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Title: The Military Sketch-Book, Vol. II of II - Reminiscences of seventeen years in the  service abroad and at home
Author: Maginn, William
Language: English
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            “The wight can tell
  A melancholy and a merry tale
  Of field, and fight, and chief, and lady gay.”









  NIGHTS IN THE GUARD-HOUSE, NO. IV.                                   1

  ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE                                                28

  THE PUNISHMENT                                                      36

  ECCENTRICITIES OF THE LATE MORRIS QUILL                             48

  MESS-TABLE CHAT, NO. III.                                           63


  NIGHTS IN THE GUARD-HOUSE, NO. V.                                  182

  HOLY ORDERS                                                        199

  A LITTLE CONSEQUENCE                                               206

  THE HUSSAR AND THE COMMISSARY                                      210

  ALLEMAR AND ELLEN                                                  217

  THE COUP DE GRACE                                                  235

  A VOLUNTEER OF FORTY                                               242

  THE HALF-PAY CAPTAIN                                               261






No. IV.

“Come, you Jack Andrews, lave off your caperin’ about there, and give
us that song the Captain made on the bowld Guerilla,” said private
Mulligan to his comrade, who was taking a lesson from Lance-Corporal
Brogan on the Ballycraggen[1] pushing-step, to set his blood into
circulation; for he had been just relieved from a two hours’ stand
upon the side of as bleak a mountain as ever sentry stood upon; where
the keen winds of a cold frosty night had full play upon his patient
and good-humoured countenance.

“Make room, then, and let me have the next place to the hob,” replied
Jack. He was very soon accommodated with the desired seat; for Andrews
was a good singer, and a still better story-teller: he had seen a
great deal of service, although a young man, and from his uncommonly
retentive memory could detail the most minute circumstances of his
campaigns; he therefore was the very life of the guard-room; and the
men of the regiment used to say, that if Jack Andrews and Corporal
Callaghan were but along with them, they would not refuse two extra
guards in the week.

The fire was soon surrounded, and Peninsular Bob, the sergeant of the
guard, bestirred himself from his snooze in the old arm chair, right in
front of the hearth, to listen to the fine voice and admire the musical
taste of Jack Andrews.

“Why,” said Jack, “the song of ‘The Guerilla’ is a very sweet thing,
when sung by two voices; but without two it is not quite so good.
Corporal Callaghan knows it well, and has often sung it with me; so
as soon as he returns from relieving the sentries, I’ll sing the song
with him, if you can persuade him to it. He knows the air better than
I do, for he learnt it from the Guerillas themselves when there was a
troop of them at Tolosa, and I learnt it from him; but if you have no
objection, lads, I’ll sing a song which the Captain wrote to a fine
bold and romantic French air, which I have heard the French soldiers
singing many a night, close to my own post.”

Of course, the proposal was received unanimously; and when silence
was perfectly restored, (for all spoke on the subject at once,) Jack
Andrews sang the following song, first having taken the precaution of
shutting the door, lest he might happen to be heard outside although
there was very little danger of being surprised by any of the officers
in his melodious dereliction from strict military practice.


    When o’er the camp the midnight moonlight beams,
      And soldiers’ eyes are seal’d in happy slumber,
    The wakeful sentinel his watch proclaims,
      And silence sweetly swells the echoing number:
      Oh! then to Heaven his eyes he turns,
      And murmurs with a glowing sigh,
      “Angels bright that dwell above,
        Tell my country, tell my love,
    For them--for them I watch, for them I’ll die!”

    And, as the foe’s night-fires before him play,
      His bosom swells with flames still stronger burning;
    He gazes on them--wishes for the day,
      With glory and the fight once more returning!
        Oh! then to Heaven his eyes he turns,
        And murmurs with a glowing sigh,
        “Angels bright that dwell above,
          Tell my country, tell my love,
    For them--for them I’ll fight, for them I’ll die!”

    And should he, in the battle’s raging heat,
      With valiant heart and arm the foe confounding;
    Oh! should the hero then his death-wound meet,
      And Victory his glorious knell be sounding,
        Again to Heaven his eyes he turns,
        And murmurs with his life’s last sigh,
          “Angels bright that dwell above,
          Tell my country, tell my love,
        For them--for them I fought, for them I die!”

This, sung in admirable style by the manly voice of Jack Andrews, had a
powerful effect upon the listeners, for the air was of a romantically
martial character, composed during the best days of Napoleon’s glory,
when chivalric enthusiasm infused itself into every shade of French
imagination. There was not a man of the guard who had not served
in the Peninsula during the brightest period of England’s military
grandeur, when she stood opposed to Napoleon’s greatest heroes; and
from a recollection of the scenes of that time, awakened by the song,
there arose a feeling in every breast around the humble hearth of
Ballycraggen Guard-house, which commanders might have envied, and
philosophers admired. It brought all back to the romance of war; it
placed them in situations familiar to their fancy; it touched the
most delightful chord of the soldier’s heart, and every tongue became
eloquent upon the source of its sensations. There is no sign in
Nature’s mnemonics like music: it is a talisman of power. Moore has
beautifully expressed this in poetry, but not so effectually as the
following lines, attributed to the unfortunate Ensign Dermody.

    To him whose heart is dark with shades of care,
    How sweet’s the melody it loved to hear
    In days gone by! Yet bitter is the strain:
    Oh! ’tis a mingling of delight with pain;
    For, though the hand of Time well-nigh efface
    Each blur and furrow--each deforming trace,
    Which stern Adversity’s harsh hand design’d
    To spoil the lively landscape of the mind,
    Some passing sound, some melancholy lay,
    The favour’d pleasure of some former day,
    Falls on his soul; and, as the listener hears,
    Forth comes the magic stream of memory’s tears,
    Which, dropping on the picture, bright again
    Enlivens alike each beauty and each stain,
    Casting a varnish of so mix’d a dye
    That (by its gloss) ’twill please yet pain the eye!

Bob the sergeant spoke more than any one else on the subject of the
song;--“That’s a ’nation good thing, Jack,” said he; “it puts me in
mind of many a one of my night-guards when I was a private. D--me but
it made me think I was on the side of a hill on the advanced-posts,
stuck behind a tree, or the corner of a rock, watching the enemy in the
moonshine of a fine summer’s night, just as I was immediately before
the first battle Sir Arthur ever fought in Portugal. I think I’m there
now: it was at Roliça. I was on sentry that night, on a hill, close to
the enemy. It was as fine and as calm a night as ever was seen. The
French were posted thick upon the heights in front of us--infernal
steep and craggy precipices, where it was almost impossible to come
at them. There was I about three hundred yards in front of them. On
this advanced-post I was the sentry, and was just leaning against an
old windmill, looking out at the French vidette, who was stuck on
horseback, like the statue at Charing Cross, right out upon a high
rock, at the top of a hill. The moon was rising behind him, and I could
see the figure of the fellow and his horse just like one of those
black shadows they cut out in card. The whole country round was one
of the most beautiful pictures in the world. Down under my eyes was
a little wood of lightish-coloured trees, (cork, I believe,) a small
stream at the end of it: all along, to the distance of about two miles,
I could see different old convents, and houses beset with orange and
olive-trees; and the moonlight threw such a beautiful colouring over
them that I could not help feeling melancholy.--You may smile, lads,
but I was a young man then, and only a few days in a foreign country: I
could almost smell the sea-air; for we were only three miles from the
beach, along which we had been so lately sailing: I had not been many
weeks away from a comfortable home--father, mother, sweetheart and all:
I was then standing between two great armies, ready to start upon each
other: and I did not know but the next day would see my first fight and
my last hour. I’ll leave it to any man here, who ever was in any thing
like such a situation, to say, whether it is not calculated to make an
impression on the feelings.”

“Oh, by my sowl! and that it is, sargeant,” replied private Mulligan;
“particularly when you are not a long time at the work.”

“Well,” continued the sergeant, “it was at that old windmill I heard
the song of ‘The Sentinel’ first, from one of the enemy, who was
sitting with four or five others on the top of one of the heights; and
when he was done, a crowd of our fellows, about two or three hundred
yards from me, gave him three rounds of applause. The night was so
still, that you could hear the cocking of a musket half a mile off, and
the song went most melodiously. God knows whether the poor fellow ever
sang another song! for the next day there was no singing, but plenty of
dancing, to the tune of ‘_over the hills and far away_,’ and I rather
think we made the French pay the piper.”

“Bluranouns! tell us how it _was_, sargeant,” exclaimed Mulligan, with
an anxious smile, and a chuckling twist of his hands. The sergeant was
not sorry to have such a favour asked of him, and he did not lose a
moment in complying with the request, which now became general.

“After I was relieved that night, I lay down in my guard-coat on some
Indian-corn straw, behind a wall or sort of pent-house, where our
advanced piquet was, and I slept a couple of hours; after which Tom
Singleton and I smoked a little while, out of a short stump of a pipe,
which Tom brought with him from England, and warmed our gobs with a
drop out of the canteen. It was broad daylight, and we got up to look
out at the heights over the wall; for the officer of the piquet was
very busy with his spy-glass reconnoitring, and we knew we were soon to
begin a little bit of business with the Mounseers.

“Every body thought Sir Arthur would not let us be long before we
should be ordered to be ready,--for he looked like a sharp one. We
had not been many minutes leaning over the wall, when we saw the blue
fellows moving along the height immediately in front of us, as if to
take up a position on their own extreme left; and, presently, four or
five officers--I suppose the General and his staff--appeared where the
vidette was posted, and planted an eagle-flag on the highest point of
the hill; after which all drew their swords, took off their hats, and
saluted it. Thinks I, ‘Sir Arthur will pay his addresses to that same
flag before long.’ The French General took damned good care to place
the eagle on the top of a rock, where the boys could not _scale her
nest_ very easily.

“The piquet was very soon after relieved; and when we had been with the
bivouac of our regiment about a couple of hours, we were all ordered
out under arms, along with the other regiments of the brigade. ‘Ho,
ho!’ says I to my comrade, ‘there will be something going on very
quickly, you may depend upon it.’ We stood behind a line of loose trees
and bushes quite covered from the enemy’s view. I could see that other
brigades were also under arms, at about a quarter of a mile off; in
short, between every opening of either walls, or woods, or houses,
upon each plain and little open hill within view, I could see the red
coats either drawn up like ourselves, or moving along at quick time
with their arms and accoutrements glistening like glass. All the army
seemed on the alert--several pieces of artillery passed us down the
road towards the front, and Sir Arthur himself was galloping about
with his staff giving directions. He once stopped behind a small house
along with General Crawford, who commanded us, and showed him a large
map, as if pointing out something very important; after which _our_
General came back to where the brigade was, under the trees, and talked
for ten minutes or so to Colonel Lake, our commanding officer, (God
rest his soul, he was not long alive after that!) I could see by the
men’s faces and their manners, that they expected something which
was strange to them; but still they were joking and laughing: the
officers were uncommonly pleasant, particularly the young ones. It was
a most delightful morning--only a little too hot; but we were under
the trees, and tolerably well shaded from the effects of the sun. A
Portuguese muleteer just then came out from a sandy narrow lane, with
a pannier full of grapes and oranges, and the men at the flank of the
regiment where I was, were helping themselves to the welcome fruit,
which they purchased for little or nothing, when an Aid-de-camp came
galloping down the road behind where we were formed, and spoke a few
words to General Crawford; then galloped away again. We were helping
ourselves to the grapes and oranges, which, with our bread, made a good
breakfast, when the word was given “_attention_,” and the feast was at
an end. The whole of the brigade instantly formed into close column,
and we moved out towards the front, still covered by the wood, and were
joined by three other brigades, all forming into one solid column.
As we marched on, there was not a word spoken, except an occasional
command from the officers. We knew not what was to be expected; but
guessed, from seeing a brigade of artillery not far on our right, ready
at their guns, silent and waiting the word. There seemed to be scarcely
a breeze or a fly to disturb the silence of that fine summer’s day,
and the business upon which all were engaged:--an awful silence it
was--nothing to be heard but the soft tread of our feet, as we moved
over the heath, and the grass, and the sand.

We were now halted--still in the wood; but within half-shot of the
heights; and the French guns were not idle whenever any of our forces
were to be seen; but we were completely covered. Two other brigades
now joined us, and the whole of us were formed into one close column.
A finer body of fellows never stood together. We did not halt many
minutes; and during these few minutes the General officers and staff
were very busy--riding up and down the column, and giving orders, as
coolly and as calmly as if they were in the barrack-yard; but their
countenances were expressive of a seriousness, which I never saw upon
a parade--they seemed as if they were not now _playing_ soldiers, but
on the point of going to work like good ones. Our Colonel now addressed
us in a short but striking manner. He hoped we would show that the
regiment was worthy its name. I think his eye met every one of ours. I
never saw a man say so much by his looks in my life:--we all knew what
he meant, and although we could not speak our mind, we showed it by our
faces. I know the tears came into _my_ eyes, and I did not know why;
for I could have jumped into a mortar’s mouth at the time, and taken a
mile’s ride on a shell; but the fact is, it was the brotherly kindness
Colonel Lake felt for us, and the pride he took in the old 29th, which
affected me.”

“Oh, faith!” said Mulligan, “It’s not always grief nor sorrow that
makes a body’s eyes wathery, sargeant.”

“Well, the moment all was ready, there was nothing but a dead silence.
Every man--Generals and all--were in their places. A minute or two
would take the column out from the wood, and then ‘ware hawk’ from the
guns on the heights. ‘Steady, men,’--‘Forward!’ The curtain was soon
up. Bang went the artillery of the French--right into our column, as
it poured out from the wood; and _rattle_ went our artillery on the
right also, to support us. We moved on steady towards the bed of a
stream (quite dry) that winded up the hill: it was about as broad as
this room; and so steep that we must have bent a good deal to have got
up it: through this passage we were to go and make our way up to the
French fellows. On we moved for about three hundred yards under the
fire, without being much injured; at all events, it did not make a
great difference in our column, although I stood upon three or four
poor fellows as I advanced, who had fallen. I could see on my left, at
a good distance, a large body of our troops moving on also; and this
gave us still more confidence. We were getting vexed from the fire
above by the time we got to the passage up the hill, and our fellows
began to swear vengeance against the Mounseers. If we could have got
up in any numbers at once, I really think we would have eaten the
damned rascals; but we were obliged to go--not more than four or five
abreast; and had to stumble our way over lumps of stones as big as the
big drum. Our orders were to get up as fast as possible, and form above
as soon as we had made good our ground. We scarcely lost a man killed
or wounded in going up the hill through the crags and stones, until
we came nearly to the top. Here the way was a little wider, and our
Colonel formed us up in a pretty fair sort of way, giving us the word
to advance at double-quick time; when out comes a volley from a green
mound of earth in front of us and right in the middle of the way. This
mound was covered with bushes, and from behind these the firing came:
it was by a set of riflemen who were posted there in ambush: but when
they fired they ran like devils back--every one of them, except a few
that fell on their faces; for we gave them a volley that knocked them
over in good style. Several of my comrades dropped at this point, and
our poor Colonel too. He laid himself up against the side of the bank,
and although scarcely able to breathe, smiled, and pointed with his
sword to go on. We never stopped, but mounted like tigers to the top,
although half a regiment let slap at us from the opening. Oh! if they
had only stood till we could have got our bayonets into them! but they
ran off to about a hundred yards distance, and in a few moments our
regiment and two others were up and formed as compactly as you please,
when we received another volley from the French, at both sides and in
front--thick as hail. Many of our men fell, but we closed up, and did
not miss them. ‘_Let us at them_,’ was heard from many mouths. Vexed
and impatient, we soon had the word ‘_Charge!_’ The French were in
full line, and so were we: they advanced to meet us like men,--damned
beardy, tall, raw-boned grenadiers, with long grey frock-coats and
red-worsted epaulettes. On we went; and when within about ten yards
of them, we all gave a yell,--‘Hurrah!’ and Oh, Christ!--We dashed at
them,--they huzza’d as well as ourselves; but in a moment every English
bayonet was bloody to the hilt. Over they went; and the rear-rank of
the French, although they stood a little, and did some execution, was
soon settled. We butted them when we were tired sticking them. I broke
my musket by a blow I made at a fellow, and missed him; but I jumped
at his throat, although he was a tall man, and pulled him right down;
however, there I left him, and ran after my regiment; for he lost his
musket, and must have been taken prisoner by the troops advancing into
the field. The French, now at our right and left, opened a fire on us,
which knocked many a poor fellow off the hooks, and we fell back to
the main-body of our troops; for we were only treating the enemy with
a few steel lozenges, while the remainder of the column was getting
up the hill; and how they got up so soon I cannot imagine. I did not
think we were five minutes at work in all, when I turns and sees the
whole column formed in line, and the right of it pelting away, volley
after volley, at the French, who now showed an immense front. It was a
sort of even ground enough, but covered with grape stumps, and loaded
with bunches; however the _grape-shot_ was of more consequence to
me, so I never minded touching the grape _fruit_. There was nothing
done for half an hour but banging away with the musketry and a few of
the French guns; but while this was going on, our men were getting
up the hill, and forming in our rear as fast as possible. Men were
dropping, both French and English, quick enough, I assure you; and
we were longing for another charge, to put an end to the peppering.
This we were soon indulged with. ‘_Steady, my lads_,’ was the cry from
the officers, ‘_another taste of the bayonet_.’ The French formed a
strong first line, and their battalions in the rear were forming into
a second. ‘Now, men,’ says a General who rode behind _our_ first line,
‘keep steady, and do your duty.’--‘Charge!’ was the word:--in a moment
we were not forty yards from the enemy.--‘Hurrah!’--Oh such a shout
as we gave! But it was answered by the French every bit as loud; and
they did not flinch. At them we went, like devils again; and down
they went like twigs. They found it was no use trying it,--they were
knocked about; and although they did as much as men could do, they were
obliged to start about (those that were not down) and make the best of
their way off. We halted and loaded, as steady as rocks--most of our
gun-barrels were streaming with blood, which wetted the powder as it
went in. I’m sure that was _my_ case; for when we gave them a volley, I
know my musket did not go off, so I threw it away, and took up another
from one of our poor fellows, who lay on his face behind us, with his
head knocked all to pieces. I’m certain it was Jem Ellis, by a ring on
his finger; but you didn’t know Jem, poor fellow! that ring was given
to him by a sweet little girl the day we embarked, and he intended to
marry her if God spared his life; but unfortunately he met his fate
with a cannon-ball. Well, after this second charge, we expected an
attack from the French cavalry; and they certainly came upon our right;
but made no impression. Just as we halted, after scattering the line
of the enemy, their General came galloping in amongst his men, roaring
out to them to rally; it was General Laborde; and at that moment, a
battalion on my left poured in a round upon them; but still they formed
up in good style: one of the balls hit the General: he alighted, and
sat down beside a bank: we could see the surgeons tying up the wound.
There was not much harm done him, for he mounted again and rode away
along the line. At this time we were getting pretty well used to the
business, and the men stood as quiet as logs, wiping their faces,
and damning the French; yet the firing continued as brisk as ever;
and although our first engagement, we went on just as if we were at
a review: whenever a poor fellow dropped, we closed up, and kept our
front complete. In a moment I sees, left and right of the field, at
about half a mile distant, our red boys moving in towards us: they had
got round on the enemy’s flanks--the sight was glorious. We now got
the word for another charge, and went to it as confident of success
as if we were going to upset a parcel of skittles; but we had much
harder work; for the French rather stunned us with a volley just as
we approached: however we closed up, and pegged away, right and left,
huzzaing and roaring like madmen. Away they ran, and we after them,
until we were ordered to form up again: I was just falling in, when I
felt my right leg very heavy and numbed like, and rather difficult to
move; I put down my hand to my ankle, and found my stocking soaked with
blood, but I felt no pain. In a few moments, by George! I could not
move my leg at all; so I very reluctantly sat down under a rising bank,
pulled off my shoe, and was obliged to cut off my stocking: I was hit,
sure enough, right through the fleshy part of my leg, and I felt it now
impossible to move. There was a general shout down on the right, and
I could see our battalions advancing in double-quick time; the staff
galloping about everywhere; and a brigade of artillery of ours blazing
away like hell-fire at the enemy. Several regiments passed by me in
columns and in high spirits; so that I knew the French were retiring:
I gave them three cheers as they passed,[2] in which I was joined by
my wounded comrades, lying about, and several of the lads threw us
canteens of rum and wine, which were very acceptable. I gave a poor
French fellow a drop out of one of them, and I do think it saved his
life; he shook hands with me, and said something in French, I suppose
to thank me: he looked like a ghost before he took it, and after he
lay down a bit, his face got its natural colour, and he seemed much
stronger. Here we all lay until near seven o’clock in the evening; the
field covered up and down with wounded, dying and dead. I lost sight
of the troops in about an hour after I fell; but I had no doubt they
settled the matter very soon, for the artillery could not be heard
in a short time after the advance. I talked as well as I could to the
poor French grenadier beside me, and we seemed happy to speak together,
although not understanding much what each other said, except by signs.
About six o’clock I sees a Portuguese fellow, with a great slouched
hat, poking about amongst the dead, and rifling them of money, watches,
clothes, and whatever he could get. A French officer who lay upon a
sort of rise was attacked by this fellow: the officer was a powerful
man, and resisted being robbed, although he could not stand up. I had
no idea what the rascal of a Portuguese meant to do; when I saw him
hit the officer with an immense pole, on the head, and the unfortunate
man fell flat. There was an English sergeant of the 91st regiment near
me, severely wounded, and says I to him, ‘Sergeant, do you see that?’
‘I do,’ says he. ‘Have you a musket near you?’ says I. ‘Yes, here
is one,’ says he. ‘Then keep it, and load,’ says I, ‘for I’ll knock
that fellow over with mine.’ The sergeant loaded while lying down,
having got a cartridge from a pouch of a dead man near him:--‘Are you
ready?’ says I. ‘Yes.’ ‘Then if I miss him, and he should come up to
us, wait till he is close--then make sure of him.’ The Portuguese had
now left the Frenchman, and was engaged at a dead English officer:
he was stooping down. I raised myself up, and leaned my musket on
the French grenadier’s shoulder to take good aim--I covered my mark,
and fired:--the rascal jumped two feet off the ground, roared out
‘Ai! Jesus!’ and dropped like a cock on his face. He did not lift his
long-pole again, I warrant you.

“In a very short time after this, a detachment arrived on the ground,
to take away the wounded, and the surgeons had us removed into a house
where there was plenty of straw--French, English, and all together.
From the men who took us off the field, I learned that the enemy were
completely beaten, and retired, leaving their artillery behind.

“This was the very first brush our troops had under Sir Arthur, and for
beginners, I never saw better boys in my life. In about five days after
this, they had another trial, at the battle of Vimiera; and I wish I
had not been wounded so soon, or I should have had a finger in the pie.

“This was before you came to our regiment, Sergeant--wasn’t it?” said
Jack Andrews.

“Yes,” replied the sergeant, “I was drafted into this corps two years
after that battle.”

“It was a right good shot you made at the Portuguese scoundrel?” said
Mulligan; “By the powers o’ Moll Kelly, you sarved him right; an’ if it
was my case, I’d just a’ done the self same thing. The rascals used to
follow the army, whenever there was a likelihood of a battle, an’ not
only rob, but murdther the wounded. The Spaniards were no betther;--ay,
an’ what’s worse than all that, some of our own army’s women, at the
battle of Vittoria, were seen doin’ the same thing. Several of them
were caught in the act by the provost, an’ flogged well, though they
_were_ women,--an’ the devil’s cure to them for it.”

“Hush--I think the sentry has challenged. Here comes Callaghan,” said
the Sergeant, listening: and the word “Halt!” outside, convinced him
that he was right in his conjecture.

The Corporal, with four men as cold as the weather without, now entered
the guard-house, and joined their comrades at the fire. They brought
with them a stranger, an exciseman, whose face was somewhat disfigured;
and the Corporal informed the Sergeant, that some countrymen, who kept
a private still, had attacked him, and would perhaps have killed him
but for the guard who were within call. “Captain Jones met us,” said
Callaghan, “an’ desired me to conduct this man safe to the guard-house;
an’ said that he would send the ordtherly officer down to you with
further ordthers. The man is supposed to be very active about private
stills here; an’ this is the way they have rewarded him.--Pon my sowl,
Sir, you got a hell of a dthrubbing.”

“I think I did,” returned the exciseman; “but I’ll make them pay for
that through the nose, please the pigs.”

The orderly officer now entered the guard-room, and directed the
Sergeant to take three men of the guard, and to conduct the exciseman
safely home across the mountain; for which the latter returned thanks.
The party set out immediately, and the orderly officer returned to his
quarters; while Corporal Callaghan took a snooze in the Sergeant’s
chair, during his absence.




                  Ay; now we see it,
    And there’s the coach!----


In many, if not in most, of the regiments of our army, there is to
be found a sort of officer who is a privileged oddity,--who takes
liberties with all his brethren of the mess with impunity, and who
pockets every thing short of a blow with the best possible humour.
In general, the individuals of this description are designated in
the mess-room vocabulary, “_Good-tempered Old Stagers_,” and “_Old
Stickers_,” meaning thereby, that they can “go” at the bottle, and
“stick” at the table till “all’s blue.”

One of these, a Quartermaster of infantry, with a nose of the genuine
Bardolph complexion, a rosy and eternal smile, a short figure, and
a big head, having dined with a party of brother officers at the
_Three Cups_, Harwich--the day on which his regiment marched into the
barracks of that town--was in the best possible spirits: so much so,
that he gave the bottle no rest until about eleven o’clock; and became
“glorious,” just as the company broke up--right or wrong he _would_ go
along with three of the youngest subalterns to ramble by the sea-side
in the moonshine, having been “_so long i’ the sun_.” They permitted
him reluctantly; perhaps, indeed, because they could not prevent him;
but when the party got down to the place where passengers and goods are
usually embarked, the Quartermaster became totally overpowered, and
sank senseless into a snore. The officers whom he accompanied could
not think of carrying his _corpus_ back to the inn; nor were there
any persons near whom they could employ for the purpose: one of them,
therefore, opened the door of a private carriage which stood near,
“unshipped” from the wheels--ready for embarkation, and in a moment the
sleeper was bundled into it, where he was left to his repose with the
door fast shut upon him.

Next morning at daybreak (about three o’clock) the coach, with its
contents, was put on board the Hamburg packet, and stowed away at the
very bottom of the hold: in half an hour after this, the vessel put to

For the whole of the day the packet had a brisk breeze, and at midnight
was a good hundred miles away from Harwich: a dead calm set in. It was
a beautiful night in July, and the passengers were not all gone to bed:
some walked the deck, and others sat below at cards--every thing was
silent, except the rattling of the ropes as the ship yielded to the
smooth and gentle swell of the sleeping North Sea. About this time, the
Quartermaster, it is supposed, awoke; at least he had not been heard
before to utter his complaints, probably from the bustle consequent
on the managing of the vessel in a stiff breeze. However, it was at
this time that his cracked and buried voice first fell upon the ears
of the crew; and for about twenty minutes the panic it created is
indescribable. The whist company in the cabin, at first thought it was
one of the sailors in a chest, and called the captain; who declared he
had been that minute examining into the cause of the unearthly sounds,
and had mustered his crew, all of whom were on deck, as much astonished
as he was--nay, more so, for one of them, a Welshman, felt convinced
that the voice proceeded from the speaking trumpet of the ghost of
David Jones, his former shipmate, “who had died in ill will with him.”

“Hallo--o--o--o--o!”--“Murder!”--“Murder!” now rose upon all ears, as
if the voice were at the bottom of the sea. The Welshman fell upon his
knees, and begged forgiveness of his injured and departed friend, David
Jones: the rest of the crew caught a slight tinge of his fears, and
paced about in couples to and fro; some declaring the voice was below
the rudder, and others that it was at the mast-head. The passengers,
one and all, hurried on deck; in short, none on board, not even the
Captain and the oldest seaman, were free from alarm: for they had
searched every _habitable_ place in the vessel without discovering the
cause of their terrors, and the hold, it was evident, could not have
contained an extra rat, it was so crammed with luggage, &c. “Let me
out, you d----d rascals! let me out--let me out, I say!” screamed the
voice with increased vigour. These exclamations the Welshman declared
were addressed to devils, that were tormenting his deceased enemy
David; and he uttered a fervent prayer for the peace of the wandering
and unhappy soul: but a different idea was awakened in the mind of the
Captain by the words “_Let me out_,” “There is somebody packed up in
the hold,” exclaimed he; and instantly ordering the men to follow him
down, all began to remove the upper layer of articles; which being
done, the voice became louder and more distinct.

“Where are you?” bawled the Captain.

“I’m here in a coach, d----n you!” answered the Quartermaster.

The mystery was now solved, and the Welshman made easy; but no one
could imagine how a human being could have got _into_ the carriage.
However, satisfaction on this point was not to be waited for; so
the men fell to work, and after about half an hour’s hard exertion,
succeeded in disincumbering the vehicle. They then proceeded to unpack
the Quartermaster, whose astonishment amounted almost to madness, when
he found that he had not only been confined in a coach, but in a ship,
and that the said ship was then in the middle of the German Ocean!

It was impossible to put back to Harwich, so no remedy was left the
little fat gentleman but to proceed to the end of the voyage, and to
take a passage back from Hamburg as soon as possible. This was bad
enough; but his hopes of an early return were almost destroyed by the
setting in of adverse winds, which kept the vessel beating about in a
most bile-brewing and stomach-stirring ocean, for ten days and nights;
during which time, when not sea-sick, the Quartermaster was employed
in profoundly meditating _how_ he could have got into the coach; and
even after having taken the opinion of the captain, the crew, and all
the passengers, upon the matter, he felt himself as much in the dark as
ever. The last thing he could recollect of “the land he had left,” was
that he dined and _wined_ at the “Three Cups,”--what followed was chaos.

But the worst of the affair, decidedly, was that the day on which
he had been _put to sea_ was the 22d of the month, and as it was
impossible for him to make his appearance with his regiment on the
24th, he knew he must, as a matter of course, be reported “_Absent
without leave_” at head quarters, and that he would most probably
be _superseded_. This reflection was even worse than the weather
to the Quartermaster, though the rough sea had already almost
“brought his heart up.” However, he had great hopes of being able
to join his regiment on the 10th of the following month--the next
_return-day_--and, by due application, he thought he might contrive
to prevent supersession. Ten days of this time was, however, consumed
before he set a foot upon the German shore, and then only half of his
excursion was over: all his hopes rested upon a quick passage back to
Harwich. This, however, the Fates denied him; for having drawn on the
agent--got the cash--engaged his passage to England--laid in sea-stock,
and all things necessary--the packet, just as she was leaving Hamburg,
was run foul of by a five-hundred-ton ship, and so much injured that
she was obliged to put back, and the unfortunate Quartermaster was thus
compelled to wait a fortnight for another opportunity of returning
to England. He not only was delayed beyond the 10th (return-day) but
beyond the following 24th, and when he _did_ arrive, he found that he
had been not only superseded by the Commander-in-chief, but considered
dead by all his friends and relations!

However, on personally applying for reinstatement, he obtained it, and
once more joined his old corps at Harwich, where he many a night amused
the mess with the recital of his trip to sea in the coach; which was
always given with most effect when he was _half-seas-over_.


    The image of this suffering quite unmans me.


“Parade, Sir!--Parade, Sir!--There’s a parade this morning, Sir!”

With these words, grumbled out by the unyielding leathern lungs of my
servant, I was awakened from an agreeable dream in my barrack-room bed
one morning about a quarter before eight o’clock.

“Parade!”--I reflected a moment;--“Yes,” said I, “_a punishment_

I proceeded to dress; and as I looked out of my window I saw that the
morning was as gloomy and disagreeable as the duty we were about to
perform. “Curse the punishment!--curse the crimes!” muttered I to

I was soon shaved, booted, and belted. The parade-call was beaten, and
in a moment I was in the barrack-yard.

The non-commissioned officers were marching their squads to the ground:
the officers, like myself, were turning out: the morning was cold as
well as foggy: and there was a sullen, melancholy expression upon every
man’s countenance, indicative of the relish they had for a punishment
parade: the faces of the officers, as upon all such occasions, were
particularly serious: the women of the regiment were to be seen in
silent groups at the barrack-windows--in short, every thing around
appealed to the heart, and made it sick. Two soldiers were to receive
three hundred lashes each! One of them, a corporal, had till now
preserved a good character for many years in the regiment; but he had
been in the present instance seduced into the commission of serious
offences, by an associate of very bad character. Their crimes, arising
doubtless from habits of intoxication, were, disobedience of orders,
insolence to the sergeant on duty, and the making away with some of
their necessaries.

The regiment formed on the parade, and we marched off in a few minutes
to the riding-house, where the triangle was erected, about which the
men formed a square, with the Colonel, the Adjutant, the Surgeon, and
the drummers in the centre.

“Attention!” roared out the Colonel. The word, were it not that it was
technically necessary, need not have been used, for the attention of
all was most intense; and scarcely could the footsteps of the last men,
closing in, be fairly said to have broken the gloomy silence of the
riding-house. The two prisoners were now marched into the centre of the
square, escorted by a corporal and four men.

“Attention!” was again called, and the Adjutant commanded to read the
proceedings of the court-martial. When he had concluded, the Colonel
commanded the private to “_strip_.”

The drummers now approached the triangle, four in number, and
the senior took up the “_cat_” in order to free the “tails” from
entanglement with each other.

“Strip, Sir!” repeated the Colonel, having observed that the prisoner
seemed reluctant to obey the first order.

“Colonel,” replied he, in a determined tone, “I’ll volunteer.”[3]

“You’ll volunteer, will you, Sir?”

“Yes; sooner than I’ll be flogged.”

“I am not sorry for that. Such fellows as you can be of no use to the
service except in Africa. Take him back to the guard-house, and let the
necessary papers be made out for him immediately.”

The latter sentence was addressed to the Corporal of the guard who
escorted the prisoners, and accordingly the man who volunteered was
marched off, a morose frown and contemptuous sneer strongly marked on
his countenance.

The Colonel now addressed the other prisoner.

“You are the last man in the regiment I could have expected to find
in this situation. I made you a corporal, Sir, from a belief that you
were a deserving man; and you had before you every hope of farther
promotion; but you have committed such a crime that I must, though
unwillingly, permit the sentence of the court which tried you to take
its effect.” Then turning to the Sergeant-major, he ordered him to cut
off the Corporal’s stripes from his jacket: this was done, and the
prisoner then stripped without the slightest change in his stern but
penitent countenance.

Every one of the regiment felt for the unfortunate Corporal’s
situation; for it was believed that nothing but intoxication, and
the persuasion of the other prisoner who had volunteered, could have
induced him to subject himself to the punishment he was about to
receive, by committing such a breach of military law, as that of which
he was convicted. The Colonel, himself, although apparently rigorous
and determined, could not, by all his efforts, hide his regret that
a good man should be thus punished: the affected frown, and the loud
voice in command, but ill concealed his real feelings;--the struggle
between the head and the heart was plainly to be seen; and had the
head had but the smallest loophole to have escaped, the heart would
have gained a victory. But no alternative was left; the man had been
a _Corporal_, and, therefore, was the holder of a certain degree of
trust from his superiors: had he been a private only, the crime might
have been allowed to pass with impunity, on account of his former good
character; but, as the case stood, the Colonel could not possibly
pardon him, much as he wished to do so. No officer was more averse to
flogging in any instance, than he was; and whenever he could avert
that punishment, consistent with his judgment, which at all times was
regulated by humanity, he would gladly do it. Flogging was in his eyes
an odious punishment, but he found that the _total_ abolition of it was
impossible; he therefore held the power over the men, but never used
it when it could be avoided. His regiment was composed of troublesome
spirits; and courts-martial were frequent: so were sentences to the
punishment of the lash; but seldom, indeed, were those punishments
carried into execution; for if the Colonel could find no fair pretext
in the previous conduct of the criminal, to remit his sentence, he
would privately request the Captain of his company to intercede
for him when about to be tied up to the triangle; thus placing the
man under a strong moral obligation to the officer under whose more
immediate command he was: and in general, this proved far more salutary
than the punishment ever could have done.

It is not _flogging_ that should be abolished in the army, but the
cruel and capricious opinions which move the lash. Humanity and sound
judgment are the best restrictions upon this species of punishment;
and when they are more frequently brought into action than they have
formerly been, there will be but few dissentient opinions upon military

The prisoner was now stripped and ready to be tied, when the Colonel
asked him why he did not volunteer for Africa, with the other culprit.

“No, Sir,” replied the man; “I’ve been a long time in the regiment, and
I’ll not give it up for three hundred lashes; not that I care about
going to Africa. I deserve my punishment, and I’ll bear it; but I’ll
not quit the regiment yet, Colonel.”

This sentiment, uttered in a subdued but manly manner, was applauded
by a smile of satisfaction from both officers and men; but most of
all by the old Colonel, who took great pains to show the contrary.
His eyes, although shaded by a frown, beamed with pleasure. He bit
his nether lip; he shook his head--but all would not do; he could not
look displeased, if he had pressed his brows down to the bridge of his
nose; for he felt flattered that the prisoner thus openly preferred a
flogging to quitting him and his regiment.

The man now presented his hands to be tied up to the top of the
triangle, and his legs below: the cords were passed round them in
silence, and all was ready. I saw the Colonel at this moment beckon to
the surgeon, who approached, and both whispered a moment.

Three drummers now stood beside the triangle, and the sergeant, who was
to give the word for each lash, at a little distance opposite.

The first drummer began, and taking three steps forward, applied the
lash to the soldier’s back--“_one_.”

Again he struck--“_two_.”

Again, and again, until _twenty-five_ were called by the Sergeant.
Then came the second drummer, and he performed his twenty-five. Then
came the third, who was a stronger and a more heavy striker than his
coadjutors in office: this drummer brought the blood out upon the right
shoulder-blade, which perceiving, he struck lower on the back; but the
surgeon ordered him to strike again upon the bleeding part: I thought
this was cruel; but I learnt after, from the surgeon himself, that it
gave much less pain to continue the blows as directed, than to strike
upon the untouched skin.

The poor fellow bore without a word his flagellation, holding his
head down upon his breast, both his arms being extended, and tied at
the wrists above his head. At the first ten or twelve blows, he never
moved a muscle; but about the twenty-fifth, he clenched his teeth and
cringed a little from the lash. During the second twenty-five, the part
upon which the cords fell became blue, and appeared thickened, for the
whole space of the shoulder-blade and centre of the back; and before
the fiftieth blow was struck, we could hear a smothered groan from the
poor sufferer, evidently caused by his efforts to stifle the natural
exclamations of acute pain. The third striker, as I said, brought the
blood; it oozed from the swollen skin, and moistened the cords which
opened its way from the veins. The Colonel directed a look at the
drummer, which augured nothing advantageous to his interest; and on the
fifth of his twenty-five, cried out to him, “Halt, Sir! you know as
much about using the cat as you do of your sticks.” Then addressing the
Adjutant, he said, “Send that fellow away to drill: tell the drum-major
to give him two hours _additional_ practice with the sticks every day
for a week, in order to bring his hand into--a--proper movement.”

