The waves washed over their numbed bodies, and imparted an almost lifelike air of animation to the corpse of a companion that lay between them, staring at the sullen sky. Suddenly one of the paddlers stopped and pointed ahead. A boat manned by four men appeared on the crest of a wave and slid down a grey-back towards them.
I was on duty down by the river hardly two hours after it happened, and as there is no firing now along the picket line the soldiers were free-and-easy on both sides. All at once I heard laughter on the other side, and looking over, I saw a short, thick-set Grey-back riding the stolen horse near the water's edge.
That was the old signal, and forthwith a raw-boned Alabamian stripped and commenced wading toward a rock that jutted up in the middle of the river. Tom stripped also, and met him at the rock. Mum was the word between them, and each turned for his own shore, the Grey-back with Tom's paper, and Tom with several of the latest Richmond prints.
"'Eld the Helliot belt in Hinjer last year, they say," continued the Cockney. "Good? Not'arf. I wouldn't go an' hinsult the bloke for the price of a pot. No. 'Erbert 'Awker would not. Dam, arrayed in hob-nailed boots, turned-up overalls "authorized for grooming," and a "grey-back" shirt, looked indefinably a gentleman.
Smooth, which he read on my card, was decidedly impertinent; the more so because neither of the old grey-back parties had ever troubled themselves about the kitchen fixings; that the present was an innovation he was sure Mr. Pierce would resent by the withholding of appointments.
Mark let off a fresh volley of profanity, and as the wolves seemed preparing for a rush, WESTCOTT'S rifle broke the frozen stillness of the woods, and old grey-back turned a summerset and went down. The astonished wolves clustered together for a moment in confusion, and the other barrel spoke out.
Presently two other Grey-backs sprang on either side of the horse's head, and with pieces levelled, in tones loud enough for us to hear, demanded his surrender. "'Why, shentlemen Rebels, mein Gott, you no take non compatants, me surgeon, said the Grey-back on the horse, in equally loud voice. "'No, d n you! Dismount! We don't want you.
By G t, no honor, retorted the Grey-back who personated the Doctor, as he swelled himself and strutted about on the sand in such a high style of indignation as to draw roars of laughter from both sides of the river. "That rather paid us with interest for the way we sold them the day before.