where I saw you
kissing Jane Housemaid an hour ago!"
Now this was at once a guess and an exag-
geration. Hugh John had not seen all this, but
he felt rather than knew that the permitted arm
about Jane Housemaid's waist could have no
other culmination. Also he had a vague sense
that this was the most irritating thing he could
say in the circumstances.
At any rate Tom Cannon fairly gasped with
astonishment. A double-jointed word slipped
between his teeth, which sounded like Hang
that boy! At last his seething thoughts found
You young imp of Satan-it ain't true, any-
All right, you can tell my father that !" said
84 Sir Toady Lion
Hugh John coolly, feeling the strength of his
Tom Cannon was not much frightened for
himself, but he did not wish to get Jane House-
maid into any trouble, for, as he well knew, that
young woman had omitted to ask for leave of
absence. So he only said, "All right, it's none
of my business if you wander over every acre,
and break your neck off every tree on the blame
estate. But you'd better be getting home before
master comes out and catches you himself!
Then you'd eat strap, my lad! "
So having remade the peace, Tom escorted
Hugh John back to the dog kennel with great
good nature, and even gave him a leg up to
the roof above the palace of Caesar.
Hugh John paused as he put one foot into the
bedroom, heavy and yet homelike with the night
smell of a sleeping house. Toady Lion had
fallen out of bed and lay, still with his blanket
wrapped round him like a martial cloak, half
under his cot and half on the floor. But this
he did every other night. Prissy was breathing
quietly in the next room. All was safe.
Hugh John called softly down. "Tom!
What now?" returned the keeper, who had
been spying along the top windows to distinguish
a certain one dear to his heart.
Enemy's Country 85
'I say, Tom--I'll tell Jane Housemaid to-
morrow that you're a proper brick."
Thank'ee sir!" said Tom, saluting gravely
and turning off across the lawn towards the
" bothy," where among the pine-woods he kept
his owl-haunted bachelor quarters.
ENERALLY speaking, Hugh John
/despised Sammy Carter-first, be-
Scause he could lick him with one
i" b hand, and, secondly, because Sammy
Carter was a clever boy and could
discover ways of getting even with-
out licking him. Clever boys are all cheeky and
need hammering. Besides, Sammy Carter was
in love with Prissy, and every one knew what
that meant. But then Sammy Carter had a
sister, Cissy by name, and she was quite a different