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A Story of Boy-Life during the Peninsular War

written by "Fenn, George Manville, 1831-1909"
...e their knives on us when we were asleep. Look here! What do they mean now?” For the two goat-herds came and patted them on the shoulders and signed to them to get up and follow. “Why, they want us to go along with them, comrade,” said the boy, picking up the two muskets. “Here, ketch hold, in case they mean mischief. Why, they don’t want to take us into the dark so that the goats shouldn’t see the murder, do they?” “I am going to do what you suggested, Punch,” replied Pen, “risk it,” and he followed their two hosts to the rough-looking stone shelter which kept off the wind and reflected the warmth of the fire. Here they drew out a couple of tightly rolled-up skin-rugs, and made signs that the lads should take them. No words were spoken, the men’s intention was plainly enough expressed; and a very short time afterwards each lad was lying down in the angle of the rough wall, snugly rolled in his skin-rug, with a French musket for companion; and to both it seemed as if only a few minutes had elapsed before they were gazing across a beautiful valley where mists were rising, wreath after wreath of half-transparent vapour, shot with many colours by the rays of the rising sun. Chapter Forty One. Boots or Booty? “There, Punch,” said Pen, rising; “you didn’t dream, did you, that our friends crept up with their knives in the night to make an end of you?” “No,” cried the boy excitedly, as he turned to gaze after the men, who were some little distance away amongst the goats, “I didn’t dream it. It was real. First one of them and then the other did come with his knife in his hand; but I cocked my musket, and they sneaked off again and pretended that they wanted to see to the fire.” “And what then?” said Pen. “Well, there wasn’t no what then,” replied the boy, “and I must have gone to sleep.&rdq...

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