The drummer slunk away at the order of the Adjutant, and one of the
others took up the cat. The Colonel now looked at the Surgeon, and
I could perceive a slight nod pass, in recognition of something
previously arranged between them. This was evidently the case; for
the latter instantly went over to the punished man, and having asked
him a question or two, proceeded formally to the Colonel, and stated
something in a low voice: upon which the drummers were ordered to take
the man down. This was accordingly done; and when about to be removed
to the regimental hospital, the Colonel addressed him thus: “Your
punishment, Sir, is at an end; you may thank the Surgeon’s opinion for
being taken down so soon.” (Every one knew this was only a pretext.) “I
have only to observe to you, that as you have been always, previous to
this fault, a good man, I would recommend you to conduct yourself well
for the future, and I promise to hold your promotion open to you as

The poor fellow replied that he would do so, and burst into tears,
which he strove in vain to hide.

Wonder not that the hard cheek of a soldier was thus moistened by a
tear; the heart was within his bosom, and these tears came from it.
The lash could not force one from his burning eyelid; but the word of
kindness--the breath of tender feeling from his respected Colonel,
dissolved the stern soldier to the grateful and contrite penitent.

May this be remembered by every commanding officer, when the cat is
cutting the back of the soldier! May they reflect that both the back
and the heart have feeling; and that the tear of repentance is oftener
brought from the culprit’s eyes by kindness than by the lash!


    I knew him, Horatio--a fellow of infinite jest--of most excellent


Few indeed are there in the army who have not heard of Morris Quill;
and fewer still are they who have known a better man, or a merrier
companion. He was a medical officer of the 31st regiment--an Irishman,
with one of the softest, soundest, and most gentlemanly brogues that
ever eulogised a bottle of genuine port, or asked a favour from a
wealthy widow’s lip. He was a fine portly, good-humoured looking,
summer-faced son of Erin, with that sort of fun about him which, if
it did not injure himself, carried no sting to the bosom of any body
else, except when his wit was directed to the operation of crushing
some impudent coxcomb; and then it left its penal effects with him
who deserved them. He is now no more, poor fellow! He died at Cork a
short time ago, and his _last march_ was attended by all the military
(both half and full pay) in the city and its vicinity. His memory still
lives; and so long as there shall be a gallant Peninsular hero to sit
at a mess-table, the eccentricities and whims of Morris Quill can never
be forgotten. The few which I recollect will be recognized as genuine
by all those officers who served in the Duke of Wellington’s army. I
knew him: I have known his friends: I have seen and heard of most of
his drolleries; and from the many I select the few which follow.

For the purpose of creating hilarity, Morris would often affect the
greatest simplicity of Irish manners when strangers were at the
mess-table. He would on those occasions tell such anecdotes of
himself, as were calculated to make him appear but little removed from
barbarism; and this always afforded the highest degree of enjoyment
to those who were by, most of whom knew that he was any thing but a
barbarian. I was once present when he played off this whim in a most
laughable way. There were several very prim and “_monstrous_” important
gentlemen dining at the mess--perfect strangers to any thing like a
joke, and equally so to Quill.

As soon as the bottle was fairly adrift, Morris seized an opportunity
of gravely addressing the President. “Colonel,” said he, “I received
a _letther_ to-day from my _ould_ mother in Kerry. Just read the
direction on it. I’m sure ’tis plain enough, and yet it has been two
months coming.” The letter was handed about the table, and the officers
read aloud the address to the perfect astonishment of the visitors.

“_To Misther Docthor Morris Quill, Esquire. Along with Lord
Wellington’s fighting army in France, or Spain, or Portingale, or maybe
elsewhere, and the Western Indys. From his loving mother._”

The gravity with which he managed this piece of humour, excited the
mirth of all his companions, at the expense of the strangers, who
looked very contemptuously on Morris, when they saw this specimen of
the family education. However, before they left the table, all was
explained, and Quill reinstated in their good opinion.

Morris had served in a regiment before he joined the 31st; and one of
his old brother-officers having met him in Dublin, shortly after the
exchange, asked him why he did not stay with his old friends?--“Oh,
I’ll tell you then,” replied Morris. “You see I have a brother in the
32d, and I wanted to be near him in the wars, so I changed into the
31st, which you know is as close as possible to his regiment.” At this
time they happened to be two thousand miles asunder.

With all the apparent simplicity which Quill exhibited, he was as
good a judge of politeness, and knew as well the difference between
gentlemanlike familiarity and impertinent freedom, as any man in the
army; which the following anecdote will in a great measure prove. He
exchanged from the 31st, after having been a long time in the regiment,
for no other purpose but to be attached to one about to go on actual
service, in order that he might have a better chance of promotion.
On joining, he had in his pocket letters from all those officers of
his old corps who had happened to be acquainted with those of the one
into which he exchanged; but he did not take the trouble to present a
single one, lest they would suppose, as he said himself, that he wanted
them to give him a dinner. In a few days after his joining, a very
supercilious officer of the regiment, no less a personage than one of
the majors, met him in the mess-room, _tête-à-tête_, and after a little
conversation, put a very impertinent question to Morris. “Pray, Sir,”
said he, “were not you a considerable time in the 31st?”

“Oh, yes, I was, ’faith.”

“It is a very good corps indeed--very good corps. I wonder you did not
remain in it! Pray, what made you leave it, Sir?”

Morris hesitated a little, and then replied: “Why, ’faith, I don’t
like to mention exactly the reason, Major.”

“God bless me! what was it?”

“Why, you see, Major, I know you are a gentleman every bit of you; and
if you will solemnly pledge me your honour that you will never mention
it to any body, I’ll tell you the whole affair.”

“’Pon my honour, I won’t. I pledge you my honour, I will not mention

“’Pon your _honour_,” said Morris emphatically.

“’Pon my _honour_!” echoed the Major.

“Well, that’s enough,” observed Morris; “I’ll tell you all about it.
But shut the door, Major.”--The Major obeyed and hurried back to his
chair.--“Well, then, you see, when I was in the 31st, I owed a little
money here and there; and I was bothered with duns--Oh! the 31st was a
fine regiment; it was there we had plenty of credit wherever we went:
more is the pity for me; because I just--one day that I was short of a
little money”--(_whispering_)

“Well, Sir!” interrupted the Major.

“I--a--just--a--put a few of the mess-table spoons and silver forks
into my pocket;--that’s all.”

“Indeed!” observed the Major, drawing back his chair.

“Yes, indeed,” continued Morris; “and a fellow there, dressed up in
livery (they call him the mess-waiter), saw me do it, and stopped me
before the officers;--so I was obliged to leave the regiment; for the
colonel was a civil fellow, and let me off without a court-martial.”

“Indeed!--ho--hum----Good morning, Sir,” _politely_ replied the Major,
and left the room.

Of course a thing of this kind was not suffered to lie hidden under
a bushel half an hour by the Major. He proceeded instantly to the
Colonel, and gravely laid open to him the alarming discovery. The
Colonel lost not a moment in calling a meeting of the mess. The mess
assembled (all excepting Morris, to whom the meeting was not made
known, for obvious reasons), and the Major, in an energetic speech,
informed the mess that he had heard the fact from Mr. Quill’s own
lips, with that gentleman’s solemn injunction upon the Major to be
secret. All were equally astonished and alarmed; each man put his
hand instinctively to his fob; and a little attorney-faced captain
despatched his servant to see if his trunks were all safe. The _mad
dog_ had got amongst them, and there was but one opinion about his

Morris was sent for forthwith:--the orderly-serjeant was despatched to
tell him that the Colonel and the members of the mess were assembled,
and that he was to attend immediately.

The _delinquent_ appeared without the least hesitation, and looking
as pleasantly as ever. On being informed by the Colonel of the cause
of the meeting, he paused, cast his eyes archly at the Major, and
exclaimed, “Ah! Major, Major! so you have told on me, though you
pledged your _honour_!” (_Not a word from the Major._) “Now, Colonel,
the fact of the matter is this: I was asked a question by that
gentleman, which, however he might have meant it, I could not receive
but as a joke (a little too free, I must say), and so I--just answered
him as the joke deserved. The Major, in a way I did not much relish,
asked me, ‘_What was the reason I quitted the 31st?_’ and I gave him
an answer. It was a question of an odd meaning, and so I gave him an
odd reply.” (_A stare and a smile from all except the Major._) “Now,”
continued Morris, pulling out a bundle of letters, “there’s a letter
for you, Colonel; and one for you, Captain Smith; and for you, Captain
Jones; and for you, Lieutenant Edwards:”--so on, until he delivered
the bundle of introductions which he brought from his last regiment.
The letters were read aloud, and better fun was never enjoyed in the
mess-room, nor relished with greater zest before or since; even the

    “Join’d in the laugh that almost made him sick;”

and Morris became the favourite of every officer in the regiment,
always excepting the _honourable_ Major himself.

At one period of the Peninsular war, the army was several months in
arrear of pay. Money was not to be got anywhere by the advanced troops,
except in the class of Generals and higher officers. Morris Quill was,
of course, one of those whose purses were empty--indeed there was not a
dollar to be _caught_ in the regiment from right to left.

A general officer was passing with his staff (General Crawford, I
believe) through the village in which Morris was quartered. As soon
as he saw the General, he turned to a brother officer, and said, “By
J----! I’ve a great mind to ask the General for a few dollars.”

“That you may do,” replied the officer; “but I’m sure you will not get

“Will you bet me £5 I don’t?” returned Morris.

“I will bet you £5 you do not borrow £5 or 20 dollars from _him_.”

“Done. I’ll bet you a bill on the paymaster.”


“Done--and I’ll _dine_ with him too,” said Morris, as he started off on
his poney. He trotted up to the General: taking off his hat in the most
“official” manner,--“General,” said he, “I beg your pardon--I have to
mention to you that my sick are without any _comforts_,[4]--they will
be in a bad way if I cannot buy something for them; and I have no money
at all.”

“Well, Mr. Quill, that is a very unfortunate thing. How much money will
be enough for you?”

“Oh! about 20 dollars, Sir; and if you will lend that sum to me, I will
give you an order on Cox and Greenwood for the money; which you can
send over, and it will be just the same thing to you.”

“Very well, Mr. Quill. Come to my quarters, and you shall have the

Morris jogged off with the General about two miles to his quarters; and
during the time they were going, the General found him a very pleasant
and humorous fellow. Morris, as he was receiving the money, mentioned
something about the scarcity of provisions, and concluded by saying,
“Faith, General, I don’t know when I had a dinner, or even saw the
ghost of one: there is a very savoury smell here, I can perceive; but
that is a _General_ thing, I suppose, in this quarter.”

The General without hesitation asked Morris to stay to dinner; and
highly enjoyed his society during the evening.

It was eleven o’clock before he returned; when producing the cash, he
convinced his friend and the other officers of his success; so they
finished the night over a cigar and a bottle of ration grog.

Quill, during the whole time he served in the Peninsula, had a servant
who was as whimsical and as humorous as himself. This servant, he used
to say, was “the best caterer for a gentleman’s table in hard times,
that ever came from Kerry.” And so he was; for Morris Quill had always
a fowl or a sucking pig for dinner, when the rest of the officers
(except those who dined with Morris) were obliged to be contented with
a biscuit and a bit of hard beef. Indeed, so excellent a purveyor and
cook was Dennis, that his master made it a practice to ask his friends
to dine with him, without (_of himself_) knowing where the eatables
were to come from. “Dennis,” he would say, “I am going to ask a couple
of gentlemen to dine with me to-day--indeed I _have_ asked them
already. What have you got?”

“Oh musha! Docthor Quill, I don’t know that I have any thing, barrin’ a
shouldther o’ vale and a hen or two.”

(A shoulder of veal! and a brace of fowls! when they were starving!--no
bad things.)--Or, perhaps, as it might happen, Dennis would say,
“Faith! Masther, I havn’t a toothful in the place, barrin’ the

“Well, Dennis, get what you can. Try, can you _buy_ any thing about the

(_Buy_, indeed! and not a sixpence in the whole division!)

Morris and his friends would come to dinner at the usual hour,
perfectly confident that Dennis had done his duty; and, perhaps, a good
pair of fowls, or a piece of pickled pork, or a sucking pig, would
welcome their longing appetites.

“Where did you buy these things, Dennis?” Quill would ask.

“O! plase your honour, up there above--over the hill--down there, at a
farm-house yondther.”

“You’re _sure_ you _bought_ them, Dennis?”

“O yes; I ped for ’em, Sir--that is, I offered the money to the farmer;
but he said, ‘Never mind, Dennis,’ says he, ‘it will do another time.’
So I mane to pay the next time I go.”

“Very well, very well, Dennis; so as you _paid_ for the provision, it’s
all well; but take care the Provost doesn’t give you your _change_ one
of these days.”

“Oh, never mind that, Sir; the Portuguese hereabouts all knows me very
well, and wouldn’t mind if I never ped them a vintin.”

And they had a right to know Dennis,--at least their _live stock_ had;
for there was scarcely a fowl, rabbit, pig, sheep, or calf in the
country, that he had not paid his respects to. Dennis used to say, “We
are here starvin’ and fightin’ for the Portuguese; so the laste they
may do, is to give us our dinner, _at any rate_.”

The last anecdote of this singular character, which I recollect, is as

A very hot engagement had taken place, in which the 31st regiment
had been hard at work. Quill had his instruments, &c. under a hedge
in a valley; at a little distance from the hill which his regiment
was endeavouring to take from the French. He stayed pretty near the
corps, (for Morris was no flincher,) and one of his brother officers
being wounded in the leg, he ran over to him to render what surgical
assistance he could. It was necessary to have something from the
medicine-chest, which was behind the hedge in the valley, and Morris
started off like a hare, to fetch it. At this moment the regiment was
suffering from grape-shot, and the Brigadier-General, who was coming
at a gallop along a narrow lane, saw Quill running, inside a hedge,
as fast as he could, away from the regiment, in the uniform of which
he was; and, thinking it was some cowardly officer who feared the
grape, the General cried out to him, “Where are you going, Sir?” To
which Morris only replied, still running under the hedge, “By J----s!
I won’t stay any longer there; it’s too hot.” The General again cried
out to him, and ordered his aid-de-camp to follow, and march him back a
prisoner; but Morris outran the aid-de-camp’s horse, and arrived before
him at the hedge where his instruments were. When the latter saw who
it was, he well nigh fell off his horse with laughing, as he galloped
back to tell the General his mistake. Morris laughed heartily, too;
and, indeed, he had the laugh all on his own side, as he returned with
the medicaments for which he had gone, to assist his wounded brother
officer, and with which he ran as fast _into_ the field as he had run
_out_ of it.


No. III.

    “To laugh with gibing boys, and stand the push
     Of every beardless vain Comparative.”


    SCENE.--_The Depôt Mess-room at Winchester--a
    tolerably large apartment, more airy than comfortable; neither
    carpet nor curtains.--Dinner so so.--Wines of excellent_
    MANUFACTURE.--_Company, consisting of fifteen officers,
    (mostly youths) of different regiments, and of course in different
    uniforms.--Attendants, three recruits in undress, (white
    flannel,)--no band; but several dogs barking and scudding about the

_Ensign Newly._ By G--d, I never sat down to so d--d a dinner in my
life; we get worse and worse every day: the fish smells infernally,
and this hash is made of the hard mutton we had on table last Thursday.
Simple, my boy, give us a _sample_ of that old cock turkey before you,
if you can get a knife into him.

_Ensign Simple._ I can’t carve. (_In a whisper._) Captain Alder, will
you cut the turkey? I never carved in my life.

_Capt. Alder._ Very well, Mr. Simple, I’ll try my skill. Hand that
turkey this way, John.

    [_One of the attendant recruits takes the dish of turkey, and in
    making an unnecessary circuit of the table, flaps down upon his
    face; the dish is smashed, and the turkey rolls to the far end of
    the mess room, followed by streams of gravy and the regrets of the

_Ensign Newly._ O, curse you for a clodhopper! Run after the turkey,
you rascal.

    [_John runs and takes up the turkey, but drops it immediately._]

_Lieut. Short._ What do you drop the turkey for, Sir, eh?

_John._ (_Blowing his fingers._) It’s roasting hot, zur.

_Capt. Alder._ Send the mess-waiter here, and then go to your duty,
Sir. You are not fit to be a scullion.

    [_Exit John; and as he goes out, three pointer dogs and a terrier
    run into the mess-room, and skurry about; one of them seizes on the
    turkey, but finding it too hot for his palate, drops his prey, and
    begins to bark loudly at it. The Mess-waiter and two attendants
    arrive in time, and beat out the dogs, after some difficulty, owing
    to the canine taste for gravy._]

_Lieut. Grub._ Well, d-- me, if this is not a pretty _mess_. I wish I
was back with my old corps once more, in the wilds of Canada. I never
saw a depôt mess yet that could manage a good servant.

_Capt. Alder._ Never! (_In a whisper._) Did you ever know it to manage
_any thing_ good?

_Lieut. Short._ Mess-waiter! what follows this course?

_Mess-waiter._ Rabbits, and the cold beef, Sir.

_All._ The cold beef! The eternal cold beef!

_Mess-waiter._ Gentlemen, I assure you the market was so bad to-day,
that we could only find that turkey; but the beef is very sweet and
good yet.

_Ensign Newly._ Mind, that we have no hashed or deviled turkey this

  [_looking significantly at the dirtied bird._]

_Mess-waiter._ Oh no Sir; we’ll eat this ourselves.

_Ensign Newly._ You will have fine sand sauce then.

    [_Hash and harrico are now served out amongst the half-grumbling,
    half-laughing mess, but a glass or two of wine restore matters a
    little; the rabbits and beef are scarcely tasted, and dinner is
    concluded on cheese and stale tarts._]

_Ensign Luby._ Send round the wine, Mr. President. I have just touched
the cash to-day. Old dad has sent me a fifty, and I am determined to be

_President._ Then I’ll send in your wine account to-morrow, my lad.

_Ensign Luby._ Ay, do, do--you’ll not find me like Mr. Trotter, who
marched off yesterday without waiting for his.

_Several._ What! is Trotter off?

_President._ Yes: and in a very ungentlemanly way too. I knew he
couldn’t stand the follies he gave way to--out every night until three,
and never sober.

_Ensign Newly._ I think, Mr. President, as I am a member of the same
corps to which Trotter belongs, you have shown no great proof of taste
in mentioning his name so disrespectfully before me.

_President._ Mr. Newly, I speak of Mr. Trotter as I think he deserves:
he _may_ be very honourable, but I think he outran his means, and
thereby his honour also.

_Several voices (in confusion.)_ Certainly, d--d dishonourable conduct.

_Ensign Luby._ Come, lads, hear me: I know Trotter a little; he is a
good young fellow; but somewhat too free with his cash; he does not
know how to keep it, when he gets it from home. I do not like to see
disputes here,--God knows we have enough of them: last night we were
all made unpleasant by two gentlemen contending that one’s facings
were handsomer than the other’s, and the day before we were thrown
into confusion by an argument between two young gentlemen about
superior rank and services--both not yet two months in the army. Come,
I say--Trotter owes his wine-bill: and for the best of reasons--he
had not money enough left to pay it out of seventy pounds sent by his
father; because, you see, he played Hell and Tommy (as the phrase
goes): so I’ll tell you what--I will _pay it myself_--ay, or any other
friend’s wine-bill; for, as I said before, I touched a _fifty_ to-day.

_President._ If I am wrong, Gentlemen, I’ll appeal to the voice of the

_All._ No! no! It’s all right. Sit down--sit down.

_Ensign Luby._ Bring in the wine quicker, _you_ Glundy--dy’ hear, d--n

_Glundy._ Yes, Sir.

  (_Servant runs out._

_Voice without._ Yoix! there, my lads,--he--he--hip--yoix!--hark
forward, my jolly dogs!--yo--io--io--io--io--hip!

  (_Enter Ensign Buckskin._

_Ensign Buckskin._ How are you, my hearty Cocks!--how are you?

_All the Mess._ How are you? How do, Buck? How do?

_President._ Where the devil have you been? eh!

_Ensign Buckskin._ Been! In bed, to be sure--just got up--swallowed a
basin of soup and a small glass of brandy. I was squeamish all the day;
but now I’m to rights again. Waiter!--clean glass. Well, how are you,
my boys?

  (_Sits down._

_Ensign Newly._ How are _you_, after your last night’s work--eh?

_Ensign Buckskin._ Oh! by George, Sir, they have taken out a warrant
against me.

_Ensign Newly._ For what?

_Ensign Buckskin._ For burning the old Constable’s nose. Jackson
and Jones are off by coach for Fort Monkton, and so have escaped:
unfortunate Jack Buckskin, as usual, comes in for a “good thing.” I
shall be up before “his _Vorship_,” as the “_Coves_” call him; but d--n
his eyes, I don’t care the rowel of an old spur about any infernal
magistratical methodist in Winchester. Yoix! my lads! ye--he--hip--old
Jack Buckskin against the d----l and all his _saints_.

    [_An uproarious laugh from the company, which sets all the dogs
    in the house barking, and Buckskin gives a regular “view halloo,”
    accompanied by several of the mess._]

_President._ Well, tell us how the matter occurred. Didn’t you knock
the watchman down first?

_Ensign Buckskin._ Not at all. Just hear me: Jackson and Jones, and Bob
Jennings, the young clergyman--you know Bob--great favourite of the
Cathedral big-wigs:--well, they and I were going quietly home about
three o’clock this morning, a little merry, and just strolled into the
church-yard to give little Fanny Giggleton a good-night serenade: her
bed-room window, you know, looks into the church-yard. So we began
singing “_Rest thee babe_” in full chorus, and finished by roaring
“_Jolly companions every one_,” when the watchman came over to us and
told us to go home. Jennings the clergyman was nearest to him, and
bade him to go to the d----l. Charley seized his Reverence, and his
Reverence seized him. I went up to the old guardian, and warned him
off: he took no notice; so I caught him by the back of his collar
with my left hand, and by the posterior portion of his _unspeakables_
with my right: Jennings held one arm, Jackson another, Jones before
us--so on we “_run_” him out of the church-yard and up the watch-house
stairs:--The watch-house, you know, is the ancient theatre, and is over
the butchers’ shambles. Into it we bundled him--charged him before
the night Constable with highly disorderly conduct, in disturbing
gentlemen who were enjoying a song, and also with gross insolence.
The Dogberry, of course, sided with the watchman. “What’s your name,
Sir?” said he to me. “My name,” said I, “is Old Trumpetson, from the
Cape.” He then began to write it down, “T. r. u. m. p. son, that’s
it,--Trumpetson,--now I have it. Well, Mr. Trumpetson, you are one of
the officers of the garrison; I know where to find you in the morning;
and you Mr. Jenkins also.” My cane now happened to drop, and I took
the candle off the table to look for it. The Constable stooped down
also beside me--his red nose looked so tempting that I could not resist
the joke--I bobbed the candle into his face; the light went out, and
he roared lustily. All was now confusion: I seized a lantern and
rattle--Jackson, Jones, and Jenkins ran down stairs--I after them,
first locking the door outside upon the pair within; which I did in an
instant. There we left them, and I suppose they neither got light nor
liberty, until some of their brethren came to open the door. I know I
shall meet with no mercy from old Muddlehead, the magistrate: he hates
the military--and me more than all the rest.

_Ensign Luby._ Did you really burn the fellow’s nose?

_Ensign Buckskin._ Burn?--ay, that you may depend upon.

_Lieut. Short._ I saw him to-day in the barrack looking for the
Commandant--his nose was in a small calico bag. [_a laugh._]

_Ensign Buckskin._ Well, they may all go to the d----l in a bunch. I’ll
pay the fellow for his nose.

_Ensign Luby._ Ay, Jack, my boy, and if you want money--see here! it is
at your service.

  [_pulls out a handful of notes._

_Ensign Buckskin._ I don’t know that I shall run short yet; however,
lend me ten: [_takes a note out of Luby’s hand_] thank you--all right,
Luby; I’ll pay you, my boy.

_Ensign Luby._ Don’t mention it; I have this day received a remittance,
as I said before, and any of my friends may share it as far as it
will go. I have not been long in the army, but I know this--that
good-fellowship is the soul of it.

_Capt. Alder._ I think you said this evening, that Trotter’s _fault_
was liberality.

_Ensign Luby._ Yes, yes--but liberality for ever! that I say.

    [_A strong hiccup, together with certain rollings of the eye and
    screwings of the lips, now gave evidence of Mr. Luby’s intellectual

_Capt. Alder._ Well, gentlemen, I must be off. Will you go, Captain

_Capt Bell._ Yes.

_Capt. Saunders._ So will I.

  [_The three Captains rise and withdraw._

_Ensign Luby._ Let them go: what do we want with Captains here? we are
all jolly subs. now; so Buckskin give us a song.

_Ensign Simple._ I--think--I’ll--go--too. [_rises._

_Ensign Luby._ Ay, go and take your gruel.

_Ensign Simple._ I don’t know why you talk of _gruel_, Mr. Luby. I wish
to go to bed early, and to rise betimes in the morning to my drill:

    “Early to bed and early to rise,
     Make a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

_Ensign Buckskin._ Well, no preaching! good-night--say your prayers,
and tie your night-cap well on.

    [_Ensign Simple now retires sulkily, accompanied by a laugh from
    all the company._

_Ensign Luby._ That fellow is fitter for the pro--pro--profession of
a--hic--linendraper, than the the--hic--trade of a soldier. Come, I’ll
give you a song.

_Ensign Buckskin._ Bravo! song! song! Now I mean to _begin_ the evening.

    [_Ensign Luby sings “The glasses sparkle on the board,” so
    completely out of tune that nobody knows what to make of it; the
    conclusion, however, is loudly applauded._

_Ensign Buckskin._--

    “A very good song, and very well sung,

          (_Chorus by all._)

    Jolly companions every one.
          We only live life to enjoy--
          We only live life to enjoy--

    How happy’s the soldier who lives on his pay,
    And spends half-a-crown out of six-pence a day.

        We are the boys for mirth and glee--
        We are the boys for jollity.
          And so we fell a drinking,
          So we fell a drinking,
          Drinking, drinking,
          So we fell a drinking.

        We shan’t go home till morning,
        We shan’t go home till morning,
        We shan’t go home till morning--
          ’Till daylight does appear.”

Ye--he--hip! Yoix! hark forward! stole away!

_All the Mess._ Bravo! bravo! bravo!

    [_Just as the song concludes, a servant enters and approaches the

_Servant._ Plase your honor, Gintlemin, the Major sinds his compliments
to yiz, an’ hopes that yiz won’t make such an uproar; becaise the
Major’s lady, my misthress, has a great headache. I know, to my own
knowledge, that she took physic this mornin’, an’ complained of a
gripin’. (_A roar of laughter._) Oh, ’faith! I tell yiz no lies at all
at all; for she’s as crass as two sticks to boot; which always shows
she’s ill.

_Ensign Buckskin._ Ill-tempered you mean, Sir. Go along, and tell the
Major that we shall _endeavour_ to moderate our mirth; and, d’ ye
hear?--very sorry for the Major’s lady. (_Exit Servant._) What the
d----l have ladies to do living in barracks, I say.

_Ensign Luby._ Right--hic--Barracks are only fit for single men--hic!
Fire away, lads! who cares for the--hic--Major?

_Ensign Newby._ Or his wife either?

_Ensign Buckskin._ He’ll have us all to drill in the morning for this.
So, my lads, let us drill _him_ a little now. Song--song!

    [_A tremendous noise is heard, something like the rolling of bricks
    or large stones down stairs._

_All the Mess._ Eh! what’s that?

_Ensign Buckskin._ It’s the Major. He has fallen down stairs. (_A
similar noise is heard nearer the door._) Here he comes--now for a
wigging. Don’t laugh for a dukedom.

_Voice (without)._ I’ll see who dared to serve me so--that I will.

    [_The door opens, and Ensign Simple, half undressed, enters,
    pushing before him a small donkey. A roar of laughter greets the

_Ensign Simple._ You may laugh, Gentlemen, but I am determined to
have satisfaction for this disgraceful conduct. (_Another roar of
laughter._) It is no joke--it is a most disgraceful liberty to take
with any one; and I will not suffer it. I neither offend nor meddle
with any body, and I expect nobody will meddle with me.

_Lieut. Short._ What, in the name of all that’s beautiful! is the
matter with you? Are you mad?

_Ensign Simple._ Mad! No, Sir; but I have been disgracefully treated.
This donkey, Sir, has been brought up to my room, and tied fast in
my bed, Sir;--the whole of my apartment, Sir, has been dirtied and
disfigured by the brute. (_Shouts of laughter._) You are all concerned
in this shameful trick. Why don’t you play upon those who deserve it? I
never make free with any of you.

_Lieut. Short._ Perhaps that’s the reason they play tricks on you.

_Ensign Simple._ Then I am determined to put it down. I bore with
former insults, but I will not with this. You took a leg of mutton and
a pound of butter out of my cupboard last week, and put them between
my sheets, along with the fender: this I took no notice of. But to put
a creature like that into my bed, dirty as he is--I’ll never bear with
it. I’ll write to my father to-morrow to come down and investigate the

_Ensign Buckskin._ You must be a clever fellow, as well as a very
presuming one, to fix the donkey-saddle on us. Who told you that _we_
did it?

_Ensign Simple._ I know it was some of you, if not all.

_Ensign Buckskin._ Come, ask the gentleman himself who tied him in the
bed; he knows more about it than you do, a great jackass as he is.

_Ensign Luby._ (_to the Donkey._) Who tied you, Sir?--hic--eh?--He
won’t answer.

_Ensign Simple._ I see you are all leagued against me, because I don’t
squander my money amongst you; but I’ll have satisfaction--that I’m
resolved on.

    (_Ensign Luby, inattentive to the last observation, mounts the
    donkey and rides him round the mess-table, while Buckskin gives a
    tremendous view halloo! During the uproar, the Major-commanding
    enters with his servant, frothing at the mouth with passion._

_Major._ Turn that donkey out directly. What _can_ all this mean?
Mr. Short, I am surprised that _you_, who have been a member of a
_regimental_ mess, should join in such disgraceful proceedings. Who
brought this animal here?

_Several Voices._ Mr. Simple.

_Major._ Then, Mr. Simple, go to your room. Consider yourself in arrest.

_Ensign Simple._ I am not to blame, Major.

_Major._ Go to your room, Sir. I’ll not hear a word to-night; your
conduct is disgraceful.

_Ensign Simple._ I am not the person.

_Major._ You brought the ass into the mess-room, Sir.

_Ensign Simple._ I found him in my bed, Sir, and covered with my
bed-clothes: it is impossible that I can sleep in my room to-night,
from the horrid state in which the animal has left it.

    (_The Major’s ire could not bear up against this; he struggled
    against an involuntary laugh, and had nearly overcome it, when a
    certain motion of the animal, and a grotesque elevation of his tail
    put an end to all his efforts to be severe; so he gave way to a
    hearty fit of laughter, in which all but Simple joined._

_Major._ Take the cursed brute away, you Sir.

  (_Pat the servant pulls the Donkey out of the room._

_Pat._ He’s a horrid headsthrong baste as ever I pult.

    (_Exeunt Pat and Donkey, followed by the mess-waiter._

_Major._ I see how it is, Mr. Simple; there has been a trick played
off at your expense. I am very sorry that folly should lead officers
to such excesses, but I fear we can never remedy the evil. I am an
old officer, gentlemen--I have been thirty years in the service, and
as long as I can remember a depot-mess, it has been the same--all
disjointed--one scene of disagreement constantly presents itself.
A number of mere boys meet together, unacquainted wholly with the
rules and habits of a regiment,--uncontrolled by the friendly opinions
and directions of their own superior officers, and they give way to
every species of folly. I do believe that the practice of sending
Ensigns to depots is most injurious to the service. A youth is sent
from school to a depot, where there is not perhaps one officer of his
own regiment: little or no attention is paid to his conduct; he is
neither advised nor restrained, at a time when he most requires it;
and the consequences are, that every folly, if not vice, assails him,
and he joins his regiment with an impression which even that excellent
school finds difficult to remove--his health impaired, and his pocket
exhausted. Gentlemen, I am giving you a friend’s opinion, and hope
every one of you will use your exertions to check the follies which
prevail but too much at this depot: and let me also assure you that the
sooner you all join your respective regiments the better--each of you
can use your private exertions to that effect, and I will use mine.

    [_This address produced symptoms of sanity in the young officers;
    they in the most cordial manner thanked the Major, who shook hands
    with them all, and the party retired in the most unexpectedly
    peaceable disposition._

       *       *       *       *       *

The above sketch is not at all exaggerated: it is outlined for the
benefit of young officers; and also in the hope that it may meet the
eye of those of their superiors who may have it in their power to
remedy the defect.




    Halt ye not for food or slumber,
    View not ’vantage, count not number;
    Jolly reapers, forward still!
    Grow the crop on vale or hill.
    Thick or scattered, stiff or lithe,
    It shall down before the scythe.
    Forward with your sickles bright,
    Reap the harvest of the fight.


After four years of indefatigable exertions--doubt and
disaster--success and glory--sickness and privation--hope and
delight--the British army began to prepare for the promising campaign
of 1813, under a chief whose military talents had riveted the
confidence alike of his soldiers, as the citizens of that empire,
for whose weal--for whose glory--for whose existence as a mistress
of the world, he had shared in all the privations and sufferings of
his troops, and was ready still to endure even to death, or crown his
country’s hopes with success in that mighty and awful strife which
engaged her so long. The winter had passed, and the early spring
of Portugal had brought to that country reinforcements, money, and
equipments, the want of which had but too frequently impeded the
success of our army in the Peninsula. Transports were continually
floating up the sunny Tagus, with their red-cross flags waving from the
masts--their decks covered with glittering accoutrements, and hearty
soldiers: fresh detachments and fresh regiments were daily filing off
the public squares of Lisbon, to join the grand army; while the eyes of
the often disappointed Portuguese followed them with patriotic hope,
and their hearts and tongues ejaculated wishes for their success. The
road from Lisbon to Coimbra and Vizeu, which had so often withered
under the wasteful tread of war, now glistened with groups of laughing
soldiers and brightening prospects; even the ruined towns of Condexia
and Pumbal lost their appearance of despair, and assumed a faint
aspect of hope--such as the dying feel from leech’s promises. The
inhabitants everywhere were kind, the season was propitious, and the
soldiery seemed to have caught a spirit of confidence which reacted
on the people; and if it did not entirely remove their doubts and
fears, it tended considerably to advance their hopes of success, and
to tranquillize their long-disturbed minds. The arrival of the Hussar
brigade at Lisbon affected the Portuguese more than any of the other
warlike preparations--it was a cordial to their feeble spirits. This
brigade consisted of the 10th, 15th, and 18th Hussars; and certainly
its appearance was sufficient to encourage them highly;--the genius
of romantic chivalry never imagined a more warlike and beautiful body
of horse--their perfect discipline--their splendid equipments--their
health and spirits--the true British halo which seemed to glisten
around them--all conspired to elevate the Lisbonians almost to a
certainty of success in the approaching campaign.

At no period of the war was there more cause for strong hope in
the Portuguese than at this time: all the fortresses in their
frontier-towns were in our possession--those provinces of Spain which
were the favourites of Soult’s army evacuated--Souchet just defeated
by Sir John Murray in the South--and Buonaparte ably opposed by the
Russians; but the Portuguese had been so often led astray by flattering
prospects, that nothing short of entire success could wholly convince
them that they were secure from the persecutions of the French.

On the 20th of April I found myself at Oporto, having marched from
Coimbra for the purpose of joining the left, or third column of the
army, under the command of Sir Thomas Graham; which was destined to
enter Spain by _Tras os Montes_. This column consisted of the first,
third, and fifth divisions, together with the first cavalry division.
The second, or centre column, was under the immediate command of his
Grace the Duke of Wellington; and consisted, I believe, of the fourth,
sixth, seventh, and light divisions: this was to advance to Salamanca.
The first, or right column of the army, under the command of Lord Hill,
was to proceed along the Tagus toward Toledo. Thus all the forces
under the command of the Duke of Wellington were divided into three
powerful columns; and so disposed as to be available at several points
of attack.--A finer army--better officered and better equipped, from
the massy ponton to the tent peg, never took the field; and none ever
acquitted themselves there more creditably.

In sketching what I remember of this memorable campaign, it cannot be
expected that I should display the pen of the historian; if I did so,
I must of necessity draw from other sources than my own observation
and the narratives of my brother-soldiers: but to this I do not
pretend; what I _recollect to have witnessed_, or have been told by
eye-witnesses, is all I offer to my readers:--an individual on a
campaign, as a narrator of what occurred before him, ought not--could
not consistently, do more: this I will attempt, so far as I conceive
the matter may be interesting; I will describe my humble share in the
glories of the army, and note those things only which, in my progress
with it, appeared to me not unworthy of remark: I will do so with
truth; and if I omit occasionally the notice of some particulars of
interest, familiar to the memory of some who served with me, it can
only be from want of more acute recollection. I have no doubt forgotten
many a town, and wood, and valley, and blue mountain, which lay on my
way, and many a circumstance also; however, enough remains to afford my
mind a vivid picture of that eventful march,--to me, highly interesting
and delightful, notwithstanding the fatigues which frequently attended
it; and I trust that what I do remember of it will not be uninteresting
to my readers.

I will mention an incident which happened to me when I arrived at
Oporto; and the motive I have in touching on so trifling an occurrence
is, that an opinion as to the French influence in Portugal, even at
that promising time, may be in some measure drawn from it. I arrived at
Oporto about five o’clock in the evening, and received a billet upon a
respectable house for myself, my servant, and two horses. The master of
this house was a rich lawyer; and although I learnt that quarters were
very indifferent in the town, yet the appearance of the house inspired
me with the hope that I should be enabled to make a better report on
this subject, as far as regarded myself.

