But through ut all, up an' down, an' down an' up, wint Ould Pummeloe an' little Jhansi all we cud see av the baby, undher a dead man's helmut wid the chin-strap swingin' about her little stummick up an' down wid the wather an' fwhat brandy there was.
Maybe they wanted to know how the new rail carried throops. They knew! On me sowl, they knew before they was done! Old Pummeloe had just buried Muttra McKenna; an', the season bein' onwholesim, only little Jhansi McKenna, who was four year ould thin, was left on hand. "Five children gone in fourteen months. 'Twas harrd, wasn't ut?
But Ould Pummeloe she prayed av him to christen them after the names av the stations they was borrun in. So there was Colaba McKenna, an' Muttra McKenna, an' a whole Presidincy av other McKennas, an' little Jhansi, dancin' over yonder.
"Ould Pummeloe was sittin' on her beddin'-rowl, thryin' to kape little Jhansi quiet. 'Go off to that tope! sez the Orficer. 'Go out av the men's way! "'Be damned av I do! sez Ould Pummeloe, an' little Jhansi, squattin' by her mother's side, squeaks out, 'Be damned av I do, tu.
"Now an' thin Ould Pummeloe, the tears runnin' down her fat, red face, sez, 'Me bhoys, me poor, dead, darlin' bhoys! But, for the most, she was thryin' to put heart into the men an' kape thim stiddy; and little Jhansi was tellin' thim all they wud be 'betther in the mornin'. 'Twas a thrick she'd picked up from hearin' Ould Pummeloe whin Muttra was burnin' out wid fever.
Whin all the things was full, Ould Pummeloe marches back into camp 'twas like a battlefield wid all the glory missin' at the hid av the rigimint av women. "'McKenna, me man! she sez, wid a voice on her like grand-roun's challenge, 'tell the bhoys to be quiet. Ould Pummeloe's comin' to look afther thim wid free dhrinks.
Just before Slane got his promotion I sez to him, 'Slane, sez I, 'to-morrow 'twill be insubordinashin av me to chastise you; but, by the sowl av Ould Pummeloe, who is now in glory, av you don't give me your wurrud to ask Jhansi McKenna at wanst, I'll peel the flesh off yer bones wid a brass huk to-night, 'Tis a dishgrace to B Comp'ny she's been single so long! sez I. Was I goin' to let a three-year-ould preshume to discoorse wid me my will bein' set?
"But, just before that, Ould Pummeloe, on her knees over a bhoy in my squad right-cot man to me he was in the barrick tellin' him the worrud av the Church that niver failed a man yet, sez, 'Hould me up, bhoys! I'm feelin' bloody sick! 'Twas the sun, not the cholera, did ut.
I've misremembered fwhat her first name was; but in B Comp'ny we called her 'Ould Pummeloe, by reason av her figure, which was entirely cir-cum-fe-renshill. Like the big dhrum! Now that woman God rock her sowl to rest in glory! was for everlastin' havin' childher; an' McKenna, whin the fifth or sixth come squallin' on to the musther-roll, swore he wud number thim off in future.