The Trumpet-Major HTML version
The Night After The Arrival
John continued his sad and heavy pace till walking seemed too old and worn-out a way of
showing sorrow so new, and he leant himself against the fork of an apple-tree like a log.
There the trumpet-major remained for a considerable time, his face turned towards the
house, whose ancient, many-chimneyed outline rose against the darkened sky, and just
shut out from his view the camp above. But faint noises coming thence from horses
restless at the pickets, and from visitors taking their leave, recalled its existence, and
reminded him that, in consequence of Matilda's arrival, he had obtained leave for the
night--a fact which, owing to the startling emotions that followed his entry, he had not yet
mentioned to his friends.
While abstractedly considering how he could best use that privilege under the new
circumstances which had arisen, he heard Farmer Derriman drive up to the front door and
hold a conversation with his father. The old man had at last apparently brought the tin
box of private papers that he wished the miller to take charge of during Derriman's
absence; and it being a calm night, John could hear, though he little heeded, Uncle
Benjy's reiterated supplications to Loveday to keep it safe from fire and thieves. Then
Uncle Benjy left, and John's father went upstairs to deposit the box in a place of security,
the whole proceeding reaching John's preoccupied comprehension merely as voices
The next thing was the appearance of a light in the bedroom which had been assigned to
Matilda Johnson. This effectually aroused the trumpet-major, and with a stealthiness
unusual in him he went indoors. No light was in the lower rooms, his father, Mrs.
Garland, and Anne having gone out on the bridge to look at the new moon. John went
upstairs on tip-toe, and along the uneven passage till he came to her door. It was standing
ajar, a band of candlelight shining across the passage and up the opposite wall. As soon
as he entered the radiance he saw her. She was standing before the looking-glass,
apparently lost in thought, her fingers being clasped behind her head in abstraction, and
the light falling full upon her face.
'I must speak to you,' said the trumpet-major.
She started, turned and grew paler than before; and then, as if moved by a sudden
impulse, she swung the door wide open, and, coming out, said quite collectedly and with
apparent pleasantness, 'O yes; you are my Bob's brother! I didn't, for a moment,
'But you do now?'
'As Bob's brother.'
'You have not seen me before?'