The outward gates of the house were open, and I walked up a wide
staircase: having knocked at a large door, I was admitted by a
cross-looking woman, who in answer to my question of whether the
gentleman of the house was at home, replied, with a shrug of the
shoulders, “_Nao esta in caza_” (not within). I explained the nature
of my visit, producing the paper which authorised it; and immediately
the countenance of the dame wore the most vinegar aspect: “_Nao esta
quartelia, Senhor, nada, nada, nada_” (no room, none, none.) This
I knew must be false, from the size of the house, as well as from
my knowledge of the disposition of many of the Portuguese to shift
off the trouble of accommodating English officers. However, I was
determined to act only through the authorities; for the Commander of
the forces was very scrupulous upon this point, and justly so; for many
officers during former campaigns had acted rather despotically in their
quarters, and occasioned reports of such a nature as to call forth
a general order upon the subject, the effects of which were sorely
felt by those officers whose conduct was peaceable and conciliating.
Consistent with the spirit of this order, I left the old Donna,
telling my servant he was to remain, and returned to the Portuguese
authorities, who gave me the billet. On describing my reception, one of
them burst out into exclamations of rage, declaring that the person on
whom I was billeted was a liar and a favourer of the French. “He had
room enough in his house for _four_ French officers,” said he; “and if
he does not find accommodation for you, Sir, in every way befitting a
British officer, I will send him a dozen of Portuguese soldiers.” He
then wrote a note to the lawyer, and requested me to take no excuse
from him, but to order my servant to carry my luggage at once into the
house. I pursued the directions given,--ordered my boy to unload and
place my panniers, &c. in the house, and proceeded up stairs myself.
The door was opened, and without ceremony I walked into the principal
room of the house, where I discovered the lawyer in a fever of anxiety.
He was a little smoke-dried man, of about fifty years of age, dressed
in a spotted _robe de chambre_, and powdered in the highest style of
professional ultraism. His fever increased to a paroxysm when he saw me
in the heart of the garrison, for he never expected such a surprise; he
reiterated the words of the old woman with a grin, (which he thought
was a smile)--an attempt at polite denial--a widening of the mouth into
a sort of imitation-smile, in which his little eyes took no part; in
them could be seen the splenetic rage which would have burnt me into
a cinder, if it had possessed the power. He declared that he could
not accommodate me, nor any other officer; and had I been weak enough
to parley with him civilly on the subject, his presumption would have
increased more rapidly than it did; but I coolly threw myself down upon
his splendid sofa, and desired him to read the note which I brought
from the magistrates. He read it, and after a pause and a protracted
shrug of the shoulders, muttered something of the great inconvenience
he should be put to by having an officer billeted on him; but that he
supposed he must put up with it; and begged that I would walk down to
a room which he had below. I followed him; and after a tedious hour’s
search for keys, he succeeded in opening an apartment, into which I
followed him. Here, he said, he would put a bed on the floor,--the
only bed he had; and that he would also send down two chairs and a
table; hinting, at the same time, that Lord Wellington’s orders were
that no other furniture was in any case to be supplied, except by the
voluntary act of those on whom officers were quartered. An adequate
idea of the apartment it is scarcely possible to give: it had been
a sort of lumber-room, I suppose, for some centuries back--covered
with cobwebs--damp, dirty, and dark--not an atom of any kind of
moveable;--on the ground floor, too! and, contrasted with the superior
accommodation given to officers by the Portuguese generally, it had the
effect of exciting my indignation against the little lawyer to such a
degree, that had it not been for the respect I bore for the orders of
Lord Wellington, I believe I should have punished the insolent old
rogue on the spot, by the application of my whip to his parchment skin.
I paused a little; then took the key out of the door; and, nodding
ironically to my _patrao_, I said, “_esta bon_”--“it will do very
well.” I then went out, and ordered my servant to lead in both the
horses:--there was scarcely a stable to be got in Oporto for love or
money; and the thought struck me, that I could not only provide myself
with a tolerable substitute for such accommodation, but punish the
little hater of the English as he deserved.

The horses were brought into the apartment forthwith, to the
astonishment, confusion, and intense mortification of the lawyer.
Neither my servant nor myself could refrain from laughter at the
picture. The little gentleman’s hands clasped in the fervency of his
raging astonishment; his frame trembling with passion,--the old dame
exclaiming loudly at the door, “Ai! Jesus, Maria, Joze!” and the
animals (as all horses will after a journey,) relieving themselves by
those actions, which in a parlour may seem out of place and highly
laughable, but in a stable “quite correct.” The scene can only be
imagined perfectly by those who saw it. The lawyer now lost all
patience, and gave way to the most violent and unbounded rage. He
called me “heretic Englishman,” and openly proclaimed his hatred of
Great Britain and love of France; he stamped, raved, and ejaculated;
but I coolly told him to walk out, or that I would lock him in with the
horses, as I could not remain longer in my _stable_. He obeyed with
a scowl and a curse; while I thanked him in the most _polite_ manner
for the accommodation his house had afforded me, and went back to the
magistrates, to whom I related the affair. Their enjoyment of the joke
was little less than mine; they advised me to keep the room as a stable
while I remained at Oporto (which I did), and gave me another billet
for myself, upon a house opposite to the lawyer’s, where I received the
most hospitable attention for the few days I remained in the town; and
had the pleasure of nodding at old _parchment_ every morning as he went
out of his house; which _civility_ he never thought proper to notice,
except by a frown, peculiar to his Jacobinical countenance.

As nearly as I can recollect, it was on the twenty-third of May, that
our column commenced its march from its cantonments. Illness, brought
on by overheating myself in an excursion of pleasure up the Douro,
prevented me from marching on the appointed day. By the desire of the
medical officer, I remained behind--having been bled but more than
one day I would not stay, and although still unwell, persisted in my
intention of moving, and mounted for the road.

The weather was very hot when I set out; and having been advised by
the surgeon not to fatigue myself, if possible, on the march, until I
had perfectly recovered, I pursued my route at one day’s march behind
the army, without attempting to gain on it; but had I been in perfect
health, I could not have overtaken it, for my baggage horse could not
have travelled more than about fifteen or twenty miles a day--the
average distance of each march of the army; and this is quite enough,
considering the wretched roads over which the animals had to go,
together with the great heat of the climate.

I proceeded in the track of the army, by _Amarante, illa Real_,
_Mirandella_, and _Oitero_ the frontier town, without beholding a
military uniform, and just as if I had been travelling for amusement.
The inhabitants of the considerable towns were hospitable and cheerful:
from all of those to whom I spoke, I heard the highest encomiums on
the army which had but the day before delighted them with its grand
appearance. The villages in the province of _Tras os Montes_ presented
but little of the power or of the will to afford hospitality to the
stranger; many of the houses were shut up and deserted, while those
which were inhabited were stripped of almost every accommodation. This
arose from the fear which the poor of that province entertained of a
passing army, whether friends or foes--they had retired on the approach
of ours, as they were often in the habit of doing from the French,
and had not returned when I passed. As a proof of the feelings they
entertained for the safety of their provisions, &c., I will mention
a circumstance in which I was concerned. I had taken possession of a
cottage, in a miserable village, between Villa Real and Mirandella; it
was inhabited by an old woman, her married daughter, and two little
boys: they received me with great civility. I, as usual on the march,
enquired whether any sort of provisions in the village could be
purchased; and was told that I could not--all was gone--they had been
destroyed by the French. I asked if I could not find a fowl, or a few
eggs? No, all was gone;--“_nada, nada, nada_.” I therefore ordered my
servant to prepare some chocolate and cold beef, on which I was about
to sit down to dine, when I heard a cock crow as if under ground;--the
countenances of my hostess and her daughter changed. “Very odd!”
thought I:--the cock crowed again:--the greatest confusion was evident
in the old woman’s face--she bustled about--threw down a stool--slapped
the door, and made every kind of noise possible; but the cock crowed
a third time; when my servant, who was a droll Portuguese, without
further ceremony addressed the old woman, pointing at the same time
to a huge old chest which stood on one side of the room, “_La esta o
gallo, Senhora_,” (there is the cock) said he; and then removed a small
chest from the top of the large one--opened the lid; when out flew the
tell-tale bird, followed by seven of his hens, delighted, no doubt,
as much with his release as their mistress was mortified. I, however,
relieved the old lady’s embarrassment, by putting a couple of _crucadas
novas_ (about four and sixpence) upon the table: the sight of the money
settled the business, and she, without hesitation, gave me two of her
prisoners--fine fat hens--assuring me that she had lost many by the
soldiers; and fearing another loss from me, she had determined to pack
up her poultry in the chest: many had bought fowls from her before, but
forgot to pay for them. I passed a pleasant evening and night at this
poor cottage, and the whole family gave us a loud “_Viva os Inglezas!_”
at parting next morning.

The country through which I passed was highly picturesque--it was
beautiful to look at, but most tiresome to travel over: in general the
roads are more like craggy beds of rivers than passages constructed
for communication and the benefits of commerce. I remember that the
very morning I left the old woman’s cot, it was no more than eight
o’clock when I came in sight of the town at which I was to halt. I was
on the top of a mountain: beneath me was a river, winding through a
fertile valley, on the opposite side of which stood another mountain,
apparently not a mile from me; and at the base of the latter was the
town, the bells of which I could hear ringing; yet it was five o’clock
in the afternoon before I entered it, although I never halted--so
intricate and difficult was the winding and steep road I had to pass
over. Having mentioned this, I am reminded of a circumstance that
occurred as soon as I entered the town, which gave a melancholy proof
of the besotted slavery in which the minds of the Portuguese peasantry
are held by their clergy. An alarm had been given; the bells were all
set in furious motion; every body was running through the streets
towards one place. I left my servant with the horses, and proceeded
along with the scattered crowd. Every face was woe-begone--as though
some dire calamity, such as fire or earthquake, had occurred. The
numbers of the people increased as I advanced. We arrived at the
principal church: I pushed my way into it, and there the most piteous
lamentations assailed my ears. The church was filled with people--all
on their knees; tears were streaming down the old people’s cheeks, and
the crowd beating their breasts in sorrow. The cause of this mourning
was _not_ an earthquake, though it _was_ a conflagration. However,
it was neither the church nor the priest that was burnt; but the
doll-dressed figure of the Virgin Mary, which had caught fire from the
carelessness of the church-clerk, in allowing a lighted candle that he
held to touch her holy petticoat!--the satin had blazed; but the flames
were soon extinguished, and the damage done was happily confined to the
melting of one of her ladyship’s wax fingers, scorching her left cheek,
discolouring several tinsel ornaments, and seriously injuring the
outer-petticoat. For this the town was thrown into confusion, and the
streams of its grief let forth! What crowned the farce, was a young,
ignorant-looking priest haranguing the mob upon the calamity; pointing
with apparent intensity of sorrow at the burnt hand; kissing it and
imploring his dupes to join him in his grief; no doubt with a view that
they should join him afterwards in raising funds for _re-dressing_
the Virgin. Such is the deplorable ignorance of the people of a fine
country! Yet there is a strong party in Europe, who seek to shut out
from them the glorious rays of a liberal constitution, and therefore
every chance of enlightenment! But, thank Heaven! there are others who
will spread the light amongst them:--the torch of British Liberty now
burns over their heads; and they keep their eyes on it, in spite of the
“holy” and hateful fogs that are ever rising around them.

I entered Spain from Oitero. In crossing from the one country to the
other a thin wood intervenes, and for six or seven miles through it,
neither house nor hut is to be seen: it is level ground, and covered
with brush-wood. A few goats and their herdsman were all the living
things I saw while crossing it: not a bird flew over me.

At the first village which I entered in Spain, I met with some British
soldiers (detached) with a commissariat officer, who informed me that
the centre column of the main army had entered Salamanca, headed by
Lord Wellington, and that the French were retreating everywhere,
without making any opposition. Next day I pushed on in hopes of
overtaking the troops belonging to my division, and now the country
forming a fine level, I was enabled to increase my speed. At length I
could descry the wide and sweeping track of the advancing armies--in
the abstract, melancholy to contemplate! The country was chiefly
covered with a luxuriant crop of corn, over which the immense column of
the army passed, with its baggage, artillery, and cattle:--the traces
of the cavalry--of the infantry--and of the cannon, could be distinctly
and plainly distinguished from each other; and although their road was
through the high and firm corn, the pressure upon it was so great that
nothing but clay could be seen, except at the verges of the tracks,
where the broken and trampled wheat was less over-trodden. Then there
was as much cut down for forage as destroyed by feet; the mark of the
rough sickle of the commissaries, the dragoons, and the muleteers,
were in patches all around, disfiguring the beautiful waving ocean of
yellowing corn--_ocean_ indeed--nothing can give so just an idea of its
expansion: the corn in that country, does not grow in fields enclosed
like our English, but over the whole face of the land, making one
wide plain of vegetation, sprinkled at various distances with little
villages, which look like heaps of red tiles to the distant eye of the
observer: I have counted not less than twenty-two villages within one
circular view. Such was the country, nearly all the way to Palencia.

On the third day after I entered Spain, I overtook the rear of the
column--I think it was the fourth division--and continued to march with
it. Here I had an opportunity of seeing the Portuguese troops in a
large body; and they afforded me subject for delightful reflection. I
could not help thinking what different beings they appeared, and under
what different circumstances they were placed, from their state and
prospects about three years before, when I first saw them in the field,
a short time after the battle of Busaco: _then_ a more wretched-looking
set of creatures never were beheld--the predatory Arabs were not worse
clothed, worse disciplined, or worse fed; there was neither uniformity
in dress, nor equipment for comfort--threatened by a rapacious enemy,
then in the heart of their hapless country--harassed by partial
defeat--their only hope resting on their handful of gallant defenders,
the British soldiers:--how different did they appear _now_!--orderly,
cheerful, healthy, well disciplined, well armed; their polished
accoutrements glistening in the sun; their utensils for comfort all
neatly packed upon their backs; tents on their mules; provisions with
their commissary: not shut up in a niche of their plundered country,
menaced and insulted, but proudly marching towards the heart of
Spain--of France (as it turned out)--their hated invaders in their
turn flying before their regenerated ranks; the British by their side,
and leading them on after the bloody and successful struggles of three
years. Oh! it was a sight that could not be seen and reflected upon,
without a bounding of the heart! And their cheers, as their clean blue
columns passed through the Spanish towns, spoke to the slave’s breast,
a magic tongue. Proud indeed may those feel, whose indefatigable
exertions brought the soldiers of Portugal to the pitch of perfection
in which they then were, and grateful may be that nation to protecting
England for those mighty services. “Liberty!” was the cry through
the ranks, and “Liberty!” was the cry from the crowd, as they passed
through the towns of Portugal and Spain. Their songs were embued with
their sentiments of patriotism; and they sung them often as they went:
their musicians cheered and nourished this feeling, and their national
air “_Vencer ou morir_,”[5] as sung by a number of them, when they
encamped on the frontier of France, with the French in their front,
preparing for battle, was, from its patriotic sentiments and martial
yet melancholy music, one of the most soul-stirring anthems that ever
flowed from the patriot’s heart:--PORTOGALLO, the composer of
it, may fairly claim a portion of the laurels which were gained by his
countrymen in every action fought after it became popular. I have heard
it boldly played in the teeth of the enemy by the Portuguese bands; and
I marked the countenances of the listeners with delight: it made all
Portuguese hearts pant for the fight, and swell with revenge for the
injuries of their trampled country; and as the voices joined the music,
“_Vencer ou morir_” was not sung without _meaning_.

I have written English words to the air, and perhaps they may not be
unacceptable here:--



    The tyrant smote our country--
      Arise! arise! revenge the blow:
    His ranks are there--prepare--prepare
      To meet the hated foe.
    Oh! blessed sun of Freedom,
      O’er the fight shine high, shine high!
    For we’ll conquer--we’ll conquer--
      We’ll conquer--or we’ll die.


    Pure blood our fathers gave us,
      And pure still through our veins it runs;
    Far better lose the last drop here,
      Than taint it for our sons.
    Oh! spirits of our heroes,
      In the fight be nigh, be nigh!
    For we’ll conquer--we’ll conquer--
      We’ll conquer--or we’ll die.


    The axe will strike the oak down,
      The lightning will the tower lay low;
    But nations smote by tyranny,
      Grow stronger every blow.
    Revenge, revenge in the battle,
      To the heart and sword be nigh!--
    Oh! we’ll conquer--we’ll conquer--
      We’ll conquer--or we’ll die.

The power of music combined with poetry, seems more gigantic when
applied to the struggles of a people for liberty--or in other words--to
exalt the passion of patriotism, than any other emotion of the heart;
perhaps, because the passion _itself_ is more susceptible of excitement
than others. The songs of every nation speak more strongly the
character of the particular people to which they belong, than any thing
that can be written by the pen of the commentator or the historian.
It was a great statesman who said “Give me but the power to write the
songs of a nation, and I will govern them;” an observation in my mind,
of no less strength than truth. The war-songs of every people are part
of their arsenal; and by no means the least in power. The Scotch pipes
have done nearly as much as the claymore. An instance of this occurred
with the late gallant Colonel Cameron of the 42d. The piper was
detached from the corps by the order of the General at an engagement
in Holland--the men went into action without him;--they charged, and
were repulsed. The General, on the evening of the same day, said to
the Colonel, “Don’t boast of your 42d again.” To this censure Colonel
Cameron replied, “General, _you_ are to blame--you took our arms from
us.”--“How?”--“You took the pipes from us: let us have _them_, and
we’ll prove the 42d worthy of the highest boast.” This was done; the
regiment had an opportunity next day of charging with the pipes behind
them, and they covered themselves with glory. The Irish too, at the
storming of Badajos, carried the breach to the tune of “_Garryowen_,”
played by their own band under the most destructive fire. The power
of national song was so feared by Buonaparte, that he forbade the
Swiss air “_Le Ranz des Vaches_” in his army, lest the natives of that
country should desert. It was stated in the French National Assembly
that the Marseillois Hymn brought a million of recruits to the army;
and certainly it might be said that Dibdin’s songs did more for the
British navy than the whole of the _press_-gang. The anthem of “_God
save the King_” every body values, yet none have said, (although I
believe it to be truth) that it is a strong bulwark of the throne--that
it throws a sublimity--a grandeur--a general respect around royalty;
excites the warmest sentiments of devotion, and secures unconscious
attachment. The national hymn of Portugal is strongly expressive
of that mixture of melancholy and martial boldness of sound which
inspires the hearer to meditate revenge for injuries done; and, as
the Spaniards suffered in a similar way to the Portuguese, _their_
national song carries with it a sentiment precisely similar to that
of Portugal. This song was not composed during the days of Ferdinand,
but while the nation was struggling, in concert with the British, for
liberty; and every Guerilla sung it--every peasant sung it--every
child sung it. Its title is, “_A la Guerra Espaniolas_;” the Spanish
words of it are simple, but strong; and the music, like the national
air of the Portuguese, is truly beautiful. The following are English
words, written for it among the mountains of Biscay; and to those of my
readers who know the air, perhaps they will be acceptable.



    The curse of Slavery’s o’er us,
      And suffering Freedom weeps;
    No hope--no hope’s before us
      While Spain’s bright spirit sleeps.
        But if her slumbers lighten,
        Then Freedom’s glance will brighten,
    And lips shall cease to sigh, and hearts to pain.
              So let us smite
              The drum of fight;
          She’ll wake and rise again.
        To the war--to the war, ye Spaniards!
                The hour is nigh,
              To break your chain;
              Your rights to gain.
                Live free--live free,--or die!


    In death our sons are sleeping
      Our homes in ruin laid;
    Our daughters o’er them weeping,
        In vain is Britain’s bravery,
        To rid you of your slavery;
      In vain her heroes bleed--her arms resound,
            Unless the fire
            Of Freedom’s ire
        Burn every heart around.
    To the war--to the war, ye Spaniards!
              The hour is nigh
            To break your chain;
            Your rights to gain.
               Live free--live free,--or die!

--But enough of music: let us now march on without it.

I proceeded with the fourth division, and arrived after two marches,
at the high banks of the Esla: there it was that I beheld the
concentrated army--at least the greatest part of it. Some of the
troops had passed the river and “opened the ball” with the enemy on
the opposite bank: their rear guard had a brisk engagement with our
advanced cavalry, and the 10th Hussars had the honour to draw the first
blood of the campaign--they “_astonished_” the French Dragoons not a
little. After this brush the enemy continued their retreat rapidly, in
the direction of Burgos.

The crossing of the Esla by the army, as I beheld it, was one of the
most impressive, magnificent, and beautiful sights that was ever
presented: I will describe it briefly, from my memory, upon which it is
indelibly delineated.

The river Esla, at the point where the army crossed, is in breadth
equal to the Thames at Richmond or Windsor; high banks--or rather
hills--rise abruptly on either side, for the most part covered with
short trees and underwood: the approaches to the river are by even
pathways winding down each side of it. When standing on that bank where
first I saw the river, the water appeared to be about three hundred
yards below me, and its course bending so as to exclude a farther view
of it than the segment of a circle of about a mile in length. On my
left, where the river began to appear, and where the hill on which I
stood pushed itself forward and terminated in an overhanging rock,
the ponton was placed--immense boats at regular distances, and well
planked, so as to form a passage of about twenty feet in breadth,
railed on each side compactly: so admirable a bridge it was, that one
would suppose it to have been a permanent rather than a temporary
erection, which could be at a moment removed and carried wherever
the army went. Over this passed the troops, with the exception of
some cavalry who forded at another part, and five of whom (Germans)
were swept away by the current in crossing. An idea may be formed
of the vast quantity of soldiers, muleteers, women, horses, mules,
artillery stores, equipage, and baggage, which covered the hills near
the ponton, when I say, that I was from ten o’clock in the morning
until five in the afternoon, before it came to my turn to pass the
water; and all this time the bridge was filled with columns of men.
We who waited for our turn, sat on the hill under the trees, eating
cold beef and biscuit, chatting, and admiring the splendid scene. The
day was as bright as the sun; a general hilarity spread over every
countenance; the Spanish and Portuguese muleteers cracked their loud
jokes with the soldiers--laughed and sung--ate their rations, and
toasted their friends in grog. To add still more interest to the scene,
many elegant English ladies--wives of the officers--were to be seen
upon the rock which overhung the river, with their gay parasols and
waving feathers, while immediately below was the bridge with its moving
mass--horse--foot--artillery--baggage--and followers:--a little above
this, and still beneath the ladies, were groups of bullocks swimming
across the river, and with difficulty gaining the opposite bank, owing
to the power of the current; while others were climbing the opposite
hills, refreshed and relieved from the dust of their day’s travel,
by the cool water from which they had just emerged. The distant and
lessening line of troops as it winded upwards to the plain above, and
broke into several divisions to take up ground for the night, added
an admirable perspective background to the picture. Then arose the hum
of the crowd--the loud command--the laugh--the mingling of different
languages--the lowing of oxen--the neighing of horses, and the braying
of the less noble animals--the clear sky--the bright sun--the crystal
river, overhung and darkened in the distance by bold rocks, on which
the wondering goatherd lay as his goats carelessly browsed--it was
a scene never to be forgotten. Every soldier saw at a glance the
collective strength of the great military machine of which he formed
a part--all beneath his eye, as it were in a theatre: this heightened
the glow of pride within him, and elevated his spirit with the buoyancy
of glorious hope--all was cheerfulness, and the army looked more
like conquerors, than men about to enter into a bloody and doubtful
contest. I spent seven hours in admiring, and then crossed in my turn
the ponton; took up my quarters for the night, with my horses, under
a shed; and slept as soundly as the Prince who was cast into a seven
years’ sleep by a fairy.

The morning was only opening her eyes, when the drum beat and we
turned out: the fires of the night were expiring; around many of which
groups of soldiers were assembled, packing up their knapsacks and
fixing their accoutrements. The moving to and fro of military figures,
all over the level ground, before me--the tingling of the mules’
bells--the drums at various distances--the early birds chirping--the
horses champing their barley--the men biting their biscuit--the
increasing hum and the coming daylight--by degrees, dissipated the
heaviness which naturally succeeded to a short _field_ sleep, and the
cheerfulness of the preceding day was restored throughout.--The column
was in motion; and the field, where thousands crowded, was, in a few
minutes, as naked and silent as a desert.

At this ground we had expected a desperate fight; but with the
exception of a brush with our Hussars, the enemy showed no wish
to trouble us. The soldiers now became still more elevated with a
confidence in success; and the wishful cry which every where along
the march had resounded in their ears, from the inhabitants, “_Vamus
a Francia!_”--“(_Away to France!_)” was considered as about to be
realized; yet most of the army expected that we should first have a
desperate struggle at the Ebro.

We marched by Aguilar to Palencia; our light cavalry by Zamora and
Toro: the right and centre columns of the army, with Lord Wellington,
passed through Salamanca to Valladolid--the whole directing their
march to Burgos. At Palencia I first saw the ponton boats in their
carriages: they were drawn by oxen; each boat had a carriage to itself,
and each carriage was drawn by from twelve to sixteen. The boats were
reversed--or bottom uppermost--and seated on them were the pontoneers,
dressed in naval uniform; these were men specially employed to launch
the boats, form the bridge, and, in short, to conduct that service
through all its branches. I had but a faint idea of the extreme
ponderosity of warlike machinery until I beheld these boats upon their
carriages: the battering rams of the Romans were go-carts compared with
the ponton train on the march: the Spaniards, as they passed, threw
up their eyes in an ecstasy of admiration at the sight of them, and
cheered loudly while they were in view. Over those boats were to pass
to France, which they feared and hated, the invading and delivering
armies--over them the cannon that was to thunder their victory:--this
thought was enough to make them cheer, and their “_vivas!_” were well
answered by the troops that followed.

I remained at Palencia until the evening of the day on which the
pontons passed through it; and there I accidentally met with a young
officer, whose subsequent greatness I little thought then depended
so on the success of our campaign, as it afterwards turned out. This
officer was Captain De Grammont, then of the 10th Hussars, but now
his Grace the Duc de Guiche. He is a part of the royal family of
France, aid-de-camp to the Duke d’Angoulême, and high in favour at the
Tuilleries. When I saw him at Palencia, he appeared one of the finest
models of a young Hussar chief I ever beheld: he wore his beard, which
curled upon his chin; his regimentals were sufficiently field-rubbed
to have lost that _very_ bright gloss which distinguished them on the
parade at home; and there was a melancholy cast about his countenance
and manner, which, from being mixed with the most affable address,
made a strong impression upon me--particularly when I learnt his true
situation. He was engaged against his countrymen--but for his country’s
rights; and he had only a day or two before met them in the charge. It
was _his_ troop that spilled the first French blood of that campaign,
and it was _his_ subaltern who gave the first wound. He described
the charge to me: it was thus:--The French having crossed the Esla,
a strong guard covered their retreat, and the 10th Hussars attacked
their rear, which was defended by light dragoons. In advancing to the
charge, the Subaltern of Captain De Grammont, Cornet Fitzgerald--a lad
of only sixteen years of age--happened to have been somewhat in advance
of the troop, owing to the mettle of his horse: the Cornet’s servant
rode beside him in the ranks, and determined to protect his master. The
French dragoons came on gallantly; their swords were nearly as long
again as those of our Hussars; and a ferocious looking Sergeant was
coming at full gallop--right in front of the Cornet: in vain was the
young officer called on to pull in his horse--on he went, his servant
closing up to him in order to avert the steel of the opponent: a moment
more and the long straight sword of the French dragoon would have been
cased in the youth’s breast; for the servant’s horse could not head his
master’s. The Captain expected to see him fall; but just as the point
of the weapon approached, the cornet grasped his pistol--fired--and
down the dragoon tumbled from his saddle! This was but an instant
before the remainder of the hussars were mixed with their opponents;
and in a few minutes more, they were pursuing them as fugitives,
killing, wounding, and taking many of them. I remembered having seen
this heroic youth at Lisbon, when the regiment landed there: he was
a mere stripling, with light hair, and rosy cheeks--anything but the
man destined to kill the first Frenchman on the campaign; and I still
more admired him when I heard that he was a son of the celebrated
Lord Edward Fitzgerald, and cousin to the present Duke of Leinster.
I met Captain De Grammont afterwards, at the close of the campaign,
and he assured me joyfully, that he had had the pleasure, the day
before, of looking from the Pyrenees, while on piquet, at the lawful
estates of his family; and only a very few months after this, I had the
gratification of seeing him enter the town of Bordeaux as a Duke, and
on the staff of his lawful Prince, the Duke d’Angoulême. This officer,
although born in France, is in language and manners a perfect English
gentleman, from having been since his infancy in England. He received
his commission in the 10th Hussars when very young, and remained in the
regiment until the restoration of the Bourbons. Should we yet go to
war with France, I should be sorry to see the gallant soldier arrayed
against us, and I am sure it would be no pleasurable office to himself.

We moved on the left of Burgos, which city the French, contrary to our
expectation, had not shut up, but quickly abandoned at the approach
of the British. I slept in the house of an intelligent peasant, about
two miles from the fortress, and of course the war was the subject
of our chat. I found the man very communicative: he had the fullest
hope of our success, and gave it as his opinion, that the French
would _not_ stand at the Ebro. He talked of the time when the British
were before on his ground; and showed me in his fields some of their
bones--bleached white and dry: he informed me that a great number of
our army perished there. This man, from his apparent acquaintance
with the events of the war in Spain, I have no doubt had taken an
active part in it--perhaps on the French side; for if it had been on
the other, he most probably would not have made it a secret in our
conversation; however, many of the Spaniards sided with the strongest
party, and now that the British held the sway, this peasant was their
warmest well-wisher.

We proceeded through Villa Diego towards the Ebro, and came in sight
of that river from the plain--or high table land--over which I had
been travelling ever since I had left Portugal. The advanced troops
had passed the river that morning without opposition, for the French
had continued their retreat. The view of the valley--or rather
amphitheatre--at the bottom of which the Ebro runs, astonished me by
its beauty: for several days I had been accustomed to little variation
of scenery--all level country; and now the bosom of luxuriant and
romantic nature suddenly presented itself to my sight, as if it were
done by magic. Half a dozen steps brought me from a view of mere sky
and corn plains, to a scene of the most splendidly varied character--a
deep valley, or rather hollow, of about ten miles in circumference,
surrounded by woody mountains, except at that part directly facing
me. This part opened, and there the eye might travel over blue hills,
until the more distant could not be distinguished from the light clouds
of the horizon. In this circular valley, every variation of rural
beauty was to be seen--cultivated fields--luxuriant foliage--bubbling
streams--winding paths--villas, and farm-houses. At the bottom ran the
Ebro,--in this place a river of no great breadth; and here the main
body of the liberating army had crossed a few hours before me.

The line of march now lay along a small branch of a river, which
watered the foot of high and bold rocks, shelved and wooded in the most
picturesque manner; trees, rooted over trees, hung out in grotesque
attitudes, or dipped downwards, as if seeking the black and clear water
beneath--thick moss, streaming underwood, wild flowers, and massy
trunks, mingled to beautify the first day’s march after we crossed the
Ebro:--this repaid me amply for the toil of the preceding days.

I remained an hour behind the division, to refresh my horses--they
having been nearly knocked up; and it was at this place I perceived the
first effects of fatigue in some of the soldiers. The army had, for
the preceding march, pressed onwards more rapidly than before, and the
weather had become very hot; several men, therefore, lagged behind, and
I met eight or ten of them sitting by the side of the river--some only
severely blistered on the feet from walking, but others extremely ill.
There was no depôt nearer than Valladolid--about ninety miles distant;
for the army’s advance was so rapid and so unexpected, that no time
could be allowed for considerations of this kind; and the soldiers,
if left behind, would have fared but miserably indeed--particularly
those who were ill there. I, without hesitation, laid an embargo upon
a sort of cart, which was drawn by two horses, and which happened,
fortunately, to be near; in this vehicle I directed the men to place
themselves and their kits, which they had unbuckled from their backs,
and dispatched them to continue their march. I also desired the men
not to permit the carter to return until they overtook their division.
“All is fair in war,” says the unamiable adage: it was a hard case
for the Castilian carter, but for the poor disabled soldiers it would
have been a still harder; and I thought I could not do better, under
the circumstances, than to oblige the peasant, who seemed well-fed and
hearty, to do “the state some service,” whether he was so disposed or

Our march was now ten times more a march of pleasure than it had
been before we crossed the Ebro, although it did not long hold that
character: there was soon something for the army to do besides to
admire the scenery, sing songs, and smoke cigars. Each day’s march
was concluded about twelve or one o’clock, and the men encamped or
bivouacked usually on some open glade, near or in a small wood; or
perhaps in a valley by a river: here they unbent from the toils of the
morning, and escaped the meridian heat of the sun, within their tents,
or beneath the thick foliage with which nature so profusely stocked the
country. A considerable distance right and left of the road, where the
army encamped each day, was changed from the silence in which it had so
long dwelt, to the hum and bustle of a populated city. The first thing
done, on arriving at the ground for encampment, was to cook:--rations
were served out; wood, water, and fire, made ready: and while the meat
was boiling--or _broiling_, more frequently, upon a wooden spit--the
men would sit together in groups on the grass, and chat. After dinner,
they employed themselves for a short time in washing both themselves
and their linen in the neighbouring streams--cleaning their arms,
clothes, &c., and then a pipe and a cup of grog prepared the way for a
sweet and sound sleep on the turf.

A description of the manner in which I have seen bullocks slaughtered
on the march, may not be uninteresting. We had our own butchers,--men
from the ranks; but, in general, the oxen were slaughtered by Spaniards
or Portuguese: and, in my mind, their mode of depriving a bullock of
life is by far the most expeditious; it certainly gives little, if any,
torture to the animal. They, having tied a noose about the horns of the
beast, drew the end of it round a tree, and secured the head close to
it; then instantly pushed a sharp-pointed knife down between the back
of the skull and the first vertebræ of the neck: this was no sooner
done than the animal was dead: the veins of the neck were then opened,
and the blood flowed.

In the division with which I marched, the Spanish butcher adopted
a singular mode of securing the bullock destined for slaughter;
he had trained a huge mastiff to be his assistant, and thus they
operated:--the butcher held his dog by a chain, and having let loose
one of the drove of oxen, took the chain off the mastiff, and gave him
the word; the dog ran instantly to the bullock; seized him by the nose
in his teeth; and, without the least noise, held him forcibly down: the
butcher then plunged the knife in, and the animal rolled lifeless. All
this was done in less than half a minute. The first place at which I
witnessed this dog at his calling, was at Villa Diego; and no sooner
were the veins of the neck opened, than several Spanish old women, with
pans in their hands, squabbled about catching the blood: the greatest
vixen succeeded in obtaining it; and I learnt that it was to be used
as food for her family. It is said that the poor of Connaught eat the
blood of oxen; if so, may not the practice have been brought over
by the Spaniards, from whom the inhabitants of that province claim

We were now in a mountainous country, and consequently the army, which
had been all united on the march after crossing the Esla, was obliged
to separate, and move by various roads to one point. In a day or two
we found that the French were about to give up their running, and try
their fortune by a stand. We were halted on the 20th of June, about
four or five miles from Vittoria, and our columns closed in from
various directions: we were told by several peasants that the French,
under the command of Joseph Buonaparte and Marshal Jourdain, were
between us and Vittoria; and when we saw the Duke of Wellington pass
along the road close to us, with several of his generals, we suspected
we should not long lie idle: we knew his Grace was going to the front
to reconnoitre. I never saw him look better in my life; the march had
improved his health, and success had brightened his looks in such a
manner, that I fancied he felt confident of beating the enemy in “off
hand” style at the first brush. I observed the several Portuguese
battalions pass, as fresh for work as if they had not marched two
miles; and in several Spanish corps which crossed us to the left under
the command of Colonel Longa, I saw physical strength, although neither
equipment nor high spirits. Our own troops looked as well as ever they
did--the sun-browned and laughing faces of Johns, Pats, and Sawneys,
gave assurance that they were highly disposed to enjoy “a bit of

During the 20th the men refreshed themselves with change of linen, &c.
in the best way they could, and enjoyed the evening of that day as
happily as if they were reposing after a hunting excursion; every shade
had its group, and the country afforded the most picturesque situations
for bivouacking. My dinner was spread upon a green spot beneath an
overhanging bank, covered with thick foliage, which shut out the hot
sun; a clear stream rippling beneath; and here six of us enjoyed an
evening’s chat as comfortably as if we were on the banks of one of the
Cumberland lakes. We expected to be engaged next day, and the allusions
which this expectation brought forth, although calculated to stir up
some thoughts of home and friends, did not abate that cheerfulness
which the scene present diffused. Our mortal enemy, old Death, was
spoken of occasionally, but it was with a smile; no more was thought
about him than about Marshal Jourdain or the ex-king Joe.

The night closed around, and the thousands lay down to sleep upon the
turf; some by large fires, some beneath the cover of temporary huts,
and some with nothing over them but their blankets, and the universal
coverlid--beneath which many were to lie the following night for ever
without waking! The weather was mild and delightful--the sky was
beautiful, and many eyes were employed in gazing on it, and picturing
over its blue breast the sweet scenes of home--the faces of those
friends then far away! That was the hour for thinking; and I have no
doubt it was so spent by thousands of the soldiers before they sunk
into sleep.

On the morning of the 21st, we commenced our march early, and in two
hours we came to an open country, on the right of which was a ridge of
hills; about a mile distant on the left, a gradual descent of even land
to a village about two miles off; far in the front--perhaps at three
miles’ distance--were the spires of Vittoria to be seen rising to our
view as we advanced; while about half a mile in our front we could spy
the Frenchmen’s huts, and they themselves running to arms as if we had
surprised them:--indeed this _was_ the case; for their cooking utensils
were on their fires when our advanced troops trod over their ground.
Columns of French were now to be seen moving about in the distance,
and columns of our own men were every moment emerging from cover. The
Staff was everywhere to be seen galloping to and fro--brigades of
artillery and regiments of cavalry taking up their ground; and in about
twenty minutes a column of Spaniards, led by General Murillo, moved out
from the right of our line--Hill’s divisions--up towards the heights,
and commenced firing upon the enemy stationed there: these hills are
called the heights of La Puebla, and here rested the enemy’s left.
The Spaniards, we could see, made good their ground on the hills; but
reinforcements of French troops advanced against them, and Lord Hill
ordered out two regiments of British troops to support the Spaniards,
led by the Hon. Colonel Cadogan of the 71st. Now began the fight, and
every moment increased it. The red coats were met by increased numbers
of the blue, and the firing became incessant; the Spaniards poured
in their balls in good style on the advancing French, who attemped
to overwhelm with numbers their small force; but Lord Hill detached
column after column to the attack: we could only distinguish the men
as a body, but could not see the individuals; however, the colour of
the coats sufficiently marked out friend from foe, and the _reds_ were
evidently “doing the business.” The 71st had fired and stood the fire a
considerable time, but could not mount the hill effectually (as I have
heard from an officer then present): at this time their commander, the
Hon. Colonel Cadogan received a ball in the groin: he fell, and was
immediately surrounded by some of his men, and lifted up by them in
order to be removed to the rear: the 71st was then about to apply to
their old friend the bayonet--ready for the charge: their Colonel lay
in the arms of two soldiers, the balls showering from the hills--“Stop!
stop!” said he, “don’t take me away until I see my men charge!” It was
done, and gallantly--up hill too: the Colonel cheered as well as his
failing voice would allow, and his last moments were blessed with the
smile of victory. The hills were very soon taken, and the enemy driven

The artillery now thundered from both sides; and down to the left we
could see General Graham’s wing advancing against a distant village
there. This was the part of the army to which I belonged; and now, for
the first time since the march began, had an opportunity of gaining my
division. The centre of the army, with which I then stood, now advanced
to cross the Zadora, a small river--for Lord Hill _had_ crossed it soon
after he gained the heights; firing was everywhere along the line,
before me and on both sides; the French stood bravely and poured in
their musketry; their cannon was not a moment silent, unless stormed
and taken by our men. I saw a couple of field pieces attacked by a
regiment of Portuguese, and they astonished me with their courage and
activity--they leaped over the guns like madmen, although blazing in
their teeth, and captured them gallantly.

