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Title: The Military Sketch-Book. Vol. I (of 2) - Reminiscences of seventeen years in the service abroad and at home
Author: Maginn, William
Language: English
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                             THE

                    MILITARY SKETCH-BOOK.

                           VOL. I.



                        IN THE PRESS.


                         THE LANCERS.

                      IN THREE VOLUMES


                           LONDON:
           PRINTED BY S. AND R. BENTLEY, DORSET STREET.



                             THE

                    MILITARY SKETCH-BOOK.

                        REMINISCENCES OF
                  SEVENTEEN YEARS IN THE SERVICE
                       ABROAD AND AT HOME.

                    BY AN OFFICER OF THE LINE.

                        “The wight can tell
              A melancholy and a merry tale
              Of field, and fight, and chief, and lady gay.”

                        IN TWO VOLUMES.

                            VOL. I.

                            LONDON:
              HENRY COLBURN, NEW BURLINGTON STREET.
                             1827.



In presenting these Sketches to the public, the Author begs leave
to say, that although in their production he sometimes indulged his
imagination, fancy has only been employed to decorate truth. Facts form
the ground-work of his book; and although the ornaments may have been
carelessly or tastelessly placed, real incidents have neither been
obscured nor distorted.

To the gentleman who supplied the Author with the necessary hints for
the sketch entitled “_Mess Table Chat_, (_No._ IV.)” and also to the
gallant officer whose memory and kindness furnished him with the facts
relative to the Bush-rangers of Van Diemen's Land, the Author returns
his most sincere thanks.



                           CONTENTS

                              OF

                       THE FIRST VOLUME.


                                                   Page

      FIRST WEEK IN THE SERVICE                      1

      THE SOLDIER'S ORPHAN                          43

      NIGHTS IN THE GUARD-HOUSE, NO. I.:—STORY OF
          MARIA DE CARMO                            51

      OLD CHARLEY                                   98

      MESS-TABLE CHAT, NO. I.                      108

      A DAUGHTER OF OSSIAN                         125

      THE MULETEER                                 136

      RATIONS, OR ELSE                             153

      INFERNAL DUTY                                156

      NIGHTS IN THE GUARD-HOUSE, NO. II.           160

      THE FATE OF YOUNG GORE                       173

      RECOLLECTIONS OF THE WALCHEREN EXPEDITION    182

      JOURNAL OF A CAMPAIGN AT THE HORSE-GUARDS    231

      MESS-TABLE CHAT, NO. II.                     235

      GERAGHTY'S KICK                              257

      DUELLING IN THE SERVICE                      266

      NIGHTS IN THE GUARD-HOUSE, NO. III.          284

      THE BISCUIT                                  300

      THE BATTLE OF THE GRINDERS                   309

      A ROUGH PASSAGE TO PORTUGAL                  319



                             THE

                    MILITARY SKETCH-BOOK.



                 FIRST WEEK IN THE SERVICE.


         “For now sits expectation in the air,
          And _shews_ a sword from hilt unto the point.”

                                                    HENRY V.


Never shall I forget the delightful sensations my mind experienced
on reading, in the long-expected _Gazette_, the announcement of my
first military appointment. I was in London at the time, and had been
residing three weeks at _Old Slaughter's_ Coffee House, in St. Martin's
Lane, deferring from Tuesday 'till Saturday, and from Saturday 'till
Tuesday, the fulfilment of my mother's strict injunctions “_to take
lodgings and live economically_,” when one evening the waiter handed
to me, damp from the press, the official sheet which was to terminate
all my anxiety. There I was in print,—in _absolute print_; and that,
too, in the GAZETTE—by the King's Royal Authority!

There are many youths, who, in such a situation, would, from the
ecstatic impulse of their feelings, have upset the table; or have flung
the decanter at the waiter's head; or, perhaps, have snatched the wig
off the head of any respectable gentleman who might have happened
to be sitting within reach; but I acted differently. Had it been an
ordinary impulse of gladness, I should, no doubt, have poured forth
my ebullition of pleasant feeling upon tables, decanters, waiters,
and wigs of elderly gentlemen; but this was no everyday sensation,—no
flash in the pan: it was a splendid coruscation, the intensity of
which dazzled all my senses, and marvellously heightened my ideas of
self-importance. The auditory organs of the Waterloo hero thrilled not
more at the first announcement of his Grace's Dukedom, than mine,
as my lips pronounced the consummation of my almost wearied hopes—an
Ensigncy. I was more than a Duke, more than a King, more than an
Emperor: I was a SUBALTERN. In idea, I was already a Captain,
a Colonel, a General! I gave the reins to my enthusiastic imagination,
and would not, I believe, have exchanged my commission for a coronet.

I instantly brought my body to an acute angle with my inferior
extremities, by placing the latter longitudinally on the seat of the
box in which I had placed myself, and, elevating my shirt-collar to a
parallel line with my nose, ordered the waiter to bring me a bottle of
claret. For the half hour I was engaged in drinking it, I continued to
gaze at the Gazette, to the no small mortification of several fidgetty
gentlemen who were waiting for a sight of it. Yet all I read, and
all I could read, was “W****, A****, B***. _Gent. to be Ensign, vice
Thompson, killed in action!_”

I was just turned of nineteen, a well grown and somewhat precocious
lad, generally considered by my father and his friends as a shrewd and
well-disposed fellow, who was likely one day or other to cut a figure
in the army; but, by my mother and her female côterie, (all above the
middle age,) I was set down, _nem. con._, as an arch wild dog, on
whom a little military discipline would be by no means thrown away;
for I was a second son, and my mother, although affectionate enough,
did not evince towards me that strength—or, more properly speaking,
that _weakness_—of maternal fondness which she lavished on my elder
brother, (her favourite,) who was specially designed for the pulpit
by her and her devout advisers. My own opinion of my disposition was
about half-way between that of my father and mother. I never, to my
knowledge, did much harm, except occasionally hoaxing our parson and
apothecary; or operating a few nocturnal exchanges of signs[1] between
barbers, pawnbrokers, inn-keepers, and undertakers; or perhaps an
occasional shot at a villager's cat. But the best cannot please every
body; and even in the case of their own fathers and mothers, young
fellows experience different opinions upon their merits. However, this
I knew—that I pleased myself: I was backed by an indulgent father,
health, spirits, and plenty of money; so, in military phrase, I may say
that I was ready primed for mischief, and did not care a doit for the
devil.

When I had finished my bottle, and tolerably satisfied myself with
repeating over and over the terms of my appointment, in a semi-audible
tone, I sallied forth. It was a fine evening in the beginning of July
1809, and town was crammed with military men in _mufti_. They had, as
it seemed to me, even in plain clothes, an air peculiarly striking; and
it excited at once my delight and envy to see them stared at by all;
but particularly by the ladies, whose glances, to me, from my earliest
age, were always bewitching in the extreme. I burned to mingle in the
glory, and to share with my _now_ brother-officers, the smiles of the
fair; but my sun-burned drab coat, with broad buttons, together with my
slouched hat, white Windsor-cord breeches and top-boots, presented an
odious barrier to my hopes and desires. O for a military tailor!—

      “That great enchanter, at whose rod's command,
         Beauty springs forth, and nature's self turns paler;
       Seeing how art can make her work more grand,
         When she don't pin men's limbs in like a jailor.”

Of course, I soon found one. My first few paces in the Strand brought
me in front of a shop-window, within which were profusely displayed
braided coats, epaulettes, sword-knots, and brass heel-spurs. I could
no more have passed it, without entering, than could the camel of the
desert a clear and gushing spring without dipping his nostrils into it.
Although particularly directed, both by my father and mother, to order
my regimentals from our family tailor, I immediately proceeded to the
man of measures, who, at first, eyed me in a careless, tooth-picking
sort of way; but when he learned the nature and purport of my visit, he
became the most polite and complaisant of tailors.

“I'm an Ensign in the army,” said I, “and I want a suit of uniform for
the ——th regiment of the line.”

“Thank you, _Captain_,” replied he, bowing and fidgetting, “I am
much obliged to you, _Captain_, for the order; and I can assure you,
_Captain_, that I can furnish you with every article of regimentals,
of a superior quality, and at the shortest notice—_Captain_.”

Although I was somewhat disgusted at the first appearance of
inattention discovered by the tailor to a man of my rank, (for
I thought any body could see I was an officer in the army, even
through my sun-burnt coat,) yet his subsequent politeness, and even
obsequiousness, joined to my anxiety to put on regimentals for the
first time—but, above all, his dubbing me “_Captain_,” at once
determined me to order my appointments from him. I soon concluded
the business; my regimentals, complete, were to be ready and on my
table at 12 o'clock the following day. Scarlet coat, with swallow
tail, yellow facings, white pantaloons, silver lace epaulette, sword,
sword-knot, sword-belt, and all, except hat, feather, and boots. But
for present purposes, what was to be done? I felt that I ought to have
something for _that_ evening to distinguish my rank. A fine braided
military frock was hung up at the tailor's door, on which I seized, and
forthwith jumped into it.

“Let me assist you, _Captain_,” said the tailor. “There—what a fit! It
was made for Colonel Mortimer, of the Dragoons. Let me button it up to
the neck, _Captain_. There—may I never cut a coat, but it is a superb
article, Captain; and as cheap at twelve pounds, as my shears for a
penny.”

There was no looking-glass in the shop, and therefore I could not
positively be certain as to the truth of what Snip asserted with regard
to the “fit.” I must confess, however, that I suspected a wrinkle or
two across the shoulders, and the waist was not quite so tight as I
could have wished: but then this coat was the only one in the shop;
and, as it was too late to look for another, I resolved to keep it on;
for, to have given up that night's exhibition of my military importance
in the throng at the West-End of the town, would have been an act of
self-denial, more becoming a member of the Abbey of _La Trappe_, than
an ensign of one of His Majesty's regiments of the line. Accordingly, I
paid the twelve pounds, which produced a double volley of complimentary
“_Captains_” from the tailor, and having been again assured that my
regimentals should be punctually sent home next day, I departed.

Whether it arose from the hurry in which I was to launch my first
military coat among the loungers that swelled the passages about
Leicester Square, Piccadilly, Bond Street, and St. James's, or whether
it was from a lack of knowledge of the etiquette of military costume,
I do not now recollect; but certain it is, that I quite overlooked the
necessity of providing for the nether portion of my person articles of
dress corresponding with those which decorated my upper half. When I
think of the figure I must have cut, I blush, even to this hour. Yet
I know not why I should blush. I am now about seventeen years older,
and my vision shows me everything with a far different aspect from
what it wore at nineteen. Yet happiness has not increased with years;
and objects, although now more perfect to my sight, have lost their
former delightful colouring. Perhaps it may be better that eyes thus
change their power, and that boys are neither philosophers nor men
of the world; if they were, where would be the enviable sweetness of
boyhood—that freshness of life, which makes youth laugh at futurity,
and which the wisest sage cannot retrospectively contemplate without a
sigh?

But to my subject. I proceeded along the Strand, Cockspur Street,
Haymarket, and Piccadilly, to the Green Park promenade, with an air
of importance perfectly consistent with the occasion: and that my
new attire produced a change in the countenances of the crowd was
manifest. To my great delight all eyes were on me—every body turned
to look after me as I passed; but when I got into the Green Park, and
was surrounded by its elegant evening loungers, the remarks made upon
me became very insulting: these, however, I set down to the account
of envy in the men, and a spirit of flirtation in the ladies. Six or
eight fellows of _ton_ followed me in line along the parade, admiring,
and _envying_ (as I then thought), the beauty of my braided frock;
but, I now believe, with no other view but that of quizzing the oddity
of my appearance.—And such an appearance—such incongruity of dress
never presented itself in the Green Park either before or since that
memorable evening. Had I been downright _shabby-genteel_ (as the phrase
is) I might have escaped; but every article upon me was new, “spick and
span.”—A highly expensive military coat, of the most abominable fit,
down to my ankles, and as wide as a sentry-box, white cord breeches,
yellow top-boots, cross-barred Marseilles waistcoat, white cravat,
and a most incorrigibly new _woolly_ hat! But the braiding on the
coat I thought covered, like charity, a multitude of offences; and I,
myself, could see no impropriety whatever in my “turn out.” The line
of coxcombs continued to follow, but never ventured to address me
directly: they kept up a sort of hedge-fire, which, I confess, a good
deal galled me; but, as I said before, if I had not then thought their
remarks sprung from pure envy, one or two of them should have gone
headlong into the pond by which we walked.

“He's a griffin,” said one.

“Perhaps he's a golok.”

“Not at all,” said another; “the gentleman's a _heron_ just _bagged_.”

“He belongs to the first regiment of _light buldhoons_,” muttered a
third.

“My life on't, Tom, you're wrong,” rejoined one of the critics; “I'll
bet any of you a dozen of Champaigne that he is a _thorough-bred
horse-marine_; you may see that by his jockey boots.”

Thus they went on at intervals during several turns on the walk. All
this time my angry feelings were forcibly getting the better of my
judgment, and I began to experience a strong desire to come to the
point with these gentlemen, and to show them that I was neither a
griffin, nor a golok, a heron, nor a horse-marine, but an Ensign in the
regular service of his Majesty.

I immediately determined on addressing them; and, in a very few
moments, had an opportunity of doing so; for the whole line,
arm-in-arm, on our next meeting, attempted to surround me; at which
moment I fixed upon the individual who had been most forward in his
observations upon me, and a scene of complete confusion followed. I
demanded an exchange of cards, but he declined with a sneer, and a
horse laugh rung from his companions. I found myself beset on all sides
with such a clamour, that I could not have made a word heard, even if I
had attempted to do so through a speaking-trumpet.

It was evident that I had no chance of obtaining satisfaction. My
assertion that I was an officer in the army was only treated with
contempt; and I had no means of finding out the address of any one of
my opponents.

I was in the midst of this disagreeable rencontre, when an elderly
gentleman, whose weather-beaten front and military air convinced me
that he belonged to “the cloth,” took me by the arm, and, leading me
aside, asked whether I was really an officer in the service? On my
answering in the affirmative, he replied, “I know the young men you
disputed with; so make yourself easy, Sir. Walk this way, and let me
have your address. I have been an eye-witness of the affair, and you
shall have satisfaction to-morrow, I promise you.”

I instantly gave the gentleman my card, thanking him warmly at the
same time for the kindness with which he seemed to treat me. He then
requested me to retire, and assured me that he would certainly be with
me next morning.

I proceeded to my hotel, on the whole not displeased, considering that
there was some importance attached to the adventure, and that I had
something like a duel already on my hands, although but one day in the
service. The idea of a newspaper paragraph setting forth an affair of
honour between Ensign B—— of the Line, and Mr. So-and-So, of So-and-so,
with a challenge, dated from SLAUGHTER'S _Coffee House_,—an address
peculiarly military at that time,—was by no means a displeasing source
of reflection; and although I occasionally read myself a different
version of the said paragraph, in which the words “_mortally wounded_”
took up an unpleasant position, I slept soundly and dreamt delightfully.

Next morning I was up early, determined to have all things arranged
_comme il faut_ before the arrival of my volunteer friend, who was
to manage matters for me. The first thing I did was to send for an
engraver, in order to have my card-plate prepared, with my _rank_
properly displayed thereon. This I managed to have executed in one
hour, on condition of paying five shillings _extra_ for dispatch;
although the _brazen_ artizan told me at first his orders were so
“_numerous_” that he _feared_ he could not get the plate done for three
days: but a _crown_ has often wonderful effect in altering the minds of
people.

Forty cards, duly printed, were on my breakfast-table at half-past nine
o'clock, and I think I had almost as much pleasure in reading my rank
upon them, as I experienced the evening before in seeing it in the
Gazette.

My expected visitor soon entered the room where I was at breakfast, and
by his manner I perceived that he was just as warm and determined in
my behalf as he was the previous evening. Perfectly frank with me, he
inquired into the nature of my family connexions, my age, how long had
I been in the service, and other matters. Having satisfied himself upon
certain points, he requested me to accompany him to ——, in St. James's
Street, whither we immediately proceeded.

The waiter showed us into a private room, and my conductor asked if
Mr. **** was yet up. On being informed that he was, and at breakfast,
my friend expressed his wish to see him. The waiter withdrew, and
returned in a few minutes, with an answer that Mr. **** was sorry he
could not be seen for an hour. Upon this, my friend drew forth a card,
and desired that it should be given to him immediately; observing,
that he wished _particularly_ to see him. The waiter obeyed; and had
not been out of the room two minutes, when all the bells in the house
seemed to have been set in motion, and the servants began to run to and
fro about the lobbies, as if they had all been under the influence of
the laughing gas.

Thinks I to myself, the card has had a good effect: and I thought
rightly; for in a moment the door of our apartment opened, and the most
polite and powdered valet imaginable bowed himself into our presence,
to inform us that Mr. **** would wait upon us immediately. Scarcely had
he bowed himself out again, when Mr. **** himself, the very man I had
singled out the night before, entered.

His demeanour was now completely changed, and his air subdued; the fire
of his insolence had burnt out, and a placid ray of the purest sunshine
of good humour beamed from his gentlemanly countenance. The very
honey of politeness was on his tongue, as he uttered the introductory
words, “_General_, I hope I have not kept you waiting?” By the bye, my
importance was not a little swelled on hearing the rank of my friend;
yet my gratitude, I felt, swelled higher; for, in proportion to the
rank I found him to hold, I felt my sense of his kindness[2] increase.

The General, when all the parties were seated, carelessly threw his
right leg across his left knee, and thus addressed Mr. ****. “I have
called upon you, Sir, not officially, but as a private individual, in
which light I request to be received; and my object in calling, is to
demand a satisfactory adjustment of an affair which occurred yesterday
evening in the Green Park, in which you took a very prominent part.
This is the gentleman, whose feelings you and your companions trifled
with so freely on that occasion. Like yourself, he is an officer in the
service, and entitled to its privileges and the support of its members.
I was an eye-witness of the scene; and, during the many years I have
been in the army, I never saw a more wanton insult passed by one
officer upon another, than was inflicted upon this unoffending young
gentleman last night by you and your party. I am an old officer, Mr.
****, and would wish to prevent quarrelling as much as possible; but in
this case an ample apology must be made to this young officer, or he
must have another kind of satisfaction.”

At the conclusion of this address, my opponent put on the most
_engaging_ smile; and, offering his opened gold snuff-box to the
General, replied, as nearly as I can recollect, in the following
words:—“I assure you, General, we had been swallowing ‘_the enemy_’
last night pretty freely, and as freely did he ‘_steal away our
brains_,’ as our immortal Shakspeare says. We were perfectly
_ambrosial_, General—three bottles a man, exclusive of Champagne;
and, 'pon my honour, I have but a very faint recollection of what
occurred between your friend and us. However, I-a-rather suspect we
were rude; but quite unintentionally so, I assure you, General,—had not
the slightest idea of any thing in the world but good-humour. Sir,
(addressing himself to me,) I beg you will accept my apology. You must,
my dear Sir, give me your hand: you shall dine with us to-day,—you must
indeed,—six precisely. We take no excuse.”

There was such an air of frank good-nature in this apology, that both
the General and myself were highly pleased, and about to express
ourselves to that effect, when Mr. **** ran out of the room, calling
out “Sir John!”—“Captain Jackson!”—“Williams!”—“Smith!”—and God knows
how many names more; and in a moment returned with the identical posse
that had attacked me the evening before, each of whom were introduced
to us by Mr. ****, and apologized to me as he had done,—a circumstance
which appeared to please the General as much as it delighted me.

Thus ended all unpleasant feelings on the matter; and we sat together
for about an hour, during which time the General gave us his opinions
on the laws of honour, commenting on the impropriety of their violation
by officers in the army in particular. Indeed, by what fell from
his lips, on that morning, as well as by his conduct in my affair,
I am convinced that he was a highly prudent man, who was brave but
inoffensive. Had the business been taken up by a hot-headed fire-eating
subaltern or Captain, who possessed but a smattering of the laws of
honour, I am convinced that a duel must have been the consequence;
but instead of taking a “_message_,” or directing me to send one, the
General first sought an _explanation_, knowing that the offenders did
not believe, from the oddity of my appearance, that I was what I wished
to be considered; and that it was only necessary to make them sensible
of their error, to end the matter satisfactorily.

We separated: the General went to Bath, and I returned to my hotel in
St. Martin's Lane. I declined the invitation to dinner which I had
received from my apologizing friends; but we nevertheless continued
thenceforward on very good terms.

The first thing that greeted my eyes, when I re-entered my hotel, was
my suit of regimentals, which the tailor had just laid down at full
length upon the table. Never did I behold so beautiful—so ravishing a
sight! The coat like silk—_scarlet_ silk; the pantaloons blue as the
sky—ethereal blue; the epaulette and lace as bright as the sun—or
twenty suns! Price! what was the price to me? I paid the tailor,
directly, a part and portion of the price of the suit; he was only
waiting (as he said) to fit the articles on; but (as _I_ now think) to
receive the amount of his bill—as every prudent tailor ought in such
cases to do. However, I cared not about matters of pounds, shillings,
and pence: my ideas were upon the _intellectual_ enjoyments of my
ensigncy—the glory of my new rank; and tailors or tailors' bills were
of no consideration, except as mere mechanical instruments to raise me
to my then state of mental elevation. I now only wanted the cocked hat,
feather, sash, boots, gloves, sword, and sword-belt, which to procure
I knew must absorb at least an hour, or perhaps two, of my valuable
time. I therefore requested the tailor (having first paid his bill) to
send them to me, which he most willingly promised to do: and he kept
his word; for in ten minutes I was in possession of the articles, for
which also he was paid. Another ten minutes passed, and I was “armed
_cap-à-pie_,” elegantly fitted—a perfect prodigy of beauty—in my own
accommodating imagination!

It would be endless to describe the evolutions, the marches, and the
countermarches, which I performed before the looking-glass that day.
I nearly wore out my scabbard with drawing and sheathing my sword;
I absolutely tarnished my epaulette by dangling the bullion of it,
and the peak of my cocked hat was very much ruffled and crushed by
practising my intended salutes to the ladies. I dined—in all the
happiness of self-important solitude—in full uniform, and unshackled by
the presence of strangers to interrupt my admiration of it. When did I
enjoy such a day? Never. This was the climax of my hopes; I felt that I
was _bona fide_ an officer in the army.

After dinner I wrote short letters to my relations and friends, in
which every event of the foregoing twenty-four hours was set forth in
my very best style of description; and to each letter, signed with my
rank in full, was appended a postscript, requesting the answers to be
directed to “ENSIGN W*** A*** B*** _of His Majesty's ——th Regiment
of the Line, Old Slaughter's Coffee House, London_.” As most of the
newspapers of that day contained the military promotions of the night
before, I ordered at least sixteen; all of which I enclosed, and sent
among my friends at home, by post, that night, having first underlined
with red ink the words “_Ensign W*** A*** B***, vice Thompson, killed
in action_,” and put a cross in the margin opposite to the passage.

So little was I acquainted with the usages of London, as they regard
officers in the army, that I absolutely went to the theatre that night
dressed, as I had dined, in full uniform. I had been in the habit of
seeing military officers from time to time, who had been quartered in
my native town, dressed generally in their regimentals, not only in
the street, but at the theatre and at private parties; and I could not
suppose that in London, the capital city, and the head-quarters of the
army, there was any other custom whatever observed among officers: on
the contrary, I considered that, above all other cities, London was the
place in which a man was bound to appear in all his glory.

If I was stared at in the Green Park the night before, I was still
more so this night; but although I encountered the gaze and the sneers
of hundreds, yet nobody dared to insult me directly. The greatest
nuisance was, that the box in which I took my seat was crammed almost
to suffocation with the _fair_ sex—so much so, that the whole pit
stood up to observe us; and so tightly was I squeezed by these ladies,
that not having room to display my figure and dress in a sufficiently
graceful posture, I was obliged to sit upright, like a gentleman in a
vapour-bath. And indeed the simile bears in another way upon the fact;
for I felt all the sudorific effects of vapour-bathing, occasioned
partly by the perfume of the ladies, partly by the eternal gaze of
the spectators, and partly from the tightness of my stock, sash,
and sword-belt. I found very soon that my situation was by no means
enviable, and I accordingly removed from the box, to better myself by
a walk in the saloon; but here I found matters still worse. I was in a
moment surrounded by a myriad of damsels, and about as many dandies—the
latter of whom became by far the most annoying. I was literally hustled
to and fro without being able to keep my legs, while liberties of
every description were taken with my dress: one plucked me by the
skirts of my coat; another half-drew my sword, while a third (a tall
Irish _lady_) ran off with my cocked hat, to strut about in it, and
burlesque my style of walking, &c. All this was done with the best
possible humour on _their_ parts, but as to _myself_,—I must confess,
I was most particularly annoyed, though I found it of no use to appear
so: therefore I laughed, or seemed to laugh with my persecutors, like
Mirabel in the play. However, I found that a quiet retreat was the most
advisable manœuvre, and accordingly seized a favourable opportunity
of “bolting in double quick time” out of the theatre, amidst crowds
of dirty link boys, who drew the attention of the whole world upon me
with “_Coach, General_”—“_Noble Commander_”—“_Royal Highness_,” and
the rest, until I found myself absolutely wedged in by a throng of
greasy ragamuffins, and the wonder of a hundred passers by. “O curse
the regimentals! I wish I were in a sack,” thought I, as I ploughed
my way out of the crowd, which I had not distanced many yards, when
I was assailed by dozens of drunken stragglers with “_heads up,
sodger_,”—“_lobster, hoi!_” &c. and was at length absolutely jostled
into the gutter by three impudent cheesemongers, from Bread Street,
Cheapside. The honour of the profession was fired; “D——!” thought I,
“is this fit treatment for one of his Majesty's Ensigns?” so seizing
the nearest fellow by the collar, I pulled him, much against his
will, over to a watchman, who stood within about a dozen yards of us,
and gave him in charge to the man of corners, together with his two
comrades, who had followed him closely.

             “_Charge_, Chester, _charge_.”

Three mouths now opened against me, and insisted on “charging” _me_! I
thought of the dog of hell—the triple-headed monster—as they barked. My
blood was boiling; I _ordered_ the watchman to take them instantly to
the watch-house, on pain of being next morning reported; but what was
my indignation—my almost distraction, at finding the fellow altogether
deaf to my command, although I was in _regimentals_! Instead of taking
my assaulters to the judge of the night, he absolutely seized _me_ by
the collar, and as he forced me along, roared out something like the
following:—

“Oh! by Jasus, man, yir not in the barracks now. Who cares about your
ordthers? By my sowl! I'll tache you betther manners, though ya _have_
a red coat upon ya; yar not to be salting the dacent people in the open
sthreets. Is it becaise I've lost my eye in the sarvice, that you want
to get the blind side o' me?”

“You infernal Cyclops!” returned I, “you cannot see plainly with the
one that is left to you.”

Remonstrance was useless. I put, not only my powers of speech in
the fullest action, but also my powers of muscle: all in vain—four
pair of arms pulling at one coat, are too much for any _body_. I
was absolutely _trotted_ off to the watch-house. Here I expected to
obtain ample satisfaction for the injury I had sustained, and with
this feeling addressed the “Commanding officer”—a fellow with a huge
red-cabbage face, a pot of porter before him, a pipe in his hand, and a
rabbit-skin cap on his greasy head. I told my story in very few words;
but dwelt with “becoming warmth” upon the manner in which justice
was administered by the men of lanterns and rattles, and concluded
with a severe philippic against the watch department in general. I
demanded that the watchmen, as well as the three men who had caused the
confusion, should be locked up forthwith. Whether it was my natural
powers of speech, or my all powerful energy of voice and manner, which
procured for me this hearing, I cannot tell—but I have to regret the
privilege; for my address, so far from being relished by the constable,
inclined him, I think, to lend a more favourable ear to my adversaries;
and his bias inclined still more towards them, when they appealed to
him as “_the representative of magistracy_.” In short, they had it
all their own way, and old Dogberry, in accordance with the feelings
excited in him, by abuse on the one side, and flattery on the other,
declared against me.

“This here thing,” said he, “is a conspiracy against these three
respectable men, and that 'ere vatchman; but it 'ont do. You see, you
comes and you 'tacks these here people a going to their perspective
homes, as honest citizens should. What _are_ you, gemmen?” (_To the
cheesemongers._)

“We are gentlemen in the city,” replied the “spokesman” of the
triumvirate.

“What's your names?” inquired the constable.

“John Stilton,” was the reply.

“John Stilton! eh! what—of _Green, Stilton, Mite, and Co._?” exclaimed
the constable.

“Yes, the same, and these two gentlemen are my partners.”

The constabulary tobacco-pipe was now withdrawn from its office, and
an additional importance diffused itself over the features of the
presiding judge, as he recognized the firm of Messrs. Green, Stilton,
Mite, and Company.

