The Trumpet-Major HTML version

Danger To Anne
He stopped and reflected how to turn this rebuff to advantage. Baulked in his project of
entering the watering-place and enjoying congratulations upon his patriotic bearing
during the advance, he sulkily considered that he might be able to make some use of his
enforced retirement by riding to Overcombe and glorifying himself in the eyes of Miss
Garland before the truth should have reached that hamlet. Having thus decided he spurred
on in a better mood.
By this time the volunteers were on the march, and as Derriman ascended the road he met
the Overcombe company, in which trudged Miller Loveday shoulder to shoulder with the
other substantial householders of the place and its neighbourhood, duly equipped with
pouches, cross-belts, firelocks, flint-boxes, pickers, worms, magazines, priming-horns,
heel-ball, and pomatum. There was nothing to be gained by further suppression of the
truth, and briefly informing them that the danger was not so immediate as had been
supposed, Festus galloped on. At the end of another mile he met a large number of
pikemen, including Bob Loveday, whom the yeoman resolved to sound upon the
whereabouts of Anne. The circumstances were such as to lead Bob to speak more frankly
than he might have done on reflection, and he told Festus the direction in which the
women had been sent. Then Festus informed the group that the report of invasion was
false, upon which they all turned to go homeward with greatly relieved spirits.
Bob walked beside Derriman's horse for some distance. Loveday had instantly made up
his mind to go and look for the women, and ease their anxiety by letting them know the
good news as soon as possible. But he said nothing of this to Festus during their return
together; nor did Festus tell Bob that he also had resolved to seek them out, and by
anticipating every one else in that enterprise, make of it a glorious opportunity for
bringing Miss Garland to her senses about him. He still resented the ducking that he had
received at her hands, and was not disposed to let that insult pass without obtaining some
sort of sweet revenge.
As soon as they had parted Festus cantered on over the hill, meeting on his way the
Longpuddle volunteers, sixty rank and file, under Captain Cunningham; the Casterbridge
company, ninety strong (known as the 'Consideration Company' in those days), under
Captain Strickland; and others--all with anxious faces and covered with dust. Just passing
the word to them and leaving them at halt, he proceeded rapidly onward in the direction
of King's-Bere. Nobody appeared on the road for some time, till after a ride of several
miles he met a stray corporal of volunteers, who told Festus in answer to his inquiry that
he had certainly passed no gig full of women of the kind described. Believing that he had
missed them by following the highway, Derriman turned back into a lane along which
they might have chosen to journey for privacy's sake, notwithstanding the badness and
uncertainty of its track. Arriving again within five miles of Overcombe, he at length
heard tidings of the wandering vehicle and its precious burden, which, like the Ark when
sent away from the country of the Philistines, had apparently been left to the instincts of