The tramp of feet was heard one afternoon late in the Autumn of 1808, on the road that leads from Peterborough to Yaxley. A body of men, four abreast, and for the most part in the garb and with the bearing of soldiers, was marching along. But the sight was not exhilarating. The swing and springy step of soldiers on the march is always a pleasant sight; but there was a downcast look on most of these men’s faces, and a general shabbiness of appearance that was not attractive. And no wonder: for they had come from the battlefield, p. 6and crossed the sea in crowded ships, not too comfortable; and were drawing near, as prisoners of war, to the dreary limbo which, unless they chanced to die, was to be their abode for they knew not how long. To be prisoners of war is an honourable estate, almost the only captivity to which no shame attaches: yet this is but cold comfort to compensate for loss of freedom.