“I know the house well,” said he; “and as spectable as any in the
parish of Botolph. The commerce of London is not to be insulted by
the milentary. So I tell ye vat, Master, (addressing me,) you must be
locked up. Who _are_ you? What's your name?”

“Oh!” exclaimed one of the cheesemongers, “he's a drum-major in the
Wolunteers.”

This was “the most unkindest cut of all;” it perfectly silenced me.
The only reply I could make, was to throw down my card indignantly,
which Dogberry took up, and after gazing gravely upon it, exclaimed,
“He's a Hinsign, I see: But if he was the _sarjeant-major_ himself,
he shall not escape public contribution. I'll take care he's made a
proper sample of; so now, gemmen, you are all at liberty to proceed to
your peaceful homes, and leave this red-herring to be managed by me.
I'll larn him, that he sha'n't come out of a night with his feathers,
and his flipper flappers, and his red coat, to kick up a bobbery with
the people. Ve dont vant sodgers in London—thank God! ve can do without
'em. Ve vant no milentary govament here, my lad; and if you come
amongst us, vy you must leave off your implements o' var, and behave
like a spectacle abitant. The sodgers, I say, ought to be pulled up,
for they are a d——d impudent set; tickerly the guards: they try to come
it over us venhever they have a tunity; but I'll let them know vhat's
vhat, and larn them how to bemean themselves. So here you stop, young
man, for this here night.”

At the conclusion of this constitutional harangue, the cheesemongers
departed, laughing at me in the most provoking manner. The
mortification I felt, was indescribable. I threatened, stormed, and
strutted, but all to no purpose; I only received fresh insults. At
last it was hinted to me by one of the watchmen, who was inclined to
indulge in a little repose, that if I would send for a respectable
housekeeper, I might be bailed; and though this kindness evidently
arose from a wish to get rid of me, on account of the noise I created,
I availed myself of the privilege, and immediately sent to the landlord
of my hotel, who soon appeared, and I was liberated.

This evening's adventure gave me ample food for rumination, and I
chewed my cud upon it half the night. I felt thoroughly ashamed of my
folly, in having displayed my gaudy suit of regimentals, when I plainly
perceived, that custom was so decidedly against it: but—_experientia
docet_. I next morning locked up my uniform, and determined never to
wear it, until I joined my regiment.

There has been a great deal said about the “_privileges_” of the City
of London, in reference to the appearance of soldiers in its streets;
and some, who rank high in the republic of letters, have spun out many
fine periods upon the subject; but I must confess myself sceptical
enough to think, that all this is “leather and prunella;” though, I
maintain, that I am neither inimical to civil nor religious liberty.
In despite of “liberal” cant, I must always opine, that the appearance
of regimental uniforms in London, (so long as they are _British_,) can
never either endanger the liberty of the subject, or disgrace the good
people of the metropolis. I allow, that no officer of good sense or
good taste would dress in regimentals, while sojourning in London, and
absent from his regiment; but I cannot see why the inhabitants assume
it as almost a _right_, to exclude the appearance of uniforms, if
individuals in the service choose to wear them. The household troops,
foot-guards, &c. on the King's duty, in London, appear in regimentals
with impunity; but if an officer who is doing duty with his regiment,
at Woolwich, or Deptford, or Hounslow, or any other place near London,
has occasion to visit the metropolis, he must either go in plain
clothes, or submit to ridicule, if he ventures to appear amongst the
cockneys in his professional dress. Habit is a powerful master, and
if this intolerance of military and naval uniforms becomes a general
prejudice, it cannot be fairly argued against; but when a metropolitan
magistrate declares, in his public seat, that such uniforms must not
appear in London,[3] there is something more than habit in it. Are the
people of London afraid of officers belonging to their own regiments?
This they cannot reasonably be, for such officers are subordinate
to the civil power. Are they ashamed of them? This belief cannot be
for a moment entertained; therefore, let there be no more talk of
“privileges:” and if either duty or taste direct an officer to wear his
uniform in the public places or streets of the metropolis, let him be
scrutinized only by the same rule, that would guide our opinions upon
the black gown of a lawyer or the shovel-hat of a clergyman.

Although reflections similar to these occupied me during the greater
part of the night which gave occasion to them, yet the view I took of
the matter at that time, was widely different from that which I now
take; for I then thought, that the man who was entitled to wear a
regimental uniform, should exhibit it on all occasions, even when _out
shooting_. No man ever went to sleep more mortified and chagrined than
I did, from my reflections on what had past. The thing had one good
effect, however; which was, that it started me off from London, and
thereby, perhaps, saved me from more sleepless nights. I went by coach
next day to Brighton; and in six hours was at the head-quarters of my
regiment.

I reported myself to the commanding officer, Colonel ——, who in the
most cordial and frank manner, invited me to dine with him at the
mess that day; sent for the Quartermaster, and settled me at once in
my barrack-room. He next assigned to me a servant from the ranks,
introduced me to all the officers of the regiment, and with one of
the Captains took my arm, and walked out to show me the _lions_ of
Brighton. All this attention from the commanding officer, was duly
appreciated by me. I felt already fascinated with my regiment, and
with good reason, for this commanding officer was very different in
his conduct towards the junior officers, from many I have since had
occasion to serve under. He was the father of his corps; of the most
strict, impartial, and inflexible character in all matters of duty; but
a friend and companion, without severity or unnecessary exactness when
duty was done; he was, in short, a perfect model of the officer and the
gentleman.

For two hours previous to dinner, that is to say, from four 'till
six o'clock, I employed myself in going through a set of practical
evolutions before my looking-glass, in full regimentals, and even when
warned by the striking up of

               “O the roast beef of old England,”

I had not quite concluded.

I proceeded to the mess-room, and was placed on the right hand of
the Colonel, who that day happened to be president. Except on the
announcement of my appointment in the Gazette, I never felt such
exultation, as when I found myself seated at the mess-table, surrounded
by about thirty officers: my appetite was completely gone; I took soup
and almost every other thing offered me, but _tasted_ scarcely any
thing except wine; indeed of this I partook pretty liberally, for every
member of the table requested “_the honour_,” &c. and in about one hour
I had swallowed, on a rough calculation, about thirty half glasses of
pale sherry—_ergo_, a full bottle.

Now were the pleasures of a regimental mess completely developed before
me, and my mind most exquisitely prepared for the enjoyment of them, in
which preparation my thirty half glasses of sherry exerted not a little
influence. The fine appearance of the officers, the splendour of the
full-dress uniforms in the blaze of the wax lights, the excellence of
the dinner, the attention of the servants, the merry and gentlemanly
conversation of the party, the diversified beauty of the music from our
band without, the whole crowned by the affability of our commanding
officer, rendered the scene to a young military enthusiast the most
delightful that can be imagined; and, indeed, to any military man, what
can be a more charming place than the mess-room of a united corps of
officers? It is the home, the _happiest_ home, perhaps, of its members;
and its enjoyments serve to compensate for the rougher endurances of
a military life. In a properly regulated mess, indeed, the very best
enjoyments of refined society are to be found.

The wine went round, I talked to every body, and every body talked to
me; with the old Captains, who “had seen service,” I talked of the
Indian and American wars; to the pipe-clay Adjutant,—of drills and
field days; to the Surgeon—of wounds and hospitals; to the Paymaster—of
cash and accounts; to the Quartermaster—of beef and clothing: with
all I was at home, and from all I bore a joke or two on my _newcome_
situation with genuine patience, nay, with some degree of pleasure.
On the whole, I was pretty well _au fait_, till the time when the
non-commissioned officers came in to hand round the order-book for
inspection. At first, when they entered in line, and faced about with
the salute, I thought they were _singers_ specially brought in for the
amusement of the mess, and was listening for a glee or a song from
them, when one approached my chair, and placed before me, in his right
hand, the order-book, which I conceived to be the song or music-book to
serve as a reference while the singers performed their duty, and took
it out of the sergeant's hand, coolly placing it before me. A smile and
a stare from every face were directed at me, and in a few moments a
general titter went round, which threw me into no little confusion. The
sergeant now in a low tone said to me, “_The orders, Sir_.”

“Oh!” replied I, “it is all the same to me, what you sing; the
_Colonel_ here will give you the orders.”

The stiffly screwed countenance of the sergeant, in spite of his
efforts, relaxed into a smile, and a loud burst of laughter rung round
the table, in which I very good-humouredly joined, when I learned my
mistake from the president.

The mess broke up about half-past eleven o'clock, with a bumper to
the new member—three times three—and the Colonel withdrew, as did
the Captains and most of the Lieutenants, leaving me in company with
three jolly Subs, like myself, very little inclined for “balmy sleep.”
At their proposal, we sallied forth, and after a serenade or two of
the most transcendent nature beneath some windows, better known to
my companions than to me, we proceeded to “finish” the evening. The
particulars of our proceedings I almost forget, and therefore must let
them rest in the tomb of all the devilries.

The next day I may consider to have been my first appearance in
public as a PROPERLY _authenticated_ officer in the army. I stood
upon the parade fully equipped, and with my regiment. During all the
time, I might as well have been in the pillory—nothing relieved me
but pulling on and off my gloves, fixing my cravat, and playing with
my sword-knot. I formed _one_ of those whom the admiring crowd gazed
at. I was saluted every where by passing soldiers, and I gratified my
vanity in this point, by repeatedly walking past the sentries on duty
at the Palace, to hear them slap the butt-ends of their muskets, as
they “carried arms” to compliment me. I was gazed at on the Steyne
by the most captivating eyes—I was smiled at in the Library by the
most fascinating faces—lovely lights gleamed on me from balconies,
barouches, and donkeys' backs—pelisses flounced, and feathers waved for
me—I was somebody, I was _everybody_—there was nobody in the world but
_me—myself!_ at least I saw no one else worth a moment's consideration,
except as far as their admiration of me was concerned. I never ate so
many ices and jellies in my life; not for the love my appetite bore to
such confections, but the lounge—the graceful halo which the discussion
of an ice throws round the military figure in a pastry-cook's shop is
every thing: It was delightful! and as to paying, I paid for all my
friends; who, to say the truth of them, were obliging enough to assist
in the ceremony as often as I pleased. Of course, many _agreeable_
ladies were present at these happy displays, who, with a _lee-tle_
persuasion (bless their modesty!) did their parts _remarkably_ well.
The intervals of lounging thus about the town, the cliffs, &c. were
filled up by billiards—at which game I delighted to play, merely
because I could _not_ play, but fancied myself, like smatterers in
all arts and sciences, a “pretty considerable” sort of performer. I,
however, got a few good lessons, which, although I did not _profit_
by, yet they served the purpose of enabling me to pass an idle hour,
and to set off my pecuniary advantages in a _proper_ manner. I lost
some pounds at this “_amusement_” as it is called; but I had received
a good stock of cash from my father on my appointment, for I believe
the “old boy” was as much delighted with my ensigncy as I was myself,
and would spare nothing to forward his son's interests in life, and
enable him to support the dignity of his situation. Heaven help the
worthy man! _interest_ and _dignity_ indeed! It would have been much
better for me, and for himself, that he had confined his liberality to
furnishing me with necessaries only, and obliged me to live on my pay.

Before I had been three days at Brighton, my purse was in a rapid
consumption, and the air of that fashionable watering-place was in
no way calculated to recover it from the effects of the shock it
had received in London. I beheld it dwindling to a shadow; and what
was worse, there was no soothing restorative in the hands of its
physicians, Doctors Greenwood and Cox, of Craig's Court, London. In
consequence of this decay of my purse, I passed Sunday in rather a
sombre mood, and, with the exception of marching to church with my
regiment, I had nothing to lighten the forenoon. In this disposition I
sat down to write to all my friends, and in the descriptions, wherein
I detailed to them my proceedings, lived my time in the service
over again. I described my setting out from London “_to join_”—my
arrival at the _barracks_—_reporting_ myself to the _commanding
officer_—my servant—my preparations for the mess—mess drums and
fifes—the dinner—thirty _honours of wine_—the band (not a word about
the “singers” and their books)—our serenade—my first parade—my
attendance of officers' drills—mode of saluting with the sword at
the “_present_”—account of orders for _marching_ to embark for Spain
(this we only _expected_ at the regiment)—a sentimental adieu, and
injunctions in case I should _fall_—heroism and glory—England and his
Majesty! In short, I wrote from one till six that day, and not less
than half a dozen letters. In the last, which was to my father, I did
not forget the main point—I spoke of _finance_ in such a way, that I
received in return three sides of a sheet of paper closely written and
crossed, containing, however, a handsome remittance, which happily
arrived just as I concluded my FIRST WEEK IN THE SERVICE.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] The practical joke of changing signs from one house to another,
well nigh cost some officers of infantry their lives, some years ago,
in the good city of Bath.

[2] For a long time, the Author of this sketch has sought an
opportunity of expressing his gratitude to the gallant General above
alluded to; but has never had that opportunity, from having been always
employed on a service different from that in which he commenced.
The Author now avails himself of the present occasion, publicly to
acknowledge his sense of the paternal kindness he received in the
affair alluded to; and trusts, that should these pages meet the
General's eye, he will consider this note as a token of the Author's
gratitude.

[3] This alludes to a case in which the magistrate censured a
midshipman for appearing in uniform in the streets. His worship said,
that if the officer had business at the Admiralty, he might have gone
there in uniform; but it was proper on no other occasion.



                    THE SOLDIER'S ORPHAN.


               “Heu! miserande puer!”—VIRGIL.


Amongst soldiers—men whose habits of life are almost in direct
opposition to social and domestic enjoyment—who are strangers every
where, and whose profession is to destroy their fellow-men, it
is astonishing what tenderness and amiability of disposition are
frequently to be met with. If a comrade dies and leaves a widow; or
if an object of distress presents itself to a regiment—such as a poor
traveller, unable to proceed from illness or want, a subscription is
immediately set on foot, and although a few pence from each be the
extent of the alms, yet, with men whose pay is so limited, it bears
the credit of a considerable gift: but it is not the amount of the
subscription I have looked to most; it is the generous promptitude
with which the measure is adopted. Nor are such the greatest marks of
tenderness in the soldier: oftentimes has it occurred, that an orphan
has been left in a regiment, and the child has either been supported
and domiciled with the company to which its father belonged, or a
single soldier has undertaken the care of it. I believe one remarkable
instance occurred immediately after the battle of Waterloo—the
infant was discovered under the carriage of a field-piece. Another
is, I believe, at this moment to be found either in the 76th or 79th
Regiment. That which fell under my own observation I will relate; and I
think it affords undoubted proof of the kindest and most amiable heart.

At the battle of Talavera, a soldier, who had his wife, and a child
about two years and a half old, at the regiment with him, was killed.
His death weighed heavily at the heart of the woman, and together with
a severe cold caught in marching, produced a fever which terminated
in her death. Her infant, thus left fatherless and motherless, became
an interesting object of pity. The officers of the regiment took
measures for its protection, and placed the boy in the care of a woman
belonging to their own regiment. This woman, however, was a drunkard,
and the comrade of the deceased father, perceived that she neglected
the child. He reported this to the officers, and they determined to
remove it; but on examination it was found that there was no other
woman in the regiment who had claims to be trusted more than the person
with whom the child already was. Indeed, there are but few women
permitted to take the field with the soldiers; and these, in general,
are not only intemperate, but blunted in their feelings by their own
privations.

The comrade, finding much difficulty in providing a nurse for the
child, declared that he would sooner undertake the care of him himself
until an opportunity of better disposing of him should occur, as he
felt convinced that the poor infant would be lost, if suffered to
remain with the woman under whose care he then was.

There was no objection made to this, so the soldier immediately
took charge of the child. And well he acquitted himself in his
responsibility: he regularly washed, dressed, and fed the little
fellow, every morning; he would clamber over the hills and procure
goats' milk for him, when even the officers could not obtain that
luxury; and although not much of a cook, would boil his ration-meat
into a nutritive jelly, as scientifically as the best of them, for
the child. In less than two months, the little campaigner was very
different in appearance from that which he exhibited when first taken
in charge of the soldier; and he became a rosy-faced, chubby, hardy
little hero, as ever bivouacked on the hills of Portugal.

Month after month passed away, during which the regiment often moved
about. Upon the march the soldier always found means of procuring a
seat for the child upon one of the baggage mules; and he now became so
interesting to all who knew him, that little difficulty in obtaining
transport for him was to be met with. One time a muleteer would take
the boy before him on his _macho_, or place him between two sacks or
casks, upon the animal's back, and gibber Spanish to him as he jogged
along; at other times he would find a seat on some officers' baggage,
or “get a lift” in the arms of the men; nobody would refuse _little
Johnny_ accommodation whenever he needed it. So far I heard from a
soldier of the division in which the child was protected. What follows
I witnessed myself.

After the battle of Busaco, which was fought in the year following that
of Talavera, the army retreated over at least one hundred and fifty
miles of a country the most difficult to pass; steep after steep was
climbed by division after division, until the whole arrived within the
lines of Torres Vedras. The whole of this march, from the mountains of
Busaco to the lines, was a scene of destruction and misery, not to the
army, but to the unhappy population. Every pound of corn was destroyed,
the wine-casks were staved, and the forage was burnt; the people in
a flock trudging on before the army, to shelter themselves from the
French, into whose hands, had they remained in their houses, they must
have fallen. Infants barely able to walk; bedridden old people; the
sick, and the dying—all endeavouring to make their way into Lisbon; for
which purpose all the asses and mules that they could find were taken
with them, and the poor animals became as lame as their riders by a
very few days' marches. It was a severe measure of Lord Wellington's
thus to devastate the country which he left behind him, but, like the
burning of Moscow, it was masterly; for Massena being thus deprived of
the means of supplying his army, was soon obliged to retrace his steps
to Spain, pursued in his turn by the British, and leaving the roads
covered with his starving people and slaughtered horses.

Amidst this desolation I first saw the little hero of whom I write.
I had been with the rear-guard of the division, and was approaching
Alhandra, when I observed four or five men standing on a ridge, in
the valley through which we were passing. One of them ran towards me,
and said that there was a man lying under a tree a little way off the
road, beside a stream, and that he was dying. A staff-surgeon was close
by; I told him the circumstance, and we immediately proceeded to the
spot. There we beheld a soldier lying upon his back, his head resting
against a bank, his cap beside him and filled with water as if he had
been drinking out of it. Beside the man sat a fine boy, of about three
years' old, his little arms stretched across him. The child looked
wistfully at us. We asked him what he was doing there? but, from fright
and perhaps confusion at seeing us all intent upon questioning him he
only burst into tears. The surgeon examined the man, and found he was
lifeless, but still warm. I asked the child, if the man was his father?
he said he was; but to any further questions he could only lisp an
unintelligible answer. The surgeon thought the man had died of fatigue,
probably from marching while under great debility or sickness. I asked
the boy, if he had walked with his father that day? and he replied,
that he did not, but had been carried by him.

At this moment the last of the division was passing up the hill, and
the French columns appeared about half a mile behind. There was nothing
to be done but to remove the child, and leave the dead man as he was. I
directed the soldiers to do so, and to bring him along with them. They
accordingly went over to the boy, to take him away from the body; but
he cried out, while tears rolled from his eyes, “_No, no! me stay wi'
daddy!—me stay wi' daddy!_” and clung his little arms about the
dead soldier with a determined grasp. The men looked at each other;
we were all affected in the same way; I could see the tears in the
hardy fellows' eyes. They caressed him; they promised that his father
should go also; but no, the little affectionate creature could not
be persuaded to quit his hold. Force was necessary; the men drew him
away from the body; but the child's cries were heart-rending: “_Daddy!
daddy! daddy! dear, dear, daddy!_” Thus he called and cried, while the
men, endeavouring to sooth him, bore him up the hill just as the enemy
were entering the valley. This was little Johnny, and the dead man was
his father's kind, good-hearted comrade, who perhaps hastened his own
death in carrying the beloved little orphan.



                  NIGHTS IN THE GUARD-HOUSE.

                           No. I.


          “See yonder, round a many-colour'd flame,
           A merry club is huddled all together;
           Even with such little people as sit there
           One would not be alone.”

                                                  GOËTHE.


“Who goes there?”

“Rounds.”

“What rounds?”

“Grand rounds.”

“Stand, grand rounds—advance one and give the countersign.”

“Waterloo.”

“Pass, grand rounds: all's well.”

Splash went the steed, and patter went the rain, as the above dialogue
rapidly passed between the officer of the rounds and the advanced
sentry of Ballycraggen guard-house, one stormy night in the depth of
December, and in the midst of the Wicklow mountains.

“Guard, turn out!” instantly bellowed with true Highland energy,
from the lungs of Sergeant M'Fadgen, and echoed quickly by those of
Corporal O'Callaghan, increased the panic to its climax, and broke up
the circle of story-tellers who were enjoying themselves round a huge
turf fire, and, for aught yet known, a bottle of pure potyeen. “Guard,
turn out!” repeated the corporal, as he upset, in his haste to obey,
the stool on which he sat, as well as the lance-corporal and a fat
private who occupied one end of it; but notwithstanding these little
embarrassments, both men and musquets were out of the guard-house in a
twinkling—silent, and as steady in line as the pillars of the Giants'
Causeway.

The officer's visit did not last many seconds, for the night was too
wet, and nothing had occurred with the guard worth his particular
notice: off he galloped, and the clatter of his horse's hoofs was
almost drowned in the word of command given by Sergeant M'Fadgen, as
he returned the guard; for the Sergeant always made it a point, when
giving the word within the hearing of an officer, to display the power
of his non-commissioned lungs in the most laudable manner.

The arms were speedily laid down, and each man ran to take up his
former position at the fire, or perhaps to secure a better, if
permitted to do so by the rightful owner: this, however, was, as
regarded the stools, without any reference whatever to the sergeant's
seat—an old oak chair, which he leisurely, gravely, and consequentially
resumed.

“The Major was in a hurry to-night, Sargeant,” observed Corporal
O'Callaghan, as he fixed himself at the front of the fire, elbowing his
supporters right and left.

“The Major's nae fool, Corporal; it's a cauld an' a raw naight,”
replied the Sergeant.

“Could, did ya say, Sergeant,” returned O'Callaghan; “By the powers o'
Moll Kelly! he knocks fire enough out o' the wet stones to keep both
him and the baste warm: I could ha' lit my pipe with it when he started
off.”

“Aweel, he's done his duty as effectally as if he had stopped an hoor;
so dinna fash, but gi' us that story you were jist commencing afore the
turn-oot.”

“Yes, yes, the story, Corporal!”—“Give us the story;”—“That's the
thing, my boy;”—“Let us have it.” These, and a dozen similar requests
followed the Sergeant's, from the men of the guard; when, after the
due quantity of hems, haws, and apologies, usual in all such cases,
Corporal O'Callaghan commenced the following


                 STORY OF MARIA DE CARMO.

“Well! if yiz _will_ have the story, I suppose I must tell it:—Maria
de Carmo, you see, is a Portuguese name, as _you_ Redmond, and _you_
Tom Pattherson knows well: for it's often you saw the self-same young
girl I'm going to tell about; and as purty a crature she was as ever
stept in shoe leather,—a beautiful and as sweet a young blossom as
the sun ever shone upon, with her black curls, and her white teeth,
set just like little rows of harpsichord kays; and her eyes, and her
lips, and her ancles! O! she bet all the girls I ever saw in either
Spain or Portugal; that you may depend upon. Well, Harry Gainer was her
sweetheart; poor fellow! he was my comrade for many a long day. _You_
knew him well, Sargeant.”

“I listed the lad mysel at Waterford, aboot this time ten years, as
near as poossible; an' a gay callant he was,” said M'Fadgen; and then
with an important sigh resumed his pipe.

“Well, Harry and I went out with the rigiment from Cork to Lisbon in
1810, and it was in March; for we spent our Patrick's Day aboord,
and drowned our shamrock in a canteen of ration rum, just as we were
laving sight o' Ireland: and we gave the counthry three cheers on the
forecastle—the whole lot of us together, sailors an' all, as the green
hills turned blue, an' began to sink away from our sight. We had a
fine passage, an' landed at a place called the Black Horse Square,
in Lisbon, afther only six days' sailing, as hot and as fine a day,
although in March, as one of our July days here. Well—to make a long
story short, we made no delay, but, according to ordthers, were
embarked aboord the boats, and sailed up the Tagus to Villa Franca (as
pretty a river as ever I sailed in), and then the rigiment marched on
to Abrantes, where we halted: it was in this town that Harry first met
with Maria de Carmo. Both he and I were quarthered at her father's
house, a nice counthry sort of place, what the Portuguese call a
_Quinta_, in the middle of a thick wood of olives, on the side o' the
high hill of Abrantes. You could see from the door fifty miles and
more, over beautiful blue mountains on one side; an' on the other side,
across the Tagus, a fertile, cultivated counthry, with the fine wide
river itself, like a looking-glass, wandering away—God knows where. O,
it was as purty a spot as any in Ireland, I'm sure, barrin' the town
itself; and that was a dirty, narrow hole of a place, on the very top
o' the high hill,—yet it was fortified all round, as if it was worth
living in. The streets are so narrow that you could shake hands out o'
the windows with the opposite neighbours. There's a bit of a square, to
be sure, or Praça, as they call it, but that's not worth mentioning.
The fact is, I often thought that the town of Abrantes was like a big
dunghill in the middle o' Paradise.

“We halted here about a month, during which time Gainer was always
looking afther this young girl; and faith! he hadn't much throuble to
find her any day, for she was just as fond of looking afther him. I
often met them both sthrolling up along the side o' the river, like two
turtle doves, billing and cooing, and I could ha' tould how the matther
would have gone, in two days afther we arrived; for, 'pon my sowl I
don't know how it is, but when a young couple meets, that's made for
one another, there is such an atthraction, an' such a snaking toward
this way an' that way, that they are always elbowing and jostling,
'till they fall into each other's arms.

“Poor Harry was a warm-hearted sowl as ever was born, and as
honourable, too. He came to me the night before we marched from
Abrantes for Elvas, and says he to me (we were just outside the town,
taking a bit of a walk in an orange garden), says he, ‘Tom,’ an' the
poor fellow sighed enough to brake his heart; ‘Tom,’ says he, ‘I don't
know what to do with that girl; the rigiment marches to-morrow, and God
knows will I ever see her again. She wants to come with me, unknown to
her parents.’ ‘An' will you take her?’ says I.—‘Take her, Tom,’ says
he; ‘is it an' she, the only child of the good-natured ould man that
behaved so well to us? The Lord forbid! I'd sooner jump off this hill
into the river than I'd lade a sweet and innocent young girl asthray,
to brake the heart o' her father.’

“Och, I knew well, before I mintioned it, that Harry's heart was in the
right place.—‘Well,’ says I, ‘you must only lave her, poor thing; it's
betther nor take her with you. But what does her father say?’ ‘O,’ says
Harry, ‘the poor man would be willing enough to let her marry me if I
was settled; but although he likes me so much, he knows well that this
is no time for marriages with soldiers.’ ‘Well, then, Harry,’ says I,
‘there's no manner o' use in talking; you must only give her a lock o'
your hair and a parting kiss,—then God speed you both.’

“With that we went back to our quarthers, an' took share of a canteen
o' wine; but although Harry drank, I saw it was more for the dthrowning
of his throubles, and the sake of conversation about Maria, than for
any liking he had to licker. But faith! I'm sure, although I'm no great
hand at it myself, I think a glass on such an occasion as that, when
the heart o' the poor fellow was so full, an' my own not very empty,
an' when we were going to march from the town we spent some pleasant
hours in, was a thing that if a man could not enjoy, he ought to be
thrown behind the fire, as a dthry chip.

“We were just finishing the last glass, when the ould man, our Patroa,
Signior Jozé, came to say that we must ate a bit o' supper with him, as
it was our last night in the place; and although I didn't undtherstand
much o' the language, yet he explained himself well enough to make us
know that he was in the right earnest o' good-nature. We had no more
wine to offer him, at which he smiled, and pointed to the parlour
below,—‘_La esta bastante_,’ says he; which manes _there's enough
below stairs, my boys_. We went down to supper, which was a couple of
_Galinias boas_, or in plain English, _roast fowls_,—an' soup: with
oranges of the best quality, just plucked out of the ould man's garden.
Maria was with us, an' I don't think I ever passed a pleasanter night.
God knows whether it was so with Harry an' his sweetheart or not;
I believe it was a sort o' mixture. They were both not much in the
talking way, an' Maria looked as if she had a hearty male o' crying
before she sat down to supper. However, I kept up the conversation
with Jozé, though I was obliged to get Harry to interpret for me often
enough, as he was a far betther hand at the Portuguese than I was,
from always discoursing with Maria—faith! in larning any language
there's nothing like a walking dictionary;—that is to say, a bit of a
_sweetheart_.