Having now seen where my station ought to be, I determined to proceed
to it, and without a moment’s delay galloped to the left, in the rear
of the line, just as the troops crossed the river; and I arrived at the
village attacked by Sir T. Graham (Gamarra Mayor) just as the bridge
was carried. Three pieces of artillery fortified this bridge; but
notwithstanding this, as well as a powerful force of infantry for its
defence, our troops overcame all; but not without considerable loss. At
this place, both the Colonels of the 59th (Weare and Fane) fell, while
gallantly leading their men to the bridge.

It was now about half-past two or three o’clock in the afternoon, and
no artillery but ours was to be heard; retreating columns and broken
crowds were to be seen at various distances, to the extent of about
half a mile in breadth, while our men were pursuing. Our dragoons
advanced upon their rear--the infantry after them; but from the
difficulty of the ground, the cavalry could not finish so completely as
was to be wished, what the infantry had begun. The artillery followed
up, and cannonaded the flying in their best style; and it was clear
that victory was our own at every point.

We marched on to Vittoria without firing a shot; and on the left of the
town I had the pleasure of seeing the whole baggage, treasure, &c. of
the enemy, in the hands of our troops. It was now getting late in the
evening; the whole army continued the pursuit; but too much was done
during the day to expect that the troops could advance much beyond
Vittoria; they did, however, a couple of leagues, when they halted; and
thus the scattered French escaped farther punishment. I was sent on
duty to the town of Vittoria, and there passed the night.

The scene which presented itself in the town that evening may be
easily imagined:--prisoners--wounded--drunken Spaniards--stray horses
and mules running to and fro--broken carriages--dead and dying--the
inhabitants panic-struck--the rear of our light dragoons galloping
through the town--fires in the streets--drunken plunderers rolling
about--the groan and the laugh and the imprecation--all mingled! Such
was Vittoria after the battle. To increase the confusion, an explosion
took place, which shook every house and spread consternation around:
none could imagine the cause. I at first supposed treachery from the
Spaniards, but a moment’s consideration removed this suspicion. In a
short time our Provost and his assistants informed us of the nature of
this explosion. The 18th Dragoons, and many stragglers of infantry,
had remained to help themselves to dubloons from a French military
chest, which fell into our hands near the town, and plunder raged for
two or three hours; our soldiers would not _take_ silver--nothing but
gold would _pass_ with them; the former they left to the Spaniards,
for it was absolutely a “_drug in the market_.” About ten o’clock
it became dark, and amongst the crowd of waggons, many, containing
the treasure, might escape; therefore a number of Spanish peasants,
muleteers, &c. procured candles, and went in search of farther golden
discoveries, in order to open an _opposition mine_ for themselves,
as the _English_ showed such monopoly in their _companies_. In the
prosecution of this _speculation_, one of them happened to thrust his
candle into a powder waggon, while his coadjutors were surrounding
it, waiting for the _report_ upon its merits; the _mine_ sprung, and
hurled the _company_ into the air: many were blown to atoms, and those
who escaped immediate death, I saw next day--they were as black as
Africans, their heads and faces swollen, and their eyes closed up: poor
creatures, they presented a pitiable sight! very few of them recovered.
Had these men been satisfied with humble silver, and not have run after
_mining speculations_, they would have done better; but such folly is
not confined to ignorant peasants--the great metropolis of London has
furnished us with examples of far greater avarice and folly in the
pursuit of _gold mines_.

The only _wholesale dealer_ in the plunder of the French military chest
who essayed his talents at Vittoria, was a commissariat _officer_: he
very coolly ordered one of his muleteers to load eight or nine mules
with boxes of dubloons, and dispatched him with a letter of consignment
to Lisbon; where, had the treasure arrived, the commissary’s fortune
would have been made. But it was otherwise ordained; for the muleteer,
in going back through Spain, boasted at a _posado_ that he had immense
treasure in his charge. An Alcaldi was present drinking; and from
the circumstances of the mules being without a military escort, yet
admitted to contain specie, suspicion arose. He continued to drink with
the muleteer, and the latter, in his careless cups, dropped the letter
which the commissary had given him to deliver to his correspondent at
Lisbon. The Alcaldi withdrew; opened the letter--and with the help of
the curate of the village, who knew a little English, discovered that
the treasure was not sent by any authority. In consequence of this, he
seized the whole--mules, muleteer, and all. The result was, that the
gold was sent back, and the commissary thought it right to run away,
without waiting for farther enquiry. Thus ended _his_ speculation: but
speculation at best is _only_ speculation--except in this case; for
here it lost a _letter_, and therefore was clearly--_peculation_.

The day after the battle, I, in company with another, rode out to
view the ground where the armies had so recently contended. It was
strewed with dead and wounded, accoutrements and arms; a great part
of the latter broken. At those points where obstinate fighting took
place, the ground was covered with bodies: a great number of wounded,
both French, English, and Portuguese, lay along the road, groaning
and craving water. The village of _Gamarra Mayor_ was shattered with
heavy shot, and the bridge covered with dead, as well as its arches
choked up with bodies and accoutrements. We returned by the main road,
to where the centre of the army was engaged. Here were the French
huts, and their broken provisions, half cooked, lying about; this
was a level interspersed with little hillocks and brushwood: we were
then surrounded with dead and wounded; several cars were employed in
collecting the latter. A few straggling peasants could be seen at a
distance, watching an opportunity for plunder--there was a dreadful
silence over the scene. A poor Irishwoman ran up to one of the surgeons
near us, and with tears in her eyes, asked where was the hospital of
the 82nd regiment--I think it was the 82nd--she wrung her hands, and
said that the men told her she would find her husband wounded; and
she had travelled back for the purpose. The surgeon told her that the
only hospital on the field was in a cottage, to which he pointed; but
informed her that all the wounded would be conveyed to Vittoria. The
half-frantic woman proceeded towards the cottage, over the bodies which
lay in her way, and had not gone more than about fifty yards, when
she fell on her face, and uttered the most bitter cries. We hastened
to her--she was embracing the body of a sergeant, a fine tall fellow,
who lay on his face. “Oh! it’s my husband--it’s my husband!” said she;
“and he is dead and cold.” One of the men turned the body on his face;
the sergeant had been shot in the neck, and his ankle was shattered.
The lamentations of the woman were of the most heart-rending kind, but
not loud. She continued to sit by her lifeless husband, gazing on his
pale countenance, and moving her head and body to and fro, in the most
bitter agony of woe:--she talked to the dead in the most affectionate
language--of her orphans--of her home--and of their former happiness.
After a considerable time, by persuasion, we got her upon one of the
cars with the wounded, and placed the body of her husband beside her;
this we did, because she expressed a wish to have it buried by a
clergyman. She thanked us more by looks than words, and the melancholy
load proceeded slowly to Vittoria.

In our way back to the town, my companion’s attention was attracted by
a dead Portuguese; he raised up the body, and asked me to look through
it--I _did_ absolutely look _through_ it. A cannon-ball had passed
into the breast and out at the back--and so rapid must have been its
transit, from its forming such a clear aperture--in circumference about
twelve inches--that the man must have been close to the cannon’s mouth
when he was shot--it spoke volumes for the courage of the troops.

The hospital at Vittoria that evening presented a sad spectacle; not
only was part of it filled with wounded, but the streets all round
it--about two thousand men, including those of the French with those
of the Allies. Owing to the rapid, and perhaps unexpected, advance of
the army, there were only three surgeons to attend to this vast number
of wounded, for the first two days after the battle; and, from the
same reason, no provisions were to be had for them for a week! The
Commissariat had not provided for the exigency, and the small portion
of bread that could be purchased was sold at three shillings per pound.
From these casualties, I often thought since, that in cases of expected
general actions, if one half of both medical and commissariat staff
were under orders to remain on the field until relieved, instead of
following their respective divisions, it would obviate such privations.
However, there is every excuse in this case, considering the unexpected
rapidity of the advance. No fault whatever can be laid to either of the
departments in this instance: it was wholly owing to advancing to such
distance beyond Vittoria, as required too long a time to retrace.

In going through the hospital, I saw in one room not less than thirty
Hussars--of the 10th and 15th, I think--all wounded by lances; and
one of them had nineteen wounds in his body:--the surgeon had already
amputated his left arm. One of the men described the way in which so
many of their brigade became wounded. He said, that in charging the
rear of the enemy as they were retreating, the horses had to leap up
a bank, nearly breast high, to make good the level above. At this
moment, a body of Polish Lancers, headed by a General, dashed in upon
them, the General crying out, in broken English, “_Come on! I care not
for your fine Hussar brigade._” They fought for a considerable time,
and although ultimately the Lancers retired and left the ground to the
Hussars, yet the latter lost many killed and wounded. “That man,” said
the Hussar, “who lies there with the loss of his arm and so dreadfully
wounded, fought a dozen Lancers, all at him at once, and settled some
of them; at last he fell, and the Lancers were about to kill him, when
the General cried out to take him to the rear, for he was a brave
fellow. The skirmish continued, and the General cut that man there
across the nose, in fighting singly with him--but he killed the General
after all.”

I turned and saw a young Hussar, with a gash across his nose, and he
confirmed what his comrade said. The man who had the nineteen wounds, I
have since heard, recovered: he seemed much to regret the fate of the
General who saved his life. I saw this brave officer’s body buried the
next day in the principal church in Vittoria.

In passing through another part of the hospital, I perceived a
Portuguese female lying on the ground upon straw, in the midst of
numbers of wounded men. I enquired of her, was she wounded. She pointed
to her breast, and showed me where the bullet had passed. I asked her
how she received the shot, and was horror-struck when the dying woman
informed me that it was her _marido_,--her own husband,--who shot
her just as the action was commencing--she said he deliberately put
the muzzle of his gun to her breast and fired! This may be false; I
hope it is, for the sake of humanity:--it might be that the woman was
plundering the dead; and perhaps killing the wounded, when some of the
latter shot her. However, be the fact as it may, it was thus she told
her story. She was in great pain, and I should think did not live much

Colonels Weare and Fane, who fell so gloriously, were buried behind
this hospital:--but I have dwelt upon this circumstance at another part
of the work.

The people of Vittoria were very far from enthusiastic in favour of
the English, although they behaved with apparent gratitude; but this
may be accounted for by the yet uncertainty which prevailed, as to
our ultimate power of driving the French out of Spain. Bull-fights
and balls took place, and the new constitution was read and honoured;
but there was a want of warmth in the people, quite incompatible with
true patriotism:--on the whole, it was supposed that Vittoria was not
unfavourable to foreign tyranny.

A few days after the battle, the 6th division of the army passed
through Vittoria, on their march to join the main body of the army.
This division, from having been often employed on detached service,
acquired the name of the “_Flying Invisibles_,” by the rest of the
army. They were certainly not at the battle; but it was not their
fault, for they were left three days’ march in the rear, to protect the
transport of the stores, &c. The men presented a motley appearance;
they had not received a supply of clothing as had been expected, and
the consequence was that scarcely any red cloth was to be seen amongst
their jackets, so patched were they with that of every other colour.
Many had no shoes, and altogether they excited commiseration; but the
men themselves were as hearty and as healthy as any soldiers in the

While I remained at Vittoria, I learned that an attempt to storm St.
Sebastian had been made by the allied armies, and had failed: it was
also stated that the Spaniards of the fortress were the most active in
defending the breach. Little fighting, I believe, took place in front,
except at Roncesvalles and the pass of Maya--the gates of the French
territory; and here, I believe, there was an effectual attack made by
the French against our troops--at least so far successful, that the
latter were obliged to retire a little, after having fought gallantly.
A considerable number of men wounded in this affair were sent back to

I was now ordered to the front, and after a few days’ marches through
a most delightful and tranquil country, arrived at a village near
Pamplona, called Bastania. Here were quartered two heavy Dragoon
regiments--all the cavalry, indeed, were near; for it was a wide open
country, and consequently fit for the operations of Dragoons. In the
centre was the fortified town of Pamplona, within a mile of which we
durst not approach. The Pyrenees were about half a mile in front of
Bastania, and the cavalry were placed here in case the enemy should
succeed in forcing their way down to the plain for the relief of the
citadel, in which 1,200 French were shut up:--had they done so, the
horse could have acted with great effect upon them. This was in the
latter end of July; and I believe the Duke of Wellington had closed the
army in from the right, and intended to push on with his whole force to
France. The Spaniards he had placed to invest Pamplona.

I slept at Bastania the night I arrived: there were not more than a
dozen houses in the village, and all filled with dragoons. Into one
of those I went, and found the ground-floor covered thickly with
straw, upon which the soldiers--about thirty in all--were lying. They
immediately made room for me:--my servant slept with my horses in
an out-house. I was fatigued; and so, without any other refreshment
than a cup of commissariat grog, lay down and slept happily until the
trumpeter sounded “_Boots and Saddles_:” this was at two o’clock in
the morning, and I had been asleep about three hours. The men were
soon out and horsed--so was I. The baggage of the dragoons all packed
and mounted--every thing ready for “a breeze.” The morning was dark,
and for the time of year, rather chilly: I could not see to a great
distance, but within my view passed several troops of heavy dragoons
proceeding towards the foot of the mountains. There was scarcely any
sound but that from the motion of the horses--the men spoke but little,
and were yet half asleep. I moved towards the main road, in order to
come up with my division, which was in front; but I soon found that it
would be unsafe to proceed, on account of a fog which arose, completely
obscuring every thing around. In consequence of this I dismounted;
took off my saddle; put it on the ground; and directing my servant to
stake the horses to their tethers, lay down with my head resting on
it. I can assure my readers, that a saddle is no bad substitute for
a pillow when the ground is the bed. The spot I selected was soft,
though not dry; it was in a furrow of a ploughed field. I was rolled
in my blanket, and for an hour never enjoyed a sounder sleep: but I
did not find the waking quite so pleasant; for it had rained heavily
during my _enjoyment_, and I felt myself nearly covered by the _watery
bed_ of the furrow: however, I shook off my blanket--saddled, and
mounted. It was daylight, but not yet sunrise: as I proceeded towards
the mountains, I could see to my right, over the distant plain, several
bodies of horse evidently stationed to be ready in case the enemy
forced their way down--the town of Pamplona on my left in the centre
of the plain--the _tricolore_ flying, and occasional guns--I suppose
signals--firing. The Pyrenees were capped in grey mist, and therefore
I could not discern any of our infantry upon them; but I knew they
were in their position there, and had fought the two preceding days in
defence of it.

In my way I passed through the bivouac of the Spanish army which
blockaded Pamplona, and there beheld a most sublime spectacle--it was
the celebration of their religious rites, the mass, in the open air,
close to a ruined house. It was now sunrise, and the hour with the
circumstances of the time, gave the uncovered and kneeling soldiery a
most interesting appearance. The priest was a bald and reverend looking
man, and his sacerdotal robes made him look like a patriarch. I stopped
in a reverie of admiration--out of which, however, I was roused in a
few minutes by the sound of distant firing on the heights; so I left
the Spaniards to their prayers, and galloped on towards where there was
something going on, which to me was far more interesting.

In about ten minutes more I was upon the mountain where our division
was drawn up: they had not yet fired a shot, nor seen a Frenchman,
but expected every moment to be engaged. The scene of action here, is
to be imagined by the reader placing himself ideally on the top of a
bold hill, or moderately sized mountain; in front, and on each side,
are similar hills or mountains--some smaller--some greater; far in the
front the higher Pyrenees; and, behind, the wide plain, on which stands
Pamplona. Over this scene let him then throw the most picturesque
foliage--a village or two in the distant valleys--the ground spread
with heath and furze: thus he will have the view of where the gallant
battle of the Pyrenees was gained, after four days of terrible
contest. The fight here was very different from a fight on a plain:
in this it was a continual attempt on the part of Soult, with all the
force he could collect, to pass the hills, for the relief of Pamplona,
and as continual a resistance on the part of the allies--hill after
hill was attacked and defended with the most heroic energy on both
sides. But our people performed a still more glorious and prodigious
task; for not only did they defend their own position, but attacked
Soult’s, which was stronger than their’s; and thus for the second time
during the campaign, made a wreck of the French army!

Soult was determined to pass to Pamplona if possible; he therefore
brought all his power to the point: even his unfledged conscripts
were not excused--boys of fifteen, in white undress, unable to use
the bayonet; these he posted where they could pull their triggers
without being exposed to a charge from our steel, while his veterans
were employed in more dangerous situations. Before the attack, Soult
in person appeared amongst them at the front, pointed towards the
invested town, and offered every man a certain reward in cash, as soon
as they passed the few hills before them, and relieved their blockaded
countrymen. All this could not suffice; and the best General of
France, with a powerful army, could not push over a quarter of a mile
of ground, while the British defended it! nor although aware of the
Duke of Wellington’s intention of invasion, could they keep him from
pursuing them across their own frontiers! On this battle depended the
fate of the Peninsula--perhaps of Europe:--the trust fell into worthy
hands, and they did their duty.

In about half an hour after I joined the division, a hill in front and
on our right, defended by Portuguese, was attacked; the latter received
the French with a volley, and then, shouting, advanced down the hill
with the bayonet: a cheer from our men involuntarily burst out, and
the French rolled and ran, pursued about a hundred yards. The hill
was of great importance to us, and very desirable to the enemy: this
was the first attack upon it, and having failed, reinforcements were
preparing to accomplish its conquest:--we could see several columns
of the enemy moving down from another mountain towards it; but this
was provided for by our chief, who reinforced the gallant Portuguese
by the 48th British regiment, and a regiment of Spaniards. Here then
was the hardest fighting for two days--the 27th and 28th; attacks were
repeatedly made upon this point, in the most able manner by the French,
and as often defeated. Soult and Wellington were both placed within
sight of each other, upon the tops of hills, anxiously observing this
terrible strife at various times; and the anxiety of the former could
be seen plainly in all his attitudes. During this time several other
points were assailed, gained and lost: it was up hill at one moment,
and down the next; and considering that those hills were so steep at
some places, that I was nearly breathless in mounting one, besides a
hot sun blazing over us, it is to be wondered how such prodigies of
valour were accomplished. I do not know why, but certain it is, that
our men usually did more execution when charging up a hill than down;
there seemed to be a greater energy about them in overcoming their
difficulties, and perhaps a desire of revenge for the advantage their
enemy seemed to take of them in firing down at them as they advanced.
As an instance of this, I will mention the following fact:--When our
troops were passing the Bidassoa, the firing from a bold height on
the French bank of the river galled them very much; the water was up
to the middle of their bodies, and the men were obliged to hold their
muskets over their heads to keep them dry: many fell; others, wounded,
continued to cross the ford; the hill in front was to be mounted and
taken by those troops in the water, and a strong force was defending
it. The men became outrageous as they looked up at the muskets of
their enemies pointed at them; and frequent oaths and imprecations
plainly showed that they would seek satisfaction when they crossed
the river.--“_Oh! by J----! we’ll give it to you by and by, you
French beggars. D----your eyes, we’ll sarve you out_,” &c. &c. Such
expressions as these were heard from every man, and when arrived on the
other side of the river, scarcely a moment passed till they were up on
the heights--stabbing, butting, and flinging over the rocks the bodies
of their enemies. The height was gained, and on the top of it they
gave three cheers, which made Fontarabia ring. But--to the narrative.

During the 27th and 28th, the contest produced nothing decisive,
except that Soult could not gain his point, and the whole line of
hills were at one time or other the scene of active operation--cannon,
musketry, and bayonet, were all at work. On the 28th, the French made
a desperate attack on the 6th division, which had been sent by the
Duke of Wellington to occupy the heights on the left, across a valley
near Orican: the moment this division appeared, the enemy advanced on
it, but was received in fine style--they got into a _cul de sac_; for
the fourth division on their left was so placed on hills as to effect
a most destructive fire on their flank, while they gave them their
vollies from a ridge upon their right, as well as in front, so that at
this point the French met with unequivocal defeat.

The third day closed in darkness, and the work of death ceased for a
time. The men were now so familiar with the carnage around that they
cared nothing about it: many laid themselves down beside dead comrades
and enemies mingled: all slept soundly on the mountain heath that
night--not even bestowing a thought upon whether they were to fight
next day or not; and when the bugle sounded and the drum beat next
morning, jumped up as fresh as if they had been at a review; then,
after eating their cold beef and biscuit, and swallowing a mouthful of
rum, were ready in their ranks to renew the scenes of the preceding
days--nay, anxious for the fight.

This was the day for glory. The Duke attacked Soult on the right and
left at once, which proving successful, he dashed at the centre. This
was now a change from defence to attack, and the enemy in a few hours
were driven from all their strong points, and retreated. Yet they
fought desperately: at one village alone--the first on the main road
from Pamplona to the pass of _Maia_--the British were driven back four
times; but took and held it on the fifth: the road here was covered
with dead of both sides, and well proved the valour with which both
fought, in that masterly victory which opened the barrier of France to
the allies--led the Portuguese and Spaniards to the glory of shouting
“Retribution” in their persecutor’s country--and once more passed the
ranks of heroes over the consecrated ground of Roncesvalles.

The whole of the road over which we pursued the retreating and broken
army, was covered with the wreck of its baggage and artillery--hundreds
of dead mules were lying about, having been killed with fatigue,
or hurled off the precipices along which the road sometimes
passed--waggons, guns, carriages, tumbrils, casks, medicine chests,
and dead men, were the objects that every where, like Rosamond’s clue,
marked the track of the devoted victims:--a sickening sight, which,
while engaged in the heat of pursuit, was viewed without emotion; but
when calm reflection took her seat in the soldier’s mind, was not to be
contemplated by him without unenviable feelings.

On this march nothing remarkable occurred in the part of the army where
I was stationed. The siege of San Sebastian was begun by Sir Thomas
Graham, while the front of our main force occupied the border line of
France on the Bidassoa. The two contending armies remained in sight of
each other--Soult fortifying the frontier of his threatened country,
and Wellington refreshing his victorious troops until after the fall of
San Sebastian. All this time the Duke’s head-quarters were at Lesacco,
in the mountains, a town about four leagues south of Passages; and
these four leagues, I may say, with a little allowance--was up _one_
side of a mountain and down the other,--a wretched town; and perhaps
never before had it to boast of the domicile of so many heroes--such
glittering nobility. Here, for the greatest part of a rainy and raw
winter, the indefatigable Commander of the Forces fixed his quarters;
and here I have seen him working with an energy which often threatened
his life. He rode so much one week, that he was confined for several
succeeding days to his bed; and I have seen his fifteen valuable
English chargers led out by the groom to exercise, with scarcely any
flesh on their bones--so active and vigilant was their noble rider,
and so much were his horses used. Every day during the siege of San
Sebastian, I saw the Duke, unattended by his staff, riding by my
window, in a narrow street of Renteria, on his way to the besieged
fortress, accompanied by an old artillery or engineer officer,--I
believe Sir R. Fletcher,[6]--and dressed in a plain grey frock, white
cravat, and cocked hat--evidently intent on the matters of the siege;
this was upwards of thirty miles a day for a _ride_, between breakfast
and dinner; but he has often rode double that distance, over the worst
of roads and in the worst of weather.

The siege of San Sebastian was the next important operation of the
Allied Army. This was entrusted to Sir Thomas Graham, under the eye of
the Duke of Wellington. From being quartered at Renteria, for three
weeks previous to the capture of that fortress, I had an opportunity
of witnessing the whole affair; and scarcely a day passed without my
visiting the works before it: but from the commencement of the siege
up to the battering down of the walls, nothing took place to require
a particular notice, beyond the description I have given of the
siege of Flushing, in another part of this work: generally speaking,
the operations were similarly conducted. The storming of the town,
however, was a scene in the campaign of which I write, which ought not
to be passed over unnoticed. As I beheld, so will I describe it; and so
mighty an achievement as the capture of this town was, I would be happy
to hear described by every individual who was engaged in it; for each
would tell what he had seen; which, although all generally the same,
would be different in particulars, and therefore, like Mosaic work,
form a picture of the highest value. We have had several descriptions
of the storming of San Sebastian, amongst which that given by the
author of “_The Subaltern_,” (a deservedly popular work) is by far the
best, and, with but few exceptions, correctly true--at least those
exceptions are at variance with what I recollect of the affair. The
author of “_The Subaltern_” describes what he saw, as a _stormer_ of
the town; I can only speak as a spectator: both our remarks, therefore,
may be taken as separate parts of the same picture.

San Sebastian is situated at the foot of a high rock, upon the top
of which is a fortified castle; the town surrounds this rock, and
is backed by the open sea. A river runs in front of the town, into
which the sea flows; but at low water it is fordable; and its banks of
yellow sand appear to our right--imagining us fronting the town. On
first beholding San Sebastian, one supposes it is situated on a little
island; but on closer approach, it is seen connected by a neck of land,
which at high water is very narrow; and on this neck, which is an
island at high water, is a fort mounting three or four guns:--but the
best way to proceed in the description, I think, is to place my reader
in the position which I took up myself at the battering and storming of
the town.

To our right, on a high bold hill, which overtops several others near
it, and whose side, next the town, is nearly perpendicular, was a
mortar battery:--here must the reader stand. About half a mile in his
front and a little to his left, stands San Sebastian around its high
rock and castle--its walls watered by the Gurumea stream, and relieved
in the distance by the wide blue waters of the Bay of Biscay. To the
left of the town he will see several picturesque hills, lessening
away into the horizon, while to his right he will behold the Bay of
Biscay washing the feet of the Pyrenees. Immediately under him, a
little to the left, are situated the British batteries and trenches,
on a tolerably level ground, and flanked on the other side by several
hills, upon the most forward of which stood the chief of the siege, Sir
Thomas Graham;[7]--these, for the most part, covered with apple-trees.
Behind all this is a beautifully picturesque and hilly country--the
Lake of Leso may be seen, like a patch of shining glass, in the midst
of foliage and fertile fields--an occasional farm-house shows itself
in the valleys and on the brows of the hills--while the background is
formed by the gigantic mountains of the Pyreenees. I can only compare
the position which I have now pointed out to my readers, to the highest
seat of an amphitheatre, at the bottom of which lies the exhibition
for his eye:--the batteries,--the river,--the town,--the encamped
army,--all were below; and over the whole I could gaze as on the Thames
from the towers of Windsor,--the yellow verging sands of Dublin Bay
from Killiny Hill,--or Edinboro’ from the Calton.

On the night of the 26th, the fort between the town and our lines was
carried by assault, and its defenders taken prisoners. This was done by
a detachment of infantry, assisted by a few marines and sailors: little
work was made about this affair, and the garrison, it is supposed, were
not aware of it until daylight. On the morning of the 27th, the signal
was made to open the fire upon the town; and I can only remember it by
having been awakened out of a sound sleep, at three miles’ distance
from San Sebastian, by the tremendous roar of the cannon. The batteries
continued to play upon the town almost incessantly, for nearly four
days and nights,--the cannon at the front wall, for the purpose of
effecting a breach--the mortars at the ramparts and the houses. The
French returned the fire from both the Castle and walls with great
rapidity--their shells were thrown in every direction; but this
vigorous return was soon over; for, on the second day of the cannonade,
their guns on the walls were silenced; so they contented themselves
with throwing a few shells and an occasional shot from the Castle upon
the troops in our trenches, whose well-directed muskets were annoying
the enemy whenever they appeared on the walls.

Observing the balls striking the wall at one point, first led the
beholders to suppose that no impression could possibly be made on the
massive and compact structure; for the perceptible effect was that a
little dust arose from the spot where each shot struck; and then the
ball dropped down, leaving no appearance whatever of an impression: but
continued firing first loosened a stone, then moved it, and ultimately
displaced it: when this was accomplished, it required very little more
to widen the breach to a sufficient extent for storming.

During the day-time the scene was awfully grand--but far more so at
night; and from the hill upon which I stood, it had the most terrible
aspect. Fancy yourself over the potteries of Staffordshire in a
balloon, when the face of the country is covered with fires; this may
be likened in some degree, to the trenches and ramparts--dark and flame
alternately mixed: then the roaring of the guns, more loud than a
thousand thunders; and the shells crossing each other, in their route
to destruction:--none could behold the scene without awe and horror!

The breach having been completed on the 30th, the storming party
prepared to enter; and on the 31st at about ten o’clock in the morning,
the forlorn hope, at the appointed time--which was the hour of
low-water--advanced from the trenches. I could see them plainly: one
followed the other rapidly into the stream, and boldly advanced--poor
fellows! a thousand balls were showered on them, and they dropped as
fast as they arrived at about the middle of the river--men followed
men, into the gulph of death--yet several arrived at the opposite bank:
on they went to the breach, followed by their comrades, and there
were knocked down by grape and bullets from the walls: but by rapidly
crowding over the heaped up dead, a mass of men succeeded in getting
on the breach: there they were stopped by balls and bayonets. At this
moment, a mine sprung outside the wall, and threw our advancing men
into confusion, killing several; but under the cover of the smoke
occasioned by it, many of the rear got up to the breach. Sir Thomas
Graham now ordered the heavy artillery to aim over the heads of our
men, so as to clear the ramparts of the opposing force, through the
embrasures: this was admirably done: I could see the balls striking
above them, and knocking stones and rubbish in upon the French, as well
as sweeping them away.--Every shot made my heart thrill with delight;
for the poor fellows, who were struggling to get into the breach,
against such fearful odds, were dropping every instant; but this
masterly experiment made immediate way for advance. There were several
Spanish females on the hill where I was, and the tears rolled down
their cheeks like rain, while this was going on; and many of the _men_
who beheld it could not refrain from weeping. The constant exclamations
from one to another, was, “Do you think they are likely to get in?--How
long they are on the breach!--God help them!--Brave fellows!”--Not
only the English present, but the Spanish, thus heartily felt for the
gallant soldiers who were standing on the threshold of death awaiting
destruction. At this moment, a column of Portuguese advanced boldly
out over the sand, on the right of the town, and exactly under the
battery in which I stood: they marched at ordinary time. As soon as
they appeared, the grape was showered in amongst them, and strewed the
yellow sands with the blue jackets; yet the column never broke, but
intrepidly marched into the river up to the arm-pits, and gained the
wall of the town; the water all around them, while passing, bubbling by
shot as if from large hail--so it appeared to me from the distance. The
Portuguese continued along the wall, and mounted the breach gallantly.
All this time, the breach was receiving a most destructive flanking
fire, from the projections of the walls on both sides--they kept up
a continual shower of bullets from the embrasures; fortunately now
a mine sprung on the ramparts by accident, and destroyed numbers of
the French: a dense black cloud of smoke arose from it: our artillery
was sweeping the ramparts, and at this juncture the surviving men
on the breach cleared their way into the town--advancing columns
followed fast--the batteries ceased--and the work of the British
bayonet began. The hearts of all who beheld the attack were now at
ease--the artillery men rested on their guns, and shook hands with each
other--all was quiet outside the town, but wild uproar and destruction
within. In about half an hour after this, we could see the French
mounting the rock inside the citadel, to shut themselves up in the
castle; then we felt convinced that the town was taken. The French
continued to fire upon their pursuers all the way up the hill, and we
could track them by the smoke of their guns.[8]

I went into the town through the breach, in the evening, and there
witnessed the true horrors of war; the soldiers were, for the most
part, half drunk--all were busy plundering and destroying: every thing
of value was ransacked--furniture thrown out of the windows--shops
rifled--packages of goods torn open and scattered about--the streets
close to the breach, as well as the breach itself, covered with dead
and wounded:--over these bodies, of necessity, I passed on my way.
As few women were in the town, the horrors attending the sex under
such circumstances were also few; and the attempt at ill-treating a
female on the day subsequent to the capture of the town, was summarily
punished by Lord Beresford on the spot. It was thus: although plunder
was nearly subdued on the day after entering San Sebastian, yet
stragglers were prowling about in spite of all efforts to prevent
further mischief: a woman was looking out of a window on the first
floor of a house, and I saw a drunken Portuguese soldier run into the
passage directly below where the woman was. Lord Beresford happened
to be walking a little before me in a plain blue coat and cocked hat,
accompanied by another officer: his Lordship saw the Portuguese running
into the house, and presently we heard the screams of a female--the
woman had gone from the window. Lord Beresford instantly followed the
Portuguese, and in a few minutes brought his senhorship down by the
collar; then with the flat of his sword gave the fellow that sort
of a drubbing which a powerful man, like his Lordship, is capable of
inflicting. Under the circumstances I thought it well bestowed, and far
better than trying him by court martial.

I understood that when the troops got into the town, the French
retreated behind their barricades in the streets, made with barrels
of sand and clay; from whence they fired at their pursuers, and when
driven from one, fled to the next, until they gained the Castle-hill.
It is thus the French generally fight against our troops--they take
every advantage of screening themselves from shot, and but on very few
occasions stand up man to man with the bayonet.

The town was dreadfully injured by shot, shell, and the destructive
fury of our troops:[9] but by no means so dilapidated as Flushing was.
A great number of the inhabitants had left San Sebastian previous to
its blockade, and the few respectable families who remained, fled to
the Castle along with the French.

For several days after the storming, soldiers and sailors were to be
seen strutting about the roads outside the town in masquerade--some in
silks and satins--others as pedlars selling their plunder to the people
who came from Passages to see the wreck of San Sebastian: the roads
were like a fair; and the humour of the Portuguese and our sailors
glossed over the horrors of the time with strange mirth. In general the
sailors were habited in old fashioned silk gowns and petticoats, put
on over their tarry jackets; while on a battered sail-cloth hat, Jack
sported a Spanish veil. The garrison in the Castle held out a week,
but at the end of that time surrendered: the number marched out was, I
believe, 1,800.

From the fall of San Sebastian, until the invasion of France in the
month following, nothing particular took place, and the army reposed in
the luxuriant valleys of Navarre. Here both officers and men enjoyed
themselves in quiet: they had plenty of provision--plenty of forage for
the horses--a profusion of fruit and excellent wine--the weather was
delightful, and the country the most picturesque on earth. However,
little more than a month passed over before the army crossed the
Bidassoa, driving the enemy from their frontier, and our successful
commander established his head quarters at _St. Jean de Luz_. I had
been quartered at Tafalia from a week after the siege until the fall of
Pamplona, and that being the only fortress to impede the operations of
the army--from its being occupied by the enemy--it is not unlikely that
its fall was the signal for the invasion of France.

On the surrender of Pamplona, the French garrison were permitted to
march out, with closed knapsacks. They were escorted by the Spaniards
through Tolosa to Passages for embarkation as prisoners of war; and,
unhappily for many of them, they found the difference between Spanish
and British foes on that miserable occasion.

It was cold weather when the garrison marched out: they were disarmed
of course. The French governor and several of the superior officers
were allowed to ride their own horses, and suffered nothing more
severe than mere insults from their escort, the Spaniards. Far
different was it with the men: every species of brutality was practised
against them short of open massacre. The road from Pamplona to Tolosa
is one of the widest and best in Spain, not very inferior to any in
Great Britain: it takes a course through valleys along the sides of an
immense mountain for a considerable way, and, frequently, over patches
of fertile country--the whole abounding in foliage. Occasional villages
present themselves at a few miles distant from each other, and now and
then a farm house or two opens upon the traveller’s view in some wild

I was on my route from Tafalia, in company with a brother officer; and
then returning to the front. We slept one night in a village within
a mile and a half of Pamplona, as one of our halting places; and
next day in passing the town we saw a considerable body of Spanish
troops--principally cavalry--drawn up; and, on enquiry, learnt that
they were waiting to receive the French garrison, which were then
about to march out as prisoners of war. In a few moments the French
appeared and were placed in column to proceed thus on their route
to Tolosa. We marched with them all that day, conversing with the
governor--a gentlemanly and pleasant officer--who expressed his fears
of ill treatment for his men, regretting that it was not by the English
that they were escorted. It came on to snow severely about four o’clock
in the afternoon, and promised a most miserable night to the poor
prisoners, as they had a full league farther to go before they could
get under cover; and they were far less able to bear fatigue than the
Spaniards who escorted them; for they had been half starved in the
garrison--provisions having been exhausted:--the governor declared that
they had all been subsisting for twelve days previous to surrender, on
four ounces _of horse flesh_ per day to each man, and that the horses
killed for that purpose were the private property of the officers.

We rode along with the column until dark, when we left it to take up
our quarter for the night at a farm-house, which we saw on the left,
in a valley, at the distance of about a quarter of a mile. Here we
passed the time pleasantly, having met with hospitable people who
accommodated us with what we wished. My friend had purchased a brace
of woodcocks in the village where we slept on the previous night, and
my servant was busy cooking them: while we sat at the fire along with
the farmer, his wife and three children, enjoying ourselves with a
glass of good Tafalia wine, about seven o’clock, a youth who was in
the employ of the farmer, lifted the latch, and entered, covered with
snow; his face was as white as his clothes, and he evidently laboured
under extreme terror. His master demanded what was the matter--in the
Basque language, which we did not understand, and which is the language
of the country people in that quarter: the boy, in the most apparently
incoherent manner, spoke for several minutes, shuddering as he spoke.
We supposed that he had encountered a mountain ghost in full costume;
but the master explained in Spanish the cause of his servant’s fright
to be nothing etherial. He said that the boy had been returning from
a neighbouring farmer’s house, and was crossing the main road in the
snow, when he stumbled over something, and fell; it was quite dark;
at first he thought it was a _Borachio_,[10] or a sack of corn that
thus tripped him, and put down his hand to it. He felt it warm, and
on closer examination found it to be a dead body quite naked, and
bleeding warm blood from the throat and breast, with which the boy’s
hands were covered. He ran towards a gap to get into the field which
led him towards his master’s, and in climbing up, his foot slipped by
occasion of the snow, and down he fell into the ditch upon another
dead, naked, and bleeding body! At first I was at a loss to account
for this extraordinary affair, but the Spaniard, who was a shrewd man,
soon awakened me to the cause. “They are French,” said he;--“French
prisoners killed by the soldiers of the escort, for their knapsacks
and clothes.” A shudder of horror passed through the nerves of both
my friend and myself. At first we thought of proceeding on after the
column, and to remonstrate with the Spanish Commanding-officer; but
a moment’s reflection showed us the uselessness as well as danger of
such an undertaking: we therefore contented ourselves with condemning
the dastard villany of the action, and in plans of preventing the like
outrages for the remainder of the march.

