Ransome asked the man what was the matter
One of the by-standers laughed, and said, satirically, Ousely dam was to burst that night, so all the pigs and children were making for the hill.
The man himself, whose name was Joseph Galton, explained more fully.
"Sir," said he, "my wife is groaning, and I am bound to obey her. She had a dream last night she was in a flood, and had to cross a plank or summut. I quieted her till supper; but then landlord came round and warned all of us of a crack or summut up at dam. And so now I am taking this little lot up to my brother's. It's the foolishest job I ever done: but needs must when the devil drives, and it is better so than to have my old gal sour her milk, and pine her suckling, and maybe fret herself to death into the bargain."
Ransome seized on the information, and rode on directly to the village inn. He called the landlord out, and asked him what he had been telling the villagers. Was there any thing seriously amiss up at the reservoir?
"Nay, I hope not," said the man; "but we got a bit of a fright this afternoon. A young man rode through, going down to Hillsborough, and stopped here to have his girth mended; he had broke it coming down our hill. While he was taking a glass he let out his errand; they had found a crack in the embankment, and sent him down to Hillsborough to tell Mr. Tucker, the engineer. Bless your heart, we should never have known aught about it if his girth hadn't broke." He added, as a reason for thinking it was not serious that Mr. Tucker had himself inspected the dam just before tea-time, and hadn't even seen the crack. It was a laboring man who had discovered it, through crossing the embankment lower down than usual. "But you see, sir," said he, in conclusion, "we lie very low here, and right in the track; and so we mustn't make light of a warning. And, of course, many of the workmen stop here and have their say; and, to tell you the truth, one or two of them have always misliked the foundation that embankment is built on: too many old landslips to be seen about. But, after all, I suppose they can empty the dam, if need be; and, of course, they will, if there is any danger. I expect Mr. Tucker up every minute."
Ransome thanked him for his information and pushed on to Lower Hatfield: there he found lights in the houses and the inhabitants astir; but he passed through the village in silence, and came to the great corn-mill, a massive stone structure with granite pillars, the pride of the place. The building was full of lights, and the cranes were all at work hoisting the sacks of flour from the lower floors to the top story. The faces of the men reflected in the flaring gas, and the black cranes with their gaunt arms, and the dark bodies rising by the snake-like cords, formed a curious picture in the fluctuating moonlight, and an interesting one too; for it showed the miller did not feel his flour quite safe.
The next place Ransome came to was Fox Farm.
the gunpowder was wanted for making a noise on their saint
She pleaded so hard, with that musical voice, with her
became known to Hassan. I know what you are going to ask—
This was my first expedition of the kind; and now that
(an odd red-breasted little bird, which inhabits the thick
our vigil; in fact, it would appear that the very insects