“Signior Jozé gave us a terrible account o' the French when they came
to Abrantes first; an' all he feared was, that ever they should be able
to make their way there again. He hoped he would never see the day, on
account of his dear Maria, for they nather spared age nor sex in the
unfortunate counthry.

“‘They call themselves Christians,’ says he, ‘and the English infidels;
but actions, afther all, are the best things to judge by: the sign o'
the cross never kept a devil away yet; if so, there should not have
been such a _Legion_ of them here along with the French, for we had
_crosses_ enough.’

“Jozé was a liberal man in his opinions, an' although a Catholic, an'
more attached to Harry an' me from professing the same religion, yet he
was not like the bigots of ould, that I read of; but one that looked
upon every faith in a liberal light. He was for allowing every man to
go to the devil his own way.”

“I dinna ken but Jozé was raight,” drily remarked Sergeant M'Fadgen; to
the truth of which observation a general admission was given by all the
fire-side listeners.

“Well, we broke up about one o'clock purty merry, but not at all out o'
the way; and as we had to march, a little after day-brake, I thought
three or four hours' rest would do us no harm: so I wouldn't let the
Patroa open another bottle. Harry looked a little out o' sorts at my
preventing him; but I knew what he was at—he didn't want the dthrink;
but just to keep sitting up with the girl: therefore I thought it
betther to go; for he an' she would have been just as loth to part if
they had been six weeks more together without stopping.

“Next morning we turned out at day-brake; an' faith! Harry might as
well have staid up all night for the sleep he got—he looked the picture
of misery and throuble. We had our rations sarved out the day before;
but faith! _we_ did not want much o' that—Harry and I; for Jozé had
stuffed our haversacks with every spacies of eatables.

“We mustherd in the square or market-place,—mules and all, by four
o'clock, and at half-past four we marched off to the chune o'
_Patrick's Day_, upon as fine a band as ever lilted; which, in the
middle o' foreign parts, as I was, made me feel a little consated, I
assure you. The rigiment was followed by a crowd of Portuguese, as far
as the bridge over the Tagus where we crossed. Poor devils! the band
didn't seem to make _them_ look pleasanter; they were like as if they
suspected we were not certain of keeping the French out long.

“Just as the light company was moving on to the bridge, (Harry and I
belonged to the light company,) we halted a few minutes, and he fell
out to spake a parting word to Maria an' her father, who were both
waiting then at the bridge. Her mantilia a'most covered her face; but
still I saw the tears rowling down her cheeks, poor girl, like rain. In
a few moments the column moved on, and Harry was obliged to fall in.
We both shook hands with the ould father—Harry kissed his sweetheart,
and we marched on over the bridge. But to make a long story short, our
rigiment remained at Elvas about three months, when the French began to
attack us, and we retrated upon Abrantes. This was the time that they
boasted of going to dthrive us into the sea, clane out o' Portugal; but
by my sowl the Mounseers never were more mistaken in their lives. Well,
we hadn't hard from Maria for two months, and I remember it was late
in the evening when we entehred Abrantes on our retrate. Harry and I
didn't want to taste bit or sup till we went down to ould Jozé's house,
and there we larnt that he died of a faver six weeks afore: poor
ould man! I was sorry to hear it, an' so was Harry—very sorry indeed.
We inquired about the daughther, an' hard that she was living with a
particular friend of her father's, at the other end o' the town. We
soon found her out, although she was denied to us at first by an ould
woman; but faith! a nice-looking young lad, dressed like a _pysano_, or
counthry-boy, with a wide black hat an' red worsted sash on him, came
out driving along, and threw his arms round Harry's neck, hugging an'
kissing him. By my sowl! the boy was _herself_, sure enough. The fact
is, Maria had dthressed herself up like a boy, fearful that the French
would ill use her when they came into the town; an' they expected them
from report, two days before. Faith! an' so they would, I'd warrant ye;
for they never showed much mercy to a purty girl once in their power.

“The people with which Maria now lived, were good cratures, and as fond
of her as if she was their own. They insisted upon us stopping with
them, although there was six soldiers more in the house. A good room
was provided for us, an' every thing comfortable. Harry and Maria
made much o' their time; but I was obliged to go on the baggage-guard,
so left them to themselves. Next morning, at day-light, we were all
undther arms, and marched out o' the town towards Punhete. We were the
rear-guard, and as we expected the advanced guard of the French up, we
were prepared to give 'em a _good morning_: the baggage was all on, an
hour before. Sure enough the enemy hung on our rare the whole day, and
towards night our company had a bit of a brush with 'em.

“But I forgot to tell ya, that as we left the town of Abrantes, in
the dusk o' the morning, and the column was moving down the hill,
the mist was so thick I could hardly see Harry, although so close to
my elbow; but I hard him discoursing a little with a Portuguese that
walked beside him. ‘When did you lave Maria,’ says I.—‘Hush, man,’ says
he, ‘she's here.’—‘O, by the Powers!’ says I again, ‘Harry, my boy,
you did right, for she'd be desthroyed by these thundthering French
beggars.’—‘For God's sake!’ says Harry, ‘then don't let on to mortyal
man anything about it: she can be with us until I can get her down
to her friends in Lisbon.’ I made no reply, but just put out my hand
to Maria, who was close to Harry, an' I shook hands with her. ‘O, my
honey!’ says I, ‘you'll be as good a little soldier as any in the
division: take a dthrop out o' this canteen.’ Poor thing! she smiled
and seemed happy, although we had no great prospects of an asy life of
it, for a few days at laste. She wouldn't taste the rum, of coorse, but
with the best humour in the world, pulled out a tin bottle and dthrank
a little of its contents, which I saw was only milk.

“The mist began to rise above us by this time, and the sun threw out
a pleasant bame or two, to warm us a bit; for the men were all chilly
with the djew. In a very few minets, the walking and the canteens
produced a little more talk along the line o' march, and we seemed
as merry as a bag o' flays, cracking our jokes all along; although
a squadthron o' blue bottles was plain enough to be seen, on their
garrons, through the bushes on the top o' the hill behind us; but
divel a toe they daared come down. Well! we arrived at Punhete, about
one o'clock, and afther ating some beef, just killed and briled on a
wooden skewer; and washing it down with a canteen o' wine; the division
crossed the river _Se hairy_,[4] an' encamped on the other side in
green tents: that is, good wholesome branches o' cork, chesnut, olive,
and orange threes waving purtily over our heads. Dy you remember the
night, Pattherson? Dy _you_, Redmond?”

“Yes, faith! we do,” says Patterson; “and that was the first time I saw
Maria, though I then thought she was a boy.”

“Well, I'll never forget that night as long as I live. There we were,
Harry, and Maria, and myself, undther a three, with a ratling fire
blazing away before us. We gave our blankets to the girl when the
men were asleep, and I got plenty of India corn straw, which is like
our flaggers, an' made up a good bed for her, an' stuck plenty o'
branches into the bank over her, to keep off the djew. There she slept,
poor sowl! while Harry and I sat at the fire, until we fell asleep,
discoursing o' one thing or other. We had some grapes an' bread, an'
a thrifle o' wine which I got in the town on the way (becaise I had a
look out for a dthry day), upon which the whole of us faisted well.

“When the girl fell asleep, Harry towld me all about her coming away
with him. Says he, ‘Tom, you're my only friend in the regiment that
I would confide in, and if I fall I request you will do what's right
for that poor dear girl, just the same as a sisther.’ ‘Don't talk
about falling,’ says I, ‘till you're dead in earnest. God forbid ya
should ever lave us without _falling in_ with a few score o' the French
scoundthrels and giving them their godsend.’

“‘Well,’ says he, ‘Tom there's no knowing any of our fates, so God
bless you, do as I bid you.’ (I shook his hand, and it was in thrue
friendship too. I didn't spake; but he knew what I meant.) ‘She has
got most respectable friends in Lisbon, and here's the adthress—“_Rua
de Flores, Lisbōa_.”’ I took the paper, and put it up in the inside
breast-pocket o' my jacket, where I kept my _will_ in case I was
_settled_; for I had a thrifle which I wished my mother and sisther to
get in case of accident; an' by my sowl, there was plenty o' rason to
expect it, for the report was that the French was coming up in very
great force. ‘Tom,’ says he, ‘that sweet girl sleeping there, is as
dear to me as my life; an' dearer too. I'll take care of her, plase
God, until I bring her to her friends; now that her father is dead and
she's an orphan, she shall be to me only as a sisther, until we get to
Lisbon, an' then she shall be my wife. Therefore, stand by me, Tom, in
protecting her on the march. In the dthress she now wears, she will
pass as a muleteer of our division, and not rise wondther in the men.
We must say that his mule was killed, an' that he is a good fellow we
have taken a liking to—if any body asks about her. I took her away
for the best; becaise she was in danger of every thing bad, and also
a burthen to the people she was with, at such a time as this. I swore
on the Holy Evangelists, before the ould couple, that I would protect
her to Lisbon inviolate, and I hope I'll keep my oath, Tom. If I brake
it, may that burning log there watch my corpse!’ ‘Then,’ says I, ‘Tom,
I'll do my part, an' if I don't mane to do it, may the same light watch
mine!’

“In this way we talked over the night, until the day broke. We could
just see all spread undther the threes, the men snoring fast asleep,
an' the senthries posted in front. Before the light got much clearer,
I spied, over on the hill fornent us about half-a-quarter of a mile,
our pickets moving in a bit of a hurry; and faith! about half a dozen
shots from them showed us plainly what sort of a storm was beginning.
The alarm was amongst us in a minet, an' every one of us sazed the
cowld iron, in the twinklin' of a bed-post. ‘Harry,’ says I, ‘waken
poor Maria.’—‘Yes,’ says he, ‘God help her, I will.’ With that he did,
and without frightening her much, towld her to keep him in sight, but
not to be very close to him when he was in any danger. O she was a
heroine every inch of her! She didn't spake much, but bowldly buttoned
her coat, put her hand on her heart, and looked at him as if she said,
‘Wherever you are, there will I be.’

“Very few minutes more passed, till the Granadiers and we (being the
light company) were ordthered out to cover the retrate; a squadthron
o' the French 16th dragoons, in green coats and brass helmets, came
trhotting up the road through the ravine, that was on our right an'
opening with the main road. We were within about two hundthred yards
o' them before they _got_ into the main road, for we advanced close to
it, undther the cover of a ridge o' bushes; an' in about a minet we let
slap amongst them. O! faith, it bothered them, for they didn't want
for the word ‘_threes about_,’ but galloped off, laving about a dozen
o' them behind. Howsomever, they didn't go far when they returned at a
throt, seeing that a column of infantry was moving down the main road
from the top o' the hill, to dislodge us. At this moment our own light
dthragoons (the 13th, I think,) with horses that looked like giants to
the French garrons, came smashing down behind us on the main road, just
as the French horse were coming up. Oh! by Jabus! such a licking no
poor devils ever got; the sabres went to work in style, an' our captain
gave us the word to face about, an' give it right in to the column
coming down the road; which we did with a “_cead mille falthea_,” an'
then retired as steady as a rock, before our cavalry. It was just at
this time I saw Maria close to us, an' as pale as death, though all on
the alert, an' as brave as a lion. We were now in full march afther the
breeze we had kicked up; when, from an opening on our right, through a
wood of olives, an immense body of horse approached at full gallop: we
had just time to give them a volley an' run, when they were in amongst
us. Harry an' I, an' about eighteen more, were cut off from the rest
and surrounded, when all further fighting _with us_ was out o' the
question; so we were marched off prisoners. The divil a much they got
by this manœuvre, for we could see that they came back quick enough,
with our dthragoons afther 'em, and if it wasn't that the French
infantry by this time cum up, we should have been retaken. I saw one
fellow, a sarjeant o' the French horse, going back to the rear, with
his thigh laid open and his face cut down the sides: Faith an' many a
French horse galloped by us without a ridther at all.”

“I lost all feelings about myself when I looked at Harry, for his
countenance was like a wild man's. I knew the cause: it was that Maria
was missing. He attempted to run back, an' was near being bagneted by
the French guard in charge of us, for doing so.

“There was no time for thinking; or for any thing else. Away we were
marched to the rear as fast as we could go, meeting at every step
fresh regiments of the French cavalry an' artillery, all in high
spirits,—humbugging us with ‘_God dam Crabs_,’[5] an' the like. Then
we were taken across the river at Punhete, an' packed off to Abrantes.
In going through, the rascals paraded us about the town to show they
had taken _some_ prisoners, an' telling the Portuguese that they
killed _thousunds_ of us that morning! On the way to Abrantes poor
Harry hardly spoke a word, an' I didn't say much, for our hearts were
sick and sore. The whole o' the road along was in a bustle with the
advancing army, singing French songs and shouting at us as we passed.
‘Ah!’ says I to myself, ‘if I had half a dozen o' ye to my own share,
I'd larn you to shout at th' other side o' yir mouths.’ But we'd _one_
comfort; an' that was, that we knew these fellows' tone would be
changed before they went many miles farther.

“We arrived at Abrantes—right back to where we started from the
day before,—an' was again made a show of about the town by the
braggadocios o' Frenchmen. One o' their generals came up to me—a
finikin little hop-o'-my-thumb fellow, who could talk a little broken
English; an' says he, ‘You Englisman, eh?’—‘Yes,’ says I, ‘in throth
I am.’—‘From what part?’—‘From a place called Ballinamore, in the
county of Leitrim.’ ‘Is dat in Hirlaund?’—‘Yes, faith,’ says I, ‘it
is.’—‘Ah bon,’ says the general, ‘you be von Catholic—von slave
d'Angleterre.’—‘No, Monseer, I'm no _slave_ to Angleterre, though I
_am_ a Catholic. There's a little differ in our religion, to be sure,
but we are all _one_ afther all.’—‘Vell, Sare, you be Catholic, an
Frenchmen be Catholic. You give me all de information of de English
army, and vee make you sargeant in de French Guard, and give you de
l'argent; you can den fight against de heretick English.’—‘Thank you,’
says I, ‘Monseer General, but I'd much rather be excused, if you
plase. I know no differ between Ireland and England when once out o'
the counthries; we may squabble a bit at home, just to keep us alive,
but you mistake us if you think we would do such a thing as fight
against our King and counthry. Come, boys, says I, (turning about to
my comrades,) if any o' yiz want promotion an' plenty o' money, now is
your time. All you'll be asked to do, is to fight against your ould
king, your ould counthry, an' your ould rigiment. Any o' yiz that
likes this, let him spake now.’ The General was a little astonished,
an' so was the officers with him. There was a bit of a grin on all my
comrades' faces, but divil a word one o' them answered.—‘O! I see how
it is,’ says I, ‘none o' yiz accepts the General's offer; so now take
off your caps an' give three hearty cheers for ould England, Ireland,
an' Scotland, against the world.’ Hoo! by the holy St. Dinis! you never
hard such a shout—it was like blowing up a mine. The General hadn't
a word in his gob; he saw there was no use o' pumping us any more,
and so he turned round smiling to one of his officers, an' says he
in French (which I understood well, though he didn't think it) ‘_En
verité ce sont de braves gens! si toute l'armée Britannique est comme
cet echantillon-ci, tant pis pour nous autres_:’ and galloped off. The
maning o' that was this, you see—that _we were the broth o' boys, an'
if the remaindhar o' the English army was like us, the divil a much
chance the French would have_.”

“It was nae bad compliment, Corporal,” said Sergeant M'Fadgen; a
sentiment in which the rest of the guard unanimously joined.

“By my soul it wasn't, Sergeant, and we all felt what it was to have
the honour of our regiment in our hands, and to stick to it like good
soldiers, as we ought through thick an' thin.”

“Well, we were there standing in the market-place, surrounded by
straggling French an' Frenchified Portuguese; that is, fellows who
followed their invaders, like our dogs, to be kicked about as they
liked; but there wasn't many o' them, an' maybe the poor divils
couldn't help it, unless they preferred a male o' could iron. The shops
were all shut up, except where they were broke open by the French,
and in every balcony you could see, instead of young women, a set of
French soldiers smoking and drinking. Says I to Harry Gainer, ‘If poor
Maria was here now, she'd have a bad chance among these rapscallions.’
Harry shook his head and said, with a heavy sigh, ‘Ah, Tom, is she any
betther off now? God help her, where can she be?’ At this very minet, a
muleteer boy appeared amongst them, crying out ‘_Viva os Francesos_,’
along with some others, and he had a tri-color cockade in his hat. It
was nobody else but Maria herself! She put up her finger to her lip,
when she saw that we were looking at her; an' this is the Portuguese
sign for silence. We undtherstood her in a jiffy, an', by the Powers!
poor Harry's face grew like a May-day morning. I could see that he
didn't know whether he was on his head or his heels. ‘Silence, my boy,’
says I, ‘don't you see how it is? don't take the laste notice of her
for your life.’ We were immadiately marched off to a church, close by,
where we were to lie for the night. Some brown bread was given to us,
an' some of Adam's ale to faste ourselves; an' there we were—twenty of
us. Now just as we were going in, Maria, in a bustling sort o' way, got
close to Harry and me, and says she, in a whisper, ‘_Non dorme vos
merce esta note, Anrique, pour amor de Dios_.’ She then went away in a
careless manner, pretending to join in the jokes passed off upon us by
those around.”

“The English o' that,” said Serjeant M'Fadgen, anxious to show his
knowledge of the Portuguese, “is _For the loo o' God, Harry, dinna
sleep a wink the naight_.”

“Throth you're just right! It is, Sergeant; you ought to know it well,
for you were a long time in the Peninsula.”

The Sergeant shut his eyes, and smoked again.

“Well! we got into the church, which was more like a stable; for there
was a squadthron of dthragoons' horses in it the night before; the
sthraw that remained was all we had to sleep on, an' wet enough it
was, God knows! The althar piece,—a fine painting, cut and hacked, an'
the wood of the althar itself tore up for firing. ‘There's something
a brewing, Harry,’ says I.—‘Whisht!’ says he, ‘Tom; she manes to get
us out if she can; an' sorry enough I am, for she may get shot, or be
hung by these Frenchmen, if they discover that she is our friend.’
So we talked about it awhile, and agreed to watch all night, as she
desired. It was then coming dark, an' we all sat down on the sthraw,
an' afther a few mouthfuls of what we had, an' some conversation, all
fell asleep, except Harry and I. We talked together to pass the time,
till about nine o'clock, when we both from fatague felt very sleepy,
so we agreed to lie down, one at a time, while the other walked about.
I had the first sleep; an' I suppose it might be two hours, when Harry
wakened me, an' lay down himself; but although he did, his sleep
was only a doze, for he used to start an' ask me something or other
every ten minutes. At last, about one o'clock—I think it couldn't be
more—the high window on one side began to rise up, and I could just
disarn a figure of a head an' shouldhers, like Maria's, between me
an' the faint grey light o' the sky; so I wakens Harry, an' we both
went over undther the window. ‘It's she, sure enough!’ says I; an' a
whisper from her soon showed it was. The snores of our comrades were
just loud enough to dhrown her voice, an' ours too, from any danger;
an' from the great fatague they suffered, there wasn't a sowl awake,
but ourselves and the senthry outside the door. ‘Take this rope,’ says
she, in Portuguese, ‘an' pull up the ladther, while I guide it down to
you:—make no noise.’ We then laid howld o' the rope, which by a little
groping we found hanging down from the window, an' we pulled steady,
while she took the top o' the ladther, an' guided it down as nice as
you plase. She then sat down across on the window, while we cautiously
mounted the ladther, an' got up to her. I was first; so I looked all
round to see if I could make out any o' the senthries; but the heavy
sky and a high wind favoured us. So Harry an' I stands on the edge,
an' we slowly draws up the ladther an' put it down. ‘Here goes!’ says
I; an' I took a parting look at my poor comrades. ‘God send you safe,
lads!’ thought I, as I went down. Maria was the next, and then Harry.
When we all three got out clear, I was putting my hand to the ladther
to take it away, when the senthry cried out ‘_Qui va là?_’ from the
front o' the church. Thinks I, ‘It's all up with us!’ Maria seemed
to sink into nothing: she laned against us both, thrembling like an
aspin-lafe, while we stirred not a limb, and held fast our breath.
‘_Qui va là?_’ was again roared out by the senthry, in a louder voice.
O God! how I suffered then, an' poor Harry too: the dhrops run off our
faces with the anxiety, for it was now whether we should answer to the
senthry's challenge, an' be taken, or remain silent an' be shot! He
challenged a third time, when, at the highest pitch of our feelings, a
Frenchman answered to the challenge as he passed the senthry. I suppose
it was some officer prowling about the town to watch the guards. Oh!
what a relief it was to us! Ye may _guess_ how glad we were to find
that our chance was as good as ever.

“Afther a bit, Maria tould us to follow exactly wherever she went, and
to carry the ladther with us. So we proceeded—she first—picking our
steps in the dark, till we got out over a little wall into a narrow
lane, where we left the ladther down in a ditch. The wind blew as loud
as ever I hard it, which favoured us greatly; an' the sort o' grey
twilight that was above us, was just sufficient to show us our way.
Maria now got into a little garden o' grapes, through a broken wall,
and desired us to follow her; which we did, all along undther the
vines, which grew over the walk as thick as hops. We creeped on, 'till
we came to a sort of an outhouse; where we halted to dthraw our breath,
an' thank God for our escape so far. Says Maria to Harry, ‘Men Anrique!
men curaçao!’—but there's no use of telling it in Portuguese, so I'll
give it in plain English—‘Henry, my heart,’ says she, ‘we are now at
the back of Señor Luiz de Alfandega's house,’ (that was her friend's,
where she lived) ‘and we must stay there until morning.’ ‘Are the
French in it, or not?’ says Harry. ‘No,’ replied Maria, ‘none of the
soldiers, except a sick French curnel and his servant; but both are
fast asleep above stairs. Poor Luiz an' his wife are fled, and there is
nobody remaining in the house but Emanuel’ (that was an ould crature of
a man, sixty years in the family—a sort o' care-taker o' the vineyard).
‘I will go to the window an' see if all is safe. It was he who provided
me with the ladther, an' now waits to hear of my success. Stay here
until I return.’ She went up to the house, and in a few minutes came
back an' guided us safely into the kitchen, where ould Emanuel was
waiting.

“When we got into the kitchen, there was the poor ould man sitting.
We couldn't see him till we sthruck a light—which was a good while
first, owing to his groping about for a flint, an' being fearful o'
wakening the curnel or his sarvant, that was above stairs. Well, we
got the light, an' a sad sight it showed us; _there_ was desthruction
itself—every thing broken and batthered—the windows knocked out—the
partitions burned—an' the ould man, with his white head, standing, like
Despair, over the ruins. This was all done by the rascals o' French;
an' I suppose if they wern't turned out, to make room for the sick
curnel, they'd have burned the boords o' the floors afore they'd ha'
left the house.

“Maria now brought out from a nook in the kitchen, two shutes o'
counthryman's clothes for us to put on, in ordher that we might all
escape to the English camp; an' scarcely had we taken them up, when
we hard a noise, as if a person had slipp'd his foot on the stairs.
‘Whisht,’ says I, ‘Harry; there's somebody stirring.’ We were all as
mute as mice, an' the ould man blew out the light. We could now hear a
footstep moving down the stairs; an' as there was a boord broken out
o' the partition, Harry an' I popped out our heads to look. It was
dark; but we could see the cracks in the gate o' the house. Presently
the step was at the bottom o' the stairs, an' in the stone passage or
gateway,—the Portuguese houses mostly have gateways. Maria thrembled
like an aspin leaf, an' Harry pinched her to be quiet. The boult o'
the gate was now slowly moved an' opened. We could then see, by a dim
light from the sthreet, that a French soldier, in rigimentals, was
let in by another in undthress, an' the gate quietly shut, an' not
boulted, but latched afther them. ‘By the Powers!’ thinks I, we are
done. So we listened: an' presently one o' the villians says to the
other, in French, ‘He's fast asleep; but you must be quick, or he may
wake; the money is all ready on the table.’ Both then stole up stairs,
an' I consulted with Harry about the matther. We didn't know what to
think of it. Says I, ‘They're going to rob the curnel of his money, you
may depend upon it.’ I then explained to Maria what the man said; an'
says she, in a minute, ‘They're going to _murther_ him.’ ‘Yes,’ says
ould Emanuel, ‘_Certamente_.’ Scarcely was the word out of his mouth,
when we hard a dreadful groan! ‘It's the curnel,’ says the ould man.
Harry an' I jumped out in a minute, followed by Emanuel. ‘Dthraw your
bagnet,’ says I.—Harry was up first; and slash into the room where the
light _was_, we ran. One o' the villians fired a pistol at Harry as he
enthered, an' just rubbed the skin off his arm with the ball. The poor
curnel was struggling undther the other fellow. Harry jumped in upon
the bed at him, while I ran at the fellow who fired the pistol. It was
a large room; he made for the door, an' leaped right over Emanuel—I
afther him, down stairs into the kitchen, an' got him down. He was a
horrible sthrong man; I'm not very wake myself, and faith! he gave
me enough of it. I dthropped my bagnet to hould him, when he made a
desperate effort, an' twisted himself away from me. You may think I
held a good hoult, when the breast-plate, which was the last thing I
held out of, broke away in my hand. I ran afther him as he got out o'
the door, but he got clane off through the back o' the house.

“I immadiately went back to the room, an' there was Harry shaking the
murdtherer by the neck, an' the ould man lifting up the curnel gently,
who was groaning in a shocking way, an' looking at us as if he thanked
us from his very heart an' sowl, but couldn't spake a word. He was
bleeding fast from a deep wound in the side, an' the bloody knife was
on the ground, beside the bed.

“Afther I shook my fist at the tallow-faced rascal that stabbed his
masther, an' when I threatened him with the rope, I went over to the
poor curnel an' I spoke kindly to him: I gave him a dthrink o' wather:
O! God help him, how ghastly he looked at me—I'll never forget it. He
pressed my hand to his heart an' sunk back upon the pillow; then he
struggled an' heaved his breast very much, an' seemed just on the point
o' death.

“At this minute we hard people running up the stairs, an' in a minute
a corporal an' six file o' the French guard burst into the room. The
murdthering dog no sooner saw this than he fell on his knees, an'
pretended to pray to heaven an' to thank God for his deliverance; then
starting up, he cried out to the corporal to saze the murdtherers of
his master!

“The three of us were immadiately sazed. We did every thing we could to
prove the matther as it really was, but this was of no use. I abused,
an' cursed, an' swore at the villian as well as I could, in both French
an' English, and bid them ask his masther; but this had no effect, for
when the soldiers went to the curnel they found him dead: so Emanuel,
Harry, an' myself, were hauled off as if we were three murdtherers, an'
locked up in the guard-house.

“When we began to think of ourselves, good God! how dthreadful our
situation appeared. Harry suffered on account of his Maria as much as
any thing else. What was become of her he could not tell, nor could I
either: poor ould Emanuel did nothing but pray all the night.

“As soon as the day-light came, hundthreds of officers crowded to see
the two English soldiers who broke from their prison and murdthered a
curnel; an' sure enough it was past bearing what we endured from them.
But the worst of all was when the general who wanted us to enther his
sarvice the day before, came an' saw us.

“‘What!’ says he, ‘are these the men who refused so nobly yestherday to
bethray their counthry? Have _they_ committed murdther?’

“O! this cut us to the heart. There was not an hour passed until a
court-martial was assembled: we were marched in by twelve men, an'
placed before it for thrial. The charges were read; they were for
murdthering the curnel, an' attempting the murdther of his servant. All
the officers o' the garrison were present.

“To describe our feelings at that moment is out o' the power o' man;
but we were conscious of our innocence, an' that supported us. The poor
ould man was almost dead; he could scarcely spake a word.

“The thrial was very short; the murdtherer was the evidence. He swore
as coolly and as deliberately that we killed his masther as if it
really was the case. He said that the curnel had just gone asleep, an'
_he_ had lain himself down beside his bed, on a matthrass, when he saw
the door open, when we three enthered with a lanthern, an' having sazed
him, stabbed his masther with a clasp knife, but that before he was
sazed, he said he snatched a pistol an' fired at us.

“One o' the officers present then persaving the mark o' the ball on the
arm o' Harry, pointed it out.—His coat was sthripped off, an' the skin
appeared tore a little, which a surgeon present declared was done by a
ball. The corporal and the guard which took us, proved the situation
which they found us in, adding, that we were just proceeding to kill
the sarvant as they enthered the room.

