**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Poem.

Enjoy this? Share it!


Grandfather Bridgeman
by [?]


‘”And only that grumbler, Bob Harris, remarked that we stood one to
‘Ye fool,’ says Mick Grady, ‘just tell ’em they know to compliment
And I sang out your old words: ‘If the opposite side isn’t God’s,
Heigh! after you’ve counted a dozen, the pluckiest lads have the
Ping-ping flew the enemies’ pepper: the Colonel roared, Forward,
and we
Went at them. ‘Twas first like a blanket: and then a long plunge
in the sea.


‘”Well, now about me and the Frenchman: it happened I can’t tell
you how:
And, Grandfather, hear, if you love me, and put aside prejudice
He never says “Grandfather”–Tom don’t–save it’s a serious thing.
“Well, there were some pits for the rifles, just dug on our French-
leaning wing:
And backwards, and forwards, and backwards we went, and at last I
was vexed,
And swore I would never surrender a foot when the Russians charged


‘”I know that life’s worth keeping.”–Ay, so it is, lad; so it is! –
“But my life belongs to a woman.”–Does that mean Her Majesty, Miss?

“These Russians came lumping and grinning: they’re fierce at it,
though they are blocks.
Our fellows were pretty well pumped, and looked sharp for the little
French cocks.
Lord, didn’t we pray for their crowing! when over us, on the hill-
Behold the first line of them skipping, like kangaroos seen on the


‘”That sent me into a passion, to think of them spying our flight!”
Heigh, Tom! you’ve Bridgeman blood, boy! And, “‘Face them!’ I
shouted: ‘All right;
Sure, Serjeant, we’ll take their shot dacent, like gentlemen,’ Grady
A ball in his mouth, and the noble old Irishman dropped by my side.
Then there was just an instant to save myself, when a short wheeze
Of bloody lungs under the smoke, and a red-coat crawled up on his


‘”‘Twas Ensign Baynes of our parish.”–Ah, ah, Miss Charlworth, the
Our Tom fought for a young lady? Come, now we’ve got into the fun!

“I shouldered him: he primed his pistol, and I trailed my musket,
Why, that’s a fine pick-a-back for ye, to make twenty Russians look
“They came–never mind how many: we couldn’t have run very well,
We fought back to back: ‘face to face, our last time!’ he said,
smiling, and fell.


‘”Then I strove wild for his body: the beggars saw glittering
Which I vowed to send to his mother. I got some hard knocks and
sharp stings,
But felt them no more than angel, or devil, except in the wind.
I know that I swore at a Russian for showing his teeth, and he
The harder: quick, as from heaven, a man on a horse rode between,
And fired, and swung his bright sabre: I can’t write you more of
the scene.


‘”But half in his arms, and half at his stirrup, he bore me right
And pitched me among my old comrades: before I could tell south
from north,
He caught my hand up, and kissed it! Don’t ever let any man speak
A word against Frenchmen, I near him! I can’t find his name, tho’ I
But French, and a General, surely he was, and, God bless him! thro’
I’ve learnt to love a whole nation.”‘ The ancient man paused,
winking dim.


A curious look, half woeful, was seen on his face as he turned
His eyes upon each of his children, like one who but faintly
His old self in an old mirror. Then gathering sense in his fist,
He sounded it hard on his knee-cap. ‘Your hand, Tom, the French
fellow kissed!
He kissed my boy’s old pounder! I say he’s a gentleman!’ Straight
The letter he tossed to one daughter; bade her the remainder relate.