Chapter 12

A visit - Figure of a man - The dog of peace - The raw wound - The guardroom - Boy soldier - Person in authority - Never solitary - Clergyman and family - Still-hunting - Fairy man - Near sunset - Bagg - Left- handed hitter - Irish and supernatural - At Swanton Morley.

ONE morning I set out, designing to pay a visit to my brother at the place where he was detached; the distance was rather considerable, yet I hoped to be back by evening fall, for I was now a shrewd walker, thanks to constant practice. I set out early, and, directing my course towards the north, I had in less than two hours accomplished considerably more than half of the journey. The weather had at first been propitious: a slight frost had rendered the ground firm to the tread, and the skies were clear; but now a change came over the scene, the skies darkened, and a heavy snowstorm came on; the road then lay straight through a bog, and was bounded by a deep trench on both sides; I was making the best of my way, keeping as nearly as I could in the middle of the road, lest, blinded by the snow which was frequently borne into my eyes by the wind, I might fall into the dyke, when all at once I heard a shout to windward, and turning my eyes I saw the figure of a man, and what appeared to be an animal of some kind, coming across the bog with great speed, in the direction of myself; the nature of the ground seemed to offer but little impediment to these beings, both clearing the holes and abysses which lay in their way with surprising agility; the animal was, however, some slight way in advance, and, bounding over the dyke, appeared on the road just before me. It was a dog, of what species I cannot tell, never having seen the like before or since; the head was large and round; the ears so tiny as scarcely to be discernible; the eyes of a fiery red: in size it was rather small than large; and the coat, which was remarkably smooth, as white as the falling flakes. It placed itself directly in my path, and showing its teeth, and bristling its coat, appeared determined to prevent my progress. I had an ashen stick in my hand, with which I threatened it; this, however, only served to increase its fury; it rushed upon me, and I had the utmost difficulty to preserve myself from its fangs.

‘What are you doing with the dog, the fairy dog?’ said a man, who at this time likewise cleared the dyke at a bound.

He was a very tall man, rather well dressed as it should seem; his garments, however, were, like my own, so covered with snow that I could scarcely discern their quality.

‘What are ye doing with the dog of peace?’

‘I wish he would show himself one,’ said I; ‘I said nothing to him, but he placed himself in my road, and would not let me pass.’

‘Of course he would not be letting you till he knew where ye were going.’

‘He’s not much of a fairy,’ said I, ‘or he would know that without asking; tell him that I am going to see my brother.’

‘And who is your brother, little Sas?’

‘What my father is, a royal soldier.’

‘Oh, ye are going then to the detachment at - ; by my shoul, I have a good mind to be spoiling your journey.’

‘You are doing that already,’ said I, ‘keeping me here talking about dogs and fairies; you had better go home and get some salve to cure that place over your eye; it’s catching cold you’ll be, in so much snow.’

On one side of the man’s forehead there was a raw and staring wound, as if from a recent and terrible blow.

‘Faith, then I’ll be going, but it’s taking you wid me I will be.’

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.