“This of course clenched the business: however, we were called upon to
make our defence. As I spoke French, I undhertook it. I acknowledged
that Harry an' I got out o' the church for the purpose of escaping
to our own throops, that we went into the house where the curnel was
killed, in ordther to change our rigimentals for other clothes, which
ould Emanuel had provided for us. I didn't say any thing about Maria,
lest the poor thing might be brought into the scrape. I then described
the way that we ran up stairs, an' the sthruggle I had to hould the
soldier who was the accomplice. Harry an' the ould man gave the same
account o' the affair through an interprether, but all our stories only
made them think worse of us. We were asked, could we _point out_ the
soldier we saw? and what proof could we give of it? But there was so
much hurry when we discovered the murdther, that none of us could give
any particular description of the man, so as to find him.

“We were immadiately found guilty, an' sentence o' death was
pronounced. We were marched on the minute to the place of execution: it
was in front o' the house where the murther'd body lay, an' the gallows
had been erected before the thrial.

“Great God! as we stood undther the fatal bame what was my feeling! My
friend Harry's fate, and the poor ould man's, sunk me to the bottom of
misery. Harry thought o' nothing but his dear Maria, an' Emanuel was
totally speechless an' totthering.

“The ropes were preparing, when Maria burst through the soldiers, with
a paleness on her face even worse than ours; her clothes disordered,
her hair flying about: the soldiers were ordthered to stop her, an'
they did; but although they did not undtherstand her language, they
couldn't mistake her well, when she pointed to Harry, an' knelt down
at the officer's feet. All thought it was a friend of ours, but none
supposed her a woman. She was then permitted to go to Harry, an'—oh!
such a parting!—she hung upon his neck; she knelt down; she embraced
his knees! I stood motionless, gazing at the fond an' unfortunate pair
in agony, wishing that the scene was past. An' even Emanuel felt for
them, overcome as he was with the thoughts of his own situation.

“The Provost now was proceeding to his juty, the ropes in his hand,
when I started as if I had wakened from a horrid dream. A thought
sthruck me like lightning: I roared out ‘Stop, for God's sake, stop!’
with a strength and determination of manner that changed the feelings
of every body; an' I called out to the officer commanding, with such
earnestness, that he rode over to me at once. ‘Oh,’ says I in French to
him, ‘I'll prove our innocence; I'll prove it, Sir, if you will grant
me your support in doing so.’ This the officer willingly assented to.
‘Go, then, yourself, Sir,’ says I, ‘go _yourself_ into the kitchen o'
that house, and look upon the floor. There, plase the Lord, you will
find the breastplate o' the soldier that murthered the curnel; I tore
it off him in the sthruggle, but unfortunately did not keep it.’

“The officer, God bless him! although he was a Frenchman, seemed as
glad as if he had already found proof of our innocence, and immadiately
dismounted, called his adjutant and a sarjeant to go with him, an' went
straight into the house. I then tould Harry, Maria, and Emanuel, what I
thought of; an' such an effect I never saw, as it had upon all o' them.
Harry grew red, and looked at me with feelings as if I had already
saved his life. Maria's eyes almost started out of her head. She seemed
to laugh like, and hung round my neck as if I was her lover, and not
Harry; while poor ould Emanuel suddenly came to his speech, an' cried
like a child.

“The officer was away about ten minutes, an' during this time there
was the greatest anxiety amongst the crowd. I could see plainly their
countenances showed that they wished we might be found innocent. The
officer at length appeared; advanced hastily,—O God! to have seen us
then,—poor Maria, an' the ould man shaking every limb!

“‘Have you found it, Sir?’ says I.—‘_Yes, yes_, my friend, I _have_,’
was the answer; an' immadiately he ordthered the Provost to unbind us.
The ould man dthropped on his knees, an' every one of us followed his
example. There was a murmur of satisfaction among the crowd,—all were
delighted with the respite, an' their prayers were mixed with ours.

“We were on our way back to the Governor's house, when I thought o'
the necessity o' sending to the rigiment to which the breast-plate
belonged, to secure success, an' I asked the commanding officer to do
so: but it had been already done; he had sent off his adjutant on the
moment to the proper quarter.

“It was now not more than eleven o'clock in the day: the news of the
affair had spread, an' a greater number of officers crowded to spake to
us now, than to see us before the thrial.

“We were all brought into a private room, where the Governor was, (an'
that was the General that spoke to us about joining the French the day
before)—The officer who found the breast-plate, up an' tould him all
about it.

“‘But this breast-plate,’ says the General, ‘only gives the _number_
o' the regiment. We are still at a loss for the man, should he have
obtained another breast-plate.—Besides, this is not direct proof.’

“‘Turn the other side, Sir,’ said the officer, ‘an' you will see the
man's name scratched upon it with a pen-knife.’

“Oh! by the powers! this was like Providence, an' we all thanked God
Almighty for it.

“In a few minutes the adjutant who was sent to find the man, returned;
the sargeant was with him, carrying a kit, an' every thing belonging to
the fellow that was suspected. He was then brought in before us; an'
when we saw him, an' he us, any body could have sworn he was guilty.
‘Look at the villian,’ says I; ‘look at his neck, where I left the
marks o' my knuckles:’ an' sure enough the marks were there, black as
you plase.

“The General looked like thundther at him. ‘Where's your breast-plate,
Sir?’ says he. The fellow shook.

“‘It's on my belt,’ was the reply. The belt was produced. It had
no breast-plate on it! The passporation dthropped off the fellow's
forehead.

“‘Sarch his kit,’ says the General. The kit was opened, and amongst his
things was found a purse of money, a miniature picture of a lady, an' a
gold watch—_all belonging to the curnel_!

“This was convincing. The General demanded him to answer to these
proofs. He was silent. In a few moments, however, he confessed the
crime; but pleaded that he was led into it by the sarvant, an' that
both intended to desart to the English.

“We were immadiately liberated. The General himself came forward and
shook hands with us. Maria acknowledged her disguise, an' the whole
story of her getting her lover and myself out o' the church was tould.
Every officer of the garrison came to congratulate us. They all seemed
as happy as if they were our relations.

“The rascally sarvant that swore against us was sazed, an' both him an'
the soldier were thried in an hour afther by the same court that thried
us. We were the evidences; an' in less than two hours, the murdtherers
_were hung on the gallows which they had prepared for us_!

“There wasn't a man in the garrison so happy as Harry that evening, nor
a woman more joyful than Maria; for the General ordthered that we all
should be escorted safely to the front an' delivered over to our own
army. Not only that, but plenty o' money was given to us, with a hearty
shake o' the hand from all the officers for our conduct; an' we marched
out of Abrantes next morning with three jolly cheers from the men.”

               *       *       *       *       *

Thus ended the Corporal's story of Maria de Carmo.

“Aweel, Corporal,” said Sergeant M'Fadgen, “that story is nae far short
o' bein' a romance. If I didn't ken it to be fac mysel', I'd ha' swore
it to be made oot o' yir ain Irish invention.”

The meed of praise so justly due to O'Callaghan for his story was now
given by all the men; his courage and loyalty were commended, and his
sufferings pitied. All, however, who had not been in the regiment at
the time the circumstances occurred, demanded of the Corporal, what
became of Harry and his sweetheart.

“O faith,” replied O'Callaghan, “they lived like turtle-doves together
for three years. When we were delivered over from the enemy, they
got married, an' had two fine boys, who are now in the Juke o' York's
School.”

“And where are Maria and Harry?” asked one of the men.

The Corporal sighed as he answered; and got up to prepare for the
relief.

“Maria,” said he, “God rest her sowl! died in child-bed; an' poor Harry
was killed by my side at the battle o' Toulouse, shortly afther.”

The men then proceeded to relieve the sentries, and the Sergeant fell
asleep.

FOOTNOTES:

[4] _Zehere._

[5] The French in the Peninsula during the war, called the English,
_Crabs_, in allusion to their red coats.



                         OLD CHARLEY.


          “Charley is my darling—the [_old_] Cavalier.”


A good-humoured by-name is often given by soldiers to their commanding
officer, under which he is always known and talked of amongst them when
his back is turned; and nothing more strongly proves their esteem for
him than this practice. The Duke of Wellington himself was called “_The
Little Corporal_” by his men; and this _mark of distinction_ his Grace
received from his uncommon zeal and industry in promoting the works of
the impenetrable lines at Torres Vedras. The indefatigable commander
usually turned out at daybreak, and went through the batteries in
which the men were at work, dressed in a plain blue coat and glazed
hat, singly and on foot, to watch the progress of the operations. When
seen at a distance by the working parties, “_Here comes the Little
Corporal!_” would pass from one to another throughout, and all would
redouble their exertions. This was not from fear, but from esteem—each
was emulous of approval in his task; and had his Grace himself heard
them designating him with the _title_ of his extraordinary rank, he
would not have been at all displeased.

The subject of this sketch is Colonel Donellan, of the 48th, who
was killed at Talavera; and “_Old Charley_” was the cognomen of
friendly distinction, which the men of his regiment gave their gallant
commander. A few traits in his military character will be found not
unworthy of imitation by all young Colonels; nay, even some of our old
ones would not be wrong in copying a few of his good qualities.

Old Charley was the last of the _Powderers_; that is to say, the only
one in the regiment who, in despite of new customs and new taxes, clung
to the good old cauliflower-head of the army, and would no more have
gone to parade without pomatum and powder, than without his sword and
sash. He had been accustomed to the practice of military hair-dressing
from his early youth, and it formed as much a part of the officer, in
his estimation, as the epaulette or the gorget. Even as the odoriferous
effluvia of Auld Reekie, by the powers of association, will affect the
children of that city throughout life, so will hair-powder and pomatum
stick to the heads of the old military school for ever:—they bring back
the mind to its early predilections: like Merlin's wand, a smell of the
one and a dust of the other bid the spirit “of former days arise,” and
cheer it with an intellectual view of its dearest hours!

In this amiable susceptibility Old Charley was pre-eminent; and he was
often known to have regretted the improvement in hair-dressing, which
reduced the quantity of iron pins and coagulable fat used in that art,
from two pounds each head per diem to three ounces. The powdering-rooms
built in all the old barracks for the purpose of twisting the tails of
the battalions into dense knobs, and beautifying their heads with a
composition of meal, whiting, and rancid suet, never were permitted
by him to be defiled with cast-off stores of quarter-masters, or
the rattletrap uproar of an adjutant's nursery. No; those relics of
worth were sure to be protected by the whitewasher's brush and the
charwoman's scrubber; and, in giving them up to the substitute purposes
of orderly-room, Old Charley would heave a sigh and think of the white
heads which, like snow-balls, were melted away by the warmth of croppy
influence, and trampled upon by the march of refinement!

This worthy officer had formed the greatest friendship with the
jack-boot of the army, together with its close associate—the white
buckskin breeches; and when the grey overalls and short Wellingtons
were ordered to displace them, he indignantly refused to obey—as far
as regarded his own proper person: such innovations he could not bear;
and, as a proof of his opposition upon this point, he stuck to his
jacks and buckskins to the day of his death. They, as well as his
favourite powder and pomatum, were along with him at Talavera, when the
shot struck him which deprived the service of an excellent, though
somewhat whimsical officer.

Amongst his _whims_ was that of governing his soldiers without
flogging; and in this task (which is no very easy one) he succeeded
so well, that when his regiment, the 2nd Battalion of the 48th, was
reviewed by Sir David Baird on the Curragh of Kildare, that general
officer complimented him by saying, that “it was as fine and as
well disciplined a corps as he would ever wish to command.” This is
certainly an argument, and a strong one, against the punishment of
flogging in the army; but then, to make the argument perfect, we must
provide that there should be an “Old Charley” in every regiment; or,
in other words, a commanding officer whose qualities of government can
supersede the necessity of the lash.

He pleased both officers and men under his command, although he
sometimes was harsh with them, for they knew this harshness was
dictated by a wish for their welfare—it was that of a father for his
children.

The Colonel had been removed from the second battalion to the first,
and for a considerable time had not seen his favourite men. Previous
to the battle of Talavera, Lord Wellington reviewed his whole army on
the plain, in order to show his ally, the Spanish General Cuesta, a
specimen of the British forces in all the pride of their excellence.
As the Generals rode along the line, which was of immense extent, each
soldier stood fixed in his place; each battalion silent and motionless;
scarcely the eyelids of the soldiers twinkled, as the cavalcade of the
chiefs and their staff rode by. All on a sudden, a bustle and murmur
took place in one regiment; its line lost its even appearance; and
caps, and heads, and hands, and tongues moved, to the utter dismay
of the officer who was in command of it. In vain did he endeavour
to check this unseemly conduct in his men, and Lord Wellington was
himself astonished and exasperated at the circumstance. The fact is,
the irregular regiment was the second battalion of the 48th:—Colonel
Donellan happened to be riding along with the staff, in his stiff
buckskins, powdered hair, and square-set cocked hat—his men, from whom
he had been separated, perceived their beloved commanding-officer, and
every one murmured to his comrade—“There goes _old Charley!_”—“God
bless _the old boy!_”—“Success to him!”—“Does not he look well?”—and
so on; bustling and smiling, evidently from an impulse they could not
resist. When this was known to the Commander-in-Chief he was perfectly
satisfied; and all were delighted as old Charley uncovered, and shook
the powder from his cocked hat in waving a cordial salute to his worthy
soldiers.

In a very short time after this circumstance the battle of Talavera
took place, and then the Colonel showed that he knew the use of steel
and ball as well as of _powder_. He was engaged at the head of his
regiment, in the thickest of the fight: for several hours he had stood
the fire of the enemy, and drove them from their ground frequently,
during which time he had two horses shot under him. The presence of
the fine old soldier, like Charles the XII. in scarlet, animated his
men, and they fought with the energy of true courage. His voice, as
he gave the word of command along the line of his battalion, was like
a match to the gun—“Steady, officers! cool, my men—Ready, p'sent,
fire—that's the way, my lads.” Thus old Charley, at a word, sent
showers of well-directed balls into the blue ranks before him; and in
the heat of a well-returned fire, was as cool as on the parade, and as
primly caparisoned. He perceived a few of his men fall from a discharge
of musketry, at such a distance as made him doubtful of being within
range—“Curse the fellows,” said he, “those damn'd long guns of theirs
can shoot at two miles off!” and immediately advanced his battalion to
such a proximity of the foe, that he soon made them shift their ground.

Very shortly after this, a dreadful charge upon the French was made
by the Guards; but in their pursuit they went rather far, and a
reinforcement of the enemy came upon them. Colonel Donellan instantly
advanced to the support of the threatened regiment at double quick
time: but in this glorious moment, the gallant leader received a ball
in his knee: he beckoned the officer next in command, Major Middlemore,
and, although suffering the most excruciating torture from the wound,
took off his hat, and resigned the command just as if he had been on
the parade of a barrack-yard. His enraged men went on like lions,
taking ample revenge upon their enemies—and that too with the _cold
iron_.

The Colonel, with his knee broken in a most dangerous manner, was,
without loss of time, carried to the rear by four of his musicians, and
placed on a straw bed in the town of Talavera: had there been surgeons
to have amputated his limb on the instant, it is supposed he would have
survived; but this not having been the case, mortification took place,
and he died on the fourth day after the battle, surrounded by thousands
of dying and dead.

Owing to Cuesta's illiberal opposition to Lord Wellington, he, as well
as the rest of the wounded, were left in the hands of the French; as
were also several English surgeons, who remained at the mercy of the
enemy.[6] The Colonel, however, was treated with the greatest respect
and kindness by the French officers. Some of them remembered seeing
him at the head of his battalion, and warmly praised the veteran's
gallantry.

His soldier-like appearance, too, commanded their regard, and they
carried him in a cloak to the spot on which he had led his regiment so
bravely, and there they buried “Old Charley” with the true honours of a
soldier.

FOOTNOTE:

[6] These surgeons were sent, after their duty, not to a French prison,
but to Paris, where Napoleon complimented all, and presented them with
money and a free passage to England, for the service they had done his
soldiers, and allowed for the nature of their duty, which placed them
in his power.



                          MESS-TABLE CHAT.

                               No. I.


                 “But this is worshipful society.”

                                          _Shakspeare._


SCENE—_The mess-room of a Hussar Regiment: principal speakers—Colonel
  Diamond_; _Major Flowers_; _Captains Tache_, _Bright_, _and Ploomer_;
  _Doctor Scott_; _Lieutenants Rose_, _Golding_, _Lavender_, _and
  Honeywood_; _Cornets Lilly_, _Fairfax_, _Canary_, _and Small_. _Table
  spread with dessert_, _decanters_, _glasses_, _and snuff-boxes_.
  _Time—half-past ten at night._

_Capt. Bright._ When Colonel Diamond has done _drilling_ the claret, I
would thank him to put it into _marching order_, and give the decanter
the _route_.

_Col. Diamond._ 'Pon my honour, Bright, you are becoming _brilliant_.
If you take any more of the light wine, you will absolutely _dazzle_ us.

_All the Mess._ Good!—good!—excellent!—bravo! Colonel—admirable hit.

    [_A well directed volley is laughed at the Colonel's_ “HIT;”
     _particularly loud from the Subalterns._]

_Dr. Scott._ Positively, Colonel Diamond, the Ensign and Adjutant,
wha writes in Blackwood's Magazine, couldna say a better bet o' wut.
(_offers his gold snuff-box to the Colonel._)

_Capt. Bright._ By the by, Colonel, who is this new Cornet we are about
to have?

_Col. Diamond._ 'Pon my honour, I don't know him; but, I believe, Major
Flowers does.

_Major Flowers._ _Pardonnez moi_, Colonel, I don't _know_ him. His
uncle's in _trade_: he is _known_ on _change_.

_All the Mess_ (_with a stare_). Indeed!!!

_Major Flowers._ Yes, I have _heard_ that he is a _dry-salter_?

_All the Mess._ A dry-salter?

_Lieut. Rose._ Horrible!

_Cornet Canary._ Shocking!

_Cornet Small._ Dreadful!

_Lieut. Golding._ Abominable!

_Dr. Scott._ Aweel, I dinna know but there's mare in dry-salters than
you think, gentlemen: he's na' the worse for a' that, gin he's got the
siller.

_Major Flowers._ Doctor, 'pon my honour, I am surprised that you should
think that money could possibly purchase our permission to admit a
_dry-salter's_ relation as a member of the _nonpareils_!

_All the Mess._ Oh, Doctor!—oh! oh! oh!

_Dr. Scott._ A dry-salter, Major, is na' worse than a _tailor_, and I
have seen a tailor's son _cut_ a canny dash in the army afore noo.

_All the Mess._ Have _done_, Doctor, pray have done!

_Colonel Diamond._ The Doctor has _Dunn_, I assure you. (_Although
the Colonel's pun was evidently a poser—all laughed a little; but the
Colonel himself, although he could not refrain from the deliverance of
it, was certainly sorry for having been so witty, and a short silence
intervened._)

_Major Flowers._ Oh, by the by, Colonel, I have received a letter from
Lady Fanny, and she tells me that it is rumoured—a—that we are to be
sent to Ireland.

_All the Mess._ To Ireland!

_Capt. Tache._ I'll exchange, upon my honour.

_Lieut. Golding._ I'll resign.

_Lieut. Lavender._ We shall be starved, as I live.

_Capt. Bright._ We shall be murdered.

_Cornet Small_ (_in a piping voice_). Really, if I had the slightest
anticipation that the regiment should have been ordered on _foreign_
service _at all_, I would have joined the _Blues_. A man of _fortune_
has no business in Ireland.

_Col. Diamond._ If this news of Lady Fanny's should turn out to be
true, I must go to town immediately, and insist upon a change in the
arrangement; the Duke must _not_ be allowed to have his way in this:
so, gentlemen, make yourselves easy on the subject. _I am determined we
shall not go._

    [_All the Mess are delighted, and a burst of applause
      follows the concluding word of the Colonel's assurance._]

_Dr. Scott._ Dinna fash aboot ganging to Ireland, gentlemen; it's no
sae bad a spot as you think.

_Capt. Ploomer._ Really, Doctor, you Scotchmen have strange notions
of comfort,—totally at variance with the _esprit de corps_ which
distinguishes the _nonpareils_. Those _boundary_ countries, Ireland,
Scotland, and Wales, may do very well for the infantry and the heavy
dragoons, and perhaps as an occasional quarter for the _lights_; but
we, who are the _influential_ portion of the military ton, should never
leave England, except, indeed, for such an affair as Waterloo.

_Dr. Scott._ My conscience! but I think, Captain, such “_affairs_”
as Waterloo are more suitable to the _heavy dragoons_ than to the
_Hussars_: an' I have na doubt but the gallant Marquis o' Anglesea wud
tell ye the same thing.

_Capt. Ploomer._ 'Pon my honour, I don't know; we did very well, too;
vastly well—a—but let us confine ourselves to Ireland, Doctor.

_Col. Diamond._ Yes, Doctor, to Ireland, if you please.

_Dr. Scott._ Weel, what objection have ye to that quarter?

_Capt. Ploomer._ Objection! my dear Sir! they shake hands with their
friends, and absolutely eat breakfasts.

_Cornet Canary._ Oh, shocking!

_Cornet Fairfax._ Abominable!

_Capt. Tache._ The Doctor is not to blame, considering the view he
takes of the matter. Ireland may be a very good quarter; but the
Commander-in-Chief ought to draw a line between the _mere_ army and the
_cream_ of the cavalry.

_All the Mess._ Certainly—undoubtedly—decidedly.

_Dr. Scott._ I dinna ken that—I dinna ken that; the _cream_ of the
cavalry, as ye call it, did na mair under Pompey at the battle o'
Pharsalia, than they did under Wellington at Waterloo.

    [_A silence prevails during the application of three full
      pinches of snuff._]

_Lieut. Honeywood._ Pray, Doctor, may I ask you when _that_ action was
fought? Was it before the affair of Talavera?

_Cornet Lilly._ Yes, considerably previous.

_Dr. Scott._ Which action?—Waterloo?

_Lieut. Honeywood._ No, no; the other you mention.

_Dr. Scott._ What! the Battle of Pharsalia?

_Lieut. Honeywood._ Yes.

_Dr. Scott_ (_having first taken snuff_). A wee bit afore that.

_Cornet Lilly._ Yes, yes, my dear Honeywood, considerably before that.
I have heard my father speak of it.

_Lieut. Honeywood._ Pray, Mr. Lilly, how long ago may it have occurred?

_Cornet Lilly._ Oh, long before the American war. The Doctor, I dare
say, can tell. How many years ago, Doctor?

_Dr. Scott._ As near as I can guess it is about forty-eight years—

_Lieut. Honeywood._ } (_interrupting_) Yes, about
_Cornet Lilly._     }   forty-eight years ago—perfectly right.

_Dr. Scott._ No sae fast—

_Cornet Lilly._ It can't be much less, for my father—

_Dr. Scott._ Stay, stay, no sae fast, young gentleman. I say, as near
as I can recollect, it occurred about forty-eight years _before Christ_.

_Lieut. Honeywood._ } _Before_ Christ!
_Cornet Lilly._     }

_Dr. Scott_ (_snuffing_). Ay, nae far fra' twa thoosand years ago.

    [_There was now a general laugh, and all became suddenly
      learned on this point; even Lieut. Honeywood and Cornet
      Lilly, who now affected to say that they meant to quiz
      the Doctor; but most betraying blushes, and unlucky
      countenances belied the insinuation._]

_Col. Diamond._ John!

    [_Colonel's servant advances two paces towards
      the Colonel._]

_Servant._ Sir!

_Col. Diamond._ Why don't the band play?

_All the Mess._ Ay, ay, the band—where's the band?

    [_This question restored the countenances of the blushers
      to their ordinary hue; for the little discord was drowned
      in the harmonious call for one band._]

_Servant._ They have been in the hall since eight o'clock, Sir, waiting
for orders to play.

_Col. Diamond._ Oh! ah! I ordered them not to play until after dinner.
Tell them to proceed now.

    [_Exit Servant at a gallop._]

_Major Flowers._ That's a good idea, Colonel. We should be two hours
later, certainly, than the heavy dragoons in this parti-cu-lar.

_All the Mess._ Certainly!—decidedly!—of course.

    [_Band without begin to play Von Weber's favourite overture._]

_Col. Diamond._ Mess-waiter!

_Waiter_ (_advancing three paces towards the Colonel_). Sir!

_Col. Diamond._ Tell the band-master to stop that, and to play “Lady
Fanny's Hussar piece.”

    [_Exit Waiter in a trot._]

_All the Mess._ Bravo! Colonel, a good move.

_Col. Diamond._ Von Weber's music is very well, and the King patronizes
it; but, 'pon my honour, Lady Fanny's Hussar is more elegant.

    [_Band play a noise, in which several screams of the clarionet and
      groans of the trombone are prominent, during which the Mess beat
      time, or rather move their heads and fingers, occasionally
      commenting on the piece. At length the instruments cease to play,
      after a violent struggle of the bassoons._]

_Col. Diamond._ Isn't it very good?

_All._ Excellent! Superb!

_Cornet Small._ Don't his Majesty like that piece, Colonel?

_Col. Diamond._ No: 'pon my honour.

_Major Flowers._ You see, Colonel, his Majesty requires a little
improvement; he is certainly a very good musician, and prefers the
Rossinis and Von Webers; but really, I think Lady Fanny's piece _ought_
to please _him_. It has a delightful mixture of movement.

_Col. Diamond._ Lady Fanny's is fine; and certainly, her ladyship has
got a good _major-key_ in you.

_All the Mess._ Bravo!—Hit again!—Bravo!—Bravo!

_Dr. Scott_ (_taking snuff_). Ecod I dinna like the thing at a'; it's
sic a mixture, that I canna mak heed or tail o't.

_Cornet Small._ 'Pon my honour, Doctor, you are a perfect Goth in taste.

_Lieut. Rose._ A Vandal, Sir.

_Capt. Ploomer._ Nothing but a Hun.

_Dr. Scott._ Weel, if I am a Goth, Hun, or Vandal, you ha' placed me
in gude company; for you say his Majesty doesna like the piece. Noo I
would ask what partic'lar merit Lady Fanny shows?

_Col. Diamond._ Merit, Sir!—a—the fact is, Lady Fanny is the
best-dress'd woman in town.

_All the Mess._ Decidedly!

_Major Flowers._ Her ladyship's taste is undisputed: the Austrian knot
on the fore part of our full dress pantaloons is from her design.

_Col. Diamond._ She discovered an error in the Astrachan fur collar
of our pelisse,—suggested an improvement in the side-seams, welts,
and hips: Besides, her Russian patterns of neck lines, sliders, and
olivets, are lasting monuments of her refinement. Indeed she is a very
superior sort of woman, and I'll give you her health in a bumper.

    [_Lady Fanny is drunk standing._]

_Dr. Scott._ But what music has she composed, Colonel?

_Col. Diamond._ Some excellent things, indeed: there's her song “_Come
Charles to-night_,” which she dedicated to _me_; and there's her
Bravura on the burning of Moscow; and her grand Hussar piece, which she
has dedicated to _us_.—In short she is a woman of fine parts.

_All the Mess._ Oh, delightful!

_Dr. Scott._ Wud you sing ane o' her songs, Colonel?

_Col. Diamond._ Doctor, you _ought_ to know that the _Nonpareils_ never
sing.

_Dr. Scott._ Vara weel—ha' it your ain way.

_Capt. Bright._ By the by, Lady Mary, her sister, gives a ball
to-night.—Don't we go, Colonel?

_Col. Diamond._ I should like it, because the Lancers are to be
there.—We _must_ cut _them_ out.

_Major Flowers._ Oh, certainly!—Decidedly!

_Capt. Golding._ The Lancers look very well: they have got a fair
dress; but still they are mere light-dragoons. They are too new, and
have not yet acquired the polish of the Hussars.

_All the Mess._ Certainly not!—mere light-dragoons!

_Col. Diamond._ Besides, they have lately lost ground.—It has gone
abroad upon them. They can never hope to succeed.

_Several of the Mess._ How, pray Colonel?—What has happened?

_Col. Diamond._ They absolutely _dance_.

_Major Flowers._ I have heard the rumour.

_Capt. Tache._ Indeed!

_Lieut. Lavender._ Shocking!

_Cornet Small._ Horrible!

_Col. Diamond._ They dine so early as six, too.

_All the Mess._ Oh! Oh! that will never do.

_Major Flowers._ Besides, their scarlet trowsers are not wide enough;
and I have seen positively a grey hair on one of their whiskers. In
short, we must go to Lady Mary's ball, to cut them out at _once_.

_All the Mess._ Certainly, at once!

_Colonel_ (_to his servant_). John! I'll dress at twelve; and d' y'
hear, I'll wear my long ball spurs.

_Dr. Scott_ (_to his servant_). Sandy!

_Sandy._ Ser.

_Dr. Scott._ Is there a fire in my room?

_Sandy._ Yes, Ser.

_Dr. Scott._ Gang then an' mak' a bason o' gruel, an'—d'ye hear?—take
my snuff-box, an' fill it; an' put my slippers afore the fire.

    [_Exit Sandy at a walk._]

_Col. Diamond._ What, off! Doctor.

