Nicky-Nan, Reservist eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 304 pages of information about Nicky-Nan, Reservist.

“Then why waste time danderin’ along the cliffs, here?”

Policeman Rat-it-all lowered his voice.  “Between you an’ me, again,” he confessed, “I got to do my four miles or so every day, for the sake o’ my figger.”

“’Tis unfortunate then,” said Nicky-Nan, taking heart of grace and lying hardily:  “for you’ve missed a lovely dog-fight.”

“Where?  Whose?” Rat-it-all panted, suddenly all alive and inquisitive.

“Dog-fights don’t concern me. . . .  It may ha’ been Jago’s bull-terrier an’ that Airedale o’ Latter’s.  Those two seldom meet without a scrap.”

“Is it over?” A sudden agitation had taken hold of Rat-it-all’s legs.

“Very like,” lied Nicky-Nan, now desperately anxious to be rid of him.  “I heard somebody callin’ for snuff or a pot o’ pepper—­either o’ which they tell me—­”

“An’ you’ve kept me dallyin’ all this while how-de-doin’?” Rat-it-all made a bolt down the path.

Nicky-Nan watched his disappearing figure, and collapsed upon a thyme-scented hillock in sudden revulsion from a long strain of terror.

He sat there for a good five minutes, staring out on the open waters of the Channel.  An armed cruiser, that had been practising gunnery at intervals during the day, was heading home from Plymouth.  A tug had come out and was fetching back her targets.  Nicky-Nan arose very deliberately, made for his ’taty-patch in the hollow beyond the pilot house, laid his bundle on the ground, and began to dig in and cover his golden coins, fetching a handful at a time.  He had buried them all, and was returning at shut of dusk, when he met young ’Bert Penhaligon coming up the path.

“This is the last night for us here,” proclaimed young ’Bert, “and I can’t say as I’m sorry.  But maybe they’ll move us.”

“How so?” asked Nicky-Nan.

“Well, between you an’ me,” announced young ’Bert, who during the last week had seemed to put on stature with confidence, “there’s a company of Royal Engineer Territorials ordered over from Troy to dig theirselves in an’ camp here.”

[1] Hysterics. [2] Monotonous burthen.



Nicky-Nan arose with the dawn after a night of little sleep.  Very cautiously, with one hand feeling the wall, and in the other carrying his boots, lest he should wake the Penhaligons, he stole downstairs to his parlour.  The day being Sunday, he could not dare to risk outraging public opinion by carrying shovel or visgy through the open streets.  To be sure nobody was likely to be astir at that hour:  for Polpier lies late abed on Sunday mornings, the fishermen claiming it as their week’s arrears of sleep.  None the less it might happen:  Un’ Benny, for example, was a wakeful old man, given to rising from his couch unreasonably and walking abroad to commune with his Maker.  For certain if Nicky-Nan should be met, going or coming, with a shovel on his shoulder, his dereliction from grace would be trumpeted throughout the parish, and—­worse, far worse—­it would excite curiosity.

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Nicky-Nan, Reservist from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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