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"God bless us!" he would say,
addressing us oratorically, his back against
the white wooden rail which ran round the
common. " What are they like at all ?
Half babies, half girls ? Girls ! Why, one
of our dear English girls at home would
have more spirit in her little finger than all
this canaille put together. She wouldn't
exactly cry if you held up your little
finger !"

On what Tom founded this favourite
image of his, where he had so held up his
little finger, and who had cried at that
exhibition, we were never told. But we
firmly believed that some such incident had
taken place.

Now a word or two about the "rabble."
Stretching to the back of our villas
was a level country or table-land a good
deal covered with orchards, and behind
the orchards a very slender village, a dozen
cottages or so. The inhabitants, of course,
depended on the sale or manufacture of
what Tom contemptuously styled " their
eternal apples," either in the shape of
cider or, as the same authority explained
to us, that "filthy mess of squash" we saw
in open tubs at shop doors under the nets
full of peg-tops. The boys who were our
enemies were the boys of this little
community. One or two of their sires were
Huguenots, and I recal our Mr. John
standing in easy conversation with a grim
covenanter-looking figure who was at the
door of his cottage. Mr. John seemed to
look on it as a sort of lusus, and often told the
anecdote. It was a Sunday. He was lying
against the door, resting himself, with the
pipe in his mouth. " Vous ally Legleeze,"
says I. "No, no," says he, taking the
pipe out; "moa Protestong." "Well,
well," says I, " after that—— " " Wee
wee," says he, " moa Protestong!"

The boys of this district cherished the
same feelings to us that we did to them.
Of a Sunday was our opportunity, when
their parents were away at the church, or
some little fair, or junketting. Then we
would repair, a small band of irregulars,
cautiously and secretly, one by one, some
of us creeping along on our stomachs in
imitation of what we had heard was real
"skirmishing practice." Then the fun
began, and nothing more exciting could
be conceivedthe shooting, the hitting,
the " cutting out," even the roar of agony
as a hard apple, launched from Tom's
unerring hand, landed on a French cheek-
bone, and was cloven into fragments. So
the exciting sport went on, we of course
having the best of it, and gradually driving
the enemy out of cover and out of reach of
ammunition. As we advanced, pouring in
our shot like hail, they were pressed back
into the cover, and fairly fled, while we
showed ourselves and shouted. We had
at least two such victories, but on the third
occasion something occurred which led to
a change of fortune.

There was a cooper who made casks for
the apples, and this cooper had a tall son,
a head, at least, over Tom, and whose name
was Leah. From this circumstance, I
suspect, he was connected with the old "moa
Protestong" of our Mr. John, or was
perhaps the actual son of the grim Huguenot.
This I never learned. This Leah, the son,
had only returned home on the preceding
Saturday, and was new to the parish.
During the heat of the conflict a young
recruit had been struck down by a large
baking apple. He ran crying into a house,
whence he emerged in a few moments with
Leah. We were a little surprised at this
reinforcementhis size, apparent strength,
indifference. In a moment he was at work,
sending his missiles with a short, quick,
and steady fire, that upset all our calculations.
He advanced, too, instead of keeping
under shelter. It must be owned that
we were thrown into confusion, but it was
all from the surprise. Some said it was a
man. At the same time the fathers of the
villagewith the old Huguenot himself
began to make their appearance. It was
time to retire. As one of us remarked,
"We had done all we had wanted." As
we drew off, Leah made a low gesture of
contempt and defiance, such as an Indian
would do in derision of his foes. He then
walked into his hut, to renew the sleep
which I suppose we had interrupted.

Tom was quite excited about this.
"That's my man," he said. "Wait for
another Sunday, my buttercups, and you
shall see." That other Sunday came, but
Leah did not appear. Meanwhile another
event took place, which contributed a good
deal to the catastrophe.

Down below in the town there was to be
a little festival, or gala, associated with I
know not what, but among other pastimes
it was determined there should be A REGATTA.
Les yachtsmen were all invited, and did
not come, but some English sailors from
the Southampton steamer had entered for
the rowing races. International courtesies,
or contests, were then not at all in fashion;
there was no entente cordiale, or steady
jog-trot alliance which now exists. The