_Dr. Scott._ Yes, I'm gauin' to bed; an' if you a' consulted yer health
an' yer pockets, ye wad do sae likwise.

_All the Mess._ Ha! ha! ha! Good night! Good night!

_Dr. Scott._ I tell ye what lads,—yer a' gude sodgers in spite o' yir
claethes, an' yir gimcrackery, an' yir nonsense; for I've seen some o'
ye faight afore noo. Lord Wellington said that his dandy officers were
the best o' a'; an' maybe they are as gude as others; but I tell ye
what, it's na' by turning naight into day, an' whisking aboot amangst
a crood o' gigling lassies, that ye'll improve yoursels in the art
o' war, or the strength that is as useful an' necessary for it. Good
naight to ye a'!

_All the Mess._ Good night, Doctor, good night.

    [_Exit Dr. Scott._]

_Col. Diamond_ (_after a short pause_). “There's another star gone out.”

_Capt. Bright._ Bravo! Colonel, a good quotation.

_Cornet Lilly._ Very good indeed!—(_in a whisper_) Pray from whom is
it, Captain Bright?

_Capt. Bright._ From a very particular friend of mine—Lord Byron.

_Major Flowers._ I hope you have cut him. He is decidedly hostile to us.

_Capt. Bright._ I have never seen him since he left England. But
I meant to cut him ever since he published his scurrility in the
“Liberal.” He first abused the army, and then became a soldier himself.

_Col. Diamond._ But, Major, what does Lady Mary's card say? Have you
got one here?

_Major Flowers._ I have not.

_Cornet Small._ I have, Colonel, and here it is.

    [_Gives a card._]

_Col. Diamond_—(_reads_). “_Lady-a-um-compliments to the Officers of
the Nonpareil Hussars._” Why, what's all this? The _Officers_ of the
Nonpareil Hussars! I'll not go.

_All the Mess._ Why not, Colonel? Why not?

_Col._ I'm not invited.

_All the Mess._ Not invited!

_Col. Diamond._ No, I'm not invited, and of course will not go.
“_Officers_,” indeed! the card should run thus—“_To_ COLONEL DIAMOND,
_and the Officers of the &c._” Really it is a breach of etiquette that
I cannot submit to.

_Major Flowers._ 'Pon my honour, Colonel, I do not think there can be
any offence meant: pray let me entreat you to come.

_Col. Diamond._ No, Major, I feel—a—the—a—in short, it should have been
to “the _Colonel_ and the Officers.” Don't you think so?

_Major._ Perhaps it would have been more particular; but I do not think
it is of so much consequence, as to make you forego the delightful
society of Lady Fanny; for her ladyship will be there to a certainty.

    [_Colonel hums a tune._]

Do pray come, Colonel.

_All the Mess._ Yes, you must come, Colonel—come—come—come—Colonel!
Do Colonel—do come!

    [_All stand up, except the Colonel._]

_Col. Diamond._ Well, as you all so _particularly_ request it, I—a—will
go; but, 'pon my honour! I am determined to notice the neglect in a
proper manner to Lady Mary.

_All the Mess._ Bravo! Colonel! Bravo!

_Capt. Golding._ Pass the Madeira this way, Major; but first help
yourself.

    [_Each now takes a glass of Madeira—a Babel call for the
      servants immediately follows—“Tom! John! Jack! James!”
      and exeunt omnes, whistling and staggering._]



                    A DAUGHTER OF OSSIAN.


   “Il y a encore une autre espèce de larmes qui n'ont que de petites
  sources, qui coulent et se tarissent facilement: on pleure pour avoir
  la réputation d'être tendre; on pleure pour être plaint; on pleure
  pour être pleuré; enfin, on pleure pour éviter la honte de ne pleurer
  pas.”—_De la Rochefoucauld._


Who treads upon the field of death? Who sighs upon the winds of the
night, like the mourning ghost of the warrior, mingling its melancholy
tones with the shrieks of the passing owl, that lonely flaps his
pinions in the moonlight? Who walks amongst the slain? See, where the
figure glides with heedless step, its white robe streaming like a mist
of morning when the sun first glances on the mountain; now gazing on
the pale moon, now turning to the paler faces of the dead. Who walks
upon the bed of sleeping carnage? Who wakes the frighted night from her
horrid trance, and thus tempts her terrors? Is it the restless spirit
of a departed hero, or the ghost of the love-lorn maid? Is it light, or
is it air? Ah no! it is not light, it is not air; it is not the ghost
of the love-lorn maid; it is not the spirit of the departed hero. No,
no, no, no!—'tis Mrs. Jenkins of the 48th!!!

And it _was_ Mrs. Jenkins of the 48th. She, poor soul! was the victim
of early impressions. She was cradled in romance, and nursed in
air-built castles; she read of Ossian, and she became his adopted
daughter; she read of Sir Walter, and she became his adopted niece;
she was Lady Morgan's “sylph-like form,” and her voice was one of Tom
Moore's “Irish Melodies;” she could delight the eyes of the rude with
tambour-work and velvet-painting; she could ravish their ears with a
tune on the piano; she could finish a landscape in Indian ink, and play
the “Battle of Prague” without a stop. The admiration of her doating
parents, the envy of her female acquaintances, angelic, charming
Charlotte Clarke (now Mrs. Jenkins of the 48th) was all you could
desire.

Charlotte was bred at Portarlington boarding-school; there did she form
her mind—there did she learn that she had “a soul above buttons,” and
that love and glory were the “_be all and the end all_” of existence.
Trade! fie,—contaminate not the ethereal soul—dim not the halo that
surrounds such excellence, by the approach of such coarse and vulgar
matter! Charlotte despised it, even as her father loved it and gave to
it all his days.

Dublin is a martial city; the view of the royal barracks is a royal
sight. There did she love to go and gaze, and listen to the band, until
the tears stole down her lovely cheeks. She would then walk home,
and weep, and sleep, and dream of epaulettes both gold and silver,
of scarlet coats, of feathers and long swords. Her days (until after
tea-time) were passed in reading Newman's novels, and practising the
“_run_” of Braham. “HE _was famed for deeds of arms_; SHE _a maid of
envied charms_.” “_Young Henry was as brave a youth._” “_Hark where
martial music sounding far._” These were her songs; she practised
them in the morning with her hair in papers, and she sung them after
supper, (whenever she was at a “_party_”) with her interesting curls
upon her forehead, shading her blushes and the soft light of her
languid eyes. She loved the Rotunda-gardens in the summer evenings,
and she gloried in the ball, when winter hung upon the night; for both
in gardens of Rotunda, and in light of ball-room, the red coats ever
in her hopes, cut a figure in her eye, and a deeper in her heart. She
went to the Dargle and the Waterfall, to _Pool Avoca_,[7] and Killyny
(when ever she was invited), and among the Summer Sunday beauties of
the scene, full well she did enact her part. Her life was one bright
dream, beaming with sun-bright smiles and brighter tears. Her heart was
tender, and her will was strong. Need it be said, that such a maid fell
deeply in love? Alas! she did. The gentle Charlotte loved;—ah! deeply
loved—but who she could not tell! It was a form and yet it was not
matter, (no matter, indeed, whether it was or not); it was a hero, all
epaulettes and scarlet, white feathers, and still whiter pantaloons,
set out with sword and belt and sash and gorget; a hero at all points,
whose name, nevertheless, was not to be found in the army list: in
short the being was a lovely paradox—a thing and yet a nothing, she
saw it in her dreams, as well as in her wakeful hours; it never left
her side waking or asleep; _there_ was the form of her darling lover,
like Moore's “Knight of Killarney,” O'Donohue and his white horse on a
May-day morning,

         “That youth who beneath the blue lake lies

                      ·  ·  ·  ·  ·  ·

          While white as the sails some bark unfurls,
          When newly launch'd thy long mane curls,
           Fair steed, fair steed, as white and free,”

dancing and prancing on the winds; there he was in a splendid uniform,
(some say with _buff_ facings, some say green,) and she woo'd it, and
she woo'd it, till her cheek grew pale, and her eye lost half its
brightness. Every officer she met on the Mall was likened to her lover
in her “mind's eye;” but they were not her lovers. Captains Thompson,
Jones, and Pentilton; Lieutenants Jacobs, Raulins, and Flagherty;
Ensigns Gibbs, Mullins, and Mortimer; all resembled the object of her
love, but she refused to acknowledge their identity with it. At length
young Jenkins, an Ensign of Militia, realized the aerial form she so
long had loved. Yes, he did actually embody it; and at the holy altar,
even in spite of crusty fathers

             “Who make a jest of sweet affection,”

the amiable and adorable Charlotte Clarke became the gentle Mrs.
Jenkins.

“War's clarion blew!” Napoleon and Wellington struggled like two
giants for ascendancy. Ensign Jenkins volunteered into the line, and
proceeded to the fields of Lusitania. Could Charlotte stay behind?
No! the briny waters soon bore her, with her husband and seven other
officers (all members of the mess), to Portugal. Ensign Jenkins was
ordered to the front. Could Mrs. Jenkins stay behind? No! she braved
the fatigues of the march and the horrors of the battle, like a true
heroine: she loved the 48th, and she would go along with it, through
thick and thin. The parching sun, the drenching storm, the unmoistened
biscuit, and the chill damp bivouac alike she would endure.—“_Love and
Glory_” carried her through all. It was a sight worth all the jewels of
romance to see—a thought worth all heaven to contemplate—the sight of
Mrs. Charlotte Jenkins, like a “ministering angel,” standing amidst the
terrors of the field!

The battle raged; the slain were many; the regiment covered themselves
with glory—but poor Jenkins fell! The moon arose upon the field of
battle, and shone upon the dead—the fight was over. Could Mrs. Jenkins
rest without her husband? Oh, no! Forth she hied to search out the body
of her Jenkins, dead as he was, at the dead hour of night. She gazed at
the moon—she gazed upon the slain—and she thought upon the days of her
teens, of Newman's novels, and Portarlington.

A tender-hearted sympathetic soul, by name Captain Rogers of the
Grenadiers, watched the fair Charlotte's steps (for she had told
him she would go and seek her Jenkins) and gently led her from the
sickening scene.

Poor Jenkins was not found; but dead, no doubt he was, for there were
several witnesses of his fall. He had fallen upon his face—the Sergeant
lifted him from the earth, but he did not speak—life was no longer
there; so the Sergeant left him lying on the field, for he had yet to
knock some others down.

The truth struck strong upon fair Charlotte's heart; her bursting
bosom was saved from rending by a well-timed flood of tears, which
the Captain politely wiped away. “Cease, lady, cease this useless,
unavailing grief,” sighed the sympathetic Rogers; “if thou hast lost
a husband, still are a thousand left for thy choice;—and though one
Jenkins may be gone, another Jenkins may supply his place.”

Oh! to be thus addressed amidst romantic war! and by a Captain, too, of
Grenadiers!—I cannot, will not further—

Draw, draw the veil upon her weakness! But stay, I must—I must reveal
it—she was comforted; and not many nights passed o'er her widowed bed,
till ... married was Charlotte to her Rogers—as well as in the field
they _could_ be married, where parsons are but rare as all who know
allow.

In joyous honeymoon the pair repaired to Lisbon (for Rogers was
detached upon a special duty), mayhap because the blushing bride wished
for retirement from a scene which must have ever reminded her of Ensign
Jenkins. But be that as it may, a month had scarcely told its thirty
days (or thirty-one, I know not which), when one dark night, such as
the wolf delights in, a solemn knock was heard at the outer door of
the house where rested Rogers and his lady, “Who comes?” The door is
opened—a figure stands at the threshold.—It is Ensign Jenkins!!! O
appalling sight! “A ghost, a ghost! my husband's ghost!” the frighted
Mrs. Rogers cries; “Oh, take him from my sight!”

“No, thank you, Ma'am,” replies the visitor; “I am no ghost, but Ensign
Jenkins of the 48th!!!”

No more; I'll say no more, and wherefore should I? Family affairs I
leave as I find them; but this I must relate. The Ensign was not dead,
but speechless when the Sergeant lifted him from off the turf; he had
received a knock-down blow, but soon recovered and was taken prisoner
on the field. From French captivity he then escaped; but ah! not time
enough to save his lady love.

Oh cursed chance! that Sergeant's false and deadly report should thus
put virtuous woman's love to proof!


                            REMARK.

If there be any romantic lady attached to the army, who sees in
herself a close resemblance to the Ephesian matron, or my heroine, the
Author beseeches she will not make it known; but let the tale and its
allusions, and its moral, sink into “the tomb of all the _Jenkinses_.”

When the _48th regiment_ was selected for the purpose of giving a local
habitation to the Author's imaginary hero and his love, it was only
because that number came first to hand. Nothing could be further from
his ideas, than to make the slightest disrespectful allusion to that
corps, which, as is well known, was and is one of the finest in the
service.

FOOTNOTE:

[7] Vale of Avoca.



                         THE MULETEER.


      Light on the mountain was fading away,
      Dimly 'twas closing the long summer's day;
      But light on the heart of the muleteer shone,
      Which brightened each step that his mule gallop'd on.
      For long had he follow'd the dreary campaign,
      Long sigh'd for the maid of his bosom again;
      And when from the valley her home met his view,
      His heart on before his mule rapidly flew.

      Silent was night—but more silent the cot—
      Ruin and waste was the village's lot:
      The foot of the Frenchman there heavily trod—
      The track was seen deep in the villager's blood.
      The Muleteer called—but no voice could he hear,
      He look'd for his love—but no woman was there;
      The flash of despair though his brain wildly flew;
      And he wept o'er the ruins of all that he knew.

      Wept not he long; for the flame of his woe
      Burnt every thought, but revenge on the foe;
      His mule wild he turn'd on the hills of Navarre,
      He girded his sword, and he flew to the war.
      There, loud—as he gave each invader his doom,
      He call'd on his love—on his country—his home;
      But the death-ball at last through his sad bosom sped,
      And the muleteer sunk with the slain of his blade.[8]

This little ballad has its origin in the following pathetic story,
which I heard from the only surviving relative of the unfortunate
muleteer—his mother. It was in the town, or rather village of Ernani,
on the high road from Tolosa to France, that the old widow beguiled
a winter's night with the recital of it, at her poor but hospitable
hearth, when I was on the march to Fontarabia, in the last of our
peninsular campaigns. The poor woman supported herself by selling
cider, butter, cheese, &c. to the passing armies of both French and
English, and her house, as well as others, served as a quarter for
the soldiers. She was one of the few who remained in the village; or
rather who returned to it, after it was first sacked by the French; for
she had lost all, and had nothing more to fear. About four years had
elapsed since her son's death; and her grief had changed to a settled
melancholy. Still the recital of her calamities drew tears from her.

Her son was a muleteer, who traded between Pampalona and Passages—a
young man of about twenty-three years of age: he was employed by
others, as well as on his mother's account, who was a widow left in a
considerable business, to manage for herself and infant son, whom she
bred up to industrious habits; and she had succeeded in laying by a
small provision for the future, when Napoleon's ambition, which, in
1808, sent a French army into Spain, extended its baneful effects even
to her humble dwelling.

The house in which this widow dwelt, was situated at the extremity of
the village. It must have once been a most enchanting little home to
an unambitious mind; for even at the time I saw it, ruin as it was,
its garden trodden down, its trees broken and torn up, its fences
destroyed, and its walks disfigured—a charm lingered over it that
caught every passenger's attention. The scenery around gave it a
peculiar beauty: the blue mountains, the dark valleys, the luxuriance
of foliage, the deep green dell, the falling water, and the clear sky
still remained;—these the soldiers of France could not destroy, and
from such scenery did the wreck of the widow's cottage derive its rural
halo. It reminded me of the fair Ophelia in her ruin,—so beautiful,
so scathed and sorrowful! If a picture of the spot were painted by a
Salvator Rosa, it would afford a melancholy pleasure to every beholder;
but the reality—the poor widow and her breaking heart, gave too much
pain to render a visit to her cheerless home at all enviable.

To have seen her sitting in the only tenantable apartment of her once
comfortable cottage, thinly but cleanly clad—a white apron and kerchief
covering the half worn out black stuff gown; two broken chairs, a
crazy table, a straw pallet, and a few earthen panella's,[9] forming
all her furniture; to have contemplated the fixed melancholy of
her thin, worn, but once handsome countenance, her gentle manners,
and her patient submission to the will of Heaven, under the deepest
affliction—and yet to have been unable to alleviate her distress, could
give no pleasure to the heart, unless to those who love to sympathise
with grief and drop a tear with the unfortunate. Yet even such would
have involuntarily said, on quitting the melancholy scene, “I wish I
had not heard the poor old widow's story.”

Her son Diego the muleteer, when the French first entered Spain,
under the orders of Buonaparte, was about twenty-two years of age,
and had the reputation of being an exemplary young man, obedient, and
affectionate to his mother—his only relation, except an uncle, who also
resided in Ernani, and whose farm the young muleteer no doubt would
have inherited, after his death, had he survived him.

Under the uncle's auspices, Diego had courted a young girl, nearly
related to a respectable family, at the head of which was a clergyman
residing in the convent of St. Ignatio de Loyola, but a few leagues
from Ernani. The girl's father lived within a hundred yards of Diego
and his mother, and from infancy the young couple became attached to
each other.

Although the employment of a muleteer is, in general, considered
beneath the class to which Diego's sweetheart belonged, yet there was
no objection to her marriage, on account of the excellent character the
young man bore, and the expectations which he had of future success in
life. The marriage would have taken place as soon as a house, which the
muleteer's uncle was building, might be completed. In this house the
young couple were to have resided, and to it was attached an excellent
farm, to be managed by him for the uncle. These happy arrangements,
alas! were broken by the columns of the French army. Like mountain
torrents they poured over the Pyrenees, sweeping the rustic comforts
of the peaceful Spaniards before them. Requisitions for cattle and
carriages were enforced, and Diego, amongst many, was obliged to march
with his mules along with the invading army, wherever his directors
thought fit.

Short was the time allowed for the sad yet endearing farewell of
the lovers, and the interchange of blessings between the mother and
the son. The uncle and the widow accompanied him a league beyond
the village; but the poor girl, who now for the first time felt the
bitterness of life, remained weeping at home, almost dead with grief;
which was not alleviated by the return of Diego's mother and uncle,
whose first care, after parting with the youth, was to go to her he
loved so well. The house—the whole village was a place of mourning; for
every family, in some way or other, had but too much cause for sorrow.

Poor old woman! when she told me of the last moment she passed with her
lost son, she sobbed as if her heart would have burst. “Oh!” said she,
“I was giving my dear child a prayer-book and a silk handkerchief, for
the sake of remembrance, when one of the dragoons struck him with the
flat of his sword, and ordered him to go on; he could only say, ‘God
bless you, mother!’... I never saw him again.”

For six months after this separation, the family of Diego heard no
tidings of him; for, no doubt, his letters, as well as theirs, were
opened and destroyed by the invaders; however, at the end of that
time, a muleteer, who had been pressed along with Diego, returned, by
permission, to die from ill health, and he brought letters from him to
the almost despairing friends. It appeared by these, that he was along
with the army in the south of Spain, and had but little hopes of being
able to return to his beloved Joanna, his relatives, and his projected
farm-house, for at least another half-year; but he did not even at that
period return—nor for upwards of a year after.

During this absence Mina and his intrepid Guerillas were incessant in
their annoyance of the French, throughout the province in which the
widow lived; frequently surprising strong parties of the enemy, even in
the town of Ernani. So desperate were these warriors, that they would
often appear on the high and broken hill, close under which the city
of Tolase stands; and when the French regiments were on parade beneath
them in the square, would open an unexpected volley of musketry on
them, which never failed in taking good effect; and before they could
be subject to retaliation they were generally off. It was an attack of
this description, headed by Mina, which afforded a pretence for the
destruction of Ernani.

The Guerillas had halted there for half a day, and furnished themselves
with provisions. A French regiment, hot from Bayonne, and eager for
plunder, marched in, as Mina's men marched out; and at an ambuscade
upon the road, received a most annoying fire from the Guerillas,
without being able to pursue them. The regiment immediately commenced
the work of destruction in the village:—the houses were sacked and set
on fire; the inhabitants murdered; and, amongst the general ruin, was
the widow's cottage. Diego's uncle was sabred in his own house, and the
innocent girl, who was all to the absent muleteer, still more cruelly
treated. Her poor father, in protecting her from the brutal violence
of the soldiers, was shot through the head, and the unhappy girl
herself died in three weeks after at Escotia, a village in the Basque
mountains, whither she and the mother of Diego fled. Her eyes were
closed by the widow's hand, and her last words were her “_dear, dear
Diego!_”

Shortly after the sacking of the village the Muleteer returned. He had
deserted with great difficulty from the southern army, taking with him
his favourite mule; and was pacing in the highest possible spirits,
singing along the road from Tolosa, when the tops of the houses,
amongst which his early and happy days were passed, met his eye. It was
in the evening. The sight of his own Joanna's home, and of his beloved
mother's cottage, made him urge on his mule. Light was his heart and
light his song; he was then about to enjoy, as he thought, the happiest
hours of his existence. It was quite dark when he arrived;—he rode up
to the house of his Joanna; there was no light—no sound: he entered
trembling, for there was no door, and his brain reeled as he beheld in
the twilight the ruins of the house. He ran to his mother's cottage,
this was no better; distracted then he entered the village;—all was
desolate,—no living creature but a wild dog crossed his way. He entered
his uncle's house, and there upon the floor lay the murdered body,
naked and bruised; he lifted it up, and by the grey light from a
sashless window recognized the features of his uncle. The truth now
flashed on him: this scene of horror was only one of those which he was
forced to witness while with the army from which he had deserted. For
a few moments he was senseless, but this only preceded the tempest of
his mind;—he ran back to his mule, mounted, and galloped to Rinteria,
about a league distant. Here the first persons he met outside the
town were two French soldiers; in a moment he was off his mule, and
before time for a thought had passed, they both lay bleeding at his
feet: he killed them with his cochilio; there was but little noise,
for they never spoke. Breathless and raging, he remounted, and rode
on to the house of one he had known—a former companion; there he
learned the fate of his Joanna,—that both she and his mother were dead.
Diego's hands were covered with blood; and as he cursed the authors of
Ernani's destruction, he exultingly showed to his friend the red drops
of retribution, and told him that he had already struck down two of
the invaders to the earth. The young man, to whom he confessed this
circumstance, was the person who afterwards informed his mother of
it. He declared that such was the state of Diego's mind, when he came
to him at Renteria, that he would have destroyed himself, but for the
satisfaction he felt in having killed the Frenchmen. I conversed with
this young man at Renteria afterwards, for he returned to his home when
the British arrived at Passages.

The alarm was now beginning to spread. Diego's friend was not less
the enemy of the French than himself. Mina was in the mountains. Two
excellent horses were in the stable of Diego's friend, belonging to a
French colonel: these, with a brace of pistols and two swords, they
seized during the absence of the servants; and, together with Diego's
mule, forded the river, and took a by-way across the hill, towards the
Tolosa road; the favourite mule was turned loose in a fertile valley,
and the next day both the travellers came up with Mina's party, which
they joined with a shout of “Viva Espagna!”

Many a Frenchman fell by the hand of Diego—he had lost all; he only
lived to avenge the destruction of his home and his happiness. No
Guerilla was before him in the attack,—he was the first in, and the
last out of the battle: and if gratified revenge could compensate for
the ruin of tender affections, Diego was amply satisfied. But no,
nothing could appease him,—the thought of his misery burned like Ætna's
fires within his breast,—no blood could extinguish it. With only seven
or eight others, he has been known to have surprised a party of French
soldiers three times that number. Often has he watched their movements
dressed as a simple muleteer, and when any favourable opportunity has
occurred, he would hasten back to his companions, buckle on his sword,
and return, thus reinforced, to attack any straggling band of the enemy
drinking in a wine house, perhaps, or otherwise off their guard. To set
fire to the house, and then dash in upon their victims and slaughter
them, before they were aware of their danger, was a very usual mode
of proceeding with Diego and his associates; after which exploits the
Guerillas would disappear as rapidly as they had come.

At one of these attacks the Muleteer met his death. His friend was
beside him when he fell, and from him I heard the fight described.
The Guerillas consisted of between fifty and sixty prisoners, and
had received information that some mules loaded with valuables, and
escorted by a company of French infantry, were on their way from Bilboa
to Bayonne, and had not yet passed a defile in the mountains about
two leagues and a half from the former city. Through this defile runs
a narrow river close to the high road. On one side of this road and
river rises a rugged mountain, whose steep sides are abruptly broken in
several parts, and at others hang out over the depth below. In various
shelves of the height are to be seen full-grown trees, the roots of
which stretch out from the broken earth, and serve for the support
of creeping and climbing underwood. This bold mountain continues
unintersected for at least half a mile; and as the opposite side of the
road beneath is equally flanked by rocks, the invaders, in forcing this
passage, were wholly at the mercy of the enemy above: and before they
took the precaution of securing the heights, whole divisions were often
cut off by a handful of men, who would deliberately march on with the
French column, firing upon it as often as they could load, doing the
greatest execution.

To this pass, then, hastened the Guerilla party, and arrived about an
hour before the mules and escort appeared in sight. As soon as the
French had advanced well into the defile, the Guerillas appeared above
on the heights, dismounted, and opened fifteen muskets upon them. The
fire was returned, but with no effect; for one step backwards brought
the Guerillas under cover of the craggy verge of the height. The French
increased their speed to double quick time, but the Guerillas kept
up such a fire upon them, that twenty men out of about seventy, were
strewed along the road, dead or wounded. The Guerillas now laid down
their muskets, mounted, and fell in with the remainder of their own
men, in order to get before the French, and thus finish the business by
a charge. They trotted on, and headed the escort very soon. They now
descended to the road, and lay in ambush about a quarter of a mile from
the enemy. A projecting arm of a rock, covered with trees, concealed
them from the French, whose column was now passing, and in a moment, a
most desperate charge from the Guerillas broke them up. The mules took
fright and increased the confusion, while the sabres of the Spaniards
finished in a very short time the bloody affair. Diego's horse was in
the midst of the French, and there fell with him, wounded. He fought
on foot with both dagger and sabre, and had just brought to his feet a
French sergeant, when one of the men who lay near him, wounded from his
sabre, levelled his piece at Diego, and shot him through the breast.
He was the only one his brave party lost, while every single Frenchman
was either killed by them or the peasants, who gladly finished what the
Guerillas began.

This was the fate of the unhappy Diego. He did not die for an hour
after he fell. His comrades carried him into the mountains, and there
he breathed his last. But before he died, he took from his pocket the
prayer-book and the silk handkerchief which his mother gave him the day
he parted from her, and consigned them, as his last gift of friendship,
to his companion, with a request that he would offer a mass for his
poor mother's soul, and never cease to pursue the French with vengeance
while they had a foot in Spain. Then kissing the lock of hair, which
he held, he said “Do not take this out of my hand when I am dead, but
bury it with me: it is the hair of my own dear Joanna.”

His wish was obeyed, and he was buried just as he lay, under a wild
chestnut-tree, where a Frenchman had never trod. Peaceful be the bed
of the Guerilla for ever! May the invader never disturb the grass that
waves over his dust!

When the poor widow had told me the short history of her hapless son,
she went to a little box, and with the tears streaming down her pale
cheeks, brought me the handkerchief and the prayer-book;—“There,” says
she, “is all I have left of my poor son!” She staggered with grief and
debility as she walked across the room with the treasure of her heart.
I took them with reverence, and concealed my tears by examining them;
for I will not deny it, I could not help weeping. The poor woman sat
down, and rocked herself to and fro in silent grief, while I turned
over the leaves of the prayer-book without knowing why I did so. At
this moment my servant entered the room to prepare supper, and I left
the house to indulge in my thoughts for half an hour alone amongst the
ruins of Ernani.

FOOTNOTES:

[8] These verses are adapted to a Spanish glee, usually sung by the
muleteers, and set for four voices. Those who have been in Spain during
the British war there, will recollect the air by the following popular
gingle, sung mostly by the muleteers while travelling.

            “General Morillo
               E su division,
             Rumpe la cabeçà
               De Napoleon.”
                             Tre lo ri, tri lo, &c.

[9] Cooking-pots.



                        RATIONS, OR ELSE!


General Picton, like Otway's _Pierre_, was a “bold rough soldier,” that
stopped at nothing; he was a man whose decisions were as immutable,
as his conceptions were quick and effective, in all things relative
to the command which he held. While in the Peninsula, an assistant
commissary, (commonly called assistant-commissary _General_, the rank
of which appointment is equal to a Captain's,) through very culpable
carelessness, once failed in supplying with rations the third division
under General Picton's command; and on being remonstrated with by
one of the principal officers of the division, on account of the
deficiency, declared, with an affected consequence unbecoming the
subject, “that he should not be able to supply the necessary demand for
some days.” This was reported to the General, who instantly sent for
the Commissary, and laconically accosted him with:—

“Do you see that tree, Sir?”

