The Vigil eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 14 pages of information about The Vigil.

The Vigil eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 14 pages of information about The Vigil.

“I said that’s a pretty good size for a cockroach,” murmured Mr. Farrer, defiantly.  “Besides, size isn’t everything.  If it was, you’d be a general instead of only a sergeant-major.”

“You get out of my house,” said the other, as soon as he could get his breath.  “Go on Sharp with it.”

“I’m going,” said the mortified Mr. Farrer.  “I’m sorry if I was rude.  I came on purpose to see you to-night.  Bertha—­Miss Ward, I mean—­told me your ideas, but I couldn’t believe her.  I said you’d got more common sense than to object to a man just because he wasn’t a soldier.”

“I want a man for a son-in-law,” said the other.  “I don’t say he’s got to be a soldier.”

“Just so,” said Mr. Farrer.  “You’re a man, ain’t you?  Well, I’ll do anything that you’ll do.”

“Pph!” said the sergeant-major.  “I’ve done my little lot.  I’ve been in action four times, and wounded in three places.  That’s my tally.”

“The colonel said once that my husband doesn’t know what fear is,” said Mrs. Ward, timidly.  “He’s afraid of nothing.”

“Except ghosts,” remarked her daughter, softly.

“Hold your tongue, miss,” said her father, twisting his moustache.  “No sensible man is afraid of what doesn’t exist.”

“A lot of people believe they do, though,” said Mr. Farrer, breaking in.  “I heard the other night that old Smith’s ghost has been seen again swinging from the apple tree.  Three people have seen it.”

“Rubbish!” said the sergeant-major.

“Maybe,” said the young man; “but I’ll bet you, Mr. Ward, for all your courage, that you won’t go up there alone at twelve o’clock one night to see.”

“I thought I ordered you out of my house just now,” said the sergeant-major, glaring at him.

“Going into action,” said Mr. Farrer, pausing at the door, “is one thing —­you have to obey orders and you can’t help yourself; but going to a lonely cottage two miles off to see the ghost of a man that hanged himself is another.”

“Do you mean to say I’m afraid?” blustered the other.

Mr. Farrer shook his head.  “I don’t say anything,” he remarked; “but even a cockroach does a bit of thinking sometimes.”

“Perhaps you’d like to go,” said the sergeant-major.

“I don’t mind,” said the young man; “and perhaps you’ll think a little better of me, Mr. Ward.  If I do what you’re afraid to do—­”

Mrs. Ward and her daughter flung themselves hastily between the sergeant-major and his intended sacrifice.  Mr. Farrer, pale but determined, stood his ground.

“I’ll dare you to go up and spend a night there alone,” he said.

“I’ll dare you,” said the incensed warrior, weakly.

“All right; I’ll spend Wednesday night there,” said Mr. Farrer, “and I’ll come round on Thursday and let you know how I got on.”

“I dare say,” said the other; “but I don’t want you here, and, what’s more, I won’t have you.  You can go to Smith’s cottage on Wednesday at twelve o’clock if you like, and I’ll go up any time between twelve and three and make sure you’re there.  D’ye understand?  I’ll show you whether I’m afraid or not.”

Project Gutenberg
The Vigil from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.