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kindness he promised never to forget, and tacitly hoped one day to acknowledge, by substantial proofs of gratitude. After some petty difficulties and vexatious delays, and after putting his dress into a shape better befitting his rank, though perfectly plain and simple, he accomplished crossing the country, and found himself in the desired vebicle vis-à-vis to Mrs Nosebag, the lady of Lieutenant Nosebag, adjutant and riding-master of the dragoons, a jolly woman of about fifty, wearing a blue babit, faced with scarlet, and silver-mounted horse-whip.
This lady was one of those active members of society who take upon them faire les frais de la conversation. She was just returned from the north, and informed Edward how nearly her regiment had cut the petticoat people into ribbands at Falkirk, « only somehow there was one of those nasty awkward marshes that they are never without in Scotland, I think, and so our poor dear little regiment suffered something, as my Nosebag says, in that unsatisfactory affair. You, Sir, have served in the dragoons?» Waverley was taken so much unawares, that he acquiesced. «O, I knew it at once;
I saw you were military from your air, and I was sure you could be none of the foot-wobblers, as my Nosebag calls them. What regiment, pray?» Here was a delightful question. Waverley, how
ever, justly concluded that this good lady bad the wbole army-list by heart; and, to avoid detection by adhering to truth, answered, «G-—'s dragoons, ma'am; but I have retired some time.»
« O, those as won the race at the battle of Preston, as my Nosebag says. Pray, Sir, were
« I was so unfortunate, madam, as to witness that engagement.»
« And that was a misfortune that few of G-Z's stood to witness, I believe, Sir-ha! ha! ha! I beg your pardon; but a soldier's wife loves a joke.»
« Devil confound you,» thought Waverley; « what infernal luck has penned me up with this inquisitive hag!»
Fortunately the good lady did not stick long to one subject. «We are coming to Ferrybridge, now,» she said, « where there was a party of ours left to support the beadles, and constables, and justices, and these sort of creatures that are examining papers and stopping rebels, and all that.» They were hardly, in the inn before she dragged Waverley to the window, exclaiming,« Yonder comes Corporal Bridoon, of our poor dear troop; he's coming with the constable man; Bridoon 's one of my lambs, as Nosebag calls’em. Come, Mr A-2-a-pray, what's your name, Sir?»
Butler, madam,» said Waverley, resolved
rather to make free with the name of a former fellow-officer, than run the risk of detection by inventing one not to be found in the regiment.
« O, you got a troop lately, when that shabby fellow, Waverley, wentover to the rebels. Lord, I wish our old cross Captain Crump would go over to the rebels, that Nosebag might get the troop. Lord, what can Bridoon be standing swinging on the bridge for? I'll be hanged if he a'nt hazy, as Nosebag says. Come, Sir, as you and I belong to the service, we'll go put the rascal in mind of his duty.»
Waverley, with feelings more easily conceived than described, saw himself obliged to follow this doughty female commander. The gallant corporal was as like a lamb as a drunk corporal of dragoons, about six feet high, with very broad shoulders, and very thin legs, not to mention a great scar across his nose, could well be. Mrs Nosebag addressed him with something which, if not an oath, sounded very like one, and commanded him to attend to his duty.. You be d—d fora——,» commenced the gallant cavalier; but looking up in order to suit the action to the words, and also to enforce the epithet which he meditated, with an adjective applicable to the party, he recognised the speaker, made his military salam, and altered his tone. -« Lord love your handsome face, Madam Nosebag, is it you? why, if a poor
fellow does happen to fire a slug of a morning, I am sure you were never the lady to bring him to harm..
Well, you rascallion, go, mind your duty; this gentleman and I belong to the service; but be sure you look after that shy cock in the slouched bat that sits in the corner of the coach. I believe he's one of the rebels in disguise.»
« D-n her gooseberry wig,” said the corporal, when she was out of hearing; « that gimlet-eyed jade, mother-adjutant, as we call her, is a greater plague to the regiment than prevot-marshal, serjeant-major, and old Hubble-de-Shuff, the colonel, into the bargain. Come, Master Constable, let 's see if this shy cock, as she calls him (who, by the way, was a Quaker, from Leeds, with whom Mrs Nosebag had had some tart argument on the legality of bearing arms), will stand godfather to a sup
of brandy, for your Yorkshire ale is cold on my stomach.»
The vivacity of this good lady, as it helped Edward out of his scrape, was like to have drawn him into one or two others. town where they stopped, she wished to examine the corps de garde, if there was one, and once very narrowly missed introducing Waverley to a recruiting-serjeant of his own regiment. Then sbe Captain'd and Butler'd him till he was almost mad with vexation and anxiety; and never was he more rejoiced in