“Yes, General, I do.”

“Well, if my division be not provided with rations to-morrow, by twelve
o'clock, I'll _hang_ you on that very tree.”

The confounded Commissary muttered, and retired. The threat was
alarming: so he lost not a moment in proceeding at a full gallop to
head quarters, where he presented himself to the Duke of Wellington,
complaining most emphatically of the threat which General Picton had
held out to him.

“Did the General say he would _hang_ you, Sir?” demanded his Grace.

“Yes, my Lord—he did,” answered the complainant.

“Well, Sir,” returned the Duke, “if he said so, believe me he _means_
to do it, and you have no remedy but to provide the rations!”

The spur of necessity becomes a marvellous useful instrument in
sharpening a man to activity: and the Commissary found it so; for the
rations were all up, and ready for delivery, at twelve o'clock the next
day.



                        INFERNAL DUTY.


       “Down, down to hell, and say I sent thee thither.”

                                                 _Shakspeare._


Captain Thompson, of the artillery, while serving in the Peninsula, had
the luck to lose, in the space of one campaign, every man of the heavy
brigade which he commanded, some by sickness, but most by the enemy;
and he found himself at last, not only the _captain_ of the brigade,
but, in his own person, the _brigade itself_. Finding, however, that
a commanding officer, without men to command, was neither useful nor
ornamental, he applied personally to the Adjutant-general, for advice
under the circumstances, observing, that he wished to be appointed to
some other duty. The Adjutant-general, at the moment the application
was made to him, happened to be proceeding across the village in which
they were quartered, to Lord Wellington; and said he would speak to
his Lordship, requesting Thompson to call on him, for the purpose of
knowing the Commander of the forces' will on the subject. When the
Adjutant-general mentioned the matter to Lord Wellington, his Lordship
was very busy with a map of the Peninsula, and did not give any answer
regarding the captain and his _brigade_; but continued to attend to the
subject he was then engaged with.

At length the Adjutant-general got up to retire, and amongst other
things, asked his Lordship again, where he should send Captain
Thompson; “Oh, send him to h——ll,” was the reply, and the interview
ended.

When the last man of the brigade called upon the Adjutant-general, to
know the result of his application, he was accosted by that officer in
a grave and official manner:—

“Captain Thompson,” said he, “I am sorry we are going to lose you; and
still more sorry to learn the sort of duty which the Commander of the
forces has assigned to so deserving an officer.”

The Captain, who was a most gallant and deserving, but hot-tempered and
impetuous man, interrupted the Adjutant-general thus: “God bless me! I
hope his Lordship is not going to send me home.”

“I don't know that,” was the answer.

“I'm sure I have done my duty since I have joined his Lordship's army,”
continued the Captain, “and I trust I shall not be so far negatively
disgraced.”

“My dear Captain,” replied the Adjutant-general, “it is not a very
disgraceful duty to which you are appointed, considering the very
respectable men who have preceded you upon it. The fact is, that the
Commander of the forces, knowing you to be a _devil of a fire-eater_,
has directed us to send you to _h——ll_, and here is your route,”
handing him an official direction of the marches by which he was to
arrive at his destination.

The stages mentioned in the route were whimsical in the extreme, and
there were several good points made; the last-mentioned place on the
road was _London_.

When Thompson read the paper, his weather-beaten jaws relaxed into a
smile; and putting the document into his pocket, he drily remarked,
that Lord Wellington had always been in the habit of giving him _hot
work_. “It is not the first time,” said he, “that I was sent to _clear
the way_ for him; however, when I arrive, I'll look out for _warm
quarters_ for his Lordship and _staff_. But there is a mistake in the
route, I suspect; you see ‘_London_’ is the last stage mentioned.”

“Yes,” replied the Adjutant-general, “and depend upon it that is the
nearest way to the infernal regions.”

“Excuse me,” rejoined Thompson, “there is a much better.”

“What is that?” asked the other.

“Why,” said the Captain, “_Wellington_, to be sure.”

The joke was soon carried to the Commander of the forces, and his
Lordship, with the best humour in the world, changed Thompson's route,
and took him off the _infernal_ duty to which he had previously ordered
him.



                  NIGHTS IN THE GUARD-HOUSE.

                          No. II.


“Hoo' comes it, that ye ha' got an' extra guard the naight,
Mulligan—Eh?”

“Musha 'pon my sowl, Sargeant M'Fadgen, it's becaise the Captain
ordthered it.”

“Poh! mun, I ken that weel; but the Captain wonna gi' ye a guard for
naething, wad he?”

“No, faith! it's _something_ to me; for I've had three this week
before; that is, three nights out o' bed in my reglar juty; so isn't it
something to be ordthered another night by way o' recreation?”

“Aweel, but what ha' ye been doin, lad?”

“Faith! I was doin' nothing at all; an' it was for that I got my
guard.”

“Hoo's that?”

“I was ordthered to put out the light in my barrack-room every night at
nine o'clock, an' I did not do it last night—that 's all.”

“But you were doin' a wee bit o' something, I'll warrant, Pat. Ye war a
liften yer han' to your muzzle—eh?”

“O! that's nothing at all at all. We had a dthrop to be sure. That
fellow over there on the stool—(_you_, mister Jack Andrews, I
mane)—kept a tellin' us such stories, that I forgot the time entirely.
Hooh! the divil may care—Jack is here now, and Corporal O'Callaghan
to boot; so what signifies a guard, if they'll only tip us a bit of a
song: what do you say, Sargeant—eh?”

“Why, Pat, I've no objection to that, if there be no muckle noise aboot
it.”

Thus spoke the Sergeant, and his worthy private, Mulligan: the latter,
by way of punishment, was ordered to an extra guard, for being a little
out of rule, as above-mentioned; but his punishment was given him by
an Officer who had fought and bled with him, and who regarded him with
kindly feelings. Pat's delinquency was reported to the Captain by the
Orderly Officer, and he could do no less. However, there was not a
better nor a more respected man in the corps, than Patrick Mulligan,
of the grenadier company. Like many other good soldiers, he was fond
of society and the all-powerful potyeen. So when the Orderly Officer
was going round at nine o'clock, he put the light under a wooden pale,
and when all was, as he thought, safe, he returned to the convivial
glass with his comrades; but the officer was one of those pipe-clay
martinets, just joined from the half-pay of a militia regiment, and
although he had never seen in his life as much actual service as poor
Pat had done in one month of his existence, (and perhaps knew much
less in reality about the duties of a soldier,) he stole back to the
barracks, and surprised the party of carousing Peninsulars. His report
was made, and the men were punished.

The practice of keeping lights in the barrack rooms, after the
proper hour for extinguishing them, cannot be justified; but there
are infractions of general rules in the army, which, if not to be
tolerated, should not be sought after with too scrutinizing an eye. A
good officer knows when to pry and when to keep his eyes shut; but
that was not the case with Pat Mulligan's Orderly Officer.

“Weel Jock,” said the Corporal, “ye maun gi' us a lilt—you or the
Corporal.”

“With all my heart,” replied Jack Andrews, “if Corporal O'Callaghan is
willing to join in with his second.”

“Faith! I've no objection in the world to conthribute to the harmony of
the guard, if my voice doesn't frighten you, lads.”

“Neever mind, Corporal, your voice is na so bad as the Highland pipes,
nor yet so loud. But before ya begin, here tak' a——.”

It is impossible to say what the Sergeant offered the Corporal; but it
has been since seriously hinted at by Pat Mulligan, and some others.
Whatever it was, I have no business to blab—even if I thought it
nothing less than pure Inishowen: however, when compliments had passed,
and all the men were comfortably seated round the fire, the Corporal
and Jack Andrews sung the following verses to a beautiful Biscayan
air:—


                    THE FRIAR OF ST. SEBASTIAN.

      Deep the matin-bell toll'd from Benedict's tower,
      Long the Friar alone had sighed for the hour,
          When all were at rest—
      All but the gentlest lady of Spain
          Who loved him the best.
      In secret he gave her his passion again,
          Unholy, unblest:
      His lamp of religion was clouded by love,
      Too thick and too dark to be seen from above!

      Soon the Friar's boat came her bower beneath,
      While Sebastian's rock was silent as death,
          And gloomy, and steep.
      Soft she descended, while, close to her breast,
          Her baby lay asleep;
      Gentlest innocent, long is thy rest,
          Long, long in the deep!
      O Friar! the depth of Sebastian's wave
      Cannot cover the crime or the little one's grave.

      Light the little boat skimmed the moon-covered sea,
      Guilt fell dark on the dawn that pointed their way.
          Woe followed their flight:
      Soon they were brought to St. Benedict's tower—
          The deed came to light.
      Down to the dungeon the lovers they bore
          On St. Benedict's night.
      The lamp of religion had scarcely a ray
      To chase the deep gloom of their prison away.

      None can tell of the fate that either befell;
      Yet on holy record 'tis noted full well
          In Benedict's tower.
      Often the sentinel, trembling, fears
          The matin-bell hour:
      Often the sentinel fancies he hears
          Heaven's punishing pow'r;
      And the moans of dying grow loud in his mind,
      As the Friar and Lady flit by on the wind.

At the conclusion of this ballad, the door of the guard-house flew
open, and the noise which it made, together with the sudden flapping of
the window-shutters, astonished the whole guard, and terrified one or
two. The wind roared, the night was as dark as chaos, and the song had
wound the soldiers' minds up to a climax. They, for an instant forgot
themselves, when the door was thrown open. Perhaps they expected a
visit from the Friar himself, accompanied by the Lady, to remonstrate
with them on the impropriety of thus disturbing their departed spirits.
There was no very great demonstration of fear; but even soldiers—and
soldiers used to behold the dying and the dead, cannot be always
prepared against the effects of romance and music allied against them.
None fell from their seats, nor was any stool overturned; but there
was a certain shuffling and huddling up together, which sufficiently
demonstrated to the sentry at the door, that his trick (for _he_ was
the ghost that opened the door,) had the effect he intended. He laughed
without, and the guard laughed within; but none had the _right of
laugh_ except the sentry himself; which, to do him justice, he rightly
enjoyed.

“Shut the door, then, God dom ye! for a blatherinskate, and mind yar
duty,” roared out Sergeant M'Fadgen to the sentry, who obeyed the
peremptory words as soon as he had expended his laugh in the dark;
and order thus being restored, Jack Andrews was unanimously requested
to tell the story of the “_Friar and the Lady_,” as he heard it at
St. Sebastian: to this he assented, and gave it in something like the
following words:—

“You all know, lads, that when the storming of the town was over,
we took the duty there. Well, in the house where I was quartered,
there lived nobody but an old couple: the man had been a smuggler,
and had once been a prisoner of war in England, so that he managed by
his intercourse with British and Americans, to speak English pretty
tolerably. The old woman was a regular Basquentian mountaineer, with
scarcely a bit of flesh on her bones, and not less than eighty years of
age. This old couple had returned to St. Sebastian to occupy the house
of a leather-seller, who retired from the town before the siege. And
the house was certainly in a complete state of dilapidation, with the
exception of the ground-floor; it had been on fire during the siege,
and although the flames had not made much havoc in it, yet the shot and
shell had done enough to reduce it to a complete wreck. Here I used to
sit with the old pair of a night, talking of various subjects, and it
was from the old man I heard the particulars of the ‘_Friar and the
Lady_.’ He told me that his wife lived in the capacity of waiting-maid
with the heroine of the tale, and that the convent of St. Benedict, to
which the friar belonged, was in the same street where we then resided.
The convent in which the young lady lived was at the extremity of the
town, near the sea, which the back windows looked out upon, from an
elevated rock. You have all seen the rock, yourselves.

“The young lady was about seventeen years of age; she had been admitted
as a novice in the convent of Santa Clara, and was to be made a nun in
about ten or twelve months after the period of her becoming acquainted
with the friar. He was on very familiar terms with the mother abbess,
as well as the whole of the establishment; for he was universally
celebrated for piety and wisdom: his age was about thirty-five. This
_holy_ gentleman managed matters so that he got the better of the
novice's virtue, and the consequences were that she became pregnant:
they contrived to conceal all appearances of her frailty; and the holy
father, in order to preserve his reputation, prevailed upon the novice
to elope with him, under a promise of removing her to Italy, whither he
proposed to follow her, and to settle in that country. The night was
fixed for carrying this plan into effect,—this was about a week before
the day on which she was to take the veil—the friar procured a boat,
and with it came to the back of the convent at midnight; the novice
was prepared, and bade adieu to the walls of her sisterhood for ever.
She entered the boat, and the friar easily rowed it along the coast
towards the port of Passages, for it was a fine moonlight night, and
the sea was as bright as a looking-glass. Before they had proceeded
many yards from the beach the young lady became ill, and in half an
hour was delivered of a fine boy in the boat: there were no clothes for
the little stranger, and the friar was determined it should not long
require them, for he sunk it remorselessly into the deep water close to
the rocks, and ended all its wants in a moment.

“The baby was washed on shore next morning stiff and dead. There
was a black silk band, with a clasp, twisted round its little leg,
by accident, or more likely by the providence of God, for it was
recognized as belonging to the unfortunate novice of St. Clara's
convent. Enquiries soon took place; the guilty friar and his victim
were discovered at an obscure house in the town of Passages, and taken
back to St. Sebastian. The influence of the clergy prevented a public
trial for the murder, lest the holy church should be scandalized; but
neither Friar nor Lady were ever afterwards seen, and it is believed to
this day, that they were either privately put to death, or imprisoned
in the Convent for life. The old woman declares they were chained in
separate dungeons, and starved to death; but this only rests upon her
own assertion; however, most of the people of St. Sebastian implicitly
believe that the ghosts of both visit the sea-shore every full moon;
and so much did their stories about ‘_The Friar and the Lady_’ affect
one of our lads, that it nearly killed him.”

“Wha' dy' ye mean,” said the Sergeant.

“I mean John Thomas, the Welshman. You remember we were on guard one
night after the siege of St. Sebastian, on the top of the high hill
in the middle of the town, where the fort stands, and into which
the French retired. Well, this John Thomas was sentry; he was then
only a raw boy, just come from among the goats and ghosts of his
native mountains. It was exactly twelve o'clock, and a fine moonshine
night. You could see the wide Bay of Biscay below your feet; the high
Pyrenees, all misty on the right; and close under you the ruined town.
I suppose the young fellow was superstitious; but be that as it may,
he burst into the guard-room without his musket, fell down on the
floor, against which he cut his forehead, and struggled in a fit for
half an hour. He was taken down to the regimental hospital, and had
three fits before the next morning. When he came quite to himself, he
declared that he saw the Friar of St. Sebastian and the Lady beside him
on the hill, and that the Friar held a dead infant in his hand, which
he dashed down into the sea. Of course, this vision was the effect of
his boyish fears and superstition; but it certainly is a fact that the
lad nearly lost his life by it, for I heard our doctor himself say so.
The poor fellow was afterwards killed at the sortie of Bayonne.”

“I remember the lad weel, Jock; but wha made the sang aboot it?”
demanded Sergeant M'Fadgen.

“The Captain himself wrote the song,” replied Andrews, “and Corporal
O'Callaghan taught me the air.”

“By my sowl,” said O'Callaghan, “I never hard an air I like betther.
I used to sit for hours listening to the boat-women all singing it in
chorus. I used to cross with them from Passages to Renteria of an
evening, for no other purpose than to hear them.”

“Haud yer tongue, Corporal,” observed Sergeant M'Fadgen. “It's na' for
a sang that ye wad stay sae lang amongst a parcel o' bonny lasses like
them.”—

“TURN OUT THE GUARD!” roared the sentry: and out the guard turned,
leaving Patrick Mulligan in quiet possession of the old arm chair, and
a blazing fire.



                    THE FATE OF YOUNG GORE.


              Stars that shine and fall,
                The flower that droops in springing;
              These, alas! are types of all—
                To which our hearts are clinging.

                                                 _Moore._


Eight bullets pierced this young man's body! In the full light of glory
and in the warm lap of love he died, esteemed, honoured, wept, in the
blossom of his youth, and in the pride of manly beauty!

Young Gore was a captain in the 51st regiment, and, I have heard, a son
of the Earl of Annan. He fought at the battle of Vittoria, and it was
in that town, a few days after the fight, that I first saw him, as well
as the fair and soft black-eyed girl who was the innocent cause of his
death.

When the sanguinary and memorable fight was at an end, a few officers,
of necessity, remained in the town. In consequence of this battle, the
Constitution was published on the Sunday succeeding it, in the main
square or market-place, with great pomp and rejoicing. In addition
to bull-fights[10] and public dancing upon the platform erected in
the square for proclaiming the Constitution, a ball was given in the
evening expressly to the British officers then in the town, at which
all the inhabitants of consequence attended. At this ball I first saw
Captain Gore; he was then, apparently, about twenty-two or three years
of age, and as handsome a young man as ever I beheld; his hair was a
light brown, and hung in a profusion of graceful ringlets; he was of a
florid complexion, about the middle size, compact, yet light, and in
the beautiful uniform of the 51st, a light infantry regiment, faced
with green and gold; he was decidedly the most striking figure in the
ball-room; and, in addition to this, was the best dancer amongst the
English officers—nay as good as any of the Spanish and French[11] who
exhibited on that evening their saltatory powers. Whether it was that
our English style of dancing at that time wanted something to be added
to its grace by a communication with the Continent or not, I will not
pretend to say; but certain it is, that my countrymen were not so happy
in plucking the laurels from the French that night in the dance, as
they had been a few days before in the fight.

With qualifications such as I have described, it is not to be wondered
at if the eyes and hearts of many fair ladies followed the young
captain: it would rather have excited wonder if they had not. The warm
hearts of the Spanish _Signioritas_ are but too susceptible to the
charms of Love when his godship dresses in British regimentals.

My friend D., of the 13th light-dragoons, and I, were admiring the
waltzers of the evening, when he observed to me that the young officer
of the 51st was not only the best dancer, but had the prettiest and
best partner; “and,” said he, “I think the lady seems quite smitten
with him; they have been partners the whole of the evening.” From
this observation I was led to remark the young lady more closely than
I had done before, and the result in my mind was, that Captain Gore
was blest with a partner the most bewitching in all Spain, and that
_he_ was of the same opinion. She was about seventeen, rather _en bon
point_, and middle-sized; large, dark, and languishing eyes; black,
glossy ringlets, with a beautifully fair skin; she was dressed in the
graceful black costume of her country, and appeared a personification
of the Beauty of a Castilian romance; her manners were gentle, and
with Captain Gore as her partner, she attracted the admiration of every
one present.

Where is the moralist who has looked into the book of nature, and
will say that they were culpable in loving each other, although
circumstances wholly forbade their union? Let us draw a veil over the
weakness of human nature, when opposed by such powerful influences
as those which surrounded these young persons. Let us not, with the
austerity of mature and experienced wisdom censure, but pity them,
circled as they were with a glowing halo of youth and love. They
loved—marriage was impossible:—she left her father's house and fled to
him, while he vowed to protect her with his life, even unto the end of
it. This happened in about three weeks after the ball.

The lady's father at first knew not of the rash step which his daughter
had taken, but soon learnt the distressing truth; he became almost
frantic, and applied to the authorities for their interference,
representing young Gore as a seducer and a heretic. The authorities (a
very inferior description of men at that time) immediately ordered a
sergeant's guard (Spanish) to accompany the father to the quarters of
the captain: they arrived—his apartments were on the first floor—and
the soldiers were already in the court-yard below. Gore was informed
of the intended purpose, through a Spanish domestic of the house he
lived in. His own servant, a brave and determined soldier, hurried to
the apartment in which his master was, with his bayonet drawn, and
observed that there would be no great difficulty in driving away the
“Spanish fellows below,” if necessary. The young lady clung to Captain
Gore for protection, and besought him not to give her up; declaring
that she would never survive, if he suffered her to be taken away. The
soldiers were mounting the stairs—Captain Gore was decided. There was
very little ceremony in the affair: he and his servant in a few minutes
drove them out of the house, and secured the door with bolts and locks.
Few blows were struck by either the Captain or his servant: the success
which frequently attends sudden and resolute assaults against superior
force, was in this instance manifested; and, considering the opinion
which the Spanish soldiery entertained of the British prowess, it is
not surprising that the guard was ousted.

The defeated soldiers returned to the authorities and related the
failure of their enterprise; they were answered by abuse, and their
officer having been sent for, was peremptorily ordered to take his men
to Captain Gore's quarters and _force_ the lady away. At the same time
he was tauntingly asked whether two Englishmen were equal to a dozen
Spaniards.

The guard, under the command of the officer, immediately repaired to
the place for the purpose of executing their orders, and demanded
admission in the most ferocious manner; but not waiting for reply,
the men began to batter the door with their muskets, and apply their
shoulders to the panels. The door was too strong for them: they grew
still more outrageous, and the officer still more abusive to those
within: again they demanded admittance, but this was peremptorily
refused by Captain Gore. With the old English maxim in his mind, “_my
house is my castle_,” no doubt he believed that he was acting in a
justifiable manner; and perhaps he was right in the line of conduct
he pursued, because there was a British commandant in the town—and a
British officer situated as he was, in the theatre of war, would act
with perfect correctness in questioning any authority but that of his
own nation:—however, nobody ever suspected the modern Spaniards of
good military discipline, or prudence in their actions. As allies, and
under a Commander-in-Chief who always listened to the complaints of
the Spaniards against his officers or men, the British, in the case of
Captain Gore, were treated in a most unwarrantable manner.

The insolent and imprudent officer of the guard was now determined
to do all the injury he could, and hearing the voice of Captain Gore
inside the door, drew up his men in front of, and close to it; then
motioning his orders, which were but too well understood, the whole of
the guard fired; the door was not thick enough to resist the bullets,
and the unfortunate young man within, fell lifeless in an instant.
Would that he had fallen a few weeks before in that battle which
defended the rights of Spain, and not thus by the murderous hands of
those he defended in that action! He was _not_ a seducer: _this_ his
_mistress_ declared over his dead body; and he did not mean to abandon
her, as the melancholy catastrophe but too clearly proved.

The young lady was borne almost heart-broken away, and placed within
the cheerless walls of a convent many leagues from the scene that was
the source of all her love and of all her sorrows.

FOOTNOTES:

[10] These were not, properly speaking, the true Spanish bull-fights,
for there was not a convenient place for such an entertainment; but
exhibitions much less harmless and more exhilarating. The four gates
of the square were shut at twelve o'clock in the day, enclosing a vast
concourse of people within an area of about the same extent as one of
the smaller squares in London, on each side of which the houses were
supported by piazzas. At a given signal, one of seven bulls was let
in amongst the people, who fled, of course, at his approach, with the
exception of two or three expert men, armed with a small dart and a
red cloak; the latter to deceive the animal and cover his eyes, as he
fiercely ran at it; while the former was to serve as an irritating
instrument against him, in order to increase his fury. When the animal
was quite wearied with running after the populace, he was withdrawn,
and another bull, fresh and fierce, was let in. Thus they continued
until six o'clock; and, considering the nature of the exhibition, it is
astonishing that but few received any injury.

[11] Several French prisoners of war (chiefly surgeons) appeared that
night in the ball-room, and mingled as cordially with their _enemies_
as if they had been their best friends.



                         RECOLLECTIONS
                  OF THE WALCHEREN EXPEDITION.


                —— tristesque ex æthere Diræ,
          Et scissâ gaudens vadit Discordia palla,
          Quam cum sanguineo sequitur Bellona flagello.

                                                   _Virgil._


On the 20th of July, 1809, about seven o'clock in the morning, I
started from Gracechurch-street on the box of a stage coach, for Deal,
where I was to join my regiment (from which I had been six weeks
absent), and to proceed with it upon the “_secret_ expedition.” I took
with me one good-sized trunk, pretty well stocked, and a cocked-hat
case, which contained its proper lodger, one epaulette, two feathers,
two black silk handkerchiefs, two pairs of white leather gloves,
hat and hair brushes. This case and its contents I lost; and, for
the sake of all young officers who may hereafter travel by coach, as
well as by way of a hint to stagecoach owners to be more careful, I
mention the matter. The articles were left behind in changing coaches
at Canterbury, _by mistake_, as Coachee said; but neither personal
application at the coach-office, nor epistolary remonstrance with the
proprietors, could obtain for me a proper consideration of my _case_,
and, like one in Chancery, there it remains.

A more delightful day never shone, and a more bustling time the Deal
and Dover road never knew; it was crowded like a fair along the
whole of the way. All appeared to have been put into commotion by
the “expedition;” and from the number of tars, soldiers, and their
never-neglected or forgotten associates, who thronged the road, mounted
and otherwise, it may be easily imagined that there was nothing like
dulness to be either seen or felt.

I arrived at the Crown Inn at Deal about dusk, where I found some of
my brother-officers just set up; for they had returned on shore after
having embarked that day. To get a _bed_ was out of the question,
either in the house at which I stopped, or any other in the town; for
every hole and corner, crack and cranny, was crammed. My friends,
consisting of five as jolly _subs_ as ever looked out for a _company_,
and myself, sat down in the coffee-room, and there we “kept it up”
until three o'clock A.M.; when, stretching ourselves at full length
upon the carpet, in company with about two dozen more, we slept until
half-past nine o'clock, and arose as refreshed as if we had reposed all
night upon a bed of down.

The afternoon of that day I spent in providing those little articles
which were pointed out to me as necessary by an old campaigner,—one
of Sir John Moore's; and having done this, as well as replaced what I
had lost at Canterbury, I went with my companions on board the vessel
wherein were our head-quarters,—a transport: here I dined, and felt
myself once more at _home_. I really felt it _was_ my home; for I
thought then, and think now, that the home of every officer ought to be
the place where his regiment is.

We had an excellent mess, and our sea-stock was worthy of the
approbation of the Commander-in-Chief himself—every thing was fresh,
good, and strong.

We lived on board, expecting every day to sail; but occasionally
visited the town, any thing like the bustle of which I never beheld:
a most soul-thrilling and interesting scene there presented itself at
all hours of the day; myriads of splendid uniforms—military and naval,
lovely women, money flying, trade in full motion, faces all smiles, and
the weather all beauty,—glasses, cups, and bottles, savoury odours, and
harmonious sounds,—every thing alive and on tiptoe with delight! The
fine yellow beach stretching along before the houses, within twenty
yards of which were its waves foaming brightly, and slowly rolling! the
wide and majestic expanse of the Downs literally covered with ships,
about which boats were constantly crowding; signals passing through the
fleet; the sound of occasional guns; the constant arrival of vessels to
join the divisions; the bands of music in the ships and in the boats on
the waters!—all made such an impression on the senses, as may not be
renewed once in a century.

On the 27th, the _Blue-Peter_ was flying, and next morning, at half
past ten o'clock, the signal was made for the sailing of the third
division of the fleet, to which our regiment belonged. The anchors were
soon weighed, and with a light breeze we set sail from the Downs, for
the “unknown land.”

As I had settled all my sentimental matters before I left London, (for
which the post is my debtor some odd pounds,) I had nothing to restrain
my mind from the enjoyment of the scene before me; and perhaps the
thought that I was now quitting those I held dear as life, might have
added to the interest with which I contemplated it. The land lessening
into blue mist; the ocean expanded to my view, not in a solitary ship,
but in the midst of moving cities; hundreds on hundreds of vessels,
holding on in the same steady course together, with the warlike crowd
visible on the decks of all; when contemplated in the mass, the whole
North Sea seemed like a forest! It was a scene sublime and magnificent
beyond description.

We had no bad weather; a fine light breeze favoured us during the whole
of our voyage; and at night it was not the least delightful of our
pleasures, to listen to the glees of the German riflemen who sailed
in our division; they were at once harmonious and characteristic, and
gave a charm to the scene which kept many a hundred listeners awake. It
has often been a matter of annoyance to me, to think that the peasantry
of Great Britain alone are the only people in Europe who cannot sing
in _harmony_; the lower orders of every other country are qualified
to take a part in a glee. Amongst my countrymen, I have heard even
an harmonious _second_ condemned as “_not in tune_,” or “_putting
the singer out_!” Of late years, however, the nature of harmony has
been more comprehended—no doubt, arising from the practice of singing
psalms;—if so, this is one good thing that may be set down to the
credit of “_the saints_.”

On the 29th we came in sight of the low sandy shores of Zealand, and on
the 30th we anchored within about two miles of Campveer, having safely
explored a most dangerous gut or branch of the Scheldt, every ship
sounding as she proceeded; while “_By the Mark Seven_” was melodiously
sung by the crews of the various vessels! A calm and sunny day added
much to the effect of the scene.

