He waved his clothes-stick and shrieked, “Come on! I defy you!”
Charlie also looked defiant; but he was so intent on facing the enemy that he did not pay proper attention to his armor, and the sword that had been so loyal to grandsir now turned into a rebel to Charlie. It did what swords will sometimes do; it insisted on mixing up with his chubby legs as he changed his position, and over he went! Rick had grappled the enemy, but it was a hopeless struggle, and things looked ominous for that fragment of the club now in the battle.
Suddenly a sharp, penetrating, commanding voice was heard. “Don’t you touch ’em, you rascals,” and a tall, resolute figure rose above the prostrate Charlie, flourishing a broom. It was Aunt Stanshy, who, from her window, had watched the boys, and, seeing the approach of that down-town thunder-cloud, rushed out to meet the storm. Her prowess was witnessed by Simes Badger, who, as a leading village gossip, was loafing away an hour of leisure in a flag-bottomed chair before Silas Trefethen’s grocery. He told the story to all the village gossips of the masculine sex who gathered at the grocery as soon as they had swallowed their tea and had done as few chores at home as possible.
“Well!” said Simes, laughing.
He was a gaunt, long-drawn-out man, owning a straggling, gray beard, a pair of brown, twinkling eyes, and a nasal voice.
“I saw something, to-day, that beat the Dutch. It was Aunt Stanshy, and she did beat the Dutch; yes, she did, yaw, yaw, yaw! You see a parcel of young ones went up the lane in fine feather, colors flying and drums beat-in’.” (This, to mildly put it, was a misstatement, as not a drum was there to be beaten; but Simes had a weakness for “misstatements.”) “Well, they neared Water Street, and just then the enemy appeared, a lot of down-townies, yaw, yawl My, didn’t those sojers scatter, all but two! I expected them two would be cut up like meat in a sausage-machine, but, turnin’ to look down the lane, I saw a sight! It was Stanshy! She had left the house, broom in hand, and rushed up to the battle-ground, and there she stood among them down-townie chaps, and she fetched that broom backward an forward in grand style, as if sweepin’ out of the way a lot of dirt!”
Here Simes, who always fancied that he was gifted with dramatic powers unusually fine, pulled a broom out of the stock in a neighboring barrel, and began to sway it backward and forward.
“My! didn’t Stanshy sweep the battle-field? The enemy went down like leaves before a November gale!”
Simes, who was bound to act out the narrative, gave an unlucky sweep with his broom above the heads of his grinning and gaping auditors, and whacked Silas Trefethen, who was behind the counter putting up codfish.
“Mind, Simes, there! What are you up to, man?” shouted Silas, tartly, trying to make a stand against the staggering blow dealt amid the laughter of Simes’s auditors.