Page:True stories of girl heroines.djvu/45

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Catharine the Rose 27

squads ; but the men called them " Catharine the Rose ' and " May in the Heart ' -a sort of graceful parody upon their names.

Mary Hart had the same answer to give on behalf of the wives of the burghers. And, indeed, it was abundantly evident that the men had their hands full with what they themselves had undertaken, and that unless the brave work were carried out by those who had commenced it, it must perforce be abandoned ; whilst more and more needful for the safety of the city did these redoubts become.

The temper of the besiegers was known to be sorely tried, and scant was the chance that even if they heeded the sex of the workers upon the growing redoubt, they would on that account permit it to grow without opposition. Again and again in the history of those bloody wars women had fought side by side with men in the defence of their homes and liberties, and the Spanish soldier had as ruthlessly cut down the one as the other.

" Girls, are you afraid ? " asked Kate, as she led forth her band upon the morrow. " You have heard the balls hissing overhead these many days ; but to- day, perchance, we shall feel the sting of the hot bullet, or the splinter of some shell tearing its way into our flesh. Are you afraid to face such experience ? '

" We are not afraid ; where you lead us, we will go ! " was the almost universal rejoinder, spoken with

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