The next morning we mounted our horses a little after daylight, and
proceeded to the main road in order to pursue our route to Tolosa, and
there the scene which opened upon us was one of the most heart-sinking
nature: at least thirty bodies were scattered along the road, for
the distance of about two miles; most of them stabbed in the breast,
side, and abdomen--others with their throats cut; and some who had not
died of their wounds were gasping in death, hastened by the extreme
inclemency of the weather to which they had been exposed the whole
of the night--and all completely naked! We stopped with one young
man who could just speak a little; I put my canteen to his lips, and
he swallowed a mouthful of brandy, which for a moment lighted up the
expiring spark of life. The suffering victim told us that the Spanish
soldiers stabbed him in the breast when it became quite dark. He said
that happening to be on the flank of the column, and being a little
tired and weak, he straggled out from it a moment, when one of the
Spaniards dragged him into the ditch and plunged his steel into his
body; then took off his knapsack and clothes, leaving him naked as he
was, exposed all night to the snow and sleet. We threw our blankets
down, and lifted him upon them--the blood gushed out afresh from his
side. We immediately commenced to carry him back to the house we had
slept in the preceding night; but before we had gone many yards with
the unhappy soldier, he died.

We lost no time in proceeding onwards to overtake the column, and we
came up with it in about two hours. The poor jaded prisoners looked
at us as if they thought we could protect them from their abominable
persecutors, and many of them begged our interference, and corroborated
what the dying soldier told us. We heard the same melancholy complaint
from the French commandant and his officers. He said he remonstrated
with the commanding-officer of the Spaniards, but was answered that
the men should keep close in the column, and then they would not be
exposed to the danger of being murdered! My friend and I immediately
rode up to the Spanish officer in command, and represented the horrid
scene which was acted on the preceding night; but instead of a humane
and soldier-like consideration of the report, he cooly observed that
_he_ did not see them doing it, and that the prisoners must be more
careful not to straggle. I asked him to investigate the matter, and
concluded by hoping that the horrors of the night before would not be
renewed that night. My friend added, that it was a disgrace to the
name of a nation to murder their prisoners thus. He said he could not
help it, and that these things must happen in spite of the officers.
We plainly saw that those men, who from their rank should have been
supposed to have known better, were indirectly as much of the base
assassin as the wretches they commanded: however, I believe they were
not the _regular_ troops of the line, but the militia of the province.
God forbid that all the Spanish army were such as this sample! For the
sake of human nature, I hope they were not. The Spaniards had certainly
suffered much from the French invading army; but nothing should have
operated so disgraceful a crime in them, as to murder the helpless
prisoners _entrusted to their protection_. The British soldiers, with
all their faults, never stained the name of their country with conduct
like this: they have pilfered--they have plundered--they have rioted
in drunkenness and debauchery; but they never _struck a prostrate
foe_: they were the most formidable enemies to the French in Spain;
but they were the first to whom the fallen of that nation looked to
for protection--and not in _vain_--except in one _grand instance_ * *
* But in this, thank Heaven! the _Nation_, although bearing the blame,
_unjustly bears it_; for _it was the act of its evil director, and
wholly unsanctioned by the hearts of its people_.

We obtained a sort of promise, however, from the Spanish officers,
not again to allow such conduct as disgraced the preceding night;
and having cautioned the French in the rear to keep close together,
we went to our quarters in a little village, with some hopes that
the murderers would not again go to their infernal work; but we were
disappointed; for next morning the front room of the cottage in which
we passed the night, was filled with Spanish soldiers at day-break,
(for it happened to be a sort of wine-house,) and every one of them
had a knapsack or two which they took from the French on the preceding
evening: and no doubt for every knapsack which we counted, there was
a murdered prisoner. We were horror-struck when we beheld them, and
spoke in very decided terms of the brutality of the soldiers; but they
only replied by recommending the English officers to mind their own
men, and let Spaniards do as they liked!--nay, they made no secret
of their atrocity, but boasted to each other of the manner in which
they selected the prisoners who carried the largest knapsacks, and of
the celerity with which they detached them from their comrades and
slaughtered them. These wretches held a sort of fair or market in front
of this cottage, selling the clothes and contents of the plundered
knapsacks to the peasants of the village.

This proved to be the last day of slaughter for the poor unhappy
prisoners; for they arrived at Tolosa that evening by four o’clock,
and their further march was only to Passages (one day’s march) where
they were to embark. My friend and I, however, to guard against further
outrage, reported the affair to the Spanish authorities at Tolosa,
who, although promising to effectually prevent a recurrence, _excused_
the murderers by saying, “that they had not received a shilling pay for
two years; and this,” said they, “is owing to these infernal French.”
There would have been some reason in this, if the murdered had been
the men who designed and moved the Spanish invasion; but these unhappy
prisoners were as much the victims of it as the Spaniards themselves.

I now proceeded to my quarters at _Urogne_, beyond the Bidassoa,
between _Fontarabia_ and _St. Jean de Luz_. From the appearance of the
town, the armies must have had severe fighting there: the houses were
all in ruins, and no inhabitants to be seen: here I remained until the
advance of the army to its ultimate conquest at Toulouse, which began
the winter’s campaign in France.--But, as the crossing of the Bidassoa,
properly speaking, was the end of the _Last Campaign in the Peninsula_,
I must with it conclude this sketch--on which I have already, perhaps,
dwelt too long.


No. V.

“Holloa! what is that, sentry?”

“They are firing on the hills, sir.”

Out ran Sergeant Dobson from the guard-house, and looked through the
dark towards the point from which he supposed the muskets had been

“They are at it, sure enough,” said he--“Pop!--there they go. Is that a
house o’ fire?”

“I think it is, sir,” replied the sentry.

The Sergeant now ran to a rising ground, behind the guard-house to
satisfy himself, by taking an observation. It was a dark, cold, windy
night, and the flames from a burning house upon a hill, about half a
mile in front of the spot where the sergeant stood, spread a glare of
red and white light upon the objects immediately around it, which had a
sublime effect. The sergeant could plainly distinguish the figures of
soldiers, between him and the flames, running until they disappeared in
the darkness of the valley over which the flames waved; and he was now
convinced that a desperate resistance must have been made to the party,
that was sent to support the excise-officers, in taking possession of a
private still, which had long been at work in the house now burning in
sight of the sergeant.

The house where the illicit still produced its periodical flow of
potyeen, was an old strong stone building, of three stories high, and
partly in ruin. The lands upon which it was situated, and of which
it had been once the manor-house, were “in chancery,” and the only
inhabitants it possessed, were a sort of steward and his family, who
received no pay for his services, except his house-room and firing,
with leave to grow potatoes in the garden, and feed a cow on the
estate--sometimes, perhaps, a pig or two. The agent of the estate
seldom visited the ruin, unless when he took a shooting excursion; and
then he did not trouble himself much with the old steward’s means of
living. To make up for all deficiencies in salary, the occupier of the
house, in conjunction with others, set up “a bit of a still,” as he
termed it, and supplied thereby a considerable part of the neighbouring
people, with potyeen and broken heads for several years, under the very
noses of the excise-officers, who were either too wise, or too blind to
take notice of the matter. The rumour was not without foundation, which
hinted that several mugs and canteens of the old steward’s _best_,
found their way into Ballycraggen guard-house. This, however, was only
rumoured, and never happened to arrive at the ears of the officers
then quartered in the town; for had that been the case, Corporal
O’Callaghan, Private Mulligan, Jack Andrews, and even Sergeant M’Fadgen
himself, would have got into a bit of a hobble, as sure as potyeen is
good whiskey. But not a word more about that--let the officers find
such things out--I’ll never “peach,” upon good soldiers. If they did
take a drop while on guard, it was only to keep the frost out of their
stomachs--(and as Mulligan says,) nobody ever saw them “a bit the worse
o’ dthrink.”

The burning of the house was going on rapidly--the flames encreasing
in strength, and streaming along the hill, over high pines and thick
bush wood. The whole of the guard were at the front of the guard-house,
observing the progress of the fire, when the glistening of the
firelocks with fixed bayonets caught their attention, rising from the
valley below them; and, through the faint and red light, they could
perceive they were some of their own regiment who approached.

The guard immediately got under arms, to receive them. The challenge
was given--the watch word passed--and the party commanded by Ensign
Morris, halted in front of the guard-house, and delivered to the
sergeant of the guard (Dobson) two prisoners--one slightly wounded by a
shot in the arm.

The Ensign gave orders that they should be kept in the guard-house
until morning, and left Corporal Callaghan with two men, to strengthen
the guard: after which, he gave the word to his party, “Right
face,”--“March;” and proceeded to the head-quarters of the regiment.

The prisoners were two labourers who belonged to the still, and the
only two of its defenders who were taken.

“Well, my gay fellows, you gave us a purty bit o’ business
to-night--eh?” growled Corporal O’Callaghan, when all were seated in
the guard-house. “Look at that,” continued he, taking off his cap, and
showing them a hole made by a bullet; “look at that, ye spalpeens.
Which o’ ye did that?”

“Neither of us, plase your honour!” exclaimed both the prisoners; “we
never fired a shot, at all, at all.”

“That’s a lie, old chap,” replied one of the soldiers who had escorted
them; “that’s a lie; for I’ll take my affadavy I saw your infernal face
looking out of the window when the fire first broke out; and if I’m not
very much mistaken, it was this musquet that pinked your arm when you
were running up the hill.”

“Whoever _did_ pink my arm, as you call it, I wish’d o’ Christ I had
him on the top o’ Faudrick’s Hill,--he with his firelock, an’ I with my
pitchfork; I’d make him know his Lord God from Tom Bell.” This was the
reply of the wounded man, who became evidently agitated with rage as he

“Well, my boys,” observed Corporal Callaghan, “it’s all over now; you
are prisoners, and one o’ you is wounded. The business is over, so say
no more about it.”

“Yes, yes,” said Sergeant Dobson, “say no more about it;--but,
Corporal, tell us how the matter went.”

“By my soul! Sergeant, we had a throublesome job, I assure you. You
know Andrews’s quarthers. Well, I was down there, taking tay with
his wife, when the Sergeant-major came running down, and orther’d
me out with my squad immajetly. So I had my men out while you’d say
‘thrapstick;’ an’ Liftinent Morris, of our company, with Sergeant
M’Fadgen, myself, and twenty-five men, march’d off in the dark, along
with two excisemen, down the narrow lane which lades towards the
windmill. The lane was rough an’ muddy, an’ it was horrid dark; but
the excisemen had lantherns in their pockets, which they pull’d out
as soon as we were out o’ the town. When we got about a mile on, we
filed off into a narrow path, which ran up the side o’ the hill, upon
which that house that’s burning stands, an’ followed the excisemen
in single files, through bushes an’ briars, like goats--climbing an’
slipping--till we came to a sort of open space, undther another hill;
an’ from this we could see a gleam o’ twilight in the sky, as if the
moon was just washing her face, to pay us a visit. Here we were halted,
an’ orther’d to keep a sthrict silence. The excisemen shut up their
lantherns. Ensign Morris now stooped down, to catch a glimpse o’ the
house in front between him an’ the twilight; an’ then both he and the
excisemen went on--down the slope o’ the hill. It got a little bit
lighter, an’ we could see that the big stone house (more like a castle)
was situated between us and another hill on our left, in a wide sloping
place, and surrounded with fir-threes. There was no light at all in
the windows. ’Pon my sowl, when I looked about at the dark scene, as
it was--we dthrawn up undther a steep rock, an’ the roots o’ the big
threes out over our heads,--all of us as silent as stones--I couldn’t
help thinking o’ the night we were dthrawn up on the advanced posts in
the Pyrenees, Sergeant,--just half an hour before the attack. Well--in
about ten minutes, Liftinent Morris an’ the excisemen returned. Misther
Morris immajetly addthress’d us in a sort o’ whisper, ‘Tention!’ says
he. “Now, men, you are about to be employed in a juty which may call
upon every individual of you to use his judgment and discretion. You
may be required to spill the blood of your countrymen; but it is in
support o’ the laws, and you are bound to do it, if necessity calls
upon you. These revenue officers are going to make a sazure of a
private still in that house, an’ in case our assistance is wanted,
we must give it at all hazards; but to those men who will be posted
by themselves, I have particularly to remark that they are to allow
none to pass them--but, at the same time, not to fire, unless undther
the most urgent circumstances. To those men undther my own eye, I say
observe my ordthers--our object is to avoid bloodshed, but, at the
same time, support the revenue officers in doing their juty.” He then
ordthered Sergeant M’Fadgen to post two men at the pass we had just
come down; and this being done, three more were sent round to about
fifty yards distance, an’ posted at different points, while four others
were placed at each flank o’ the big house on the side o’ the hill--all
ordthered to allow nobody to pass in or out; an’ not to move from their
posts till further ordthers, unless obliged by force. Ensign Morris
then marched the remaining twelve, and the Sergeant and myself, down
the slope for about a hundthred yards, an’ halted us undther cover o’
the wail, close to the gate o’ the house.

“The excisemen now went softly into the yard o’ the house--for there
was no gate--an’ in about five minutes they came out again, to say that
there were at least eight or ten men in the house--they saw through
a crack in the wall. I must tell ye that the excisemen said they had
been in the house twice, but it was in the day time, an’ if they were
to be d----d for it, they could not find either still or one o’ the
men,--it was so sacretly done between ’em; so they came to-night from
information they had received, that a grate quantity o’ potyeen was to
be sent out about twelve o’clock; an’ we were to wait ’till they began
to load their cars with the stuff.--‘The cars are all harnessed,’ says
one o’ the Excisemen, coming out o’ the yard, ’an’ I hard a dale o’
voices inside--so they will soon come out.’

“Here we waited for a little time, when a light from the door stramed
out across the road through the gateway, and the excisemen got on
their hands an’ feet, an’ kept watching the fellows coming out o’ the
house to load the stuff. We heard the cars dthrawing up before the
door, and in about five minutes the excisemen got up, and said that
they would creep inside o’ the gate, an’ round the wall to the door,
so as to get into the house before any alarm was given; an’ that the
word “Captain!” roared out by one o’ them, would be the signal for our
party to advance an’ support them. So in they crept, like cats, while
the men were loading the cars: and we were expecting the signal every
instant, when we sees a fellow’s head poking out o’ the gate: at first
he didn’t see us, but walked softly out (I suppose to see was the
ground clear), when he turned round an’ spies us, an’ immajetly bawled
out, as loud as he could, ‘Murther! Dinis, shut the door; here’s the
sodgers!’ The signal was instantly given; we didn’t mind the fellow at
the gate, but advanced at double quick, right into the yard--Ensign
Morris at our head. The door was open--a woman held a light, an’ was
pulling in a man, while the excisemen were both knocked down like cocks
before our faces. We were dthrawn up in line about ten yards from the
door, while Ensign Morris ran forward, undther one o’ the horses’
heads, calling out he would fire if they would not surrendther; but
the men were all in, an’ the door slapped right into his face, just
as he was grabbing howld o’ one o’ them. You know Misther Morris is
a slapping able fellow, that ought to be a Captain long ago--before
he left Spain. The excisemen got up--not much worse o’ the wear--an’
Misther Morris ordthered me to remove the cars an’ horses, which we did
to one side o’ the yard. He then called to the men to aim at the door
when they got the word, and desired the Excisemen to pull out their
lantherns, one of which he took, an’ threw the light on the door. “Now
men:--ready--present--fire!” says he. Slap went a dozen bullets into
the door. “Load!” was given, an’ the officer, with the Excisemen, went
forward,--the men marched afther him,--ordthered to butt the door with
their muskets; which they did: but neither the balls nor the butting
had any effect whatever; for the door was as thick double oak as ever
was; an’ well made too--one o’ the owld times.”

The prisoners smiled with satisfaction, as the Corporal observed upon
the door.

“Well,” continued O’Callaghan, “we were dthrawn up a little distance
from the house again, an’ another volley was sent right at one o’ the
windows o’ the first floor. In went the wooden shutthers in smithereens
about the ground, an’ slap comes a shot out at us. “Load!”--again--and
again. Six men were ordthered to take post on our flank with the
Sergeant, and the others with Misther Morris himself:--away went six
bullets more into the same window, from the Sergeant’s party, while
ours was ordthered to pop one by one, as Misther Morris directed.
Another shot was now fired at us from the window, an’ knocked poor Hall
head over heels.”

“What! is Hall killed?” demanded the Serjeant and the men of the guard.

“‘Faith! poor fellow he is--or all as one; the ball enthered his
breast, an’ he was taken away to the surgeon with very little hopes o’

At this information of the Corporal’s there was a general murmur of

O’Callaghan continued--“Misther Morris now says to the men,
‘Come--ready lads--an’ when the party on the other side fires, watch
the window, while I throw the light right on it; which, when you see,
fire at once--the whole of you.’ We then moved in the dark to six or
eight paces farther out, an’ more in front. The smoke was now getting
away--for a blast o’ wind just then came. In about a minuet or two,
slap went the Serjeant’s party--a volley into the window. ‘Steady!’
says the Liftinent; ‘good aim lads’; an’ in less than a minuet he claps
the light on the window. There was the fellow with a blundtherbush up
to his shouldther, an’ he let fly just as we fired--the light was kept
steady on him--I’m sure every man could see him. Rattle went the lead
into him:--he jumped like a hopping ball up against the window top,
an’ out fell his dead body across the ledge:--there he hung with his
head an’ shoulders out. A most dthreadful cloud o’ smoke came now over
the house, an’ almost stifled us; at which Misther Morris ordthered me
to go round to the rear an’ see what was the matther. I went, an’ the
sentheries there tould me the house was o’ fire--’faith! I soon saw it
was; for the flames were bursting out o’ the windows; so I ran back to
tell the Liftinent. We were all astonishment. What was to become o’ the
men inside?

“There was no more firing from the party: the Serjeant was ordthered to
remain at his post in front, with his six men, while Misther Morris an’
I ran round to the rear; but before we went, the flames came fleaking
out of every window--even over the dead man that was lying stretched
out over the ledge. It’s all up, thinks I, for they must ha’ spilt
their potyeen, an’ set fire to it; otherwise the house could never be
so suddenly in flames.

“Faith an’ you’re just right,” sneered the wounded prisoner; “We wasn’t
a goin’ to let the d----d Exciseman taste a dthrop o’ it.”

“By my sowl! ye’re nice boys. I wish ye had been out at Badajoz,
an’ may be ye’d ha’ had enough o’ such business,” said Corporal
O’Callaghan, and then resumed his narrative. “Well,” said he, “we got
round as fast as possible to the rear o’ the house, an’ just as we were
approaching it, we sees the senthries--three o’ them--running towards
the hill to stop three or four fellows who were galloping up it like
monkies, an’ calling out that they would fire; while six or eight
fellows made a rush by a hedge close to us, down the hill like devils,
an’ we afther them--officer an’ all. I’m a good runner--an’ by my sowl!
I could not do much with them fellows; they were like Leberacawns--we
had scarcely time to wink our eyes, when they were gone--hooh! off they
were like birds.”

“But didn’t Lieutenant Morris order you to fire, Corporal?” said
Serjeant Dobson.

“Fire! not he. Why should he, Serjeant? You know what the Liftenant
is,--he’ll not dthraw blood in such a case as that--the poor devils
were running away. We couldn’t have much glory in killing one o’ them,
I’m sure. One o’ the senthries fired though, an’ shot this nate-looking
gentleman here getting up the hill, an’ made him prisoner; the other
lad there fell right on his head and rowled down; so that he was also

“And is the house burnt?” demanded the Serjeant.

“Burnt!” replied O’Callaghan, “’faith it is--an’ well burnt too. It’s
all in a hape o’ ruins. An’ afther all, the Exciseman didn’t get the

“No, by J----s! they didn’t nor never will,” exclaimed the wounded
prisoner with exultation.

“But what made you burn the house?” said Serjeant Dobson to the

“I’ll say no more,” replied he; “it’s done now--an’ I’m not sorry;
except for the brave fellow that lost his life.”

At this moment, the Sentry at the guard-house door challenged; and in a
few seconds Lieutenant Morris with a magistrate of the town, and the
gaoler, arrived. Handcuffs were placed upon the prisoner who was not
wounded, and the Corporal with two men, were directed to take charge of
the delinquents, and march them to gaol; which they did, accompanied by
the Lieutenant, the magistrate, and the gaoler.


    “O! Father, must I then confess?”

They say that “a frank confession is good for the soul,” but who ever
said it was good for a military _body_? Even the confessors themselves,
enthusiastic as they may be about the salvation of souls, through
the means of contrition and atonement, show but little disposition
to trouble the army, or expect that the army will ever trouble them
by kneeling at their confessionals. However, the military in France
are subject to the civil laws; and, as a holy order has been issued
from the Court of Charles X., imposing the necessity of confession as
a preparatory step to the celebration of marriage, the soldier who
wishes to enter into the bonds of Hymen, must, like his civil brethren,
confess his naughty doings to his pastor. Without a certificate of
having duly done this, he must be contented with single cursedness.

A Colonel who fought for France in the days of her triumph--a pupil
of that revolutionary school which gave its best moral lesson in its
downfall--presented himself at the house of the Priest who held the
sacerdotal command of the town in which the _militaire_ was quartered,
and informed him that he was desirous of entering into the married
state next day; adding, that he wished to give his reverence the
preference in the performance of the ceremony. _Monsieur le Prêtre_
bowed, and thanked the Colonel for the honour conferred upon him, and
the hour was appointed for the marriage. The Colonel, not aware that
anything more was officially required of him, than to present himself
with his intended _cara esposa_, before the altar on the following
day, was about to take his leave, when the Priest informed him that he
must confess before he could be eligible to the dignity of wearing the
matrimonial collar.--Only fancy a tall, bony, mustachioed Colonel of
French Infantry, about forty-five years of age--a sort of half devil,
half republican,--with ear-rings and bald temples--a ruddy brown face,
that spoke of many a hot sun and strong vintage--with an eye like Mars,
and an air like Robin Hood:--only fancy such a man called upon by a
Priest, to kneel down and confess his sins in an audible voice, that
he might be qualified to enter into the holy state of marriage;--and
then fancy his gaze of astonishment at the holy man’s summons! For such
a rough personage as this was the Colonel;--a fellow who, during his
military life, had little to do with priests, except to lay them under
contribution, and knew no more about the merits of confession than he
did about the Evidences of Christianity, or the Decalogue itself.

“_Sacre!_” replied the Colonel; “What’s the meaning of this?
Confession! what have I to do with confession?”

The Priest, who was a man as liberal as might be, consistent with his
office, informed the Colonel that by a late law, no marriage could be
celebrated in France between Catholics, unless the parties had first
obtained a certificate of confession; but gave him to understand that
he would make it easy to him.

“_Eh bien!_--very well, very well,” said the Colonel; “but what am I to

“Very little, very little. Merely sit down, and tell me what sins you
have committed in your life-time.”

“_Parbleu!_” replied the Colonel; “How am I to do that? I don’t know
that I ever did any great harm.”

“Well then,” returned the Priest, “merely speak to the best of your

Here he gave the Colonel his benediction.

“I never injured any one in my life--except, perhaps, running a few
dozen Prussians and Spaniards through the body.--I have killed a few
Englishmen too.”

“_Ce n’est rien!_ that’s nothing.”

“I assisted in pillaging several towns, and burnt one or two villages.”

“_Ce n’est rien!_ that’s nothing at all.”

“I have sometimes had an affair with the ladies.”

“_Oh, pour cela, ce n’est rien--ce n’est rien!_ All in the way of your
profession. Did you ever kill a priest?”

“No!--I--a--a--don’t think I ever _killed_ one.”

“Very well--very well! Did you ever assault a nun?”

“O never,--no necessity! Always found the nuns very agreeable women.”

“You never robbed a church, Colonel?”

“We melted down the golden candlesticks, and removed a few of the
pictures; but this was by our General’s orders.”

“You did not rob anybody?”

“Never--except the Spaniards and Portuguese.--O--yes, we did a little
amongst the Prussians.”

“Ah! that was, as I said before, merely in the way of your profession.
Very good--very good, Colonel, I think that will do. Now I will give
you absolution, and your certificate of purity.”

The Colonel received the paper, and was about to depart, when the
Priest informed him that there was something more to be done:--A
small fee was necessary. The Colonel cheerfully put his hand in his
pocket, and presented the clergyman with two Napoleons, one of which
his reverence returned, observing that he was amply remunerated for
his trouble by the other. “Yet,” said he, “there is something more to
be done: you must have a mass celebrated, to complete the marriage and
render it legal.”

“_Parbleu!_ mass!” exclaimed the Colonel, “what is the use of mass to

He was again told that it was necessary, and he agreed to have it
performed; “But,” said he, “what is the expense?”

“You can have it done in a superior manner--full high-mass--for two
hundred francs.”

“_Ah, mon Dieu!_ two hundred francs! what!--for a mass?”

“Yes; but, Colonel, you can have it done so low as ten francs.”

“Can I?” said the Colonel, “and is the ten franc-mass equally good in
point of law, with that for two hundred?”

“Yes, Colonel; but not so respectable.”

“_Sacre!_ never mind the respectability of the matter; I’l have ten
francs worth of mass--that will do for me.”

The marriage was accordingly celebrated next day in due form, the
Colonel having purchased the confessor’s certificate and ten francs
worth of mass; and he solemnly declared, on the day after his wedding,
that he could not have felt more happy, even if he had purchased the
highest priced mass in France.[11]




    My consequence--my consequence--my consequence!

    MUNDEN’s _Sir Anthony Absolute_

A certain little gentleman attached to the army of Lord Wellington,
while on the march in Portugal, once took up his quarters in the best
house he could find, and having seen his horses well put up in the
rear of it, retired to the best apartment to indulge himself in a cup
of coffee; which luxury, with many others, he was, from the nature of
his situation, enabled to carry with him, while others, his superiors,
were obliged to put up with what they could procure _en passant_.
Scarcely had his _rapaz_ drawn off his boots and re-covered his feet
with slippers, when it was announced to him, that an officer was below
examining the stables, and had ordered his horses to be put up in
them--that the officer’s baggage was already unloading at the door of
the house--and that the officer himself had selected the quarters in
preference to any other in the village.

The slippered possessor, in all the consequence of his _grade_,
immediately determined that no man should turn him out of his quarters,
unless he could establish fully a claim to a rank superior to his
own--and that too pretty clearly; in which resolution he began to
stride across the chamber with becoming dignity. At this moment the
officer in question entered the apartment, and proceeded to inspect its
conveniencies without observing the occupier, who with three formidable
strides approached the intruder, and demanded what he wanted: which
question was answered by the officer’s saying, that he wished to have
the quarters in which he then stood.

“You shall _not_ have them, Sir,” replied the little gentleman; (he
was about four feet four inches in height; but a very respectable
and dapper member of the army.) “You shall not have them, Sir--I am
determined on that.”

“Pray Sir,” demanded the stranger with astonishment, “may I be
permitted to inquire what is your _rank_ in the army?”

“_My_ rank, Sir,” replied the little disputant, considerably irritated;
“_my_ rank, Sir!”--At this moment he put his two hands into his side
pockets in a style that perfectly astonished the listener--“I am,
Sir--since you must know my rank--I am, Sir, MR. LEWIS, APOTHECARY

“Indeed!” replied the stranger, “that rank, I presume, in taking
quarters is equivalent to a Lieutenant’s?”

“Yes, Sir, it is, Sir,” rejoined the Apothecary to the Forces; “and
now, Sir, let me ask you, Sir, what is _your_ rank, Sir?”

“The only difference between our respective ranks is this,” said
the stranger, “that you are Apothecary to the Forces;--I am
_Commander-in-Chief_ of the same forces; and now, Sir, I order you, to
be out of these quarters in half an hour!”

The tiny gentleman stared; and with the most polite and submissive
bow, (when he had recovered from the consternation into which the
explanation had thrown him,) pulled out his watch and said, “_Half
an hour?_ your lordship--_half an hour?_ that’s very short notice
indeed:--say _thirty-five_ minutes, and it shall be done.”

The Commander-in-Chief nodded assent, and laughing heartily, left the
little gentleman to take _his own time_ in removing.




                      It is an even chance
    That bridegrooms, after they are fairly _groom’d_,
    May retrograde a little in the _dance_.


That “_a cobler should stick to his last_,” is a homely old saying, of
infinite worth, were men to act upon the spirit which it inculcates;
but, unfortunately, like many other wholesome things, it is too often
rejected as unpalatable, if not neglected altogether. The danger of
the infraction of this maxim, however, has been proved by men of every
grade, from the highest to the lowest--from Cobler Buonaparte down to
Cobler Cobbett--the one marched to Russia, and lost the world by it;
the other trudged to Windsor, and gained but a laugh for his pains.
Ambition is at the bottom of all this: that passion which killed alike
the Roman Cato and the London Daw. The one slew himself that he might
not witness his rival’s success; the other died of grief because
he could not bear to see his _walk_ upon the stage usurped by an
understrapper. Poor Daw had played for many years the fore leg of the
elephant in Blue Beard with _éclat_--he was the _original_ leg; and it
broke his heart to find himself thrown into the background, by being
obliged to take the _hind_,[12] instead of his foremost character. But
this is a digression; let us return to our adage--“A cobler should
stick to his last,” and proceed to an illustration of it in an affair
which happened at Lisbon, in 1813.

A Commissariat clerk was on duty in that city at this period, who
possessed a handsome wife. With his pay and allowances, amounting to
about 180_l._ a-year, he managed to live very comfortably, enjoying
the society of his brethren, and appearing, in every respect, a
gentleman. But, unfortunately for him, the British Ambassador, then at
Lisbon, (Lord Charles Stuart,) according to custom, gave periodical
balls; and what was still more unfortunate, these balls were open
to every respectable member of the army who might choose to attend.
Of this privilege the wife of the gentleman in question determined
to avail herself, and prevailed on her husband to accompany her.
Whether it required much persuasion to accomplish the consent of the
latter, is not known; but certain it is, that they both attended the
balls, and “turned out” in a style that would not have disgraced a
Commissary-general. Besides the expensive circle of acquaintance into
which this attendance at the Ambassador’s balls must necessarily
have led a _married_ man, another and greater evil soon and clearly
manifested itself. The Hussar brigade had then just arrived at
Lisbon, splendidly equipped; and, of course, its members figured as
the _lions_ of the ball-room. Amongst them was a noble Marquis, a
Captain, of elegant and insinuating manners, and remarkable for his
gallantry in the field--of Venus; for he had not yet essayed in that
of _Mars_,--and with the Commissariat gentleman’s wife the noble
Captain danced. Without entering into a philosophical examination of
the characters of women in general, let us assume, that few ladies,
who know how to properly esteem the pleasures of dancing in public,
could well have resisted the claims to admiration which a handsome
Hussar, decorated with a title, and a pair of scarlet trowsers, all
laced with gold, must have brought to his aid. The heroine of this page
proved her taste, and admired the Marquis, as every lady possessing her
susceptibility and her notions of the _beau ideal_, must have done.
It is natural to look favourably upon those who admire us. Admiration
possesses extraordinary procreative powers,--it even reproduces
itself. The Marquis and the Commissariat clerk’s wife became, on
the first night of their dancing together, familiar acquaintances;
nay, before the ball broke up, they were found to be _bona fide_
relations--absolute cousins-German, by the mother’s side! There is no
doubt--they _were_ cousins: the Marquis first traced the consanguinity,
the lady was delighted at the discovery, and the credulous husband
_believed it_! Many garrulous people, however, attempted to prove,
that this cousinship was only got up, to _cozen_ the Commissary,
between the noble dancer and the sympathetic _danseuse_.[13] Be that as
it may, both husband and wife felt highly honoured, as we have said, by
the discovery; and the former invited the Marquis, most pressingly, to
his quarters.

The noble relation became a frequent visitor, and the Commissary
spoke of his “_Cousin, the Marquis_,” to all his acquaintances with
exultation; nor was the lady backward in her civilities, for she
entertained her guest at dinner--at tea--at supper--at all things, and
at all times, within her power, in such a way, that the _cousins_ were
scarcely ever out of each other’s society.

In about three weeks after the cousinship commenced, the Hussars were
ordered up the country, to join the main body of the army, and the
Marquis remained a few days behind, for the purpose of--what? Why, of
making suitable arrangements to carry his fair _cousin_ with him to
the regiment, and away from the husband who had behaved so hospitably
towards _him_, and so indulgently to _her_!

The Marquis took her off to Santarem, where his regiment lay; but, to
the everlasting credit of that regiment, (which, by the by, has been so
roughly, and perhaps unjustly, handled by public opinion) the Marquis
was not permitted to join; for the facts of the _cozening_ had galloped
faster than the noble Captain’s horses, and the officers set their
faces against the affair. He was obliged to return to Lisbon, with
the companion of his trip; when, after some fruitless endeavours to
reconcile the disunited couple, he sent the lady to England, and thus
patched up the honour of his name with his regiment.

The unhappy husband at first took the matter to heart; but soon
overcame his feelings, and learned to despise both the wretched woman
and her paramour.

It is but fair to mention, however, that the Marquis was not so _much_
to blame as the lady in this transaction: he laid no siege for years,
nor even months, before the citadel--capitulation almost came with the
summons--the vanity of the woman was touched, and the spell awakened
all her evil passions. Her husband was a man of good sense, (although
in this instance he went “_beyond his last_;”) he possessed a good
person, agreeable manners, and an affectionate and sincere heart; yet
this wife left him for an acquaintance of an hour! Blame is always
readier to fall upon the _man_ than on the woman in affairs of this
kind, and often very unjustly,--in this case decidedly so; for although
the Marquis acted foolishly and rashly, in _taking the wife away_; yet
the woman was not worth a thought who could be thus won. However, the
only real sufferer, at present, is the unfortunate wife.


    “Ah! why was ruin so attractive made?”


Love is never so happy--so gay--so delightful--so fascinating, as when
he decorates himself in military trappings; and had his little godship
been consulted upon how his portrait ought to have been set forth by
the poets and the artists, I have no doubt but he would have directed
them to have pictured him in the dress of a soldier. He always has
delighted in camps and barracks; the clashing of arms sets his heart
into a glow, and the sound of the drum makes him flutter his wings like
a rising lark. Yet, with all this preference for the profession of
the sword, his happiness is seldom long-lived, and he is often--very
often, found weeping over his broken joys--or toys, as they may be--in
bitterness, as proportionately poignant as his pleasures were vivid.
For the truth of this, I appeal to the individuals of the British army
who have served with the little deity, and to those who are still
better judges--their sweethearts.

Amongst the many instances of romantic and unfortunate love which have
fallen under my observation in the service, is the case of a friend
of mine--a young officer of the **th regiment of infantry--to which
are attached circumstances so interesting, that I feel I shall not be
intruding on my readers in sketching a brief history of its light and

Without giving the real names of the parties, in doing which I should
not feel myself warranted, I will tell the story; and it will not, I
hope, lose its title to credence, by romantic substitutes. Let us then
call one Allemar, and the other Ellen.

Allemar was about four-and-twenty when he first saw Ellen: she was
not then quite sixteen; and although not altogether the “_angelic_”
and “_etherial_” beauty which he imagined her to be, and as which
his passionate language was wont to speak of her, yet was she a sweet
girl--such a girl as one, possessing her, would not be inclined to
change for another, although a thousand beauties were given him for
choice:--yellow-silky hair--fine expressive blue eyes--teeth like
ivory--middle size--shape like Venus herself:--gentle, yet acute in
thought; and as musical in her soul as the spheres are said to be in
their bodies. _He_ was a manly, open-hearted--and, what his companions
called--a good-looking fellow; but the ladies of his acquaintance (and
the ladies are the best judges in the world of such matters) all agreed
that he was irresistible amongst them--whether from his manliness of
person, his elegance of mind, or his suavity of manners; or whether
from the happy combination of these three qualifications, I am not
prepared to say--but certain it is that he was “the man for the ladies.”

When first he marched into the town of ***** in his light-infantry
dress, on the flank of his company, the band merrily playing, and the
sun brightly glistening on his accoutrements, _I ween_--as bards
say--he disturbed many a quiet heart, and kept many bright eyes from
sleeping so well as they before had been accustomed to do. The regiment
was covered with white dust, and the summer’s sun gave the countenances
of the men a fresh and ruddy appearance. When the officers retired to
the inn, and were lounging at its parlour windows, out of the many
beautiful females who passed and repassed, (for ladies have always a
deal of out-door work to do--such as visiting, shopping, &c.--on the
day a new regiment marches into a town,) few did not look kindly on my
friend Allemar. I witnessed their glances, and, to do the dear angelic
beings justice, they expressed their meaning in the most mistressly

However, Ellen was not amongst them; nor did Allemar meet with her
until two months after his arrival at ****. He was, however, not
unknown to _her_, although she was completely so to him: she seldom
passed a day without seeing him, and with each sight increased her
disposition to see him again. At length, they were introduced to each
other at the house of a mutual acquaintance; and from that hour they
were never happy asunder. Their opportunities of meeting were, at
first, not very frequent, owing to the prudent vigilance of her widowed
mother and a dragon of an old maiden relation, who had little else to
do but attend to Ellen’s morals: however, Allemar was fortunate enough
to attract the kind notice of this antique virgin, and therefore found
his opportunities of conversing with his beloved increase. I have
often been present when they met during a rural walk, and from what
I witnessed in the ancient lady’s manner towards my friend, I have
no doubt that she regarded him with a tenderness wholly incompatible
with their relative ages. And so changed, too, in her general
demeanour!--From a stiff, cold, sour, puritanical Duenna, she, all on a
sudden, was transformed into a giggling, foolish, taudry-dressed flirt.
Instead of an umbrella she now carried a yellow parasol; and although
seldom without clogs of a moist day before, now ambled in blue-satin
shoes. Her conversation, too, was now on the beautiful tints of the
clouds--the varieties and fragrance of the flowers--illustrating her
opinions by quotations from Darwin’s “Loves of the Plants.” She would
sigh as she spoke to Allemar of the happiness of true friendship, and
the sweets of retirement with those “we _esteemed_!”--There is no
doubt of it--she _was_ in love with him, and this love was very nigh
proving the means of depriving poor Allemar of his Ellen for ever; for
when she found that her hints, and her sighs, and her languishes, were
all thrown away upon him, and that he was not only the lover, but the
beloved of her beautiful relation, she turned out the most terrible
of all she dragons that ever opened a mouth. But enough of her, let
her go to the--the place to which all superannuated maids must go at
last:--she has nothing more to do with my story--so _adieu_!

