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Fort Amity
written by "Quiller-Couch, Arthur Thomas, Sir, 1863-1944"
..., if in nothing else. His men to-day were in no pleasant humour, and a few of them— veterans too—grumbled viciously as they passed the guns. "Silence in the ranks!" shouted the captain of his company; and the familiar words soothed him, and he wondered what had provoked the grumbling. A minute later he had forgotten it. The column crawled forward sulkily. The shadow of Howe's loss lay heavy on it, and a sense that his life had been flung away. They had been marched into a jungle and marched back again, with nothing to show for it but twenty-four wasted hours. On they crawled beneath the sweltering July heat; and coming to the bridge, found more delays. Bradstreet and his men had worked like heroes, but the bridge would not be ready to carry troops before the early morning. A wooden saw-mill stood beside it, melancholy and deserted; and here the General took up his quarters, while the army cooked its supper and disposed itself for the night in the trampled clearing around the mill and in the forest beyond. The 46th lay close alongside the river, and the noise of Bradstreet's hammers on the bridge kept John for a long while awake and staring up at the high eastern ridges, black as ink against the radiance of a climbing moon. In the intervals of hammering, the swirl of the river kept tune in his ears with the whir-r-r of a saw in the rear of the mill, slicing up the last planks for the bridge. There was a mill in the valley at home, and he had heard it a hundred times making just such music with the stream that ran down from Dartmoor and past Cleeve Court. His thoughts went back to Devonshire, but not to linger there; only to wonder how much love his mother would put into her prayers could she be reached by a vision of him stretched here with his first battle waiting for him on the morrow. He wondered, not bitterly, if her chief reflection would be that he had brought the unpleasant experience on himself when he mi...

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