The Trumpet-Major HTML version
Two Fainting Fits And A Bewilderment
Meanwhile Miller Loveday was expecting the pair with interest; and about five o'clock,
after repeated outlooks, he saw two specks the size of caraway seeds on the far line of
ridge where the sunlit white of the road met the blue of the sky. Then the remainder parts
of Bob and his lady became visible, and then the whole vehicle, end on, and he heard the
dry rattle of the wheels on the dusty road. Miller Loveday's plan, as far as he had formed
any, was that Robert and his wife should live with him in the millhouse until Mrs.
Garland made up her mind to join him there; in which event her present house would be
made over to the young couple. Upon all grounds, he wished to welcome becomingly the
woman of his son's choice, and came forward promptly as they drew up at the door.
'What a lovely place you've got here!' said Miss Johnson, when the miller had received
her from the captain. 'A real stream of water, a real mill-wheel, and real fowls, and
'Yes, 'tis real enough,' said Loveday, looking at the river with balanced sentiments; 'and
so you will say when you've lived here a bit as mis'ess, and had the trouble of claning the
At this Miss Johnson looked modest, and continued to do so till Anne, not knowing they
were there, came round the corner of the house, with her prayer-book in her hand, having
just arrived from church. Bob turned and smiled to her, at which Miss Johnson looked
glum. How long she would have remained in that phase is unknown, for just then her ears
were assailed by a loud bass note from the other side, causing her to jump round.
'O la! what dreadful thing is it?' she exclaimed, and beheld a cow of Loveday's, of the
name of Crumpler, standing close to her shoulder. It being about milking-time, she had
come to look up David and hasten on the operation.
'O, what a horrid bull!--it did frighten me so. I hope I shan't faint,' said Matilda.
The miller immediately used the formula which has been uttered by the proprietors of
live stock ever since Noah's time. 'She won't hurt ye. Hoosh, Crumpler! She's as timid as
a mouse, ma'am.'
But as Crumpler persisted in making another terrific inquiry for David, Matilda could not
help closing her eyes and saying, 'O, I shall be gored to death!' her head falling back upon
Bob's shoulder, which--seeing the urgent circumstances, and knowing her delicate nature-
-he had providentially placed in a position to catch her. Anne Garland, who had been
standing at the corner of the house, not knowing whether to go back or come on, at this
felt her womanly sympathies aroused. She ran and dipped her handkerchief into the
splashing mill-tail, and with it damped Matilda's face. But as her eyes still remained
closed, Bob, to increase the effect, took the handkerchief from Anne and wrung it out on
the bridge of Matilda's nose, whence it ran over the rest of her face in a stream.