The troops were now landed, our baggage remaining on board, and General
Frazer, under whose command our regiment was, proceeded to attack
Campveer. A small battery in our way was abandoned, and the enemy
hotly followed to the gates of the town. So sudden was the panic,
that Colonel Pack, with his regiment (the 71st), pursued them even
beyond the first drawbridge, and was proceeding to attempt to take the
town by assault, when two six-pounders were brought to bear by the
enemy in front of him, which cleared a lane through our men, killing
eighteen and wounding twenty-six: among the former were an ensign and
an assistant-surgeon. The latter's head was completely blown to atoms.
It has been thought by many, that the French left the drawbridge down
on purpose to lead their assailants into a trap; and this opinion is
strengthened by the trickery which is well known to prevail throughout
the French mode of warfare. Colonel Pack very narrowly escaped being
taken prisoner; in fact, he may be said to _have_ been a prisoner, for
a few moments after his regiment retired in confusion: he escaped,
however, by cutting down the French soldier who took him.

Campveer is an inconsiderable fortress, and was then garrisoned with
not more than 400 men; therefore it could not have been supposed to
stand long against such a force as we were capable of bringing before
it. The fact was soon proved: one day's cannonade and bombardment from
our gunboats silenced their batteries, and the garrison capitulated.

The damage done to the town was not very considerable; there were,
however, some lamentable proofs of the power of shot and shell left
upon the walls, windows, and roofs of the houses. Few people had
remained in the town on our approach, therefore few if any of the
inhabitants' lives were lost, and only a very few of the French
were either killed or wounded. They sunk one of our best and most
destructive gun boats by a shot from the batteries, but otherwise they
did very little injury to our naval force.

The main body of the army immediately advanced on Middleburg, the
capital of the island, about four miles from Campveer; but although
this city is fortified, it could not be held by the enemy, in
consequence of the impossibility of their gaining supplies from
Flushing, which was at the other extremity of the island, and opened
upon the broad Scheldt. The latter was therefore considered a more
secure and tenable fortification. For this reason, the French forces
moved on from Middleburg, along the high road, closely pursued by our
troops, but fighting every yard of the way, taking special care never
to wait for the points of our lads' bayonets, which were within a very
critical distance of their _rear_. The French, in thus retreating,
would run for about two hundred yards; then rapidly rally and
deliberately wait until the “_crabs_,” as they called us, were close
enough; then would they give us a volley—not, however, without our
hearty return of the compliment; when they would immediately scamper
off through open files of their own men, who were ready to form up
and pour in their shot, while the others were in turn retreating,
forming, and loading. This plan was very effectual; for the French in
the pursuit lost scarcely any men, while we had a church and a large
house full of wounded, besides several killed. In this way were the
enemy followed up and driven into the very gates of Flushing: and such
was the panic which seized the garrison of that town, that the 14th and
the 82nd regiments, it is supposed, had they attempted it, would have
carried the place by assault. They drove their bayonets against the
walls of the fortress, yet retired without the loss of a single man,
although close under the range of the heavy guns from the ramparts.

The whole of the troops landed in the island of Walcheren, amounting to
about eighteen thousand men, all infantry (for no part of the cavalry
was yet disembarked), now invested Flushing, leaving a small garrison
at Middleburg and Campveer; and preparations were immediately commenced
for the siege. A finer, a healthier, and a more gallant army than our's
never took the field; and it is only to be regretted that it was not
employed upon a service where it could have been more advantageous to
its country. The other portion of the forces, about 20,000 men under
the command of Sir John Hope, were landed on South Beveland, from
which place they were sent back to England, without accomplishing any
thing—or rather, without having had any thing _to accomplish_, for the
enemy retreated on their approach, and left them in possession of the
island.

Our lines before Flushing were about half a mile from the walls,
extending back about another quarter of a mile, and all within the
imaginary semicircle which may be traced from the two sides of the
town, drawing the line by West Zuburg, a neat little village nearly a
mile from Flushing.

Our centre was commanded by Generals Houston and Stewart; our right by
General Graham, under whom were acting General Auckland and General
Leith; our left by Generals Picton and Rottenburg, the latter of whom,
however, was appointed to the more easy duty of officiating as military
commandant of Middleburg: his infirm state of health and advanced age
rendered this a very proper arrangement.

Sir Eyre Coote, our second in command, took up his station at West
Zuburg, close to the lines, and Lord Chatham remained at Middleburg.
The Marquis of Anglesea, then Lord Paget, finding that ship-board
was no _field_ for a General of Cavalry, took up his quarters
at West Zuburg, in a merchant's country-house, as a mere visitor
of the operating army. There was a sort of irregular or guerilla
force attached to the besieging army, consisting of about 500
jolly Jack-tars, under the command of Lord A. Beauclerk, formed by
detachments from each man-of-war employed in the service; and these
were by no means “fish out of water,” for they assisted mainly in
dragging up the heavy artillery, as well as in skirmishing in front of
our lines.

The country which our army occupied was extremely bushy and luxuriant,
though without tall trees, and quite flat; it was interspersed with
numerous beautiful gardens, meadows, &c.; and in the height of a very
fine summer, as this was, none could wander through it undelighted.
As no distant views could possibly occur in such walks, the eye
was constantly receiving an interesting change of objects,—now a
beautifully displayed garden, where fruit and flowers were profusely
growing; a step or two brought the wanderer to a green alley, adorned
with classical statues, and intersected with walks bordered by flowers,
and perhaps, on turning into one of them, a fish-pond became visible,
overshadowed by willows and cypress, and surrounded with dwarf trees
and heavy foliage; in the centre, an artificial cascade, and moored at
the side, a little boat, beautifully rigged. On leaving this, perhaps a
meadow presented itself, with a ripening crop of grass hedged closely
round—perhaps trodden down by our soldiers, who were bivouacking there,
or in the adjoining field—then a brushwood, and then again a dyke,
overhung by long rushes and grass. These objects, in varied succession,
covered the greater part of the land about West Zuburg and the road to
and from thence to Flushing. In this part I was quartered, and I have
walked for hours, without finding a spot that would form an exception
to the above description. It was the happiest time of my life—young
as I was, (little more than nineteen,) with a mind as elastic as the
air, and romantic to enthusiasm; placed for the first time in my life
in the centre of the field destined for the fight, and that field
so beautiful by nature and by art—so covered by foliage and green
swards, and so diversified by the bivouack and the battery; the guns
from the besieged town every minute or two shaking the atmosphere,
and the rifles of the skirmishers in irregular reports, startling the
ear—these, with a consciousness that I was a part of the machine of
war, gave an interest to every thing around me which I had never felt
before, and which I cannot now recall without delight.

The first day we appeared before Flushing, and the following we were
entirely employed in guarding against surprise; we were constantly
under arms, and could only regale ourselves with what we chanced to
have brought with us. However, rations were soon delivered out to us,
and with the help of sods and green bushes, grass, &c. we constructed
huts, which, with an old barn, helped us to make ourselves feel quite
“at home.” This was on the 1st and 2nd of August, from which time,
until the bombardment commenced (the 13th), we had little to do but
to work at the batteries and trenches; and to let ourselves be shot
at and shelled at by the town; with the exception, indeed, of one
evening's sharp work, when the garrison made a _sortie_ upon us. This,
while it lasted, was a tough contest, and although at least 20,000
men sallied out from the town, as much intent on mischief as men
well could be, they were forced to retire in double-quick time, after
about an hour's hard work, with nothing but their labour and their
loss for their pains. It was, I think, on the 6th of August, that the
_sortie_ was made, and from the gate which opened on the main road
to Middleburg. A few of my brother officers and I had been smoking
cigars, and moistening our lips with a little Hollands and water, in
an almost roofless cottage, and, I recollect, we were talking of the
very fortunate escape which one of our officers, then present, had had
about three hours before, from a shell which had fallen scarcely a foot
from him, and laughing at the manner in which he had run away from
the ignited globe of destruction, when we heard a volley of musketry
apparently not more than a quarter of a mile away, and in a moment
the orderly sergeant brought us instructions to “turn out” forthwith.
The regiment was under arms and upon the main road in a few minutes,
when we perceived a body of our troops falling back, while the French
were yelling as if in triumph, their voices only drowned by the loud
discharges of musketry from both sides. It was almost dark, but the
twilight was sufficient for us to discover a little disorder in the
regiment before us. Our lads muttered to each other as they advanced at
a rapid pace, “Oh! by J——s we'll soon stop yiz!”—“Wait 'till we come
at you, you beggars!” &c. and such from every part of the ranks were
not the most unpleasant sounds I ever heard,—my heart swelled with
exultation when I heard the men, and witnessed their manly courage.
“Steady, my lads—silence till you fire—wait, my lads—steady,” passed
from the Colonel, as we pushed on, and in a few minutes the regiment
before us opened. The grenadier company, stout and steady fellows,
formed in line as quick as lightning, pouring a thundering volley into
the column of the enemy which was approaching, and the word “_Charge!_”
sent us off like rockets. Our line hurried on with a simultaneous
shout, and every bayonet met its bloody sheath in a moment. We were
supported by the remainder of the regiment, and for several minutes
were mixed together, both French and English, tugging at each other
fiercely. Our fellows absolutely turned their muskets, and butted and
smashed them down, as if dissatisfied with the more silent, but more
effective execution of the bayonet. The scene was one of complete
confusion; many of our own men were wounded by their comrades' balls
from behind, as the surgeon afterwards declared, on comparing them,
as they were extracted—he distinguished the British bullets by their
greater size in relation to those of the French. The enemy, encouraged
by their officers, rallied and fired several times boldly, but were
again and again repulsed. The 51st and the 95th on our side attacked
from a field, and assisted mainly in deciding the affair. The firing by
degrees became less and less, and when our troops had completely chased
the French back to their strong hold, they were ordered to return. So
ended the sortie of the 6th of August.

In returning to our huts we overtook, amongst several of the wounded,
Lieutenant R——, of our's, my most intimate friend and companion; he
was carried by four of our men, and was on his way to the hospital
at West Zuburg. His altered voice, when he called to me, foreboded
melancholy consequences. He had been shot in the side by one of the
last bullets that the enemy discharged, after having done his duty
gallantly, and was in the act of giving them a farewell shout and a
farewell volley. As soon as the regiment halted, he was surrounded by
his brother officers, and the Colonel particularly attended to him. My
friend begged that I might be allowed to accompany him to the hospital,
and remain with him during the night, which was readily permitted,
and, with a sad farewell from all his brother officers, he was borne
along in a blanket. I walked beside him, administering every attention
in my power; and in about ten minutes we arrived at the church of
West Zuburg, which was appropriated for the field-hospital. My friend
was laid down upon some hay, shaken together upon a tombstone in the
church. His side was immediately examined by the medical officers on
duty, and he was bled; after which his wound was dressed, and a sheet
was thrown over him; for, as the weather was very hot, the surgeon
would not allow more covering. He did not appear to be in much pain,
but felt very much exhausted, and, with his hand holding mine, he
fell into a slumber. I sat beside him all the night, wetting his
lips whenever he awoke, which, however, was not very often, with what
had been delivered to me by the surgeon;—and such a night!—there
scarcely passed an interval of five minutes between the arrival of one
unfortunate fellow or another, who had been wounded in the sortie;
and three surgeons were employed constantly from twelve o'clock until
five in dressing their wounds. Brave fellows! had those who at home
are inclined to look contemptuously on the soldier—had they but passed
_that_ night in _that_ church, how differently would they feel towards
the men whose sufferings so well entitle them to sympathy!

In the morning the hospital was crowded with the wounded; the whole of
the floor—pews, and all, filled with groaning sufferers, principally
shot in the legs, and not a single bayonet-wound amongst them; which
showed that in the contest the enemy kept at full musket's length
from them, _except when they could not help it_; and no doubt _their_
hospital proved on the same morning that they pretty often were
_obliged_ to be within a shorter distance of the British soldiers.

It was twelve o'clock next day before proper quarters could be procured
for my wounded friend; and about an hour before we removed him from
the hospital, Lord Paget, Captain Paget of “the Revenge,” and Captain
Richardson of “the Cæsar,” came in to visit the wounded. My friend was
lying upon one side, apparently asleep, after having taken a cup of
tea. These officers made the kindest inquiries after, not only him, but
every man who seemed to be severely wounded. Next to my poor friend
lay a man who had been shot through the body two days before; he was
sitting up, or rather propped up by pads or pillows, and suffered, to
all appearances, excessively from difficulty of breathing,—I suppose
from being shot through the lungs. Captain Richardson recognized him
as a man who came to Walcheren on board of his own ship, and spoke
to him in the most tender-hearted manner. “Poor fellow!” said the
Captain, “he has a wife and five small children, God help him!” and
the manly weather-beaten cheek of the sailor felt the purest tear upon
it that sensibility ever shed. He strove to restrain his feelings, and
turned aside. The poor wounded soldier wept loudly as he cried “God
bless your honour!” and those who were present joined in his feelings.
Captain Richardson was, from appearance, the last man in the world, I
should have thought, to have been capable of the “melting mood,” for
he was a brawny stern son of the sea; however, the feeling heart was
there; and never did it appear more evidently than in the behaviour of
that rough sailor. I am convinced that the last moments of the poor
soldier (who very soon after died) were softened by his tenderness.
Lord Paget and his brother did honour to their feelings also, in the
kindness and solicitude they manifested for the sad sufferers; indeed,
his Lordship (I understood from one of the surgeons after the siege
was over) visited the hospital several times a-day, divested of all
the “pomp and circumstance” of his rank, and used to go from bed to
bed, making the kindest inquiries about the men. Here, too, appearances
would have deceived as much as with Captain Richardson, but in a
different way; Lord Paget was a perfect military beau, bedecked with
all the gaudery of a cavalry general, still farther set off by the oak
branch waving gracefully in his chapeau, the very picture of military
splendour; yet the feeling heart was shown in him as well as in the
rough sailor: indeed his Lordship's subsequent conduct at Waterloo
proves that the best qualities of the soldier may glow beneath feathers
and embroidery. Truly, now-a-days it does not appear necessary that
a good soldier must be dressed, like Charles the XIIth, in greased
jack-boots and buckskin breeches; for it is generally reported in the
army, that the Duke of Wellington has been heard to say, that “his
dressy officers were his best soldiers.”

My wounded friend was now removed to a house in the village, where
there was not a being but an old woman, and a little boy of about nine
years old, whose name (Yacob) was as quaint as his dress—a fac-simile
of the costume of Queen Anne's time—knee-buckles, shoe-buckles,
tight cravat, and a three-cornered “pinch,”—his lips holding a short
tobacco-pipe, which he smoked by command of the old woman whenever he
went out of doors. These two denizens of the cottage had only returned
to West Zuburg that morning with a few other inhabitants. They were
of great use in attending upon my friend; and to do the old woman
justice, she behaved with great humanity, notwithstanding the irritable
state of her mind, owing to the presence of the army in her village.
She was very obliging except whenever her china basons or plates were
touched, and then she lost her temper; for like Goldsmith's tea-cups,
they were only ranged for _show_.

I continued with my friend for two days, during which time the poor
fellow talked almost incessantly of his father, and felt every
apprehension of death: alas! this was but too well-founded; for after
giving me his watch and other little articles of value for his parent,
he closed his eyes for ever. The last duties were performed next day
over his body and that of a German rifle officer, who was killed the
day before. The officers of their respective regiments attended, and in
plain deal coffins we consigned to the earth the bodies of two as fine
young men as any in the army.

It was a melancholy scene; yet there was a stern terror in the
circumstances around, which kept the mind from indulging in weakness.
There was no tear shed, and few words were spoken. The melancholy drum,
mingled with frequent sounds of cannon from the town, was the dirge;
and the deserted village through which the procession moved, with the
warlike figures composing it, imparted feelings indescribable, and
only to be understood by those who have been in similar circumstances.
The sense of death and desolation, together with the peal of the
cannon, wrought their combined effects on the faces of all; and I
firmly believe, that had the officers and men, composing the mournful
procession, their choice of immediate battle or undisputed victory,
they would have taken the former. Woe to the foe who should have dared
to encounter them at that moment!

The enemy continued to annoy the British lines during the whole of the
time we lay before the town (twelve or thirteen days) previous to the
bombardment. Their riflemen were constantly creeping in front, behind
low walls and fences, to pick out an odd man from our working-parties,
and our German riflemen played at “hide and seek” with them wherever
they could. The guns and mortars from the town, too, were ever and
anon employed upon any party, or even a single man, at whom they could
be brought to bear. The shells were also thrown amongst the huts or
houses in which the enemy supposed any of our men might be, so that
we were obliged to be constantly on the look-out, to avoid them when
they fell. As instances of the precision with which they, as well
as the shot, were thrown, I will mention two cases; one relating
to Major Thompson, of the 68th, and the other to Mr. Cheselden,
assistant-surgeon of the 81st. The former had moved out from behind
the cover of a hedge, to direct some of his men, who were employed
in working; he had not been thus exposed two minutes, when a shell
was thrown close to him, and exploded, shattering his right arm below
the elbow. This officer, on having the limb amputated, appeared to
suffer no more than if the surgeon had been merely bleeding him; he
looked steadily at the movements of the knife, occasionally directing
the assistants to bring water, sponge, &c. &c. The other instance was
this: Mr. Cheselden, in company with an officer of the Quartermaster
General's staff and another, was amusing himself in looking over the
lines. They had stopped upon a rising part of the road to talk with an
orderly man and a drummer, who stood near. In a few moments a gun from
the town was levelled at them, and the shot struck the earth close by,
passing through the group, knocking them all down, and almost covering
them with fragments of earth and sand. Worse consequences, however,
followed: Mr. Cheselden's thigh was shattered, and the orderly man
killed; the others received no injury except the discoloration of their
clothes. The assistant surgeon's thigh was immediately amputated.

The annoyance from the enemy's rifles was a good deal lessened by the
brigade of sailors. These extraordinary fellows delighted in hunting
the “_Munseers_,” as they termed the French; and a more formidable pack
never was unkennelled. Armed, each with an immense long pole or pike,
a cutlass, and a pistol, they appeared to be a sort of force that,
in case of a sortie, or where execution was to be done in the way of
storming, would have been as destructive as a thousand hungry tigers:
as it was, they annoyed the French skirmishers in all directions, by
their irregular and extraordinary attacks. They usually went out in
parties, as if they were going to hunt a wild beast, and no huntsman
ever followed the chase with more delight. The French might fairly
exclaim with the frogs in the fable—“Ah! Monsieur _Bull_, what is sport
to you, is death to us.”

Regularly every day after their mess (for they messed generally on a
green in the Village of East Zuburg) they would start off to their
“hunt,” as they called it, in parties headed by a petty officer. Then
they would leap the dykes, which their poles enabled them to do, and
dash through those which they could not otherwise cross; they were
like a set of Newfoundland dogs in the marshes, and when they spied
a few riflemen of the French, they ran at them helter-skelter: then
pistol, cutlass, and pike, went to work in downright earnest. The
French soldiers did not at all relish the tars—and no wonder; for the
very appearance of them was terrific, and quite out of the usual order
of things. Each man seemed a sort of Paul Jones—tarred, belted, and
cutlassed as they were. Had we had occasion to storm Flushing, I have
no doubt that they would have carried the breach themselves. The scenes
which their eccentricities every hour presented, were worthy of the
pencil of Hogarth. Among the most humorous of these, were their drills,
musters, and marchings, or as they generally called such proceedings,
“_playing at soldiers_.” All that their officers did, had no effect in
keeping either silence or regularity; those officers, however, were
“part and parcel of the same material as the Jacks themselves, and as
able to go through the pipe-clay regularity of rank and file, as to
deliver a sermon on the immortality of the soul.” But the fact is, they
were not either expected or intended to be _regular_ troops, and their
drills were merely adopted to teach them to keep together in line when
marching from one place to another; so that they might not go about
the country after the manner of a troop of donkeys. These marches and
drills afforded the highest degree of amusement, both to soldiers and
officers; the disproportion in the sizes of the men—the front rank man,
perhaps, four feet one, while the rear rank man, was six feet two;
the giving of the word from the “middy,” always accompanied by a “G——
d——n;” the gibes and jeers of the men themselves. “Heads up, _you_
beggar of Corpolar there,” a little slang-going Jack would cry out
from the rear-rank, well knowing that his size secured him from the
observation of the officer. Then perhaps the man immediately before
him, to show his sense of decorum, would turn round and remark: “I
say, who made you a fugle man, master Billy? can't ye behave like a
sodger afore the commander, eh?” Then from another part of the squad, a
stentorian roar would arise, with “I'll not stand this, if I do, bl——t
me; here's this here bl——y Murphy stickin' a sword into my starn.” Then
perhaps the middy[12] would give the word “_right face_,” in order to
prepare for marching; but some turned right and some left, while others
turned right round and were faced by their opposite rank man. This
confusion in a few minutes, however, would be rectified, and the word
“_march_” given: off they went, some whistling a quick-step, and others
imitating the sound of a drum with his voice, and keeping time with the
whistler, “row dididow, dididow, row dow, dow”—every sort of antic
trick began immediately, particularly treading on each others' heels.
I once saw a fellow suddenly jump out of the line of march, crying
out, “I be d——d if Riley hasn't spikes in his toes, an' I won't march
afore him any longer,” and then coolly fell in at the rear. “Keep the
step,” then was bandied about, with a thousand similar expressions,
slapping each other's hats down upon their eyes, elbowing, jostling,
and joking—away they went to beat the bushes for Frenchmen; and even
when under the fire of both the hidden riflemen and the rampart guns,
their jollity was unabated. One of these odd fellows was hit in the leg
by a rifle-ball which broke the bones, and he fell: it was in a hot
pursuit which he and a few others were engaged in after a couple of the
riflemen, who had ventured a little too far from their position, when,
seeing that he could follow no farther, he took off his tarry hat and
flung it with all his might after them; “there, you beggars, I wish it
was a long eighteen for your sakes.” The poor fellow was carried off by
his comrades, and taken to the hospital, where he died.

Lord Chatham generally visited the lines every alternate day, attended
by his staff and a few general officers, but he seldom remained long
with us, and returned to his quarters at Middleburg. The more detailed
duties were left to Sir Eyre Coote, who was extremely active during
the whole time of the siege. Some amateurs also came occasionally from
Middleburg, and we began in a few days to feel a little more comfort;
for various pedlars ventured amongst us with different commodities,
which greatly ameliorated our situation. The villages of East and West
Zuburg became like a fair, with this exception, that the houses were
deserted by their inhabitants and occupied by military officers. One of
the civilian visitors had a very narrow escape in one of his walks, for
in the midst of his contemplation of a statue in the garden attached
to Sir Eyre Coote's quarters, a cannon-ball struck the marble, and
threw the fragments about him. He soon decamped, and I will venture to
assert, that he kept at a more respectful distance from the scene of
operations ever after. Except an attempt to drown us all by opening
the sluices, which failed, nothing very particular occurred after the
sortie, until the bombardment. This threatened flood alarmed every
body for a short time, but several of the principal inhabitants came
from Middleburg to examine the state of the sluices, &c. and gave it
as their opinion that the utmost extent of the threatened mischief
could amount only to annoyance from the water, as they had it in their
power to counteract its effects by means of their sluices and canals at
Middleburg.

By the 11th, the heavy cannon had been all brought up to the lines,
principally dragged by sailors, and on the 13th (Sunday) at one o'clock
all our batteries were ready to open. Every gun was manned, and the
matches lighted, while a deathlike silence pervaded the air, not a
breath stirred, and the sun was broadly shining, when the signal was
given, and a hundred metal mouths opened upon the devoted town. The
peal was like a thousand thunder claps: it shook every thing around,
and gave to every heart an ecstasy of courage. At the moment the
men felt that they could have conquered thrice their numbers—their
countenances brightened, and every peal seemed to impart an electric
delight to their bosoms. The cannonade continued without an instant's
intermission until 10 o'clock in the evening, when it ceased; but
the mortars continued to throw shells during the whole of the night.
Immediately after the cannonade ceased, the Congreve rockets were
despatched upon their destructive missions. It was the first time
they had been used in hostility; and indeed the manner in which they
were managed, amply proved that practice was much wanted in order to
render these destructive engines effective. Not more than one in six
fell within the walls of the town, and a much less proportion went far
enough to do injury. They usually dropped short in the ditches, and for
the first hour we had no hope that the evil could be remedied; however,
an improvement in their discharges might have been gradually observed.
A more awfully grand effect cannot be imagined than these rockets
produced. They and the mortars continued to play all night without
intermission, and the garrison bravely returned the fire as well as
they could; but the guns on the ramparts at many points were gradually
silenced, and on the whole, the enemy was evidently getting the worst
of the affair. Next morning, Monday 14th, the fleet bore up, and
attacked the town, the walls of which were washed by the sea; they were
mostly line-of-battle ships, and commanded by Sir Richard Strachan. It
was about ten o'clock in the morning when they passed. They were full
in our sight, and a grander effect could scarcely be imagined than the
sight of their operations—sailing with a light breeze slowly up the
broad Scheldt, and nearing the town, these immense moving batteries,
as they passed, poured in tremendous broadsides, which were returned
from the town. At each discharge from the ships, the bricks, tiles, &c.
were seen flying into the air, whereas little or no effect was made
on the ships by the guns from the town. One after the other following
the same track, and doing similar execution, each grand and beautiful
vessel passed by, until the St. Domingo grounded close to the town. In
consequence of this, she was terribly _peppered_ for half an hour—after
that time the tide rose sufficiently to float her off; but she, sooner
than remain idle, amused herself with repeated broadsides; so that,
considering the immense damage done to the town, I am of opinion that
the enemy would have much rather that the accident had not happened.

This attack from the sea did an immensity of damage to the enemy, and
contributed mainly to their conquest; indeed, they were so completely
reduced, by this time, to all appearance, (having but a few guns
capable of service,) that a flag of truce was despatched to them,
in the full expectation that they would capitulate, and thus save
farther injury to the unoffending inhabitants of the town. During the
negotiation, which lasted about two hours, our ears were relieved from
the monotonous thunder of the field, and we hoped no more blood would
be shed in taking the place. But in these hopes we were disappointed,
for the Commandant, General Monet, was determined to hold out to the
last. In consequence of this the whole of the batteries were opened
again upon the devoted town at about sunset, and with redoubled energy,
for our men felt provoked at the enemy's obstinacy, and laid their
hands to the work with renewed spirit and determination. The sailors'
battery, containing six twenty-four-pounders, almost split our ears.
These enthusiastic demidevils fired not as the other batteries
did, but like broadsides from a ship—each discharge was eminently
distinguished by its terrific noise, for the guns were all fired at
once, and absolutely shook the earth at every round. So vehement were
these seamen in their exertions, that they blew _themselves_ up at
last! This was done by a little squat fellow, who served the guns with
ammunition: he placed a cartridge against a lighted match in his hurry;
this exploding, communicated with a large quantity of powder, and the
natural catastrophe followed. About twenty of the brave fellows, among
whom was a young midshipman, were severely burnt and bruised; out
of which number, were I to judge from their appearance as they were
carried past us, I should suppose not more than half a dozen recovered.
They were all jet black, their faces one shapeless mass, and their
clothes and hair burnt to a cinder. In the midst of their suffering the
only thing that seemed to ease them, was swearing at the little sailor,
who was the author of their misfortune; while he, poor creature, in
addition to his wounds and burns, patiently suffered the whole torrent
of his comrades' abuse.

The Congreve-rockets now resumed their place in the dreadful scene,
and, from the preceding night's practice, did infinitely more execution
than before. They, together with the lighted fusees of the shells,
flying through the dark night, appeared to me like the idea I form of
comets and stars in the confusion of the last day, and the thunder
of the numerous batteries heightened the force of the comparison. I
went to the top of the church; the unfortunate town was almost silent!
scarcely a gun flashed from the ramparts, while our newly opened fire
seemed to me like smiting a fallen man. The sublimity of the scene
has been rarely equalled. The clouds, dark and rapid in their windy
course, behind which a gleam of the rising moon was slowly appearing;
the rockets on the left darting through the gloom, and spreading a red
glare all over the earth, on which the active soldiers were serving the
batteries; the shells flying through the air; the cannons thundering,
and displaying their masters to the view by the red flames vomited from
their mouths; the ships in the distance, and the town on fire in four
places! The sight was truly awful!—In the midst of this convulsion
Colonel Pack, with a party of his own regiment, the 71st, the 36th, and
the German Legion, assaulted a battery which the enemy had constructed
on the left of the town, and which did considerable execution among our
men. Availing himself of a few moments of darkness, he advanced at the
head of his column to the very mouths of the guns! The next moment the
discharge of a huge rocket shed over the whole battery a red light,
and just as the assailants were clambering up its sides. Short, but
desperate, was the work; the French defended themselves with great
courage, but the bayonets of the British carried the battery gallantly;
and thus, one of the enemy's last resources was cut off. The Frenchmen
were instantly marched to the rear; and it was an encouraging sight
for our soldiers to distinguish, through the gloom, the outline of the
figures of their countrymen victoriously seizing on the enemy's best
battery, under the very walls of the town.

