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will not wish that these wretched adulterators
were, themselves, doomed to chicory water
(without sugar) for the term of their natural
lives, lest the punishment should appear too
great for their offence.



THE mere mention of French prisoners
brings back, full and clear before my mind,
the details of one of the most memorable days
of my childhood. I never knew exactly how
old I was. Nobody ever told me; and I do
not remember that any one ever asked me:
so that I never inquired; and I doubt whether
my poor mother ever had such an idea in her
head as the number or name of the year.
She could count as far as twenty, because our
fish were sometimes reckoned by scores; but
I doubt whether she ever heard of hundreds
of anything. So that if I had asked her, she
would only have said that I was two years
younger than my brother Jos, or five years
older than the baby. At a guess, however,
I should say that I was about six when the
French prisoners were removed from the
barracks on the moor. At that time, it
seemed to me very long indeedso far back as
scarcely to be rememberedwhen my " Dad,"
as I have ever called him, used to put his
hot, greasy hat over my head and face, so
that I was frightened and cried, and stamped.
One thing more he did, which made me
hide myself behind the boat, or in the
house. He pretended to be " Bony." I
did not know what Bony was; but I knew
it must be something very dreadful, by the
faces that Dad made, and the roar that he gave,
when he said he was Bony. One day, when he
was not thinking of me, he told my mother
that Bony was coming; and that there were to
be great fires all along the coast when he came.
In my agony at hearing this, I threw myself
down in the sand, and rolled. I suppose that
the sight softened my mother's heart, for she
pulled my father by the sleeve, while she
called me to her, and let me hide my face in
her lap. When I looked up, my father was
laughing; so I ventured to ask him what he
would do if Bony came.

"What would I do? " said he, taking the
cork out of his tin bottle, and lifting it to
his lips. " Why, I would ask him to take a
sup out of my can."

This was a great relief to me, for it gave me
the notion that Bony was a man; a thing
which I did not know before.

It must have been soon after this that the
terrible night came when my Dad was carried
away by the pressgang. I was less afraid of
the pressgang than of Bony, because I knew
something of what it was. A young man
from our hamlet had been seized by them,
and I saw them in the boat as they went
away, and thought they looked very much
like other people in boats. But yet it was
terrible when I woke from my sleep in the
middle of the night, and heard the bustle.
I often waked from my sleep, frightened or
uncomfortable. I was sometimes very hot
and stifled, and sometimes very cold: and I
had bad dreams; and now and then, on
winter nights, the sea would come roaring
and dashing almost to the very door: and
Dad would get up, or make my mother get up,
and see how high the water was coming, or
whether the tide had turned: and it frightened
me to feel the wind rush in when she opened
the door, or to see the foam dancing about in
the dim light of the lantern, almost on the
very threshold: but no fright had ever been
like that of the night when Dad was carried
away. There were growling voices outside;
and one loud, and clear, and commanding;
and my Dad swore more terribly than I
had ever heard him before, though I believe
he swore about something or other every
day. My mother's crying was the worst.
She cried aloud, so that it took my breath
away. I do not think I cried at all; nor did
Jos. He had been asleep beside me, under
the folds of the hot, heavy old sail that was
our bed. He was now sitting up in his
ragged little blue shirt, with his eyes all bright,
when nobody stood between him and the
lantern, and his face all white and fixed. The
pressgang did not stay very long; and when
they were gone, my mother threw herself
down on her face on her bed, and cried and
moaned, without ever thinking of shutting
the door; so that the wind blew in, and the
door swung about; and then baby began to
cry sharply. Jos and I wondered whether
we dared get up and shut the door. At last,
we slipped out from under the sail, and
ran and did it together. Then we took up
baby, and rocked him to sleep; and I suppose
after that we went to sleep again ourselves;
for I remember nothing more about that

I am ashamed now to think (and yet I do
not see how we could help it) how pleasant
the next morning was, and many more
mornings. Jos and I played about, without being
afraid of anything. Nobody gave us knocks
on the head: nobody made faces and roared
like Bony; nobody swore at us. It is true,
we had not now the fearful pleasure of helping
to push off the boat, that Dad might go to
sea, and not come back the whole day. It
was a fearful pleasure, because, when my
mother sent us to help to push the boat off, it
was a chance whether Dad did not kick us out of
his way; but he sometimes was kind, and put
his great hand over mine, to make believe
that I did the pushing; and then, he always
went away, further and further out to sea;
and it would be many hours before he came
back again. Now, it could no longer be so.
Our boat lay upside down on the sand.
Sometimes the sun shone hot upon it, so that