And suddenly there appeared a short, somewhat stout figure in a green uniform, white trousers, and riding boots; a man wearing on his head a cocked hat well-nigh as magically potent as its wearer; the broad red ribbon of the Legion of Honor rose and fell on his breast, and a short sword hung at his side. At one and the same moment the man was seen by all eyes in all parts of the square.
In another, I was dragged before a court-martial and sentenced by Sailor Ben, in a frizzled wig and three-cornered cocked hat, to be shot to death by Bailey's Battery a sentence which Sailor Ben was about to execute with his own hand, when I suddenly opened my eyes and found the sunshine lying pleasantly across my face. I tell you I was glad!
"Let be, my son!" quoth Sir Richard, on his knees in the stern sheets. "Row, Martin, the boat rides steadier. Ha!" said he, with a little chuckling laugh, as a bullet hummed over us. "So we must fight, after all; well, on their own heads be it!" And as he took up and cocked a musket, I saw his eyes were shining and his lips upcurled in grim smile.
The French soldier of the line wore white clothes with colored trimmings, varying according to his regiment. On his head was perched the triangular cocked hat of the period, standing well out over his ears, but hardly shading his eyes. Beneath it his hair was powdered, or rather, pasted; for the powder was sifted on to the wet hair, and caked in the process.
The by-standers began now to look at each other, nod, wink significantly, and tap their fingers against their foreheads. There was a whisper, also, about securing the gun, and keeping the old fellow from doing mischief; at the very suggestion of which, the self-important man with the cocked hat retired with some precipitation.
"Oh, if you stoop to bandying proverbs," retaliated Adrian, "there's a proverb about a penny." He raised his bunch of poppies, and posed it aloft before him, eyeing it, his head cocked a little to one side, in critical enjoyment. "Shall we set out for the house?" he asked. "No," said Anthony, promptly, with decision. Come on."
At the sound of his voice Ned raised his head and gave him a swift glance; the gold stars upon the Rebel's collar led him to believe that he was the commander of the enemy. Ned sprang to his feet, made a long stride forward, snatched from the breast of his overcoat the revolver he had been hiding there, cocked it and leveled it at the Rebel's breast.
A large, civil cocked hat, like those worn by clergymen within the last thirty years, surmounted the whole, furnishing dignity to a good-natured and somewhat vacant countenance, that apparently needed such artificial aid, to support the gravity of some high and extraordinary trust.
This time the Commissariat has furnished the best of victuals buns, maids of honour, coffee cakes and chocolate cakes, red-currant syrup. The army falls to with a will. Only Etienne will eat nothing. He frowns and looks enviously at the sword and cocked hat which the General has left on a chair. He creeps up, snatches them, and slips into the next room.
"Wall, jest you keep your eyes peeled and your ears cocked," replied the sturdy Simeon, in hoarse and jarring accents; "and see if I don't take it out of my nose, yet." The signs of that painful struggle slowly faded out of Simeon's face and there was an unusual calm in the school-room. Perhaps a quarter of an hour elapsed.