Yet here lay these poor chaps, dead; dead, after a deal of pain, with little mind to bear it, and a soul they had never thought of; gone, their God alone knows whither; but to mercy we may trust. 'Arl oop wi Moonmo', shouted one big fellow, a miner of the Mendip hills, whose weapon was a pickaxe: 'na oose to vaight na moor. Wend thee hame, yoong mon agin.
The tide was flowing into the creek and eddies, and the mud beneath the feet of the king's troops was soft and slippery. "May his satanic majesty take the man who ordered us into this bog," said a soldier whose feet suddenly went out from under him and sent him sprawling into the slimy oose.
"I want to see nothing finer or better than what we have seen just now, sir." "There, you be like all varthers, a'most! No zort o' oose to advaise 'un." "Nay, nay! Far otherwise. I am not by any means of that nature. Sir Maunder Meddleby, I have the honour of craving your opinion."
I looked around. It was the man who had threatened me. "Say, pal," he said, "I didn't mean no 'arm. These 'ere blokes tell me as yer name's Irvine. Is that so?" I nodded an assent. "Did yer ever 'ave a chum 'oose name was Creedan?" Again I nodded assent. "D'ye know what became ov 'im?" "He was missing on the field," I replied. "'E's dead," said the man.
There was swiles every two or three yards a'most, old uns an' young uns, all round everywhere; an' I feeled shamed in a manner: but I got my gaff, an' cleaned un, an' then, in God's name, I took the big swile, that was dead by its dead whelp, an' hauled it away, where the t' other poor things could n' si' me, an' I sculped it, an' took the pelt; for I thowt I'd wear un, now the poor dead thing did n' want to make oose of un no more, an' partly becase 't was sech a lovun thing.
"An' more times 't was all still: on'y swiles bawlun, all over. Ef it had n' a-been for they poor swiles, how could I stan' it? Many's the one I'd a-ketched, daytime, an' talked to un, an' patted un on the head, as ef they'd a-been dogs by the door, like; an' they'd oose to shut their eyes, an' draw their poor foolish faces together. It seemed neighbor-like to have some live thing.
"Ef yo're lookin' for yore broother, 'e's in t' oose long o' us. Wull yo coom in? T' missus med gev yo a coop o' tea." She went in. There was dusk in the kitchen, with a grey light in the square of the window and a red light in the oblong of the grate. A small boy with a toasting-fork knelt by the hearth.
"It takes 'em at all ages. Look at you know," said Pyecroft. "Who?" I asked. "A service man within eighteen months of his pension, is the party you're thinkin' of," said Pritchard. "A warrant 'oose name begins with a V., isn't it?" "But, in a way o' puttin' it, we can't say that he actually did desert," Pyecroft suggested. "Oh, no," said Pritchard.
"Why, because, Master 'Aarry, you belong to the hold sheik, as is plainly a Harab, an' oose port of hentry lies in a different direction, that be to the northart." "It's all likely enough," said Colin; "Bill's prognostication is but too probable." "Why, ye see, Maister Colin, they are only land sharks who ha'e got hold o' us.
Yet here lay these poor chaps, dead; dead, after a deal of pain, with little mind to bear it, and a soul they had never thought of; gone, their God alone knows whither; but to mercy we may trust. "Arl oop wi Moonmo," shouted one big fellow, a miner of the Mendip hills, whose weapon was a pickaxe: "na oose to vaight na moor. Wend thee hame, yoong mon agin."