Allemar and Ellen met, and met again;--they walked together by the
moonlight, and parted often as the day peeped over them--they loved
truly, passionately, virtuously:--they seemed made for each other;
and to have divided such would have been the scathing of all that is
divine in love--the destruction of all that such lovers value more than
existence itself.

However, they were obliged to separate; but not without a hope of
meeting again. Allemar’s regiment was ordered to march for Portugal;
and as Ellen’s friends were not disposed to let her marry at that
time--even had Allemar received the consent of his--it was agreed upon
between the lovers, that they should wait a more favourable opportunity
of uniting in matrimony: at the same time, pledging each other to
eternal faith in love.

It was in May the regiment received the route; and Allemar passed the
night previous to marching in sweet converse with his beloved Ellen.
What a romantic night! Let the reasoner say what he will--let the
philosopher prate with his cold tongue--there is nothing of more real
worth to the heart than the sweets of early love;--and the hour of
parting between two true and virtuous lovers is a melancholy pleasure,
perhaps equalling in tender delight their happiest meeting. It was a
beautiful night--there was not a breath of wind; and the moon, shining
brightly down, threw a fairy light over the whole scene.

On this night, as the clock struck twelve, the enthusiastic and
romantic Allemar stood under Ellen’s window, in the orchard which
was beneath it, and with his enchanting voice, accompanied by an old
harper--such as we read of in romance--and a “_second_” from me,
serenaded his Beloved. The harp was a small one, but well-toned;--the
harper was a fine bass singer--a man whose pupil in music Allemar
was--and I, although but an indifferent vocalist, made up the trio. The
scene--the time--the music--the circumstance of parting--all conspired
to impress me with an idea of a romantic dream, the memory of which can
never leave me. These are the words of the




(_Two Voices._)

    Sweet maid, arise!--
      Yon high bright moon,
      Love’s light, alone,
    Shines like thy beauty in the deep blue skies.
    The winds are gone to rest;
      The heavens all silent watch for thee--
    This hour--this hour is blest--
      Oh! haste--come down to me!


(_Bass--One Voice._)

    I see the light, and the lattice moves,
    And her dark eye looks for the youth she loves--
        Sing on--sing on!
    Though the harper’s old, yet the harp he bears
    Has the fire of youth, for the lovers’ prayers--
        Sing on--sing on--sing on!


    Sweet love, arise!--
      Yon high bright moon,
      Love’s light, alone,
    Shines like thy beauty in the deep blue skies.



(_Two Voices._)

    Far, far away,
      Yon high bright moon
      Soon, sweetest, soon
    Shall gaze down between us, o’er the wide wide sea.
    She waits our fond farewell,
      That when I’m miles and miles from thee,
    She many a night may tell
      Of this sweet hour to me.


(_Bass--One Voice._)

    Didst see the maid, and her hand so white,
    As she kissed it to thee, in the soft moonlight?
        Good night--good night!
    She comes--she comes!--and I hear her tread--
    Oh, happiest youth!--oh, happiest maid!
        Good night! good night! good night!


    Far, far away,
      Yon high bright moon
      Soon, sweetest, soon
    Shall gaze down between us, o’er the wide wide sea.

The regiment marched at sunrise; and my friend with it. He went
to Portugal, but returned at the end of the year on sick leave
(_love_-sick leave, no doubt), and was happily married to his Ellen.
They lived together for six months; when Allemar was obliged to join
his regiment, then stationed before Bayonne; and as every body expected
an immediate peace, the friends of Ellen wished her to remain at home,
hoping that when the war was at an end, her husband’s regiment would
be ordered back to England. However, when Allemar had been but a month
gone, the mother of Ellen died. As soon as her feelings for the loss of
her beloved parent had subsided into calm, she determined to proceed
to join her husband--the only being now in whose society she could be
happy. For this purpose, she wrote to him, and having arranged every
thing for her departure, she, and a female servant, were provided with
a passage on board a commodious transport for St. Jean De Luz, and
sailed with a fair wind for the Bay of Biscay.

The letter she wrote to apprize her husband of her intention, breathed
for him the most passionate affection; and it was certainly not thrown
away upon Allemar: his love for her was, if possible, greater than
hers for him. He was like a moping hypochondriac at Bayonne, before
he received this letter; but immediately on its receipt, became the
most lively, spirited, and pleasant officer in the corps. He and I
have often walked along the beach, looking out for the expected ship
and the scenes of happiness which he anticipated formed the subject
generally of our conversation--he talked of going on half-pay if peace
should take place, and to live a rural life--then he would describe,
in glowing terms, the happiness of contentment and retirement, in
comparison with the ambition, toil, and peril, of a soldier’s life.
These and such were the dreams of fancy, in which we used to indulge,
when wandering by the sea-side.

About a fortnight after he had received the letter announcing his
wife’s resolution to join him, the weather became very stormy; and
one morning, after breakfast, Allemar came to me with an expression of
anxiety in his face, which he could not disguise: he seemed cold, and
was endeavouring to check, by internal efforts, a certain trembling
which was evident all over his frame. I asked him what was the matter.
He replied, that a fleet of transports were in sight, and as it blew
so violently, great fear was entertained by the pilots, with whom he
had spoken, that many of them would be driven on shore; for in such
weather, to make the port was impossible. I saw how things were, but I
consoled my friend as much as I possibly could, by seeming to laugh at
the idea of such danger.

We hastened down to the beach, and there joined a group of navy
officers, French pilots, fishermen, &c., whose remarks upon the
vessels in the offing were such as to give rise to the most serious
apprehensions in me for the safety of my friend’s wife, should she
be so unfortunate as to have come on board one of the ships then
struggling with an increasing tempest on a lee-shore. I pitied my
friend from my heart, when I looked at his face and saw the workings
of his feelings there so strongly depicted.

He would not move from the beach the whole day, except occasionally
to make inquiries in the town of St. Jean de Luz, as to the means
of assistance to be rendered the vessels in case of necessity. By
his field-glass he often fancied he saw the letters which marked the
transport in which his Ellen sailed, and was as often set right by
me. The vessel in which she took her passage, was marked A. Z. T., in
letters of two feet in length; and the glass nearly dropped from my
hand, when I perceived the identical letters on the quarter of a brig
which had been all the morning nearly out of sight, but now approached
the land. I could not tell my friend of what I saw; but he too soon
confirmed my discovery, and clasping his hands in the most intense
agony of mind, cried out, “It _is_ the ship--O God, protect her!”

We hastened to the port, where my friend, half distracted, called on
the boatmen to go out; but the answer was, that they did not think any
of the ships would go aground; and also that the sea was too rough for
boats. However, by the means of gold, he persuaded a couple of hardy
and brave French fishermen to attempt the assistance of the ship, in
which he believed his wife then to be. The boat in which they were to
put off for the transport was as large as the Deal boats, and with
Deal smugglers on board, might “live” through any sea: great hopes,
therefore, were entertained that the fisherman would be successful.

My friend insisted on going along with them, and when he was about to
step into the boat he handed me his keys; then shaking me heartily by
the hand, gave me to understand what he dared not speak--nor, indeed,
could I have heard--without exhibiting a woman’s weakness. As it was,
we were not far from it--a word would have unmanned us.

The boat bounded away from the harbour over the high surges, shaping
her course well for her object; and considering that she had to beat
to windward, she made wonderful progress: however, it was four o’clock
ere she got within half a mile of the vessel. The tempest was now
increasing frightfully--the worn out transports seemed as if they were
giving up the ghost to the overwhelming storm--none carried more
canvass than topsails close reefed, and the opinion of every one on the
beach was, that all would be wrecked if the weather did not change.
It was getting dark: I saw the boat labouring amidst the hills of
foaming water, and the ship was within hail of her. It darkened:--we
could see no more of either boat or ships; and could only ascertain
what direction they were in by the flashes of the occasional guns of
distress which some of them fired. It was a sickening sight. I knew not
what to do:--I _could_ do nothing--except, indeed, offer up my prayers
for the safety of the poor souls that were hurling over the frightful
abyss of horrors.[14]

Guns were repeated and repeated; but no assistance could those on shore
render the ships. I was bewildered;--I wandered home--back again--lay
down--arose restless--watched the daylight; and then was the horrid
reality:--the ship had gone to pieces; so had the boat--my dear
friend, and all his dream of happiness, gone! Not a being either in the
ship or boat was saved, and the bodies of Allemar and Ellen were washed
on shore about a mile below St. Jean de Luz.

This catastrophe has since caused me many painful reflections. The
manner in which the lovers met and died in the tempest, was before my
eyes night and day for a long time after it happened: indulging in
these melancholy thoughts, I drew the following imaginative picture of
their fate:--

    Along by the sea-cliff as Allemar hied,
      To wear the sad moments away,
    With sorrow he view’d the increase of the tide,
    Look’d o’er the dark breast of the ocean, and sigh’d
      “My Ellen--ah! why dost thou stay?”

    Three sunsetting hours did he visit the shore,
      Thrice viewed the slow ebb of the tide;
    For the ship was expected full three days before,
    To crown all his hopes, and his Ellen restore--
      His gentle--his beautiful bride.

    The twilight was rapidly lessening his view,
      Black hillocks uprose on the main;
    Now stronger and stronger the whistling wind blew,
    And clouds through the heavens as rapidly flew
      As thoughts across Allemar’s brain.

    The surf now began to redouble its force,
      As it broke at the foot of the rock;
    Wave rode upon wave in their hurrying course,
    The raven flew home, while his croaking so hoarse,
      As he pass’d, seem’d the surges to mock.

    Now comes the loud thunder--now flies the bleak rain--
      Now flash after flash follows on:
    In horror poor Allemar looks o’er the main;
    Now turns he away, and now gazes again,--
      There’s the ship--see the flash--’tis a gun!

    ’Tis the call of distress to the heart of the brave:--
      Enough!--he determines to dare
    Ev’ry fury that rode on the terrible wave,
    And there, ’midst their horrors, to perish, or save
      His Ellen--oh, should she be there!

    He’s away in his bark, and all clear of the shore--
      “Holy Mary,” the fishermen pray.
    He plied at the sail, and he plied at the oar,
    And he toss’d for an hour in the billows’ uproar;
      But the ship she was still far away.

    And he toss’d, and he toss’d on the fathomless grave,
      In the midst of the mountains of foam,
    While fast came the night, and still faster the wave;--
    Back--back with thy bark, and thyself seek to save,
      For the ship has already her doom!

    No--onward he went, till across his dark way
      He perceived, by the lightning so bright,
    A plank of the wreck--there a white figure lay,
    Wash’d over and over by every sea;--
      It was Ellen--O God, what a sight!

    E’er pass’d the red flashes, he seized on his prize--
      Oh, think how the lover was blest!
    He chafed her--he kiss’d her--she open’d her eyes;--
    “I’ve saved thee, my Ellen!” poor Allemar cries,
      As he presses her close to his breast.

    How deceitful and vain were his hopes and his boast--
      He saw not the ill that was nigh;
    The last ray of twilight in darkness was lost,
    And, alas! he was more than a mile from the coast--
      Not a star could be seen in the sky!

    “I’ve saved thee, my Ellen!” he wildly repeated--
      Life rose in her heart at the sound--
    “We are safe,” she replied--but how suddenly fleeted
    The false light of hope which their love had created!--
      The horror of truth was around.

    Still loud raged the storm, and still wild roll’d the wave--
      Will Heav’n not the fond lovers save?
    They kiss--and they cling--and the shriek:--Oh, dismay!--
    Break--break not upon them, dark billow!--away!--
      It is past--they are sunk in the wave!


    “_Pat._   Holloa! Sergeant, I have caught a Tartar.
     _Sergt._ Then bring him along with you.
     _Pat._   He won’t come.
     _Sergt._ Then come without him.
     _Pat._   He won’t let me.
     _Sergt._ Ho! ho! is that the way _you_ catch a Tartar?”


To those officers who happened to have been on sick leave at Belem,
near Lisbon, in 1810 and 11, General P****** must “of a verity” be well
known: few, indeed, could have sojourned many days in that invalid
retirement, without having observed the stooped shoulder, topped by
the shallow cocked-hat, and covered with the eternal blue frock-coat,
stealing along close to the wall upon a tall English horse. Who of
those have not been haunted by the said phantom, at some time or
other, if perchance in order to relax the dreary and monotonous
hours of a sick chamber, they dared to meet on the road to enjoy a
little cheerful conversation? Terrible, indeed, was this evening
apparition--this warning spirit, who like the death fetch came to
_fetch_ the sick away! No tom cat ever paid more determined attention
to mouse-catching pastime, than did the General to his favourite
pleasure of pouncing upon the invalid officer, who but dared to show
himself out of his melancholy quarters. He conceived that no man could
possibly be sick, who was able to move his legs; and if a half dead
officer could but smoke a cigar, or twist the corners of his mouth into
a smile, the whole medical staff could not have persuaded the General
out of his opinion, that such a person was not only in excellent
health, but fit to brave the rudest weather, and the severest duties of
the field.

It cannot be denied that, even among the _officers_ of the peninsular
army, there have been “_skulkers_”--men who, in order to avoid the
necessary fatigues of a campaign, have “shammed” sickness, or having
been really ill, contrived to obtain sick leave for a long time after
they had recovered; but such instances, highly to the credit of “the
cloth,” were very rare indeed.

Belem was the place appointed for sick officers, and General P******,
no doubt in his zeal for the service, conceived that most of the
residents there were (in his own phraseology) “_humbugging_;” he
therefore, in addition to his proper duties, took upon himself those
of the staff surgeons, and left no experiment untried for the cure of
the malady which he believed epidemically to rage at Belem, namely,
the _Idle Disease_ or _Lazy Fever_. The treatment which he principally
adopted was of the _stimulating_ description; but, alas! his method of
cure obtained no favour for him in the eyes of his patients.

It was common among those sick officers at Belem, whenever any of them
in their walks happened to be so unlucky as to have met the General,
to go home and make instant preparations for joining, whether capable
of doing duty or not; for their names were sure to be in the garrison
orders of the following day, for marching.

This system of _espionnage_ was very naturally looked upon as cruel
and insulting in the extreme; it rouzed the indignant feelings of all
the officers against the General; but for obvious reasons they could
not resent his proceedings in any other way than by demonstrations of
contempt. One, however, a convalescent Lieutenant, who had

    “Done the state some service,”

happened to have fallen within the General’s _evening_ eye: he was, in
fact, as the phrase is, _dogged_ a mile out of the town, and next day
popped into orders for “_joining forthwith_,” although still very weak,
and a man

    “---- Who never turned his back
     On duty or the foe.”

The Lieutenant prepared to obey, and the day previous to his departure,
in riding through Lisbon, whither he had gone to purchase some
articles necessary for his march, accompanied by a brother officer,
he met General P. in one of the main streets, attended by his orderly
dragoon--one of the Portuguese police. The Lieutenant, on perceiving
him, allowed his friend to ride on, while he pulled up a little, so as
to come very slowly in front of the General. As soon as he breasted
him, he stopped--affected an animated smile of recognition--took off
his hat in a most respectful manner--held out his hand to the General,
which was duly received; and, still smiling, griped his fingers as
fast as if they were fixed in a vice, while he thus emphatically
addressed him:--“Sir, an officer who has served in seven actions, and
who has been thrice wounded, has the pleasure of telling you that you
are a most _contemptible spy_, and a _disgrace to the commission you
hold_. You are fit for no command unless it be in the police. Good
morning, _mouchard_.” The General instantly called to the orderly
dragoon;--“Listen to this officer,” said he; “Mark him, Sir--mark his
words, Sir.” Then calling after the officer--who trotted off bowing
politely--“Come back here, Sir--Mr.---- I say--do you hear, Sir?”
he almost gasped with passion; but the Lieutenant was gone, and the
General left with his orderly, who looked as apathetically as the
statue in St. James’s square.

The Lieutenant went home, but was not permitted to march so soon as
he expected: for he was placed in arrest, and his conduct submitted
to the investigation of a court of inquiry, upon charges of mutinous
conduct highly unbecoming the character of an officer and a gentleman,
&c. &c., preferred against him by General P******.

The Court was composed of the highest officers in Lisbon, and on the
awful day of inquiry, the General minutely detailed before it, the
circumstance of which he had to complain. The Lieutenant, with an air
of the utmost confidence totally denied the charges, and insinuated
that the General must have laboured under some aberration of mind,
or else had mistaken him for another person. The only witness of the
transaction (the Portuguese dragoon) was called, who answered by an
interpreter. His evidence was conclusive against the General: for,
on being asked by the Court to describe what he had seen, he said
that the Lieutenant met the General in the street--_took off his hat
most politely--that the parties shook hands cordially_--that in a
few moments they parted, the Lieutenant _bowing, with his hat off,
most respectfully_:--and that then the General talked a good deal to

“But, Sir,” demanded the complainant petulantly, through the
interpreter, “what did the Lieutenant _say_?” To which the evidence
answered with a Portuguese shrug--“that he _did not understand a
word of English_, but that he supposed the Lieutenant to have been
_enquiring after the state of the General’s health_!”

Further evidence in favour of the officer than the prosecutor’s own
witness was needless--the Lieutenant was released from his arrest, and
the General obliged to “pocket the affront.”


    ---- “Seeking the bubble reputation,
    Even in the cannon’s mouth.”


Cæsar was forty years of age before he fought his first battle; or,
indeed, before he could be fairly said to have been a soldier: yet he
became one of the most able and successful generals the Roman empire
ever produced. This age in a general is by no means out of keeping
with the wisdom and energy required to constitute a good commander:
it may be rather considered as not sufficiently advanced, by at least
from five to ten years. But an _ensign_ of forty is a thing quite out
of character--a monstrous absurdity, as the army is now constituted;
and if Cæsar himself had had to enter the Roman army in that grade,
judging by our British scale of promotion, he never would have arrived
at a brevet-majority. An Ensign is the boy of the colours--the page
to regimental victory, whose chin should never bear a beard while
he holds the post--a youthful soldier,--a Mars of fifteen, with the
staff of his country’s flag fixed firmly in the earth, supporting and
supported by him, while the rough mustachioed band like rocks surround
and shield him from the tempest of the fight. But a _Volunteer_
of forty!--Is not that an odd production? I do not mean a “_City
Volunteer_,” nor a “_County Volunteer_;” but an individual who joins
a regiment of the line on service in the field, by permission of its
Colonel--clothes himself--and, although avowedly for the purpose of
becoming soon an Ensign--and although received as a gentleman by the
officers of the corps he joins, is drilled in the ranks, and fights
as a private soldier. Such a man, I say, “begins at the beginning” of
his profession, and has a tolerably long road to travel ere he obtain
his first commission--that of Ensign. A Volunteer of forty, then, is
a ridiculous anomaly, a _rara avis in exercitu_, and (thank Minerva!)
was even more scarce during the Peninsular war, than is a French Eagle
in “this piping time of peace.” However, we _had_ one of those odd
birds, _nigroque simillima cygno_, who flew out from his native hills
in Cambria to the more classic mountains of the Pyrenees, at the very
_latter end_ of the very _last_ campaign which the Anglo-Lusitanian
army accomplished. Considering, then, this hero’s age, and the time at
which he joined the standard of war, every one must allow that he did
not “begin at the beginning;” and it must appear equally evident that
he never could have become a Cæsar, even though he had lived to the age
of old Parr.

This military aspirant arrived at Passages a little after the siege
of San Sebastian, and I happened to be on the verge of the quay, as
the vessel which contained him brought up:--it was a wretched-looking
schooner, and not at all engaged in the service; but contained, in
addition to the _Volunteer_, a cargo of butter, cheese, and ready-made

When her anchor was dropped, and the master of the vessel, with
his passenger, jumped on shore beside me, I thought the latter was
the former, and the former a mate. Without hesitation I asked them
had they come from England, and what news. The hero immediately
furnished me with an abridgement of the preceding month’s “_Times_”
and “_Chronicle_,” in such a peculiar way, and with such familiarity,
that I immediately concluded I had caught hold of as odd a fish as ever
came from the ocean; and I should have had no objection to examine him
further, but the time which I had to spare was expired; and as he had
concluded his _report_, I wished him good morning, stepped into the
ferry-boat, and passed to the other side of the gut which divides the

When I had made the purchases of various articles of provision for
which I had come to Passages, I went back to _Renteria_, the town in
which I was quartered, and which is situated about a league from the

I had dined at home--(_home!_ where is the soldier’s home?) I had dined
at my quarters at Renteria, and had strolled along the beach, listening
to the boat-women singing as they crossed the lake of Leso, when I saw
the “new arrival” approaching the shore in a ferry-boat.

“Captain, Captain!” roared he out, “how are you _again_, Sir? I’ll be
with you in a moment.”

Thus was I saddled with his company, rather against my will; but as I
had nothing either to amuse or employ me at that moment, I submitted
quietly, and we walked together towards the market-place. It was
during this walk I learned that my companion was not the master of
the butter-schooner, but a “Gentleman Volunteer,” absolutely on his
way to the head-quarters of the army. So sincerely did he assure me
of this, ridiculous as it appeared, that I hesitated not to offer the
hospitality of my quarters, which he very readily accepted, and we
lost not a moment in proceeding to crack a bottle; or, rather, broach
a pig-skin, for in such vessels was the wine of Renteria usually

We sat together for a few hours, and I found that, in his new
profession, my guest was an enthusiast of the most capacious calibre;
yet upon other subjects rational, and sometimes acute. To carry the
matter by comparison, I will say that his intellect could have hit a
thought, as a screw-barrelled pocket pistol might the ace of hearts,
at ten paces, when aimed and discharged by a tolerably good shot--he
would never fly a mile from it, but seldom if ever pop right through
the centre. A short extract from the conversation of the evening will
outline my man, far better than comment. This I will attempt from
memory. In the dialogue, I will call him I. and myself II.--not that
there were two to one against the Volunteer in any sense; but for the
sake of brevity.

I. Yes, Captain, I have determined to join my gallant countrymen
in their glorious cause, and lend a hand to pull down the tyrant

II. That is laudable, Sir; but I fear it will not be very profitable to

I. Profitable! I don’t much care for profit, so as I obtain well-earned

II. The war is now drawing to a close, and it will be difficult to
succeed in your hopes.

I. The war, Sir, will never end. Excuse me, Sir--when I say never, I
say only with the everlasting Scriptures, “We shall have wars and wars
and rumours of wars.” Besides, Sir, the Russians, and Prussians, and
Austrians, and even British, I fear, cannot effectually overcome that
scourge of civil liberty, Napoleon.

II. Pardon me, Sir, I think his day is drawing to a close.

I. Impossible! the hordes of the North must vanish before him, even
like the chaff before the wind. England is the only hope.

II. Be that as it may: your Ensigncy will not be very long coming, if
you get it at the fall of Buonaparte.

I. I would give up all my hopes to see him fall; for in taking the
crown, he betrayed the cause that raised him to glory.

II. Then I suppose you say, he sold liberty for a _crown_?

I. Precisely. Look at Cromwell, Sir; the man, like David, after God’s
own heart--_he_ reigned without a crown. Look at the Roman republic,
Sir--_that_ was sold for a crown. Look to America--no crowns there.

II. If you have such objections to crowns, why wish to fight for them?

I. Indeed, Sir, I am now only--a--talking as it were--a--on public
matters. I am as loyal as any man.

II. ’Pon my honour, if opinions upon such subjects were often canvassed
in the army, even by men of half your age, they would stand but a poor
chance of promotion.

I. Half my age:--how old do you think I am?

II. About fifty-two.

I. What!--Oh, you joke.

II. Well, how old _are_ you?

I. I’m not yet forty.

II. Forty! that’s pretty well, I think, for a Volunteer.

I. It is, in my mind, the proper age for every thing which requires the
full energy of the mind; and what calls for _that_ more than the art
of war? I always had a taste for the noble profession--I have _taught_
military tactics.

II. Taught!

I. Yes, Sir, taught--and some of my pupils are now Captains in the
local militia.

II. Indeed!

I. Yes, Sir; I led the business of one of the first schools in England.

II. God bless me!

I. Forty! Have you read Cæsar, Sir?--_Omnis Gallia divisa est in partes
tres, &c._--_He_ was beyond that age, when his talents came into the
field. Look at Washington, Sir, that “_patriæ Columen_”--_he_ was also
beyond that age when he took up arms. Cromwell, too--see what a soldier
he became. Pichegru, also, was at my age before he was made an officer.
And let me tell you, Sir, that boys are _not_ fit to command--give
me the man, whose sense and judgment are matured. I don’t mind two
years as Ensign;--I get my Lieutenancy before I am forty-two: there
are now many Lieutenants older than that, Sir.--Well--I know the use
of tactics, and as to fighting--give me an opportunity. I wish I had
been out time enough for the storming of San Sebastian! Let me have but
an opportunity--I’ll die in the breach, or I’ll be promoted. I have
entered the temple of Mars, Sir,--I have shaken the _Ancilia_--I have
waved his sacred spear, and I have cried “_Mars, Vigilia!_” But, Sir,
this is my motto:--

    “ὁτι εν τῳ πολεμῳ αλλ’ εργων χρεία.”

Do you understand that?

II. I see you are very enthusiastic.

I. And is there any thing to be done without it?

II. You are right. Come fill your glass again, Sir.

I. Oh, by George! I have filled too often: I have taken two glasses
for your one; but pleasant company, and good wine, are persuasive
arguments. Your very good health, Sir; and although you are not
three-and-twenty, and I am forty, we shall see who will run up the hill
fastest. Excuse me--“_Palmam qui meruit ferat._” Your health, Sir.

II. I hope you will not be like Tantalus, in the waters of promotion.

I. What!--

    _Tantalus à labris sitiens fugientia captat_

Give me your hand, Sir; you are a classical scholar,--Horace,--I can
see that:--I respect you, Sir;--I re-_spect_ you, Sir.

II. What do you think of an ensign, who passed from the age of
seventeen to forty-seven without promotion?

I. He must have had no education,--knew nothing,--nothing of
tactics,--nothing of the art of war. I have made it my study; I am well
acquainted with the best schools of warfare--the Grecian, the Roman,
and the modern. Granicus, Marathon, and Pharsalia, are familiar to
me. I have made myself acquainted with the characters of every great
conqueror, from Charles the Twelfth, who was my favourite, down to
Lord Wellington. The Duke of Marlborough’s campaigns I have deeply
studied, and know every move in the battles of Fredlingen, Scardigen,
Schwemmingen, Spinbach, Shellenberg, Blenheim, and Ramillies. In short,
Sir, if I do not succeed, it will be my own fault.

II. With those qualifications for the military profession, it is to be
lamented that you did not embrace it earlier in life.

I. If I had taken up the profession earlier, I should not have been so
well qualified. A series of years devoted to the instruction of young
gentlemen, in--not only military science--but of general learning,
afforded me the very qualification by which I hope to rise in the army.

II. Come, fill again; you are not doing any thing at all.

I. Doing! Ecod, I am doing away with my brains, and I’m half done over;
but a pleasant companion and good wine, I say again, are not to be

    _Solis æterna est Phœbo Bacchoque juventa._

Isn’t that right, eh?

II. _Tunc dolor et curæ_ RUGA_que frontis abit._

I. Excellent! good! fine! give me your hand.--Ovid, Sir--good! I
respect you, Sir; I reverence you, Sir. You’ll be a general; you’ll
be a great commander, depend upon it. I’ll fill a bumper; there,
there, there! and now--here is wishing you every success--may you be a

II. Thank you; thank you:--when I _am_, I’ll recommend you for
promotion, and do for all your sons.

I. Sons! I have no sons. I may say with the great North American
Chief,--“There runs not one drop of my blood in any living creature.”

II. But this may not be so hereafter.

I. That’s all over, Sir. I once approached the steps of Hymen’s altar;
but the torch of the god was quenched: it never shall be lighted for me

II. Ah! I suppose you were jilted?

I. Jilted! Sir, I was shamefully treated. I, for three years, courted a
young lady; she was every thing to me; she personified the woman I all
my life pictured in my imagination. She was two-and-twenty--tall--fine
countenance--bold outline of features;--danced--played;--a perfect
scholar, Sir.

II. Take care you don’t make such a beautiful form now, that, like
Pygmalion, you will break your rash vow, and pray for the animated

I. Oh, Sir; you delight me. Your classic conversation--I am
glad,--glad,--very glad of your acquaintance.

II. Well, about the lady.

I. Ah, Sir! (_a deep sigh._) I courted her for nearly three years; she
approved--I approved--father and mother approved; and I had absolutely
engaged to take a house, Sir--fine, spacious premises, fit for an
extensive sch--seminary,--ladies’ seminary; for she was the daughter
of the gentleman whose business I had conducted. Well, Sir, we were to
be married; and what do you think?--Damn me! if she didn’t run away
with a Sergeant of the Lancers, two days previous to our intended
wedding!--Ah, Sir! (_deep sigh_) that broke down my habits of business.
I gave up every thing connected with seminaries, or schools, or private
tuition, and applied to General Dizzyman, for whom my father always
votes: he gave me a letter to Colonel Pepperton, and I am now on my way
to that gentleman. It produced a shock, Sir; but the life of a soldier
will, I hope, make all things right again.

II. Hang all the sex!

I. Hang them all, I say, three times over--the jilts--the runaway

       *       *       *       *       *

My guest now grew melancholy: he helped himself to more wine, and
gradually fell into an unintelligible grumble. The poor fellow had no
quarter; and as it was late, I could not think of turning him out, so
applied to the _Patron_ of my _Caza_ for assistance. He was a good man,
and offered a bed; so I directed my servant to lead my guest to his

Next morning he was gone; but at about nine o’clock, as I was about to
breakfast, he returned, came into my room and requested me to look out
of the window at a purchase which he had made for twenty dollars. I
looked out: it was a miserable donkey which he had that moment bought
from a Portuguese. On its back was strapped an old saddle, with a still
more veteran valise attached to it, while a pair of boots, balanced
by a striped blue handkerchief full of sundry articles of provision,
hung across the animal’s neck. With perfect good humour the adventurer
philosophized on the poverty of his stud and baggage, giving me several
appropriate quotations. We then sat down, and after eating a hearty
breakfast of chocolate, eggs, and cold beef, he took his leave of me,
mounted the ass, and proceeded slowly on the road to Irun, where the
regiment to which he had his introduction was stationed.

I heard no more of the Volunteer until the day on which our troops
crossed the Bidassoa--about three weeks after his departure from
Renteria. It was in the evening, and about a mile from Irun, on the
high road. He was walking in custody of the Provost Marshal--had on a
red _coatee_, torn and bemudded--his head without its proper covering,
and his whole aspect that of a madman. He recognized me in a moment,
and my presence seemed to calm the rage which burnt within him,--to
the no small delight of the Provost, who evidently had been very much
troubled in the management of his charge. A part of the dialogue which
passed between us I will try to recollect:--

_Myself._ What have you been doing?

_Volunteer._ Doing? I have been doing thankless work. I am disgusted
with the service, Sir. A man of mind or genius has no business in it.

_Myself._ Bless me! what can all this mean?

_Provost._ The gentleman has been playing the very devil in front, Sir,
and the General has ordered me to see that he goes to the rear.

_Volunteer._ Ay, playing the devil, Captain Provost. I wanted to
prevent _them_ from playing the devil; that stupid Colonel of mine
knows no more of military tactics than a horse. Now mark you, Sir--the
column of subdivisions was ordered to change its direction on a
moveable pivot: “Left shoulders forward” was given instead of “_right
shoulders forward_,” and I of course--thinking for the best--cried out
to the Captain of the company I belonged to, that he was wrong; when he
ordered me out of the ranks. I wouldn’t be treated so; therefore went
up to the Colonel to speak with him on the subject, when the French
began to fire grape shot in amongst us. The regiment halted before
crossing the river, while the shot was coming thicker and thicker; so
I was determined to tell my mind--for a good commanding officer would
have moved his men a little under cover,--and I called out to the
Colonel to advance, or to move by an _oblique echelon_ to the left, in
order to get the men under a high bank. What d’ye think, Sir?--he said
he’d order me to be flogged if I did not immediately go to the rear!
The column at this moment received a shower of shot which knocked some
down; so, in the confusion of eight or ten of the men near the river,
I was thrown off the bank--souse in the water, and was carried down
luckily to the ford, or I should have been lost. I scrambled out--look
how wet I am--and went back to the regiment, when the Colonel sent
me to be flogged by the Provost: and if the General, God bless him!
had not fortunately been riding by, I should have been disgracefully
punished; but he asked what the matter was, and then sent me to the
rear in charge of this gentleman.

_Myself._ Really, I think you acted very imprudently by interfering
with the command.

_Provost._ Lord bless you, Sir; he threw the men into the greatest
ferment and confusion.

_Volunteer._ I’ll tell you, Sir, that they are all ignorant
fellows--all, Sir. I did every thing for the best, and this is the way
I was treated: the fact of the matter is, the service is disgusting,
and I will immediately return to England.

_Myself._ Where is your cap?

_Volunteer._ It was shot off my head a little before I was thrown into
the Bidassoa.

       *       *       *       *       *

I now prepared to part from my quondam acquaintance, for the day was
advancing, and I had yet two leagues to go; so I recommended him to
call at my late quarters at Renteria, where he would be hospitably
received by the owner of the house: he thanked me, and relaxing into
a smile as he nearly squeezed my hand off, he emphatically exclaimed,
“I have this, at least, to consolate me:--I have stood the fire of the
foe, and swam in the stream that waters Fontarabia: with the poet I may

    ‘Certe ego transilui positas ter in ordine flammas,
       Virgaque rorales _laurea misit aquas_.’”

Thus we parted, and resumed our opposite marches--I for the front, and
the volunteer, with his escort, for Renteria.


       “’Tis of little import, Corporal. A gallant soldier’s memory
    will flourish, though humble turf be osier-bound upon his grave.
    The tears of his country will moisten it.”


On a cold and snowy night, in the winter of 1823, I was passing
through the Strand, on my way home from a formal dinner-party, when
I stepped into one of those houses of entertainment which abound in
that semi-fashionable neighbourhood which skirts the occidental line
of aristocratic demarcation--Charing Cross. Although this house had
assumed the dignified appellation of _tavern_, the only claim it
possessed to such distinction, was the display of a few mutton-chops, a
plate of mutton kidneys, and two fine heads of celery, in the window.
Nor was it what is termed “a _public-house_”--

    “Where ’bacco-pipes, and clumsy pots of beer
     Regale the crowd:”

but might be said to have fixed its intrinsic rank midway between the
two. It possessed a neat and comfortable parlour for public use, and,
although perfumed by tobacco, and moistened by homely ale, neither
vulgar “pipe” nor clumsy “pot” disgraced it--the segar, in its “naked
beauty,” and the brightly polished pewter-vessel, there repelled the
rabble, and imparted their cheering pleasures to respectable visitors.
The evening paper was there--and so was the “_Times_,” to read both
of which, as well as to escape a heavy fall of snow, I opened the
parlour-door, took a seat at an agreeable distance from a fine blazing
fire, and was soon accommodated with the newspaper, together with a cup
of smoking-hot brandy and water.

There were five persons in the parlour, each at a separate table, but
all conversing freely together on that never-ending and purely English
topic--the weather. One of them, however, but seldom spoke, and then
it was when addressed by others of the company: he seemed by his air,
and the formation of a threadbare and well-brushed blue frock coat, to
belong to the army, and I at once set him down as one of “the cloth.”

“Waiter, give me a Welsh-rabbit,” said this gentleman, in a mild voice
to the attendant of the room, and then took up the newspaper, which he
continued to peruse until his supper was brought in.

While he was reading, I had an opportunity of observing him closely:
he was bald, except on the sides of the head, and there the thin hair
was grey: his face was thin, his cheeks rather hollow, and his large
and expressive eyes overshadowed by strongly marked brows: his figure
was tall, but wasted; and from the oppressed and hurried way in which
he breathed, it was evident that his health was broken. The whole of
his dress was extremely clean, but almost worn out. I could perceive
that his boots, on which the strong blaze of the fire fell, were in no
state to guard the invalid who wore them from the dangerous effects of
the melting snow, over which he must tread on his return home. When I
thought of this, and considered that it might cause his death, or at
least encrease his illness, I sincerely pitied his situation. I felt as
if I had already learnt his history, and beheld in him the ruins of a
genuine military gentleman.

On addressing my conversation occasionally to him, I found that he was
by no means so reserved as at first I imagined; and in a short time we
fell into a lively and an interesting chat. I politely asked him if he
would take a little brandy and water; but he excused himself, although
pressed, by saying that his health would not permit him to drink more
than half a pint of porter: this, he said, he took usually in the
evening. “Wine,” said he, “is too expensive in London, or I should
certainly prefer it.” I immediately requested the waiter to bring some
wine; but of this the gentleman also refused to partake--and in such a
manner that I felt I should have wounded his feelings by pressing my
request farther.

We were now undisturbed by general observations; for when the others in
the room perceived we were not at all disposed to join them in chat,
they continued to discuss the topics of the day without interrupting
us. We conversed for about two hours, and I was never more delighted
than by his conversation. Military affairs was the subject: we had
both served in the Peninsula, and consequently talked of many mutual
acquaintances, living and dead: this made us so far familiar, that he
gave me an outline of his professional life.

