Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XXXVI: The Battle >> Page 301

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription CHAPTER XXXVI.
"Well, Purvis, what report?"
"Three thousand, sir, at least."
"Three thousand what?"
"Troops, sir!"
"Pshaw! man; you're dreaming."
"It's with eyes open, then, sir. I saw them from the hill. They're
marching in three separate bodies, and not less than a thousand in
each. They've got artillery."
"Artillery, ah ! And what's artillery? There are some lumbering
things, called cannon, on cart-wheels; and, by putting powder into
cannon, and applying a match, there's a noise ´┐Ża bellowing across
the hills, that troubles nothing but the ears. Don't take in a fright
through your ears, Purvis ! I wonder what the devil mischief their
cannon can do among these hills. You may laugh at the cannon,
"I think they're trying to surround us, sir."
"Very likely. That means coming upon us front, flank and rear !
eh? But don't let even that trouble you, Purvis. Get back to your
company now, and remember that I am to see you out of these pleas-
ant surroundings. Don't listen to the cannon, Purvis. It hits none
but the fool who listens. Away now, and think of nothing but to
follow as I lead! "
And so Browne dismissed Sergeant Purvis to his squad; and so
he dismissed a dozen others to their several stations, himself moving
to all points in turn, and letting himself be heard, as well as seen,
and always with a scornful sort of levity in his speech, that seemed
to mock at every suggestion of danger.
The apprehensions of Cunningham, confirmed in a measure by the
report of Sergeant Purvis, were soon realized. Detachments of the