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The Trumpet-Major

Anne Makes A Circuit Of The Camp
When Anne was crossing the last field, she saw approaching her an old woman with
wrinkled cheeks, who surveyed the earth and its inhabitants through the medium of brass-
rimmed spectacles. Shaking her head at Anne till the glasses shone like two moons, she
said, 'Ah, ah; I zeed ye! If I had only kept on my short ones that I use for reading the
Collect and Gospel I shouldn't have zeed ye; but thinks I, I be going out o' doors, and I'll
put on my long ones, little thinking what they'd show me. Ay, I can tell folk at any
distance with these--'tis a beautiful pair for out o' doors; though my short ones be best for
close work, such as darning, and catching fleas, that's true.'
'What have you seen, Granny Seamore?' said Anne.
'Fie, fie, Miss Nancy! you know,' said Granny Seamore, shaking her head still. 'But he's a
fine young feller, and will have all his uncle's money when 'a's gone.' Anne said nothing
to this, and looking ahead with a smile passed Granny Seamore by.
Festus, the subject of the remark, was at this time about three-and-twenty, a fine fellow as
to feet and inches, and of a remarkably warm tone in skin and hair. Symptoms of beard
and whiskers had appeared upon him at a very early age, owing to his persistent use of
the razor before there was any necessity for its operation. The brave boy had scraped
unseen in the out-house, in the cellar, in the wood-shed, in the stable, in the unused
parlour, in the cow-stalls, in the barn, and wherever he could set up his triangular bit of
looking-glass without observation, or extemporize a mirror by sticking up his hat on the
outside of a window-pane. The result now was that, did he neglect to use the instrument
he once had trifled with, a fine rust broke out upon his countenance on the first day, a
golden lichen on the second, and a fiery stubble on the third to a degree which admitted
of no further postponement.
His disposition divided naturally into two, the boastful and the cantankerous. When
Festus put on the big pot, as it is classically called, he was quite blinded ipso facto to the
diverting effect of that mood and manner upon others; but when disposed to be envious
or quarrelsome he was rather shrewd than otherwise, and could do some pretty strokes of
satire. He was both liked and abused by the girls who knew him, and though they were
pleased by his attentions, they never failed to ridicule him behind his back. In his cups
(he knew those vessels, though only twenty-three) he first became noisy, then excessively
friendly, and then invariably nagging. During childhood he had made himself renowned
for his pleasant habit of pouncing down upon boys smaller and poorer than himself, and
knocking their birds' nests out of their hands, or overturning their little carts of apples, or
pouring water down their backs; but his conduct became singularly the reverse of
aggressive the moment the little boys' mothers ran out to him, brandishing brooms,
frying-pans, skimmers, and whatever else they could lay hands on by way of weapons.
He then fled and hid behind bushes, under faggots, or in pits till they had gone away; and
on one such occasion was known to creep into a badger's hole quite out of sight,
maintaining that post with great firmness and resolution for two or three hours. He had
 
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