He had entered the army as ensign in 1790, and had served in both
the East and West Indies, Holland, and the Peninsula--obtained his
Lieutenancy by chance, and his company by purchase. At the close of the
last war he was placed on half-pay; in which state he remained: nor
could he succeed in obtaining a return to full pay, notwithstanding
his long services: this, however, was owing to the great reductions
made in the army after the war. He was a native of Bath,--the son of
a clergyman whose interest in the church was considerable at the time
he became an Ensign; and he assured me, that had he taken his father’s
advice and embraced the profession of the church instead of the army
he would have been a rich man--not a poor pensioner with a ruined
constitution, and without hopes of better days in this world: “But,”
said he, “I was fond of gaiety--the fine uniform of the army caught my
young mind, and pleased a beautiful and interesting young lady whom I
afterwards married; so I gave up the reality for the shadow:” these
were his expressions. His wife died in the West Indies, and left him
two daughters: they grew up: both married officers in the army: one
went to Sierra Leone and died: the other went to Madras; but whether
alive or dead he did not know, not having heard from her for eleven
months. All his relations were extinct. “I returned,” said he, “from
Waterloo, where I was slightly wounded, and on going down to Bath
met my father’s funeral--the only relation I had had then on earth
except my daughter, who is in India.” He was placed on half-pay, by
the reduction of the battalion in which he was effective. He possessed
about four hundred pounds in cash; and this, with his income of seven
shillings per day, promised fairly to place him above necessity. He
remained in London perhaps more from a wish to be on the spot with the
head-quarter people, than from any preference he had to an overgrown,
noisy, expensive, metropolis; where, without wealth or friends, life
is solitude of the worst description. He thought he possessed a better
chance of being re-employed in the service, and so obtain a majority by
staying near the Commander-in-chief, to watch the progress of military
affairs. But year passed after year, in the same dull expectation,
and he found himself as far removed from his hopes in 1823 as he was
in 1817. His four hundred pounds he lodged in the hands of a mock
army agent, who, from day to day, and month to month, promised him an
exchange with some individual, with whom, perhaps, the impostor never
had communicated. This mock agent at length failed, and ran away;
leaving the poor Captain with nothing but his seven shillings a-day:
and not only did he take with him his client’s four hundred pounds, but
his last quarter’s half-pay, which the knave drew the day before he

This took place about six weeks before the evening I met the Captain.
I immediately offered to introduce him to an army agent, who would
advance him the amount of his following quarter’s half-pay. This
offer he not only willingly accepted, but cordially thanked me for
it; indeed, it had the greatest effect upon his spirits--he became
quite another man--his countenance lost much of its melancholy; and
it appeared he had previously much reason to be depressed; for he
frankly informed me, that Greenwood’s had refused to advance money, and
therefore, for the last six weeks, he had been obliged to have recourse
to raising money by pawning his clothes. I hesitated not a moment in
offering him the loan of what change I then had in my pocket, but he
declined to take it; nor could I press him to the acceptance of it. He
thanked me gratefully, and promised to meet me at the house we were
then in, on the following day at two o’clock, for the purpose of going
together to the agent. He paid for his welsh-rabbit and his half-pint
of porter, cordially shook hands with me, and we parted. Poor fellow!
as he feebly walked out into the fast falling snow, so thinly clad, I
heartily wished that Heaven had thrown a cloak over his shoulders.

I was true to my appointment next day; but the Captain was not. I
waited an hour, and then left word for him with the waiter that I
would come in the evening--and would remain until ten o’clock. I could
not think what was the reason of the officer not meeting me, when
it was upon a matter of so much importance to him. I went at night,
according to what I told the waiter, but he was not there. I called
next night,--he was not there. I now concluded that sickness, or
perhaps death, was the cause; and regretted much that I had neither
left with him my address, nor the name of the agent to whom I promised
to introduce him; neither had I got his card,--certain of meeting at
the appointed time and place, we both overlooked the necessity of
interchanging addresses.

What I am now about to describe, my readers will say is more of
the romantic than the real: I must confess it looks more like
the imaginative occurrence of a novel, than of actual life; but,
at the same time, can assure them, that it is not romance--not
imagination,--but fact.

Three weeks had passed away, and I had totally given up the idea of
meeting again this unfortunate gentleman. I had frequently gone to the
house where we had met, but without finding him. I left my address
with the waiter, to deliver, should he see him; but my card was never
removed from the rack in the bar, where the waiter had placed it.

It happened at this time that I changed my lodgings to Villiers-street,
Strand. Here I engaged a tolerably well-furnished pair of parlours,
and was reading at my fire, the second night after I took possession
of them, when my landlord--a little fat clerk to a brewer--opened the
hall-door for somebody who had knocked. I heard his voice increasing to
a pitch of anger, which awakened my curiosity; so I laid down my book
and listened.

“You cannot be taking up my room for nothing, in this way, Sir; I must
pay my rent, and I _shall_ be paid by my lodgers. I gave you warning a
fortnight ago, when I saw you had no money; and so now you must quit,
_willy nilly_.”

“But, Sir,” replied a voice, in a subdued tone, “I have not been able
to leave my bed, in order to look for lodgings, until to-day; and I
hope you will not oblige me to quit your room to-night.”

“You may go to the room, if you wish,” replied the landlord, “because
I know the _law_ don’t allow me to lock it up--and a bad law it is;
but if you do go, you will have to sleep without a bed; for I have
removed my furniture. The short and the long of the matter is, Sir, you
owe me two pounds; and I’ll forgive you the debt, if you only go away
to-night: that’s what I call fair and charitable.”

“To-night!” returned a voice, “I cannot go; I was scarcely able to
crawl down to the Strand, to look after a gentleman, who promised to
recommend me to where I may get money; and now I am quite exhausted.”

“Exhausted! nonsense,” exclaimed the landlord’s wife, who now ran up
from the kitchen; “we can’t be troubled with such people, and lose
our rent, too.--Parcel of poor devils of half-pay officers, coming to
London, here, to eat us up. One word for all; I will not be humbugged
out of my lodgings.”

A thought struck me--it might be the poor Captain. I opened the
door--it _was_ he! There he stood in the hall, leaning upon a
stick--almost sinking with weakness. He recognised me directly, and
as he put out his hand to meet mine, I could see his eyes filled with
tears, which he laboured to suppress. I brought him into my room--gave
him a chair at the fire--and left him to himself a few minutes, in
order that he might compose his feelings; for to have talked to him
on the brutality of the landlord then would have wounded him still
deeper. I chose, therefore, rather to affect ignorance of it; and
while I remained out of the room, took an opportunity of addressing
the landlord upon his conduct, and promised to be answerable for the
Captain’s rent, which operated a marvellous change in his demeanour
towards the poor sufferer whom he had but a moment before treated so

I returned to my room and made a glass of negus for my guest, affecting
in my manners a degree of hilarity which was at vast variance with my
real feelings. The Captain was too weak to sit up long; he had been
confined to his bed ever since the night he had first seen me, owing to
a cold he caught on his return to his lodgings, and, therefore, could
not come to his appointment: he had frequently requested his landlord
to oblige him by going to the house where we were to have met, and to
speak to me, whom he described; but this as well as other favours was
denied. All his money was gone, and he had tottered down that night as
a last resource, to see me.

I exerted myself to make him happy: the landlady brought him a basin of
gruel, of which he partook: his bed was prepared, and--what was never
done before for him--warmed with her pan by her own hands. Every thing
was attention, and my grateful friend was made as comfortable as one
suffering under a consuming disease could be. He remained in bed from
this night; and I could see that every day he became more feeble: the
doctor who attended him informed me that his lungs were diseased, and
that his case was out of the pale of remedy. I did every thing I could
for him; and he felt great relief, he said, from my company; for I
always kept conversation free from melancholy.

About a week after this last confinement of the Captain to his bed, the
landlord offered to have warm curtains put up; this was desirable, and
as they were already in the house, he sent for an upholsterer to hang
them. I was sitting by the bed of the invalid when this upholsterer
came in, along with the landlord, carrying the curtains. The Captain
regarded him attentively; then whispering he said to me, “I think I
know that man: ask him what is his name.” I did so, and the upholsterer
answered that his name was Thomas Hanson. I beckoned to him, and he
approached the bed. The Captain then fixed his eyes upon him, and in a
weak voice said, “Tom, do you not know me?”

“No, Sir,” was the reply.

“Ah!” returned the Captain, “I am now so altered that nobody knows me;”
and then burst into a flood of tears.

The man gazed on the sufferer intensely: he turned to me in evident
embarrassment, and whispered, “I don’t recollect the gentleman, indeed,

A short pause took place, and the Captain wiped his eyes with his

“Were you not in the **th regiment while they served in Spain?” said he.

“Yes, Sir; I served with them there, and since they came home too. I
have been pensioned, and now, thank God! I’m in a good way of business,
on my own account. I assure you, Sir, I do not recollect your face.”

“No, no!” rejoined the Captain, “my face and all--all are changed. I’m
very unlike the Captain now, Tom, that led you up the hill at Talavera,
and saved your life at Salamanca.”

Hanson changed colour--he looked closer--he recognized him--then fell
on his knees by the bed and seizing his old Captain’s hand, wept like a
child. I hurried out of the room, for I could not bear the scene.

Hanson never left the bed of the dying officer one hour at a time.
However, the poor fellow died next day; and the last sad office of
closing his eyes was performed by this faithful and humane soldier;
nay, more--from his purse came the expenses of the funeral--his own
hands made the coffin--and no mourner ever followed the beloved dead to
the grave with a sincerer sorrow, than Hanson did his poor Captain.


No. IV.


    “There were four-and-twenty Doctors all of a row.”


    SCENE.--_The mess-room, of the Medical Staff at Chatham. A
    couple of dozen Doctors at dinner; all in blue uniform,--red collar
    and cuffs, no epaulettes. Guests, consisting of a retired Major,
    and a Captain of Infantry on full pay. Attendants, &c. &c._

_Staff Surgeon Ward._ This goose is as good a _subject_ as ever I _cut
up_:--Doctor Adipose, shall I send you a _superior extremity_?[16]

_Dr. Adipose._ Thank you, Mr. Ward. I’ll take one--au--hau--, with a
slice of the breast; and, as your hand is in, you may as well let me
have the--au--Pope’s nose.

_Staff Surgeon Ward._ There,--there,--there, Doctor--there you are;
there is the delicious _os coccygis_ for you.

_Dr. Adipose._ Thank you, au--hau--, thank you, my dear friend--very
good, indeed.

_Dr. Kyle._ Permit me to send you some sauce.

_Dr. Adipose._ Thank you, Doctor, au--hau--, very good, very good; it
looks a perfect Kitchener,--au--hau, very good, indeed.

_Hospital Assistant Lintly._ Mr. President, a little soup.

_President._ Eh! what! soup again, Lintly?

_Hospital Assistant Lintly._ Yes, Sir, if you please.

_President._ There, there. De’il a word I’ll say aboot yer taste, mon;
gin ye had supped as much sargery soup as me, ye’d tak to soolids.

_Dr. Kyle._ Ah, Mr. President, you were too long in the Peninsula to
recover your taste for soup.

_President._ True, Doctor! Hey--de ye remember when you and I war
hospital mates togither at Belem, when the sargeryman wad han’ us up
twa smoking tins o’ broth, to see if it war fit for the sick; an’ then
we wad hae anither twa, to see if it war fit for the wounded; an’ then
twa mere to see if we liked it oorsels,--ha! ha! ha! Doctor, we war
jolly hospital mates, then. Ecod! I never swallowed a mouthfu’ o’ soup
sin’ I was promoted.

_Dr. Kyle._ I was never an hospital _mate_, Mr. President; “_Hospital
Assistant to the Forces_,” was _my_ first appointment in the department.

_President._ Aweel, it’s a’ the self-same thing. When I first
entered--noo sax-an’-twenty years--we had mates, an’ nae assistants at

_Dr. Kyle._ You are perfectly right, there; the service had no
_assistants_ at that time, sure enough.

_Dr. Adipose._ (_wiping his chin._) You are too severe, Kyle;
au--hau--; you are, indeed, hau--; I’ll trouble you for a cut out of
the thick end of that haunch of mutton; it looks delicious; au--hau--,
good indeed--very good.

_Dr. Kyle._ I’ll send you a slice, Doctor, that will digest on its
first contact with the gastric fluid;--there, Sir, there.

_Dr. Adipose._ Hau--, very good. I haven’t seen such a haunch as that
since the last annual dinner of the society for the benefit of the
widows of our department; that _was_ delicious, too.

_Capt. Beamish._ Oh, you _have_ a society, then, for the widows of your
department, Doctor?

_Dr. Adipose._ Yes, yes; I’ll tell you all about it, by-and-by.--A
little currant jelly, Thomas.

_Dr. Kyle._ Yes, Captain, to the laudable exertions of Sir James
M’Grigor we are indebted for a valuable fund,--sufficient to protect
our widows and our orphans, if it please God to leave them without
other means.--Mr. Lintly, do you take mutton? Oh! Sir, it is a vast

_Major Oldfield._ ’Pon my honour, I am very happy to see such
improvements in your department. When I entered the service, now fifty
years ago, there was no department at all. A surgeon was something like
our present military parson; he used to go about in plain clothes, or
with a black coat and a military cocked hat: his pay was bad; and as to
his assistant, he was a sort of lob-lolly-boy; but now, how different!
Ah! the Duke, Heaven rest his soul! was the first who improved _your_
department, Gentlemen, as well as every other belonging to the army.

_Dr. Adipose._ Major--au--I’ll trouble you for a little of the
harrico--hau: It looks very well--au--very well, indeed.

_Vice-President._ Splint, shall I send you a little pig?

_Mr. Splint._ Indeed it is a thing Mrs. Splint is very fond of; and if
you like, I’ll send my servant up to you to-morrow for it.

_Vice-President._ For what!

_Mr. Splint._ Why the little pig you mentioned.

_Dr. Adipose._ Poo--oo--au--ha! ha! ha!

    [_A general laugh--more at the expense of Dr. Adipose than the
    little pig._]

_Vice-President._ Why, my dear Sir, I asked you to take a little of
_this_ roast pig.

_Mr. Splint._ Oh dear!--I beg your pardon.

_Dr. Adipose._ Very good--very good joke indeed--hau. Well, I think
as you mentioned it, I’ll taste the little pig--a _lee_tle bit, Mr.
President. Devilish good joke--thank you, that will do.

_Vice-President._ Yes, Major, the Duke was our best friend; it was he
who first raised the pay of the surgeons, and thus made the situation
more worthy to be filled by men of education. Sir James M’Grigor,
and Sir William Franklin, have completed what the Duke began, and
now, thanks to those gentlemen, our department is not only happily
organized, and its rank sustained, but we can furnish in the field,
men of genuine professional education; not tyros of the pestle, but
scientifically bred surgeons, who can whip off your legs while you’d be
saying “Jack Robison.”--A glass of wine, Major.

_Major._ With great pleasure.

_Dr. Adipose._ Mr. Vice, I’ll taste that wild duck--hau--it looks
well--and squeeze a lemon on it:--but first we’ll take a glass of

_Capt. Beamish._ I’m not so long as the Major in the service, by twenty
years, and even in _my_ time the military surgeons were in general
inferior to what they are now, both in education and respectability.

_Mr. Ward._ The peninsular war required a vast deal of surgeons, and
therefore, a number of young unqualified men, of necessity were sent
out to Portugal; but since that, Sir, this very Chatham hospital has
been established; and it bids fair to become a school for military

_Dr. Kyle._ By-the-by, it would not be a bad thing to follow
Buonaparte’s plan of educating medical men for the army. The Parliament
might vote money for worse purposes than promoting the health and
comfort of the soldiers in providing a military-medical school.--This
I really believe. Then, in case of necessity, we should not be forced
to receive indifferently educated surgeons into the service.--Chatham
would be the very place for it. We have already a splendid anatomical
museum, a good library, and an extensive hospital. All wanting now,
is permission to receive young men as pupils or cadets, who would be
supported by government until fit to join the army:--Something like the
Artillery-school at Woolwich. Then the well-qualified officers of the
department, who are now receiving half-pay for nothing, might have
here something to do in lecturing as professors.

_President._ Hoot! if ya’d apply to parelament for sic a thing, ya’d
ha’ Masther Joey Hume at wark wi’ his hammer an’ tongs:--he’d cry oot
“sae muckle for lodging--sae muckle for poorridge--an’ sae muckle for
pooltices,” till he’d run up a bill for the hoose that wad beat the
_Docthor’s Bill_ clane oot an’ oot.

_Dr. Kyle._ But Sir James and Mr. Hume are both Aberdeen men, are they
not? There might be something done that way.

_President._ Nae, that wad do naething; Sir James has a lang heed
o’ his ain, an’ if it war to be done at a’, he’d nae consult the
calculator aboot it.

_Dr. Adipose._ Very true, Mr. President, hau--I’ll thank you for
another custard, au--just to finish this apple-pie.

_President._ First we’ll take a drap o’ wine, Docthor; ya’r takin’
reed, so there’s the decanter.

_Major Oldfield._ I really think the plan is good; for this
reason:--when men expend a considerable sum on medical education, they
look to a return; and the success of private practice is far more
tempting than the army-surgeon’s; therefore professional education
might be provided for them at a moderate expense, and as a security,
they might be bound to remain a certain number of years in the army.

_Capt. Beamish._ I remember a joke which passed current at the expense
of the young surgeons when I was at Lisbon:--a ship was hailed, in
passing up the Tagus, to learn what she had on board, and the Master
answered “_horses and hospital mates, for the use of the army_.”

_Vice President._ Very true: there were many such jokes played off
upon them; and this was owing, in a great measure, to the want of such
an establishment as this at Chatham. Then, a set of young raw Scotch
or Irish pupils would come up to London, pass their examinations,
and be ordered forthwith out to Portugal. Unacquainted with military
etiquette and the usages of officers, it is not to be wondered that
they were in general laughed at. I myself have seen one of the
medical juniors--then a dispenser of medicines, but now Apothecary
to the Forces--dressed in a _brown_ ill-made _surtout_ coat, blue
trowsers ending at the calf of the leg, pepper-and-salt coloured
worsted stockings, and shoes; the whole surmounted by a cocked hat, and
straight black feather: in one hand he carried his sword, and in the
other an umbrella!

    [_A laugh from all the mess, particularly convulsive in Dr.

_President._ It’s vary deeferent noo; look at us a’ here fra’ top to
bottom--there’s nae irreg’larity in oor appearance--nae gaudy gewgaws
aboot us, but neat an’ military to a degree: oor uniform is noo blue
an’ reed ye see--then it was reed an’ black. Here, when a young man
joins us, he learns not only his duty, but the mode o’ appearing like
a proper meelitary surgeon, an’ joins a regiment ready made, as it
were: it was far deeferent during the peninsular war. I can assure
ya gentlemen, the present Airmy Meedical Board deserve the highest
praise--an’ something more substantial too, for the establishment
o’ this valuable _heed-quarters_, I may call it, o’ the Meedical
Department; an’, wi’ yir leave, I’ll noo drink their health in a
bumper; [_all rise_] I’ll gi’ ya, gentlemen, Sir James M’Grigor, an’
Sir William Franklin, the regenerators o’ the Meedical Department.

  [_drunk with three times three._

_Assist. Staff Surg. Leech._ The only thing I see unpleasant in our
situation, is that we are not promoted fast enough.

  [_a laugh._

_President._ There is something in that: Misther Leech there, has been
in the sarvice--hoo long noo, Leech?

_Assist. Surg. Leech._ About eight years on active service abroad, and
nearly eight more on half-pay.

_President._ Ha! that’s a long time. I remember when I enthered the
sarvice, an assistant-surgeon seldom remained withoot promotion for
mere nor three years, and some got it in as many months. But this can
hardly be helped noo, fra’ the encreased numbers. Hooever, it wad be
an improvement in the Department, if the juniors were mere quickly
promoted; and also a greater number o’ gude places for the seniors to
look up to.

_Dr. Adipose._ Right, Mr. President, hau--take care of the
seniors.--I’ll thank you for the nuts.

  [_a laugh._

_Vice President._ There are not enough of high places certainly. The
situation of Inspector of Hospitals, is all that the surgeon can
fairly look to; and of these there are not many. Now what is that
worth?--about 700_l._ a year. This, mind you, is the _utmost_ a man
can look to, unless it be the directorship of the Department; and that
is but _one_ place of worth--all this after twenty or thirty years of
troublesome service:--there lies the disadvantages of the profession.
If a surgeon be but commonly attentive, and fairly qualified, he will
soon be worth more than twice seven hundred a year in civil practice:
nay, an apothecary, who sticks up a blue bottle at the corner of
a narrow lane in London, will soon make as good an income as the
Inspector of Hospitals.

_President._ True enough: there ought to be at least half a doozen
gude births, o’ a thoosand a year, by way o’ rewards for auld and
meretorious meedical oofficers; an’ the young ones ought to run up a
leettle faster. What d’ye think of the sinecures given to the Irish
Medical Board:--the present Surgeon-general, an’ Physeecian-general,
an’ several o’ the Inspecthors, enjoy their full pay an’ allooances,
yet were never in the army at a.’ (_murmurs of disapprobation from all
the Mess_) Yes, gentlemen, ’tis fac’ as deeth:--hey! I wish the Duke
may just tak’ it into his head to examine it.

_Dr. Adipose._ Au--hau--that’s the man for cutting up the
Doctors--hau--I’ll take the olives and that orange, Mr.
Ward--hau--thank you.

_Dr. Kyle._ What our worthy President says is just. Those situations
in Ireland were given to rich _civil_ practitioners--I believe by
one of the Viceroys: now, really, if Viceroys choose to reward their
medical friends with good incomes, they should not take the money out
of the pockets of those officers who have been living like gipsies on
the mountains--enduring every privation to watch over the lives of
our gallant soldiers; or perhaps wasting their health and life in the
pestilential air of tropical hospitals. There are but few good places
in the Department, and surely they should not be given to wealthy
practitioners, who do not belong to the army. Cheyne, Crampton,
Peel--all worth at least two or three thousand a year each by their
practice--take three of our best places from us; yet, until their
present appointment, never had anything whatever to do with the army.

_Mr. Ward._ Yes; Crampton, I believe, was an hospital mate for five or
six months; and, I remember, he did duty in the camp which was on the
Curragh of Kildare.

_Dr. Kyle._ Vast service, indeed! (_a laugh._)

_Dr. Adipose._ Gentlemen, I’ll give you a toast--hau:--I’ll give
you--Mr. Abernethy and the digestive organs.

    [_A roar of laughter follows the corpulent gentleman’s toast._

_President._ Why--Adipose--what the deel maks you toast the digeestive

_Dr. Adipose._ Because they are our best friends--hau--and the
particular supporters of our worthy brother Abernethy.


_Major Oldfield._ Gentlemen, I’m sorry my health requires me to leave
you. There was a time when I could drink with the best of you: but
I am seventy-six years of age, and that I hope will be my excuse for
quitting so early this pleasant mess-table. Allow me, before I go, to
say that it gives me the greatest satisfaction to see the hospital
staff thus consolidated: many attempts were made, during the long time
I served in the army, to establish a regular mess in this department,
but all failed. I give you joy, therefore, gentlemen, on the attainment
of the object now: and I trust you will not receive it as flattery
when an old officer tells you, that for forty years in the service, he
never had the honour of dining at a mess where there was more military
regularity and more enlightened members. Permit me now, Mr. President,
to drink “Prosperity to the Medical Officers of the Army--the soldiers’
best friends in the day of sorrow.”[17]

  (_great applause._)

The Major now departed--several of the members of the mess, who
were on duty, also retired to the hospital, and the remainder sat
in pleasant conversation until eleven o’clock, when they partook of
deviled turkey, specially prepared by Doctor Adipose; and having washed
it down with a few glasses of claret, broke up for the night.


No. VI.

“That’s the worst of the army,” said Private Andrews to Sergeant
Dobson, as he rose to open the guard-house door--“that’s the worst of
it: we are scarcely well acquainted with the inhabitants of a town in
which we are quartered, when the route comes, and off we go; perhaps
never to see again people that we would wish to spend our lives with.”

“Very true,” replied the Sergeant; “I have often felt that, and so have
you; but I think there is something about our leaving Ballycraggen
which touches your feelings, Andrews, a little more than the leaving
of any former quarters in which I have seen you.”

“Why, to tell you the truth, I do not like to quit that poor girl,
Sergeant; she is a good, kind-hearted creature,” returned Private
Andrews, lifting the latch for the purpose of seeing who it was that
engaged the sentry in conversation.

The door was opened, and in a few moments an aged man appeared at the
threshold, exclaiming “Soldiers, I am glad to see you--blessings upon
you! It is a cold and a bleak night: I have yet four miles to go: will
you give me a seat at your fire? I am a man of threescore and twelve
years of age, and before now my shoulder has borne a brown bess in the

“Come in, come in, my old fellow!” was the answer from every man of
the guard. The stranger’s venerable appearance was a _carte blanche_:
he was not only admitted to the guard-house, but the old oak chair
was resigned to him by honest Sergeant Dobson--no small compliment,
considering the comfort and importance which it always afforded to the
Sergeant of the Guard.

The old man who was thus simultaneously honoured, was that sort of
personage which a romantic poet would think his fortune made in getting
a sight of; and in describing him would immortalize himself,--provided
he were a true poet: the white beard would demand a dozen stanzas:--the
Ossianic vapour of the morn curling in the breeze--the snow upon
the skirts of a towering mountain--the surf whitening the base of
the cloud-capped sea-rock--these, and a thousand other comparisons,
would be called in to paint it. The bald and expanded forehead would
be likened to the most polished work of ivory-turners; the eye add a
new star to the heavens; and the figure of the man be handed down to
sculptors as a model for the venerable grandeur of humanity!

Now, as I am writing plain prose, I will say without metaphor, that he
was a tall man of seventy-two years of age, with a long and silky white
beard; a good-natured countenance, and as sound and healthy to all
appearances as Corporal O’Callaghan; who, in point of age, might have
been almost his grandson, and who took up his position beside him at
the fire, the moment the old man sat down.

“What the divil makes you wear your beard?” said the Corporal;
“couldn’t you borrow a razor anywhere once a week?”

“I have worn my beard,” replied the stranger, “for these many, many
years. It is an old friend, and tells me a history. It was never cut
since the mutiny of the Nore.”

“What! are you a sailor?” demanded the Sergeant.

“No, young man, I belonged to the Royal Marines.”

“O, by the powers! he’s one o’ the red boys afther all,” exclaimed the
Corporal: “give us your fist.--God! you’re very cowld: will you take
a--” here O’Callaghan whispered something to the stranger, and then
went to a recess in the guard-room, where there was a bottle--in short,
nothing that could be done by the guard to show their respect for the
old soldier, was neglected: the consequence was, that he became very
communicative, and related not only the history of the mutiny of the
Nore, but gave them a description of his own adventures subsequent to
that affair. There is no use in making a secret of the matter--a bottle
of potyeen whisky was dispatched, and the party enjoyed themselves
by the fire in listening to the veteran’s stories with the greatest
attention for a couple of hours: during which time the rain pattered,
and the wind blew, unheeded by the group. He told them he had enlisted
when a boy, and had served as a marine in several engagements. He was
entrapped into the mutiny of the Nore; but the only part which he took
in the proceedings, was writing out in a fair hand several papers for
the mutineers--and this he declared he did for no other purpose than
to indulge his own vanity, in displaying his fine writing, upon which
he had highly valued himself. He was tried after the surrender of the
mutineers, and transported for life to Van Diemen’s Land. Amongst the
stories with which he amused the guard, the most interesting was the
following, in which he himself was a principal actor.


“I had not been more than two or three weeks in Hobart Town, when I was
assigned as a crown servant to a worthy gentleman--Mr. Allen--with whom
I lived, until it pleased God to call him away from this life: I served
him faithfully, and he treated me more like a relation than a slave. He
failed in business as a merchant a year before his death, and I believe
it preyed upon his mind. He left scarcely any property behind him,
but what there was, he willed to me:--seventeen pounds was all that
remained after the whole of his things were sold by auction, and his
funeral expenses paid. This sum fell to me. I was very happy while Mr.
Allen lived; but after that, I began to think of obtaining my liberty,
in order to return home to this country, for there was nobody I cared
about in the colony. I was applied to by a Mr. M’Carthy, to undertake
the overseeing of his land; and I accepted the offer. I had my choice
of places; for old Jack Worral--that’s my name--was well respected
by every free settler in the country. Shortly after my going to Mr.
M’Carthy’s, the Bush-rangers became very troublesome: there was a gang
of them--about seven-and-twenty--out in the woods and wild country;
and they used to come down of a night and plunder the settlers of
everything--neither cattle nor corn, nor house, was secure from their
depredations. Mr. M’Carthy had a fine schooner lying in the Derwent,
loaded with goods; he feared that the Bush-rangers would plunder her;
for his neighbour, a Mr. Carlisle, had been recently robbed by them,
and he, himself, had seen some of them shooting kangaroos on the
banks of the river. He therefore mentioned to me, that he would like
to form a party to go in pursuit of them. I volunteered to be one;
for although then near sixty years of age, I could manage the best
of them. Several of the neighbours instantly joined:--there were Mr.
Triffit, and Murphy, and Jemmot, and Brown, and Carlisle, and Tooms,
and Hacking, and O’Berne, the master of our schooner, the Geordy, and
three or four sailors. Every man had a fowling-piece or a musket--some
had also pistols, and swords, and bayonets. We started on the track
of the Bush-rangers, just an hour before sunrise, of a beautiful
twilight-night, in the latter end of spring: our direction was towards
the centre of a space, between two high hills, which was about three
miles away, and where there was an open valley on the banks of a small
river: we used to call it the fairy’s valley, on account of the little
patches of green pasturage which every where appeared through the thick
and matted brushwood?]--for you know it is said, that these are the
spots where the _good people_[18] dance of a moonlight night.

“We travelled on after our guide, who was a native that lived in
the service of Mr. Carlisle, and who had been ill-treated by the
Bush-rangers but a few days before, when they were plundering his
master’s house: there was no road or path, as you might see in other
countries--our way was over hills, and over craggs, and through jungles
of brushwood, so that we were an hour and a half before we got into
the opening of the valley. The sun was up and mists disappearing; the
place as silent as the grave--nothing to be heard but whatever noise
ourselves made. Mr. M’Carthy now proposed that we should lie down,
under cover of an overhanging rock, in a sort of green cave, thatched,
as it were, with briers, bushes, and flowers, of every description:
he said we had better halt and send out one or two as scouts: this
we did; and the guide, with Mr. Murphy himself, after having taken a
little refreshment by way of breakfast, climbed up the side of a steep
hill, through the bushes, in order to get a complete view of all round
from the top. While they were away we examined all our arms, and took
our breakfast of cold meat and a small allowance of grog, dealt out by
Mr. M’Carthy--for he kept charge of the spirits himself, lest any one
should take too much. In about a quarter of an hour after Mr. Murphy
and the guide went out, we heard a shot which rattled and echoed three
or four times across the valley: this, as we afterwards learned, was
fired by one of the Bush-rangers at a bird, and in the sight of the
guide, who now came creeping down the hill with Mr. Murphy, making
signs for silence. Our scouts informed us that the Bush-rangers were
within shot, roasting mutton under a hill; but that to come upon them
without being observed, it would require us to return and advance by
an opening on the other side of them--a rising ground that was clear
under-foot, but covered with immense trees. We immediately proceeded
one by one to the rear, and in about ten minutes were in view of the
smoke from the Bush-rangers’ fires; and by stooping so as to screen
ourselves from the possible view of the robbers, we were enabled to
get within about a hundred yards of them. Mr. M’Carthy ordered us to
lie down, which we did. We could hear the fellows through the bushes,
cursing, swearing, and laughing; some were cooking pieces of mutton,
others lolling on the grass, smoking and drinking: and a pretty,
interesting-looking native girl, sat playing with the long and bushy
black ringlets of a stout and wicked-looking man seated by her: he had
pistols in his belt--wore a fustian jacket, a kangaroo-skin cap and
waistcoat, with leather gaiters, and dirty velveteen breeches. I saw
him as plainly as I see any one here; and what do you think? the fellow
had two watches in his fob! This turned out, as I learned afterwards,
to be Michael Howe, the second in command of the robbers: at that time
Whitehead was the leader--a tall, ill-looking villain as ever you saw:
_he_ was also there, asleep on the grass.

“We were now directed by Mr. M’Carthy to cock our pieces, and on a
wave of his hand to rise and show ourselves, but not to fire until the
word was given; and also, that if the Bush-rangers attempted to fire,
to drop down so as to avoid the shot, and, if not possible to advance
at once upon them, we were each to take a position behind a tree, and
from thence fire upon the robbers: this was the plan of attack. Mr.
M’Carthy now rose up, and with his piece at the ‘_ready_,’ cried out
to Whitehead to surrender: the Bushmen were up in a moment, and behind
a tremendous trunk of a hollow tree, through a hole in which we could
see them. Whitehead replied to the summons very coolly; ‘I tell you
what, M’Carthy,’ said he, ‘you will never be easy until I settle you: I
spared your life last Thursday night; and if you want not to lose it,
go home about your business.’

“Mr. M’Carthy now waved his hand, when we all stood up, and came to the
present. Whitehead got behind the tree.

“‘Put down your guns,’ said he, ‘and I’ll speak to you.’

“Mr. M’Carthy ordered us to comply; we took them from our shoulders,
but still held them with our fingers on the triggers.

“‘Now,’ said Whitehead, ‘let me advise you to leave us alone; we are
well armed, and can beat you; but we don’t want blood: let us alone, I
say, and go back to your homes. A man of us will not be taken alive.’

“‘If you surrender quietly, Whitehead,’ replied Mr. M’Carthy, ‘I can
assure you pardon from the Government: you see my party is strong, so
don’t force me to fire.’

“Michael Howe then roared out, ‘Slap at the beggars!’--a volley was
fired at us through the hole in the tree; and which we returned. On
looking round at our party, after I had fired, I saw Carlisle, Murphy,
Jemmot, Triffet, and O’Berne, lying on the ground, but none of them
quite dead.

“Whitehead now cried out to us, with an oath, to surrender; but we
reloaded fast, and kept up such a hedge-firing, that one of the fellows
dared not show himself, to present his piece. I called out to our
party to take aim at every shot, and only two to fire at a time. Some
of the sailors now led away four of our wounded party; but Mr. Murphy
could not be stirred, he was shot through the belly, and remained:
Mr. Carlisle died on our way home; and O’Berne, who was shot in the
face, expired in four days after. We were obliged to retreat, firing
as we went; but the Bushmen had no wish to follow us. The fact is, Mr.
M’Carthy ought to have opened on them at first, without giving them
a moment’s consideration, and then should have run right in upon the

[“To be sure,” replied Sergeant Dobson; “they should not have given
them a moment.”

“Oh, faith! that’s where they put their foot in it, completely,”
rejoined Corporal O’Callaghan, as he offered the horn cup to the old
man. “Wet your whistle,” said he, “before you go any farther.”

This was done in due form, and the venerable soldier renewed his story
with encreased energy and pleasure:--]

“It was a disastrous end to our expedition, and the death of these
unfortunate men caused a panic throughout the settlement: the 73d was
ordered out, in detachments, to scour the country; but the Bushmen knew
too well how to avoid them--they had a world of unpopulated country,
of the finest nature, to retire into. However, a party of the soldiers
came so close on them one day, that they found their meat burning on
the fire, where they had placed it to broil, while the sheepskin was
beside it, out of which the mutton was cut; but they could not catch a
man of them.

“It might well be expected, that if the Bush-rangers could, they would
not let Mr. M’Carthy rest after this attempt upon their lives; and we
so much expected their vengeance, that we made preparation to protect
ourselves immediately. Mr. M’Carthy obtained permission to keep a party
of the 46th regiment in the house, night and day; the house being
situated so lonely. The robbers were not aware of this, or they would
not have ventured to make the attack, which they did in a very short
time after the failure of our expedition against them. I was sitting at
the fire one night, along with the soldiers, talking of one thing or
another, when the window was knocked in by a volley from without, and
by which one of the soldiers was wounded in the arm. Mr. M’Carthy was
from home at the time. Up the men jumped, and seizing their muskets,
fired out instantly. I and a soldier ran down stairs and out at one of
the back doors, when looking over a wall, we perceived a man at the
front of the house: he was alone, and was beckoning to others to come
on. I levelled at him,--fired:--he jumped off the ground, two yards
at least, and then fell; but got up, and ran towards another of his
comrades, crying out, ‘Howe--here, take my watch--the beggars have shot
me.’ These were his last words: he then fell. Several of the soldiers
now ran round, to get in the rear of the Bushmen, who, quite undaunted,
were approaching the house. Several shots were fired both by and at the
soldiers a little way from the gate. I now perceived a man approaching
the dead body of the fellow I shot: I had no other charge for my gun,
and no bayonet, so I returned into the house to load; when casting my
eyes from the window, I saw the figure engaged over the body, taking
his money, as I then thought. The light was out; the soldiers were
gone from the house, engaged with the robbers, so I could not find
either a grain of powder or a cartridge. I made up my mind in a moment
to attack the fellow I saw below, with the but-end of my musket, so
down I ran for that purpose, and was coming behind a ridge of dung or
manure, in order to make sure of my man, when I saw the fellow--it was
Howe--with the head of the dead man in his hand! he gazed a moment at
the body, and then said he, ‘Poor Jack Whitehead, I swore to you, that
if ever you fell near me, I’d not let your head be taken; the b----y
governor won’t know you now, and no beggar shall get a rap for you, my
boy: lie there, brave fellow, and I’ll bury your head for you in our
own green valley--I know you would have done the same for me.’ I was
petrified with astonishment; so Howe got off, and left the mutilated
trunk in a pool of blood: he had cut off the head with his clasp knife.
The body was taken away next day to Hobart Town, and gibbited on
Hunter’s island. The soldiers, I believe, did not hit any of them--the
night was too dark and the Bushmen too wary. If I could have got a
cartridge when Howe was cutting off his comrade’s head, I should have
settled him; and as it turned out, this Howe was the worst villain of
the whole. On the death of Whitehead, he became the head of the gang,
and committed the most terrible depredations every where; there was a
reward of 100 guineas offered for his head; and that was twice the sum
offered for any of the others. There was also a free pardon, with a
passage home to England, ready for any of the crown prisoners who would
take him or any of his men. The hope of getting back to my own country
once more made me turn my attention particularly to this point, and as
Mr. M’Carthy offered to assist me in all my projects, I set about the
means of accomplishing them.

“I was once very near seizing Howe in the very centre of Hobart-Town,
where he was in the disguise of a gentleman. I’ll tell you how it was:
I was in a store one day, buying some powder and shot, when this fellow
came in: the man’s name who kept the store was Stevens. Although Howe
changed colour the moment he entered and saw me, yet I did not observe
that it _was_ he; but when I heard him speak in his peculiarly vulgar
way, I remembered the voice of the fellow who cut off the head of
Whitehead. Strong as Howe was, I thought I was stronger; so without
hesitation I grasped him by the collar, and told him that he was my
prisoner: he struggled hard with me, and held on my throat; and I had
got him fast at the back part of the store, when I was knocked down
by a blow on the back of my head, and became senseless. It was some
minutes before I recovered myself; and when I came to my senses, I
found Stevens holding some strong spirits to my lips, and otherwise
kindly attending me. He told me that a strange man had rushed into
the store, and with a bludgeon knocked me on the head while I was
struggling with Howe; and that when I fell from the blow, Howe jumped
up and both ran away: little I then thought that it was Stevens himself
who struck me and released Howe. This soon was brought to light; for
information was given to the governor that Stevens was a receiver of
Howe’s plunder; so he was hanged on Hunter’s Island, and buried under
the gibbets of three of his correspondents. The fellow confessed to me
in the jail, that it was he who struck me, and said he was only sorry
he had not killed me. This man was a crown prisoner, but was thought
to be an industrious person who was making a fortune by his business:
two youths, his accomplices, were sentenced to death along with him,
but were pardoned at the place of execution, on account of their
tender years. It was this man, or some of his connexions, who used to
supply the Bushmen with information, and also with necessaries.--As
an instance of this--the gang appeared at Port Dalrymple, where they
robbed one Mr. Rose, and in only eleven days after that, when the
soldiers were scouring the neighbourhood in which this robbery was
committed, they appeared at Bagdad--a distance of one hundred miles
from Port Dalrymple, and intercepted a waggon load of valuable property
belonging to a Mr. Stocker, who traded from one settlement to another:
this they never could have accomplished unless they had information
from their colleagues in Hobart Town.

