“My father has left you a responsible command, Corporal,” she said, as soon as she could catch M’Nab a little apart; “for should the island fall into the hands of the enemy, not only should we be captured, but the party that is now out would in all probability become their prisoners also.”
“It needs no journey from Scotland to this place to know the facts needful to be o’ that way of thinking.” returned M’Nab drily.
“I do not doubt your understanding it as well as myself, Mr. M’Nab, but I’m fearful that you veterans, accustomed as you are to dangers and battles, are a little apt to overlook some of the precautions that may be necessary in a situation as peculiar as ours.”
“They say Scotland is no conquered country, young woman, but I’m thinking there must be some mistak’ in the matter, as we, her children, are so drowsy-headed and apt to be o’ertaken when we least expect it.”
“Nay, my good friend, you mistake my meaning. In the first place, I’m not thinking of Scotland at all, but of this island; and then I am far from doubting your vigilance when you think it necessary to practise it; but my great fear is that there may be danger to which your courage will make you indifferent.”
“My courage, Mistress Dunham, is doubtless of a very pool quality, being nothing but Scottish courage; your father’s is Yankee, and were he here among us we should see different preparations, beyond a doubt. Well, times are getting wrang, when foreigners hold commissions and carry halberds in Scottish corps; and I no wonder that battles are lost, and campaigns go wrang end foremost.”