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Grandfather Bridgeman
by [?]


‘You perhaps may remember a fellow, Miss Charlworth, a sort of black
The old man turned his tongue to ironical utterance deep:
‘He came of a Methodist dad, so it wasn’t his fault if he kicked.
He earned a sad reputation, but Methodists are mortal strict.
His name was Tom, and, dash me! but Bridgeman! I think you might
Whatever he was, bear in mind that he came of a Methodist dad.’


This prelude dismally lengthened, till Mary, starting, exclaimed,
‘A letter, Sir, from your grandson?’ ‘Tom Bridgeman that rascal is
The old man answered, and further, the words that sent Tom to the
Repeated as words of a person to whom they all owed mighty thanks.
But Mary never blushed: with her eyes on the letter, she sate,
And twice interrupting him faltered, ‘The date, may I ask, Sir, the


‘Why, that’s what I never look at in a letter,’ the farmer replied:
‘Facts first! and now I’ll be parson.’ The Bridgeman women descried
A quiver on Mary’s eyebrows. One turned, and while shifting her
Said low to a sister: ‘I’m certain she knows more than we about
She wants him now he’s a hero!’ The same, resuming her place,
Begged Mary to check them the moment she found it a tedious case.


Then as a mastiff swallows the snarling noises of cats,
The voice of the farmer opened. ‘”Three cheers, and off with your
– That’s Tom. “We’ve beaten them, Daddy, and tough work it was, to
be sure!
A regular stand-up combat: eight hours smelling powder and gore.
I entered it Serjeant-Major,”–and now he commands a salute,
And carries the flag of old England! Heigh! see him lift foes on
his foot!


‘–An officer! ay, Miss Charlworth, he is, or he is so to be;
You’ll own war isn’t such humbug: and Glory means something, you
“But don’t say a word,” he continues, “against the brave French any
– That stopt me: we’ll now march together. I couldn’t read further
That “brave French” I couldn’t stomach. He can’t see their cunning
to get
Us Britons to fight their battles, while best half the winnings they


The old man sneered, and read forward. It was of that desperate
fight; –
The Muscovite stole thro’ the mist-wreaths that wrapped the chill
Inkermann height,
Where stood our silent outposts: old England was in them that day!
O sharp worked his ruddy wrinkles, as if to the breath of the fray
They moved! He sat bareheaded: his long hair over him slow
Swung white as the silky bog-flowers in purple heath-hollows that


And louder at Tom’s first person: acute and in thunder the ‘I’
Invaded the ear with a whinny of triumph, that seem’d to defy
The hosts of the world. All heated, what wonder he little could
To catch the sight of Mary’s demure puritanical look?
And still as he led the onslaught, his treacherous side-shots he
At her who was fighting a battle as fierce, and who sat there


‘”We stood in line, and like hedgehogs the Russians rolled under us
They frightened me there.”–He’s no coward; for when, Miss, they
came at the quick,
The sight, he swears, was a breakfast.–“My stomach felt tight: in
a glimpse
I saw you snoring at home with the dear cuddled-up little imps.
And then like the winter brickfields at midnight, hot fire
lengthened out.
Our fellows were just leashed bloodhounds: no heart of the lot
faced about.