“I now obtained leave to accompany a party of the 46th regiment on a
regular campaign against the Bush-rangers. We carried with us flour,
spirits, and some live stock; the weather being fine, we wanted no
tents--and even if we had we could not have carried them. My arms were
a musket and two pistols; my powder-horn and bullet-bag slung across
my shoulder: I did not look much unlike Robinson Crusoe, with my long
beard; and I was as often called by that name as by my own. I never
passed a pleasanter time than for the three weeks we were out on the
excursion, except when we lost our flour in a ford; and then we were
so reduced that some of our party gnawed away their mocassions, or
kangaroo-skins which they wore on their feet. Although we did not
destroy the gang on this campaign, we were the means of hanging four of
the Bush-rangers. On the third day’s march after we started, we were
close to a place called the _Tea-tree Brush_, and were poking our way
through a thick and wide bed of briers and brushwood, in order to get
over to an open and green space shaded with trees, where we proposed
cooking a quarter of mutton, when we spied a smoke rising from the very
trees we were approaching. We were soon on the clear ground, and the
whole party advanced as quick as possible towards the smoke, determined
to give no quarter to the Bushmen unless they surrendered. We now
could see a hut made of boughs, and a fire before it, when out darted
two men, and in a moment disappeared into a close thicket, and we lost
them. In this hut we found several watches and trinkets, some cloth,
twenty-five bullets, some powder, and three kangaroo dogs, all of
which we took with us, first having dined heartily upon our mutton in
front of the hut--and such a beautiful situation for a bivouac I never
was in. It was a flat piece of green land, covered with wild flowers,
and overlooking the most beautiful country that can be imagined--a
precipice in our front, from which we hurled a stone that rolled over
half a mile of a steep hill down to a river all studded with islands,
and ornamented by the most delightfully displayed foliage on its
banks--plain over plain, and wood over wood, was to be seen for twenty
miles’ distance; and the blue mountains far away gave one an idea of an
earthly paradise: yet no human being claimed it--none ever trod over
this fine country but a few lawless brigands.

“We were now on the scent of the Bushmen, and I proposed a plan which
turned out well; this was, that we should lie in ambush all the
evening in a covered recess near the hut, and watch the return of some
of the gang, whom we had no doubt were out hunting. This was approved
by the Sergeant in command of us, and we immediately retired to the
ambuscade: here we smoked our pipes:--it was so situated, that we could
see all around without being ourselves perceived.

“We had been in this situation about two hours, when we espied four
of the Bushmen; Howe was one of them; and the native girl, whom I saw
playing with his curls before, was with him. Both were armed with
pistols. Her dress was neither native nor European, but a very pretty
sort of costume made up of skins, feathers, and white calico. They
advanced towards the hut, until they came to within about three hundred
yards of it, when the girl, who was before them, ran quickly back,
seized Howe by the arm, and pointed to the hut. What was the reason of
this I cannot tell: perhaps she saw something about it that excited
suspicion--but, be that as it may, the whole party turned round, and
fled for the valley, by an open, clear, and slanting ground which led
into it. Out we ran after them, and were gaining a little upon them
when we came to the bottom of the valley. They here took different
directions; but Howe was our man; so after him we all went, dashing
up the opposite hill from that on which the hut was; for all parties
had forded--the water taking nearly up to the middle. When Howe and
his girl, who followed him closely, gained the summit of the hill, he
turned round, deliberately took aim at one of us with his fusee, and
fired; but without effect. This was returned by three of our party, but
also without effect. Our chase now was over a tolerably open country,
and I dare say that we all ran at nearly full speed for about a
mile--Howe before us, apparently taking it very easy; but he must have
run amazingly well, to have distanced us so much in a mile, and with
such seeming ease to himself. The girl, we could observe, was falling
fast behind, but she still ran, and we could see Howe frequently
motioning her on: at last the poor thing stopped short at once, as if
overcome by fatigue. Howe roared at her, with a voice that sounded over
the plain, and although five hundred yards from us, we heard it like
the blast of a trumpet. What do you think he did, when he found that
she could not move? the dog drew his pistol--fired at her--and the
poor girl fell. I could not resist the feeling of rage which then took
possession of me: I dropped on my knee, took a cool aim, and fired.”

[“Did you kill the rascal?” interrupted O’Callaghan.

“No. I suppose from the exertion of running, my aim was not as it in
general was. However, we were rather far away for any thing like a
certain shot.”]

“We continued the chase, and in about five minutes Howe arrived at
an abrupt ravine, into which he darted; and we might as well have
attempted to seek him in the bottom of the sea, as the place he sunk
into; so we returned to the girl, whom we found was not dead, but
severely wounded in the shoulder and neck. When we lifted her up, she
trembled, and attempted to fall on her knees, to supplicate for mercy,
as she expected to be shot instantly: but we soon relieved her fears,
and led her to a shade, where we made a covering of branches for
her, and otherwise assisted her, by tying up her arm in a sling, and
washing the blood off it. The unhappy girl now offered to point us out
the track of the robbers, and do every thing she could, to forward our
views. We halted for the night, and at daybreak next morning proceeded
on our search, guided by the girl, who was now able to walk.

“After a slow march of three hours, having passed through the ravine
into which Howe went, we arrived at the verge of the river Shannon.
Here were several huts which the girl said the Bushmen occasionally
inhabited--that is, whenever they moved in that part of the country;
nothing, however, was in these huts but beds of leaves and dry grass:
there were strewed about several sheep skins, and marks of recent
fires. The girl informed us that she had been there with Howe four days
before. In a few minutes she ran over to the Sergeant, and pointing
to the opposite bank of the Shannon, exclaimed, ‘There is Geary.’ We
all looked across the river and saw one of the Bushmen with his gun
levelled at us: he fired, and the ball splashed in the water close to
us. It was no use to waste our powder, for the fellow disappeared.
We then set fire to the huts, and guided by the girl proceeded on our
march. It would astonish you to see how she discovered the tracks of
the robbers; she would sometimes go on fast, and at others stop, look
attentively at the grass and leaves under her, and although we could
see no mark of footsteps, she declared she did: she would minutely
examine each leaf and brier and blade of grass on a spot where she was
‘at fault,’ in order to see were they broken or pressed; and in this
way she brought us to a creek of the river near which she said was a
hut, and that very likely some of the gang were there. We had scarcely
arrived on a high rock which overhung the water of the creek when we
heard a shot close to us, and a desperate-looking fellow with a rifle
in his hand instantly darted past us: he evidently had no expectation
of meeting such _friends_ as the soldiers at this place, for when he
saw us he wheeled about and attemped to retreat, but two active fellows
of our party leaped down into a hollow and completely cut him off. We
were on the top of the rock, and within twenty yards of the Bushman.
The fellow stopped an instant: we were just going to seize him, when
he at once made a spring, and down off the rock he leaped into the
water below, first having flung his gun away. The distance he fell was
about a hundred feet. He sunk; but rose in a moment and commenced to
swim to the opposite side. The two of our party who before had stopped
him, now made for the other bank of the creek, and if they had not run
extremely well and leaped a craggy ravine at the upper end of it, the
Bushman would have escaped; but they were in time; and when the fellow
was approaching the bank, they appeared, and pointed their muskets down
at him. I almost pitied the wretch when this took place, he looked so
miserable; but he did not surrender: he swam back to the centre of the
creek and there cried out to us that if we would not fire he would
propose fair terms: he was then below us; muskets were levelled at him
from both sides, and an instant would have sent him to the bottom. The
Sergeant asked what terms he wanted? He replied that he wished to be
taken as an approver, and that he would discover all he knew of the
gang. ‘Come ashore,’ said the Sergeant, ‘trust to the Governor for
your life--I can make no terms with you: but if you refuse to submit,
we’ll blow you into atoms the next instant.’ The fellow paused, and
looked wildly up at both sides of the creek, there death was staring
him in the face--and such a face of horror I never saw. He had nothing
left him but submission; so he cried out, ‘Very well, Sergeant, I’ll
submit; but I hope you’ll mention my proposal to the Governor.’ The
wretch now swam to the opposite bank, and yielded himself to the
custody of the two soldiers there, while we proceeded round to join
them. On our way we had to go a considerable distance, unless we all
leaped the ravine, which was so well done by the two of our party on
the other side; this we had no motive for,--it was dangerous; and
besides that, the female who was along with us could not, if _we_
could. We were passing through very long grass and high weeds, nearly
up to our heads, when the girl cried out to us to stop. She said that
somebody had gone this way bleeding; and showed blood on the weeds,
evidently but lately spilt. She also said, that there was a Bushman’s
hut, about a hundred yards away. We therefore changed our intention
of going to the other side of the creek, and sent a man to assist in
bringing round to us the prisoner, while we went to the expected hut;
at the same time marking the spot where the blood was. The girl pointed
out the place where the hut lay,--we could not then see it; but on
approaching a little further, discovered it in a hollow, beautifully
surrounded with trees and close brushwood. We halted, and presented
our muskets at the opening of the hut, while the Sergeant called out
to know was there any body there? and threatening to fire, if they did
not come out. No answer:--so we advanced--entered it--and there beheld
a dead man--his head nearly severed from his body, and a bloody razor
beside him--the ground and grass bed on which the body lay, soaked with
blood. Without removing the corpse, we waited, until the prisoner and
his escort came up. The Bushman was led to see the body: he showed no
astonishment; but merely said, with an affected pity, ‘Aye, that’s poor
Peter Septon: he often said he’d cut his own throat, but now I see he
has done it completely.’ ‘That’s a lie, you villain,’ said I; ‘no man
ever cut his own throat in that manner: this was done by you.’ The
wretch’s countenance could not change much for the worse; however, his
clammy lips quivered, and he wiped the sweat off his forehead, as he
replied that he knew nothing about the murder. ‘Murder!’ said I; ‘then
you think it _is_ a _murder_?’ ‘Why,’ replied he, ‘when a man cuts his
own throat--isn’t that murder?’ ‘_You_ did it!’ cried out every one
present; and the prisoner’s eyes evidently answered, ‘_I did._’

“It was now proposed to trace the track of the blood, and having left
four of our party at the hut to take care of the prisoner, we followed
the girl, at a short distance, through various places: she of course
was guided by the blood. In about ten minutes, our guide beckoned to
us, and we quickly approached to where she stood; there she pointed
to a man lying in the long grass, and bleeding profusely--it was a
desperate Bushman of the name of Collyer.[19] We raised him up; he
was weak and faint from loss of blood; his hand was shattered by a
shot, and his throat partially cut. The poor wretch was then carried
by the men back to the hut, and having tasted a little spirits grew
something stronger. He sat leaning against a tree; and looking at the
other prisoner with a scowl, he cried out to him, ‘You treacherous
villain! thank God, you are taken!’ Then addressing us, he said, ‘That
rascal, while I was asleep, attempted to cut my throat with a razor,
after he had killed his comrade Septon, who slept beside me; and as I
was trying to escape from him, he fired at me, and shattered my hand.’
The murderer now, like a fiend, roared out ‘D--n your eyes and heart, I
wish I had cut your throat first, and now you would not be here to tell
me of it.’ At this moment, the girl cried out to him, ‘Hillier, you
killed my sister, too.’ ‘Yes, you black devil, and if I had you now in
the Tallow Chandler’s Shop,[20] I’d serve you in the same way.’

“We immediately tied Hillier’s arms well, and having bound up
Collyer’s wounds, and refreshed ourselves, we took the direction of
home. Collyer was able to walk after he rested and took a little
spirits and water. The dead man’s head we made Hillier cut off and
carry--hung round his neck in a haversack.”

[“What was that for?” demanded Sergeant Dobson.

“Because,” replied the old man, “there was 50_l._ reward for every
Bushman’s head; a hundred for Howe’s or Geary’s, and seventy-five for

“That was sufficient reason,” rejoined the Sergeant.

“By Gad! it was a very good thing, to make the rascal carry home his
own work; and I hope he was paid his wages for it,” said O’Callaghan.]

“That he was,” replied old Worral; “both he and Collyer were gibbetted
on Hunter’s Island, beside the whistling bones of Whitehead, and the
two fellows who escaped us at the time we started them out of the hut;
their names were Burne and M’Guire, and I’ll tell you how they were
taken. As soon as they were off through the thicket from our party,
they made their way down to Kangaroo Point--for they were completely
cut off from the gang; and wishing to go to Bass’s Straits, by which
they would be safe, they applied to a settler to let them have a boat,
for which service they offered him a watch. The settler, who had often
lost his cattle and corn by the Bush-rangers, pretended to accept their
proposal, and having requested them to wait at a certain place until
he returned with the boat, went to Hobart’s Town, and returned with a
party of soldiers:--the robbers were surrounded and taken. Burne, a
hardy old fellow, attempted to escape, and had broken his way through
the soldiers, when a shot took him in the leg, and down he dropped.
They were tried for the murder of Mr. Carlisle, and gibbetted.”

“[Well, how did you get on with the prisoners, Collyer and the
murderer?” demanded Jack Andrews.]

“I’ll tell you. We did very well; but met with no more of the
Bush-rangers. I should have mentioned that the girl, when we halted
on the evening we took the two robbers, gave us a history of her
treacherous paramour, Howe; and all she said about him was corroborated
by both Collyer and Hillier, who were present while she told us what
she knew about him. We halted in a very beautiful spot, beside a clear
river, in which we could see the fish frolicking about as if they
wanted us to cook them for dinner; and all sorts of curious birds
were as plenty as sparrows in this country. The place was a green dry
piece of flat, close to a thick wood, and at the bottom of a hill. On
the opposite side of the river, hill after hill arose, covered with
wood; also, at the edge of the river there were a dozen Kangaroos
skipping about, but they took care to keep far enough from us. There
were several giants of trees at different distances; and under one of
those we lighted a fire; having first tied our prisoners together and
fastened them to an immense bough, that was hanging from its parent
trunk, splintered perhaps by a storm.

“We cooked the remaining meat we had by broiling it; and all ate hearty
of this and some ember cakes we the day before made. All rested under
the shade; for we were tolerably fatigued. It was here that Mary,
the native girl, told us about Howe: she said that she first saw him
at Hobart Town, where he was a crown servant to Mr. Ingle, and she a
servant to another settler there: she was then only seventeen years
of age, and really must have been a very good-looking young girl, for
a sort of a black as she was. Howe got the better of her so, that he
prevailed upon her to let him into the house to rob her master, and
then elope with him to the woods. He was very kind to her, she said,
whenever he was successful; but if anything crossed his temper, he was
like a tiger; and then, neither she nor his men would go near him until
his passion cooled. He was jealous of this girl; and Edwards--one of
the gang--after they had robbed Captain Townson, gave Mary a shawl,
which was part of the booty; when Howe drew his pistol deliberately,
and shot him. He also killed another of his gang, Bowls, for merely
firing a blank shot over his head: he deliberately tied his hands and
feet first, then put the pistol to his head and fired: this he did
on Salt-pan Plains. None of the men dared remonstrate with him; for
he always was armed with three or four pistols ready loaded; and he
often used to impress upon his gang, that every leader should be obeyed
in whatever he ordered--that no murmurs should be heard; and always
concluded his remarks on such subjects by a terrible oath--that life
was nothing to him, and if they did not like his conduct, they might
try it with him in any way they wished; ‘but,’ said he, ‘I _will_ shoot
any of my men if I think they deserve it.’ She said that he was very
revengeful: he sat on one of the hills of thick wood, which rise one
above the other and overlook Hobart Town, one night with Mary beside
him, smoking and drinking, and more merry than ever she knew him to be,
because he was to have satisfaction of Mr. Humphries, and Mr. Reardon
the constable. Collyer was with him that night; and while she was
telling us about the affair, he often set her right on little points,
which she had forgotten. She said, that they sat in their hut, looking
out over the hills below them, and the town, and the plains: they could
just discern the houses through the closing twilight. As it grew dark,
and the view was lost, Howe filled his goblet, and exclaimed, ‘Now,
Collyer, we want light; here’s success to the hand that will give it
to us.’ Collyer drank the toast, and Mary got up to strike a spark
in the tinder, when Howe laughed loudly, and seizing the girl by the
arm, he replied, ‘Sit down, Mary--don’t trouble yourself; Whitehead is
lighting a match for us.’ She did not understand him, for Whitehead,
she knew, was gone down, with the rest of the gang, to the low lands.
‘Look out,’ said he: ‘now do you see the light?’ The girl looked as he
desired her:--so did Collyer and himself; and they beheld a tremendous
flame, at two different points below, which threw a glare all over the
plain. ‘There,’ said Howe, ‘these fires have cost a pretty penny:--that
is all the corn that Humphreys reaped this season; and that, near it,
is the last of Reardon’s property.’ Then said he to Collyer, ‘My boy, a
toast:--Here’s success to the Bushman’s tinder-box, and a blazing fire
to their enemies!’--I remember that Collyer smiled when Mary recited
this before him.”

[“Well, by the powers!” observed Corporal O’Callaghan, “I never hard
o’ such a divil as that same Misther Howe. What counthryman was he?”]

“A Yorkshireman: he was born at Pontefract in 1787, entered the
merchant service at Hull, and then became a man-o’-war’s man; but he
deserted, and robbed a miller; for which he was transported. Captain
Cross of the _Indefatigable_, brought him out to Van Diemen’s Land:
before he sailed, he tried to escape by jumping from the main deck over
the vessel’s side; and Captain Cross said that he swam a quarter of a
mile before he was retaken.”

[“Well, did you bring in your prisoners safe,” demanded Sergeant

“Yes,” replied old Worral; “we lodged them in Hobart Town jail, and
they were both gibbetted along with Whitehead, Brown, and M’Guire.”

[“And was Howe ever taken?”

“I’ll tell you the end of the villain.”

“Stop,--come to the end o’ _that_ first,” said O’Callaghan, handing old
Worral the horn goblet.]

Worrel proceeded:--“After this, Howe having separated from his
few remaining associates, had art enough to obtain pardon from the
governor, by humbling to him, and offering not only to give himself
up, but to engage in annihilating the remaining bush-rangers. He was
absolutely at large in Hobart Town--or at least, only accompanied
by a constable--awaiting his pardon; and every body looked upon him
as reformed, when he slipped off from his keeper, and took to his
old habits: but he did not join any others; he wandered about alone,
without any communication with mankind, except when necessity drove him
to plunder an unguarded settler: totally shut out from man, he lived
the sole occupier of an immense tract of the most beautiful country, as
yet untrodden by any human foot but his; for the part he selected was
the distant and unknown lands: there would he wander while his powder
and shot lasted, and then return to replenish his stock by plunder,
committing the most wanton acts of atrocity.

“There was a determined fellow of the name of Slambow, who took care of
sheep for a Mr. Williams, of Hobart Town: he lived on his land in the
neighbourhood of New Norfolk: this man had frequently been accosted by
Howe in his rambles, and for aught we knew, did little jobs for him,
as much out of fear as love. Howe had now gone to this Slambow, to
request him to carry a letter to the Governor; and the request having
been complied with, an appointment was made between them to meet at
an unfrequented place the following Friday, at sunrise. Slambow, in
the meantime, met with a runaway, called Watts, who had been wandering
about New Norfolk, and they united in a plan to take Howe when he came
to give his letter. Watts was tired of his ranging life, and hoped
for pardon, as well as a passage to England, if he captured him. The
appointed spot was on the banks of the Derwent river; and Watts took a
boat on the Thursday night, and went close up to it; when concealing
his boat, he lay himself in a close thicket for the night, to await
the coming of Howe and Slambow. A little before sunrise Watts arose
from his lair and proceeded to fulfil his appointment, he met Slambow,
who then informed him that he was to meet Howe at a place about half a
mile away, called _Long Bottom_: Watts requested Slambow to hide his
gun where he could find it on their return, because he said Howe might
object to come to them, if he saw him armed--as to Watts being armed,
Howe knew he was a Bushman, and would not suspect any thing wrong: this
was done, and they proceeded to Long Bottom, where they arrived just
as the sun was rising. I saw this very place, myself--it is a wide
plain near the river, but skirted by abrupt mountains; here and there
it is spread with bushes and trees, and in the centre is a creek or
nook of the river. When they had come within about a hundred yards of
this creek, Slambow hallooed loudly; and at the signal Howe appeared.
As soon as he saw them, he requested Watts to shake the priming out
of his gun, and offered to do the same himself: this was accordingly
done by both, and they walked together conversing on different matters,
when Howe proposed to light a fire and have some breakfast: this was
agreed upon--the wood was collected, and set fire to--the haversacks
opened--and they were apparently about to enjoy a Bushranger’s
breakfast, when Watts, who was a strong man, came behind Howe--threw
him down--and there held him while Slambow tied his hands.

“Having secured their prey, they sat down to their breakfast; and after
having finished their meal, set out for Hobart Town. They had not gone
more than eight miles when Howe, who had found means to loosen the
cords on his hands, drew a knife and stabbed Watts, who fell from the
blow, and dropped his gun. Slambow was below a bank, and thus prevented
from seeing what Howe had done; nor did he suspect until he heard Watts
groan, and saw Howe presenting a gun at his breast. The next moment he
was dead; for Howe fired and shot him. Watts then cried out to Howe,
‘Have you shot Slambow?’ to which Howe replied that he had, and that
he would serve Watts the same way as soon as he could load his gun.
Upon this Watts got up and ran about two hundred yards, the blood
trickling from his side as he ran: here he fell and lay for a short
time, being overcome by loss of blood. Howe did not follow him, fearing
an alarm from the shot he had fired; but took his way back to the
wilds, happy to have yet that resource from the gallows. Watts crawled
to a settler’s house, and was conveyed to the hospital, where he gave
an account of the affair, and soon after expired. The inquest on both
bodies brought a verdict of wilful murder against Michael Howe.

“This last violence threw the people into consternation, and an
additional sum was offered for Howe, dead or alive; for he was now the
only Bush-ranger abroad, and his fall most probably would put an end to
that system of murder and robbery, which paralyzed trade, and terrified
every inhabitant of the settlement.

“I was now determined to make a push for the capture of this villain;
for which I was promised a passage to England in the next ship that
sailed, and the amount of the reward laid upon his head. I found
out a man of the name of Warburton, who was in the habit of hunting
kangaroos for their skins, and who had frequently met Howe during his
excursions, and sometimes furnished him with ammunition. He gave me
such an account of Howe’s habits, that I felt convinced, we could take
him with a little assistance. I therefore spoke to a man of the name of
Pugh, belonging to the 48th regiment--one whom I knew was a most cool
and resolute fellow; he immediately entered into my views, and having
applied to Major Bell, his commanding officer, he was recommended by
him to the Governor, by whom I was permitted to act, and allowed to
join us; so he and I went directly to Warburton, who heartily entered
into the scheme, and all things were arranged for putting it into
execution. The plan was thus:--Pugh and I were to remain in Warburton’s
hut, while Warburton himself was to fall into Howe’s way. The hut was
on the banks of the river Shannon, standing so completely by itself,
and so out of the track of any body who might be feared by Howe, that
there was every probability of accomplishing our wishes, and ‘_scotch
the snake_,’--as they say--if not kill it. Pugh and I accordingly
proceeded to the appointed hut: we arrived there before day-break, and
having made a hearty breakfast, Warburton set out to seek Howe: he took
no arms with him, in order to still more effectually carry his point;
but Pugh and I were provided with muskets and pistols.

“The sun had been just an hour up, when we saw Warburton and Howe
upon the top of a hill, coming towards the hut. We expected they
would be with us in a quarter of an hour, and so we sat down upon the
trunk of a tree, inside the hut, calmly waiting their arrival. An hour
passed, but they did not come; so I crept to the door cautiously and
peeped out--there I saw them standing, within a hundred yards of us,
in earnest conversation: as I learnt afterwards, the delay arose from
Howe’s suspecting that all was not right. I drew back from the door
to my station; and in about ten minutes after this we plainly heard
footsteps, and the voice of Warburton;--another moment, and Howe slowly
entered the hut--his gun presented and cocked. The instant he spied us,
he cried out, ‘_Is that your game?_’--and immediately fired; but Pugh’s
activity prevented the shot from taking effect, for he knocked the gun
aside. Howe ran off like a wolf. I fired, but missed. Pugh then halted,
and took aim at him, but also missed. I immediately flung away the gun,
and ran after Howe. Pugh also pursued--Warburton was a considerable
distance away. I ran very fast--so did Howe; and if he had not fallen
down an unexpected bank, I should not have been fleet enough for
him:--this fall, however, brought me up with him;--he was on his legs,
and preparing to climb a broken bank, which would have given him a free
run into a wood, when I presented my pistol at him, and desired him
to stand: he drew forth another, but did not level it at me. We were
about fifteen yards from each other--the bank he fell from between us.
He stared at me with astonishment; and, to tell you the truth, I was a
little astonished at him; for he was covered with patches of kangaroo
skins, and wore a long black beard--a haversack and powder-horn slung
across his shoulders. I wore my beard also--as I do now; and a curious
pair we looked like. After a moment’s pause, he cried out, ‘Black beard
against grey beard, for a million!’--and fired:--I slapped at him;
and, I believe, hit him; for he staggered; but rallied again, and was
clearing the bank between him and me, when Pugh ran up, and with the
butt end of his firelock knocked him down again, jumped after him, and
battered his brains out, just as he was opening a clasp knife to defend

“This was the fate of the last and most ferocious of the
Bush-rangers--a villain, who never was known to have done an act of
humanity, and who had coolly murdered numbers of his fellow-creatures.”

[“Well; did you get the reward, for ridding the world of the rascal?”
demanded Sergeant Dobson.]

“Yes; the reward was divided amongst Pugh, Warburton, and myself; but
we got subscriptions from the settlers, to twice the amount; and I was
sent home free, with the thanks of the Governor and the public.”

[“By my soul, you desarved all you got,” said Corporal O’Callaghan.
“Did you carry the fellow’s body with you?”]

“No; we buried the body, but took off the head and brought it to Hobart
Town, where it was exhibited to the crowd--and no wondering wild beast
ever excited more curiosity. We found in his haversack a sort of book
made of kangaroo skin, and his dreams written in it with kangaroo
blood. There was also a memorandum of what seeds and plants he wanted,
in case he established a secure residence for himself in the wild

       *       *       *       *       *

“By George! he was the most extraordinary fellow, except _Three
Fingered Jack_, that ever I heard of,” said Dobson.

“Oh, he was the broth of a boy!” observed the Corporal.--“And have you
lived long in Ireland?”

“Ever since my return from Van Diemen’s Land--that may be about fifteen
years. I told you that I was born in this country, but left it very
young: however, when I returned I found my only relations were a niece
and her daughter; so I took them to keep my cabin for me--where we
live, thank God, very comfortably.”

“What’s your grand-niece’s name?” demanded Jack Andrews.--

At this moment the officer of the rounds challenged, and the guard
turned out. The night was now clear--the weather calm--so Old Worral
took his parting drop from the Corporal, and trudged on towards his

As the regiment to which the guard belonged was to march at daylight,
having the day before received orders to proceed to Plymouth, and there
embark for Portugal, little was talked about in the guard-house after
the old man went away, but the parting with acquaintances, and the
forthcoming campaign in that country where they had so long toiled.

At half-past five they marched from Ballycraggen guard-house to the
main street in the little town, where the regiment was already forming,
and the baggage packed on fifteen or twenty cars--all pressed the day
before for this service. The route had arrived very unexpectedly, owing
to the invasion of Portugal by the rebel chief, the Marquis de Chaves,
and the consequent energy and decision of Mr. Canning in sending out
assistance to that country; on this account no regiment relieved that
stationed at Ballycraggen, and the guard-house was now deserted; the
old oak chair in which the sergeant of the guard usually sat, and the
wooden forms, were removed--nothing remained to inform the accidental
visitor of the cottage, that it once was a military occupation, but
the names of sundry soldiers, and the description of their _rank_,
delineated on the wall by a burnt stick.

Early as the hour was, the townspeople were all up, and waiting to
see the regiment march off. The glass--the parting glass--of strong
whisky was doing its duty briskly; the officers were bustling about;
the soldiers wives sorrowful enough, mounted on the baggage, with
their children--many of them were to be left behind the regiment on
embarkation, and none of them knew which. Little groups were here
and there detached from the ground on which the regiment was to
form, generally composed of soldiers and a few of the people with
whom they had been on habits of intimacy. Several couples of lovers
stood interestingly conversing, or in melancholy silence: among these
was a young soldier and a remarkably pretty girl--she was weeping,
while he held her hand and endeavoured to sooth her almost breaking
heart. This was Jack Andrews and this his sweetheart to whom he was
betrothed:--they were to have been married in a few weeks, when the
route came which was now about to separate them for a considerable
time--if not for ever. Her mother now came up to her, and although
evidently affected at her daughter’s situation, put on an appearance
of gaiety which only made things worse. Andrews loved the girl, and
it is but just to say she was worthy of his most tender regard: all
the town, as well as the regiment, knew of their attachment. The girl
had two hundred pounds fortune. Jack Andrews was to have purchased
his discharge, and to have settled in Ireland, along with Ellen Hart
(that was her name). All her friends highly approved of the match; for
Jack was as amiable and as good-looking a man as any in the regiment
to which he belonged. Corporal Callaghan, having dispatched his own
affairs with those numerous acquaintances which a fellow of his
peculiarly pleasant and sociable qualities must naturally possess, when
domiciled for a very considerable time in an Irish country town, now
came up to Andrews, and tapping him on the shoulder, exclaimed, “Blood
an’ ouns! Jack, my boy, I’m sorry Ellen Hart is not coming along with
us. Can’t you ax her mother, there, to let her go?--Ellen, give us your
hand. By the powers! if I had such another as you, I’d have you up at
the top o’ the baggage, there, with Mrs. Mullowny, in a jiffy. The
divil a toe you should stay behind me.”

Andrews smiled and sighed; Ellen’s tears only fell faster, and her
mother was about to reply, when her attention was arrested by another
object. “Here,” said she, “is my uncle--poor old man! he hasn’t seen
you this whole year, Ellen; so don’t be so sorrowful-looking.”

The uncle advanced--it was Old Worral; and the astonishment which
Andrews felt at finding him the grand-uncle of his Ellen may be
imagined. Things were briefly explained; and the veteran, seizing the
hand of Andrews as well as that of Ellen, exclaimed, “I see you are
a couple that ought not to be separated; but I know what the service
is--no woman can be certain of permission to embark with her husband;
therefore you must be patient, and hope to be united soon. Young man,
you are going to a foreign country, to meet the dangers of the field,
and I am on the verge of the grave--we may or may not meet again: but
here, before we do part, let me, in the presence of her mother, give
you my consent to marry my dear Ellen. I see you are a good young man,
and she is worthy of you--she loves you, and, from what I hear, I have
no doubt you love her;--there; I give her to you, and two hundred
pounds,--the savings of a long life. If you return safe from Portugal,
and marry my dear little Ellen--if you both come happily together, and
that it please God to put me under ground before that time--all I ask
is, that you drink poor Old Worrel’s health, and be kind to Ellen Hart.”

“That I will,” said Andrews, as he took up his musket, which he had
placed against a tree--for the regiment was ordered to fall in, the
drums were beating, and the parting word passing from many. After
an instant’s pause, he took the hand of the old man, and with great
emotion said, “O! take care of her,” then pressed once more his Ellen
to his breast: neither he nor she spoke a word--they could not; but
their hearts beat closely together, and right well understood each
other. The old man and the mother of the girl stood gazing sorrowfully;
and even O’Callaghan’s eyes were about to betray him into weakness.
The lovers separated; and with the blessing of the old soldier and
his niece, Jack Andrews and the Corporal hastened to fall into the
ranks. All was now ready--the commanding officer gave the word “_Quick,
March!_”--the band struck up “_The girl I left behind me_,”--and with
three huzzas from the crowd, the gallant soldiers marched off from
Ballycraggen, to take, once more, the field against the enemies of
their country.




⁂ _The interesting music for which the songs of this work were written,
is preparing for publication, with the words attached thereto; and will
shortly be ready for delivery at the music shops._


[1] The technical term for a particular movement in the art of Irish
village dancing.

[2] It is very common for the wounded to cheer their more fortunate
comrades as they pass on to the attack. The most remarkable occurrence
of this description took place at the battle of Vimiera, five days
after the battle above described. A man of the name of Stuart, the
piper belonging to the 71st regiment, was wounded in the thigh very
severely, at an early period of the action; and having refused to be
removed, he sat upon a bank, playing martial airs during the remainder
of the battle. He was heard to address his comrades thus:--“_Weel, my
bra’ lads, I can gang na’ longer wi’ ye a fightin’, but Deel burn my
saul if ye shall want music_.” For this the Highland Society justly
voted him a handsome set of pipes with a flattering inscription
engraved upon them.

[3] Men under sentence of court-martial were allowed the option of
either suffering the sentence, or volunteering to serve on the coast of

[4] Such articles as sugar, wine, sago, &c., are termed medical

[5] Conquer or die.

[6] This valuable officer was soon after killed in the trenches before
St. Sebastian.

[7] While this General was observing the attack of the storming party,
a cannon-ball struck the bottom of the hill, and rolled at a moderate
pace, close to his feet.

[8] The author of “the Subaltern,” says that the day the town was
taken, was dark and tempestuous: the morning, perhaps, might have
begun so; but from nine o’clock, it was to my recollection a sunny
and delightful day. However, I agree with him when he says that the
weather was bad, the day Soult attempted to push across the Bidassoa,
to relieve San Sebastian--I know that the Portuguese who were ordered
from the siege, to assist in opposing him, were wetted through just as
they started; but I think this was not on the day of storming the town.

[9] The author of the “Subaltern” has gone too far in heightening the
horrors of the siege, by stating that it was burnt; his words are
“long before midnight it was one sheet of flame, and by noon on the
_following_ day, little remained of it except its smoking ashes.” I
walked about the town many times on the _following day_, but saw no
marks of fire; perhaps the town was _subsequently_ burnt.

[10] The prepared skin of a pig, in which the Spaniards transport the
wine from one place to another.

[11] The author of this little sketch has had the account of the
circumstances related in it from the Benedict Colonel himself.

[12] For the history of this melancholy occurrence, see Colman’s _Broad

[13] Since writing the above, diligent inquiry has been made into the
family connexions of both, but the relationship could not be traced.

[14] In this terrific storm between thirty and forty transports were
lost, on board one of which were General Baron Bock and his gallant son.

[15] Officers of the army, in the transactions which may require the
interference of an agent, cannot be too much on their guard against
a set of pretenders who prowl about the Horse Guards for “clients,”
in order to lay them under heavy contributions. They are persons
of neither substance nor character: their usual practice is to
scrape acquaintance with military officers, and artfully learn their
intentions regarding exchanging, promotion, &c., and positively promise
to obtain their wishes. Thus they manage to draw money from the dupe,
which he finds very hard to get back again. They generally pretend to
be officers on half-pay; and some, I am sorry to say, are of that body.

The best house decidedly for the half-pay or pensions to do business
with, is Window’s, of Craig’s Court. It is a house of long standing--of
wealth and respectability; and officers will there be certain of
the most liberal treatment. Not only has he obliged the half-pay by
advancing their quarterly stipend, but, in many instances, a much
larger sum, without any indemnity, except the officer’s honour. In this
respect, Mr. Window far exceeds Cox and Greenwood: the latter are very
liberal: but their liberality is confined to the full-pay.

[16] The human body is divided into the head, the trunk, the superior
and inferior extremities.--_Syst. of Anat._

[17] O’Halloran, in his introduction to the history of Ireland, informs
us that the great military hospital attached to the antient palace of
Tara, was called “_the house of the Sorrowful Soldier_.”

[18] A name of reverence given to fairies.

[19] It was by some supposed that Collyer, the Bush-ranger, was the
same who for several years terrified the people near Dublin by his
robberies; but that is not the fact. Collyer, the Dublin desperado, was
not transported.

[20] A term given by the Bush-rangers to a dreary flat, called
“_Murderer’s Plains_.” The following statement, sworn before A. W. H.
Humphrey, Esq., Justice of Peace in New Norfolk, Van Diemen’s Land,
mentions this; and as the statement shows very strongly the daring
spirit of the Bush-rangers, I copy it.--It is from a daily journal,
called “_The Bengal Hurkaru_.”

“John Yorke being duly sworn, states--about five o’clock in the evening
of November 27, (1816) I fell in with a party of Bush-rangers, about
fourteen men and two women; Michael Howe and Geary were the only two
of the gang I knew personally. I met them on Scantling’s Plains--I was
on horseback; they desired me to stop, which I accordingly did on the
high road--it was Geary that stopped me; he said he wanted to see every
man sworn to abide by the contents of a letter. I observed a thick man
writing, as I suppose, to the Lieutenant-governor. Geary was the man
who administered the oath on a prayer-book, calling each man for that
purpose regularly--they did not inform me the contents of the letter.
Michael Howe and Geary directed me to state when I came home, the whole
I had seen, and to inform Mr. Humphrey, the magistrate, and Mr. Wade,
the chief constable, to take care of themselves, as they were resolved
to take their lives, and to prevent them from keeping stock or grain,
unless there was something done for them--that Mr. Humphrey might rear
what grain he liked, but they would thrash more in one night, than he
could reap in a year. They said they could set the whole country on
fire with one stick. I was detained about three-quarters of an hour,
during which time they charged me to be strict in making known what
they said to me, and what I had seen. On my return from Port Dalrymple,
I called at a hut occupied by Joseph Wright, at Scantling’s Plains;
William Williams, and a youth, were there, who told me the Bush-rangers
had been there a few days before, and forced them to a place called
_Murderer’s Plains_ (which the Bush-rangers called the _Tallow
Chandler’s Shop_), where they made them remain three days, for the
purpose of rendering down a large quantity of beef fat, which Williams
understood was taken from cattle belonging to Stynes and Troy.”[21]

[21] These people lost 150 head of cattle.

[Transcriber’s Note:

Obvious printer errors corrected silently.

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.]

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