During this dreadful night and the preceding, the inhabitants of
Middleburg, whose kindred and friends were inside of the besieged town,
had been running about the rear of our lines, lamenting their fate;
and at every discharge of rocket or shell, seeming to shudder with
apprehension. These feelings were rendered more poignant when they
considered that the English had, previous to opening the batteries,
sent a flag of truce in vain, to propose that the women and children
should be allowed to pass out from the town—for this proposal was
refused by Monet. It was known also to the inhabitants of Middleburg
and to us, that these women with their children assembled in a body,
and proceeded to the quarters of that General, to entreat him to grant
the request; but they were answered by the appearance of a six-pounder
before the gate, and assured that if they did not disperse, it would be
employed to compel them to do so!

At day-break, Monet sued for a suspension of hostilities for two days:
of course this was refused; but two hours were given him to consider
further, before the bombardment should proceed. He could have gained
nothing by further obstinacy: it could only have had the effect of
producing the cruel destruction of the town and its inhabitants:
accordingly, he wisely capitulated within the time allowed him for
coming to a determination.

The garrison (upwards of a thousand) were permitted to march out with
honours; and, having drawn up outside the gates, their bands playing
and the eagle flying, they laid down their arms, and were marched off
prisoners of war.

On entering the town, we found it in a most deplorable state of
dilapidation, particularly on the side exposed to the sea, and that
which had been opposed to our right. The flames were still raging where
the rockets had taken effect, and one whole street was a mere heap of
ruins: the stadthouse was burnt down: few houses, indeed, in the whole
town escaped being shot through by our balls; and there were no less
than four holes made thus in the room of a cheesemonger's house, where
I afterwards took up my quarters. One of the balls had passed through
the centre of an old-fashioned clock, and another had broken to pieces
a fine oak table. In the billiard-room, near the beach, there were
five or six large shot, piled up as a curiosity: these had passed into
the room from our ships. The countenances of the inhabitants when we
marched in, were not joyous; they had suffered too much; they looked as
if they were spirit-broken; and no house of accommodation opened to the
British, but two—the one kept by an Englishman, of the name of Hector,
and the other by a native.

A considerable number of wounded remained, both of French and natives;
among the latter I found a most interesting young girl, who had
suffered amputation of the thigh: she had been hit by one of our
shells, while in bed. Hundreds of the inhabitants were dug out from
the ruins, dying and dead; tears and groans and desolation were to be
met with at every step. “Alem! Vlissengen!”[13] was muttered by every
tongue; and Flushing, one of the prettiest towns in Zealand, was now
prostrate in the dust. The drunken war-fiend had feasted there, and all
around were to be seen the fragments of his revelry.

In a few days after the capitulation, we were ordered to Middleburg,
where we relaxed a little from the severities of the siege. With the
exception of the dread of sickness, which pervaded all Englishmen
at that time, every thing to us was enjoyment in this city. It was
fair-time when we arrived: delight was in every body's countenance; and
this hilarity in one of the prettiest little cities on earth, where
hospitality was lavished on us, removed a great deal of our dread of
the prevailing fever, which was then daily destroying fifty or sixty
of our men. The officers were quartered at the houses of the principal
inhabitants, who behaved with the most praiseworthy kindness to all,
furnishing not only quarters of a superior kind, but excellent tables
and wine. I have particular reason to remember gratefully the people
of the house in which I was myself quartered, because their kindness
appeared even more disinterested than the rest, as will be seen by
the following circumstance:—I had arrived late at Middleburg, having
been detained behind the regiment, and on one of the most rainy and
thundering nights that ever visited a hot summer. By some of the people
I was directed to the _straad_ where the best hotel was situated, and
after a long search found the house, and rang at the door. I was
admitted by a very pretty and interesting young lady, who said in
French that her father would be down stairs immediately, and politely
showed me into the parlour.

In a moment a respectable-looking man, of about sixty years of age,
entered, and addressed me in Dutch, with a most affable air, the
politeness of which I understood, but the meaning not at all, for I
knew no more of the Dutch language than I did of the Coptic; however,
the young lady soon explained in French what the old man said, and I
found his address was nothing more than that he was extremely glad to
see me as a British officer, and that every thing in his power was at
my service. I replied, that I had just arrived from Flushing, and that
I was directed to his hotel as being the best—that I was very wet, and
that I wished for some refreshment. The lady smiled as she conveyed
my words to her father in his own language, on which the old man
clasped my hand in both of his, and in the most pressing manner begged
me to make his house my home while I staid in the town. The daughter
interpreted this request, adding her own invitation with such an air
of sincerity, that I accepted the kind offer. We soon became intimate:
supper was served, and the old gentleman and I finished a bottle or two
of genuine old wine in the happiest manner possible. I slept there that
night, and at breakfast the next morning he produced a “billet” for
me, signed by the principal burgo-master, having got my name from my
card, and thus he _regularly_ quartered me upon _himself_. I remained
at the house of this most hospitable man until the general embarkation.
He treated me more like his own son than a stranger—all my wishes were
anticipated, and some of the happiest months of my existence were
decidedly those I passed beneath the generous Dutchman's roof.

Our corps became very sickly in a few days, and we lost the greatest
number both of officers and men. How I escaped, I know not; I took no
precaution to avoid the effects of the climate, except indeed that I
made a liberal use of segars and good “Hollands,” agreeably diluted.
Some _pure_ water-drinkers fared worse, and fell victims to the fever:
I am inclined to think, upon the whole, that my plan was the best.
Good-living seemed to be the order of the day, while we remained at
Middleburg, from the Commander-in-Chief down to the Sub. I do not now
speak from actual observation of Lord Chatham's merits, as regards his
Lordship's gastronomy, for I was both too young, and of too humble
a rank, to expect such an honour; but from general report, and the
circumstance of a man having fallen and dislocated his shoulder under
the weight of a most admirable turtle, which he was conveying to the
quarters of the Commander-in-Chief, as a present from Sir William
Curtis, who had accompanied the expedition in his yacht.

In the latter end of December, we marched to Flushing, to embark, as
the island was to be evacuated by the British troops. Here we witnessed
the finishing stroke of destruction given to that unhappy town. Every
thing that could be rendered useful to the fortification was destroyed,
the fine arsenal was set on fire, the guns spiked, bridges broken,
and docks demolished, before the eyes of the sorrowful townspeople.
The burning of the arsenal was a grand and melancholy spectacle—it
illuminated the whole atmosphere, and so strong was the heat reflected
upon the town by it, that the inhabitants were necessitated to use
water-engines against their various dwellings, to prevent a general
conflagration. A terrific hurricane soon followed this, and injured
our fleet of transports off Flushing excessively: the crews of two
were lost. This delayed us a few days longer. At length the whole
of our forces were embarked, and we sailed on the 23rd of December
from the island, in which eleven thousand of our gallant comrades had
been consigned to the grave. It was one of the most black, rainy, and
foggy mornings that ever hung over the moist flats of Holland, when
we weighed anchor, and our departure was _saluted_ from the opposite
shore, Cadsand, with thirty-six pound shot, which (although from the
distance we kept, it could not do much injury) the enemy, as if in
exultation, sent us as a parting compliment: one shot unluckily took
effect, and killed a sergeant of the 71st. We were but a short time
at sea; for on Christmas-day we landed at Deal; very different beings
as to dress, &c., to what we were when we left that port a few months
before.

Thus ended the Walcheren Expedition. It was my first campaign in the
service, and although attended with some trouble, and a great deal of
danger, I remember even its worst passages with pleasure; for they were
associated with my morning of life, and as such have become subjects of
sweet recollection to me now. My troubles, on the whole, were nearly
counterbalanced by gentle contingencies. The life of a campaigner would
be a dreary picture indeed, if some relief were not thrown into it by
the light of the heart: and seldom, thank Heaven! has there occurred a
scene in my military panorama where I could not find a gleam. Whence
comes the brightest? From woman's eyes. A soldier is nothing without
his lass—his life reads badly—cold, dull, and monotonous. But this,
gentle reader, was not my case; enthusiastic, imaginative, ready to
adore every thing sentimental, or romantic, how could I avoid the
flowery way? I _did_ fall in love—as every young officer should do, who
knows his duty; and the first decided symptom of my derangement, was
the following poetical fit which seized me as soon as I found I was no
more in Walcheren.

      The gun is fired, the signal blue
      Floats from the mast—adieu! adieu!
      Flow'r of the flow'rs! smile of the smiles!
      Gem of the Zelander's sandy isles!
      O! many a time will I turn to thee,
      In fond and faithful memory.
      Though pleasure over my path may shine,
      'Twill only remind me of thee and thine—
      Though sorrow may haunt me, yet 'twill be
      The sharpener of what I lost in thee.
      For ever, for ever, my heart will remember
      The stormy birth of our own September.
      When down on my head fell sheets of rain,
      And the lightning lash'd the gloomy plain:
      As if the Heav'ns were repeating that night,
      (What that day we had done) the terrible fight.[14]
      For, Sweet, in that hour of tempest I met thee,
      And felt, even then, I could never forget thee.
      Oh! thy gentle looks, and thy pitying sighs,
      Put an end to the rage of the roaring skies;
      And thy father, thy home, and thine own sweet smile,
      Made me love the Zelander's sandy isle.
        How quick, how quick, did the moments flee!
      O! their beautiful wings were made by thee.
      How fair—how fair was each morning's light;
      For thou wert there—so bright—so bright!
      But one—the last—was bleak and dark—
      Oh! it dawn'd in mist on my home-bound bark—
      I cannot help thinking it seem'd to be
      A gloomy omen of destiny.
        Yes, while I live, shall my soul remember
      The stormy birth of our own September;
      For thou shalt be as a lovely tree,
      Fresh blooming within my memory—
      For ever budding beautiful leaves
      To cheer the waste over which it waves.

FOOTNOTES:

[12] The midshipmen who commanded these parties, were all steady
officers of not less than four or five-and-twenty years of age.

[13] Alas! Flushing.

[14] On the night succeeding the surrender of Flushing, the most
terrific thunder-storm raged for several hours.



             JOURNAL OF A CAMPAIGN AT THE HORSE-GUARDS.


            Laurea flaminibus, quæ toto perstitit anno,
              Tollitur, et frondes sunt in honore novæ.

                                                     OVID.


April 1st. Proceeded by forced marches from Chatham, to Charing-cross.
Halted for the night, and ordered a double ration of rum.

2nd. Took up a position in the Strand, my right leaning on the
Hungerford, my left on the Wheatsheaf-tavern. Reconnoitred the enemy,
found him in strong force, and entrenched; flanked by the Treasury on
the right, and, on the left, by the War-office. Wavered a little, but
thought of Waterloo, Salamanca, and the storming of Badajoz.

3rd. Sent out spies.—Bad news—approaches of the enemy's entrenchments
almost inaccessible. Reconnoitred the rear of his position, in
disguise—narrow escape of being cut off by the Adjutant-general.

4th. Skirmishing at various parts of the lines. Sharp-shooting
effective.—Took one of the Duke's porters, and learnt from him the
precise state of the enemy—right commanded by Sir Herbert Taylor; left,
by Lord Palmerston—Commander-in-Chief, the Duke in person. Fell back
with my light troops upon my centre—doubts of success increasing, but
thought of my motto “_nil desperandum_,” and former services.

5th. Out-posts attacked by Sir Henry Torrens, and driven in—ordered up
a brigade of artillery, and light cavalry—desired effect; kept him in
check, and _gained time_.

6th. All quiet.

7th. Threw out my light troops—attacked, and took the lobby, an
important post in the enemy's front. Manœuvred on his right, but could
not bring Sir Herbert Taylor to action.

8th. All quiet—some auxiliary troops arrive—strong hopes of success.

9th. Under arms at day-break—manœuvred on the enemy's right again—drove
in his piquets—sharp skirmishing—Sir Herbert Taylor came out from his
entrenchments in great force—moved a column of infantry, and a brigade
of artillery, supported by a body of cavalry, to the attack. Cannonaded
him briskly, and charged with effect; but Sir Herbert was reinforced,
and maintained his ground; so I retired in order.

From 9th to 27th. Skirmishing every day—fortified my position—increased
my strength by _forced levees_.—Endeavoured to bring the enemy to
action without effect—annoyed in my rear, by a body of _disaffected_
tradesmen—things looking worse.

28th. Held a council of war—long faces—military chest light—provisions
scarce—supplies cut off from Greenwood and Cox—affairs
desperate—resolved on making a decisive effort.

29th. Nearly cut off in reconnoitring, by the _disaffected Sheriff_
of Middlesex, and his Guerilla band, but made good my retreat—saved
by a fog. Moved out my light troops, to take an important post from
the enemy, and after some sharp work, lodged myself in the waiting
room—directed my attention again to Sir Herbert Taylor—after a brisk
engagement turned his right, and drove him in; but it was too late to
follow up the advantage.

30th. Removed the engagement—directed my whole force to the
centre—keeping the left in check—attacked the Duke with desperate
energy—drove him from his entrenchments—cannonaded him incessantly from
three commanding points—threw him into confusion—poured in my cavalry,
and completely routed the enemy.

Thus I remained master of the field; and for this victory, was rewarded
by His Most Gracious Majesty, with—A COMPANY!



                       MESS-TABLE CHAT.

                           No. II.


              “A band of gallant souls, who knew
               The olive wood, the mountain blue,
               The ration rum, the biscuit black,
               The long bleak road, the bivouac,
               The cannon's thunder, and the bays
               That wave o'er glorious victories,
               Better than city's midnight dress,
               Her luxuries, and gaudiness.”


SCENE—_the mess-room of an Infantry regiment_.

By way of introduction to the present number of “Mess-Table Chat,” a
short description of the scene, as well as the actors in it, will not
be amiss; it will assist the reader very considerably in the conception
of the picture.

Let him, then, imagine a spacious apartment well-carpeted, containing
a large sideboard, on which are spread all the shining accompaniments
of good eating and good drinking; the windows richly curtained; a large
blazing fire at one extremity of the room (the season requiring it); an
oblong table, at which are seated about eight-and-twenty officers, all
in their full regimentals;—scarlet coat, yellow facings buttoned back
on the breast; the field officers (a colonel and two majors) having
_two_ rich silver epaulettes each; the staff (three surgeons, one
pay-master, and one quarter-master) in single-breasted coats _without_
epaulettes; and all the other officers (three of the grenadiers and
three of the light company excepted—they having two wings instead)
wearing _one_ epaulette each on the right shoulder; white pantaloons,
and Hessian boots on all; sashes (except with the staff) but no swords.

Let the reader also imagine the countenances of the officers; the
greatest number well tanned by the sunshine of foreign climes, and
exhibiting the marks of various ages from thirty to fifty, amongst
them, of course, a few “_young hands_,” ensigns and lieutenants,
with youthful and good-looking faces, in which might be discovered a
peculiarity that promised well to honour, at a future period, the more
advanced ages of the corps by assuming their present uniformity of
“phiz.”

Waiting upon the group, let the reader also imagine six or eight
servants, in as many different liveries (all men from the ranks)
standing “attention” behind their respective masters' chairs, or
assisting in the table service under the “_chief command_” of the
_mess waiter general_,—a fusty old privileged rear-rank man, in a
green livery, faced with red, his person exhibiting evident marks of
good living, and indicating thereby the difference between his former
barrack-room _mess_ and his present _mess-kitchen_ morsels: upon the
table, the dessert profusely spread; the board laughing with light;
corks chirping; glasses sparkling; and the band in the passage without,
playing in their best style the beautiful melody of “_Go where glory
waits thee_.” This is the MESS-ROOM of a happy regiment.

I cannot decorate my heroes with that highly esteemed badge “the
_medal_,” because the regiment I describe never

            “Smelt Waterloo's pink-ribbon'd shot.”

Yet are they not the worse for that: many fought at the immortal
engagement commemorated by _the medal_, whose battle account, if
scrutinized, would be found to fall short of theirs—perhaps one
_twentieth_ part.

The members of the mess are partly English, partly Irish, and partly
Scotch: I will not here mention their names, but let them “_fall in_”
just as the dialogue may call them up.

     _Time about seven o'clock.—Cloth just removed._

_Capt. Ball_ (_president for the day_). Gentlemen, fill.

_Major Swordly_ (_“vice” for the day_). We are all ready at this end of
the table.

_Capt. Ball_ (_looking through a full glass_). “THE KING! GOD BLESS
HIM!”

    [_All drink bumpers to the toast._ “GOD BLESS HIM!” “GOD BLESS
      HIM!” _passing from one end of “the line” to the other, while
      the band without change to the royal and national anthem. The
      Mess in under-tones chat to each other._]

_Capt. Ball._ Gentlemen, I'll give you another toast:—THE REVERED AND
CHERISHED MEMORY OF THE LATE DUKE OF YORK, THE FATHER OF THE ARMY.

    [_All rise and drink the toast in solemn silence, after which
      they resume their seats, and a slight pause ensues._]

_Capt. Killdragon._ Heaven bless his memory! it will be a long time
before we forget him.

_Col. Shell._ I think we may say with Shakspeare—

         “He was a man, take him for all in all,
          We shall not look upon his like again.”

_Capt. Killdragon._ Yet kind, generous, good, and great as he was, men
were not wanting to revile him.

_Major Mc Rocket._ _Men!_ did ye say? mere like deevils.

_Capt. Killdragon._ Devils, indeed! Mc Rocket, and my _own_ country
devils too: sorry am I to say it.

_Dr. Slaughtery._ Yes, yes, Killdragon; but this was not worse than the
_English_ conspiracy formed against him some years ago: the attack made
upon him by Mr. Shiel was the effect of the unfortunate party feeling
which prevails in Ireland. I do not speak so because I am myself an
Irishman, but because I am convinced that so long as the violence of
party exists in that country, you will have such things.

_Capt. Killdragon._ Oh! doctor, you have too much of the milk of human
kindness about you. I (as you all know, Gentlemen) am a Catholic—I hope
yet to see the members of my religion emancipated from their grating
chains; but is it by such firebrands as now inflame the Irish, we
are to be liberated? No; those can only make our chains red-hot, and
weld them firmer—those are but the evil tools of their own selfish
purposes, and to be the idols of a mob, would lead it to its perdition
the while. However, let the motives be what they may, the conduct in
this affair was detestable. The man who would draw aside the curtains
of the death-bed, that the rabble which followed him might mock the
dying, while he himself stood by it, displaying his venomous teeth,
and mixing with the prayers of his helpless victim his own horrid
yells—is a monster, which I had thought was only to be imagined, until
a demagogue, my countryman and fellow Catholic, embodied the horrid
conception.

_Dr. Slaughtery._ But he neutralized it by the _amende honorable_.

_Capt. Killdragon._ Ay, ay, _neutralized_ it, indeed; that is,
he added an alkali to his acid—such union, we know, produces
_froth_—insipid—nay, disgusting froth. The fact is, the patching only
made things worse; for the Duke was in _articulo mortis_, (as _you_
would say, Doctor,) when the cold-blooded and heartless declaimer
apologized for his wanton brutality. Besides, he found that he
disgusted even his _own_ partisans, and therefore feared the loss of
his all—his popularity—his _brief_ popularity.

_Major Mc Rocket._ By G—! yir raight, Killdragon; an' ye speak the
feelings o' us a'.

_Dr. Slaughtery._ I do not defend the act: it certainly was bad; but I
think it arose from party violence.

_Several Voices._ It admits of no excuse.

_Col. Shell._ And the Doctor thinks so too; but he loves argument as
dearly as he does his country, and only wishes now to draw _you_ out,
Killdragon.

_Dr. Slaughtery._ Thank you, Colonel; I _have_ drawn him out, and now
I'll draw _in_ my horns.

_All the Mess._ Bravo! bravo!

_Capt. Ball._ Gentlemen, as we are on the subject of the
Commander-in-Chief's death, I beg to mention that Mr. Steel, my worthy
young _Sub_ here on my left, has written a song upon the occasion, and
set it to music. You all know how he sings, and what do you say to
hearing it? The band can accompany the song, for they have learnt the
music of it.

    [_This announcement was received with enthusiasm, and Ensign
      Steel, although blushing under his honours and opposing
      “the motion,” was obliged to yield to the general request.
      The band having been ordered to accompany the song, now
      played a fine impressive symphony, and the Ensign sung
      with great effect the following_:—


                     LAMENT OF THE CHIEF.

                             I.

            Soldiers! the chief that you loved is gone
              To the tomb where his fathers sleep,
            Where the mighty rest,—but there is not one
              Like him in its holy keep.
            The dead where he lies wear diadems,—
              His crown is the soldier's love;—
            Not a thing of gold nor of costly gems,
              But a glory that's brought from above.

                             II.

            Soldiers! the heart that was good and great,
              Is still, and its warmth is past;
            For you and your weal its first pulses beat—
              For you and your weal its last.
            In the midst of the forest of lofty pines
              Thus drops the parent stem,
            Thus a father whose hope in his children shines—
              All blessing, and blessed by them.

                             III.

            Soldiers! go plant a branch by his tomb,
              From the wreath which to you he gave,
            And high may it grow, and spread, and bloom,
              And long may it over him wave!
            Oh, yes, it will bloom when past are ye,
              And age shall not number its years,
            For the smiles of your orphans shall sun the tree,
              And your widows shall wet it with tears.

    [_The warmest applause followed this song, while the
      countenances of all the listeners glowed with the
      indescribable sensations which the union of the
      sentiment with fine voice and melody produced. The
      harmony was well executed, and Mr. Steel's admirable
      taste gave great effect to the whole._]

_Col. Shell._ The last lines, I presume, allude to the Duke's patronage
of the Orphan School at Chelsea.

_Ensign Steel._ Yes, Sir.

_Major Mc Rocket._ An' a lasting monument it is, Colonel.

_Col. Shell._ Yet this, great as it is, is only a part of the good he
has done to the army.

_Capt. Killdragon._ I, as an individual, can bear testimony of his
paternal kindness. You all know I was cashiered on account of that
cowardly dragoon, who first insulted me (then a mere boy), and
afterwards refused to give satisfaction. I applied to the Duke, and
presented the memorial myself. When the Aid-de-camp bowed me in,
“ENSIGN KILLDRAGON,” my heart was in my mouth—I didn't know whether
I was on my head or my heels; but when I saw the fine, smiling,
good-natured GENTLEMAN, standing with his back to the fire, as careless
as if he had been only a head clerk, I was relieved from my fears. I
gave the paper into his own hands, and he, in the kindest manner, told
me he would read the proceedings of the court martial, desiring me to
call on the following levee-day. I did: he _had_ read the proceedings,
and asked me several questions relating to the matter. At length he
said, “You shall have an answer.” I withdrew, delighted with the
affability of the Royal Duke, at the same time doubtful of success;
“but,” thought I, “if I am refused, it will be like a gentleman.” I
got a letter in four days after, informing me that I was reinstated.
'Faith! I drank a bottle to the Duke's health that night, and now I'll
drink another to his memory.

_Col. Shell._ This is only one in thousands of instances. Whenever he
_could_ grant a request, consistent with his duty, he did so.

_Major Mc Rocket._ The Duke o' Wellington has noo got the command, an'
I have nae doobt that he'll gi'e us a' satisfaction. The army is a
wee bit afraid o' him, because he is sic a disciplinarian, but in my
opinion that's a' for the better; an' I'll wager ony mon in England a
dozen o' claret, that the Duke will be as gude an officer at the heed
o' the army as he was afore. Ye see he hasn't changed a single man
in the office; but has already done a gude thing for the country, in
uniting the Ordnance Department to his ain.

_Capt. Ball._ There is none like him; he is a good soldier, a prudent
general, and a kind man. He was strict and severe while in the
Peninsula, but he could have done nothing had he not been so; not only
his own private interests, but his country's hopes and glory, depended
upon his success. Gentlemen, I'll give you “The Duke of Wellington and
the Army.”

    [_This toast was drunk standing, and with “three times three,”
      and the band played “Rule Britannia” in the finest style._]

_Capt. Killdragon._ By Gad! Wellington is the boy that made _work_-men
of us at any rate.

_Major Mc Rocket._ Yir nae far oot there, Killdragon; an' if we tak the
field again, I hope he'll gang wi' us.

_Major Swordly._ Mr. President, the paymaster on your right there, is
neglecting his _accounts_ very much:—bring him to _book_, and send the
decanter this way.

_Mr. Cashly._ Don't fear, Major; I'll take a _receipt in full now:—à
votre santé_.

_Major Swordly._ Mr. Quartermaster Sharp, you should keep to the
_allowance_,—come, fill!

_Mr. Sharp._ I assure you, Major, I like a _full ration_.

_Dr. Slaughtery._ So do we all; and if we go out again, Sharp, my boy,
we'll keep you to your word.

_Mr. Sharp._ I don't care how soon this may happen; another campaign
would do the regiment no harm, particularly as regards these young
subalterns here.

_Ensign Steel._ Heaven grant we may have another breeze!

_Major Mc Rocket._ Tak care, mun; it may come a bit too soon.

_Ensign Steel._ No, Major, not a minute too soon. I don't like home
service; give me the field. I wish I had it in my power to volunteer
to-night for the storming of a breach at daybreak.

_Capt. Ball._ You might have too much of that too, my boy; like young
O'Connel, a lad of about eighteen—your own age. He volunteered on the
storming-party at Badajoz, for his ensigncy in the 59th, and escaped;
he then volunteered on the storming of Ciudad Rodrigo, and there also
escaped,—got his Lieutenancy. Again, at the storming of St. Sebastian
he _would_ volunteer, against the advice of all his brother officers.
God knows! to have stormed twice as he had done, was enough for any
_one_, but he was determined, and like a hero mounted the breach.

_Capt. Killdragon._ I saw him that day almost at the head of the
column, smiling with as much confidence as if he thought the balls knew
him and would run away from him.

_Capt. Ball._ Poor lad! he was made a riddle of. I counted sixteen
ball-wounds in his body.

_Capt. Killdragon._ Rashness is very often the bane of courage. There
was a countryman of mine at Badajoz, a young Ensign; he, with the men,
was ordered to lie down, so as to conceal themselves from the view
of the batteries on the ramparts. The young fellow was rash enough to
put up the colours which he carried, in order (as he says himself)
that it might receive a ball or two, and thus afford evidence of his
danger. The consequence was, that a tremendous shower of cannon-ball
was directed to the spot where the fool-hardy Ensign was: one struck
him on the hip, and carried away the whole of the fleshy part of the
thigh: then a musket-ball hit him in the breast. The rashness of this
officer is greatly to be regretted, for many men fell beside him, from
the fire in which he himself was mutilated. He is still alive, and on
the half-pay of the Queen's Germans. I saw him in town a few weeks ago.

_Col. Shell._ This was not true courage, but hair-brained folly. Mr.
Steel, I'll give you an instance of steady bravery:—When Colonel
Higgins was a cornet (I think in the 18th), and in Holland, the Duke
of Cambridge wished to send a despatch to a certain point, the way to
which was cannonaded heavily by grape-shot. His Royal Highness asked,
if there was any dragoon officer near him who would volunteer for
the duty? Young Higgins immediately presented himself—he took the
despatch—gallopped off: the Duke could see him from where he stood,
the whole of the distance. When about half way, and in the thick of
the fire, Higgins dropped his helmet: he coolly pulled up his horse,
alighted, put his helmet upon his head, mounted again, and continued
his course. The young officer returned through the same danger safely,
and his Royal Highness was so pleased with his steady courage, that he
appointed him to his personal staff, and he is his Royal Highness's
private secretary at this day.

_Ensign Steel._ That I think, certainly, of different character from
the conduct of the Ensign, although both might be equally brave. What
regiment did Mr. O'Connel belong to, Captain Ball?

_Capt. Ball._ The 59th.

_Major Swordly._ That regiment had a vast deal to do on the last
campaign in Spain.

_Capt. Killdragon._ It behaved nobly at Vittoria, although a great
part of it were very young soldiers. At a little village on the left
of the town, the French made a most desperate effort to prevent our
troops crossing the little river. (I was Brigade Major at the time,
and so could see those things.) They had two field-pieces planted
close to the bridge, which was not wide enough to permit two carts to
pass abreast, and their infantry defended this pass for a long time.
The men were butting each other in a dense mass on the bridge, after
they had been tired of the bayonet; and caps, and muskets, and bodies
were heaved over the sides into the stream, till they almost choked
the arches beneath. The 59th came up to the bridge, after a repulse,
commanded by Colonels Fane and Weare, and the fire upon them was thick
and destructive—grape and musketry. The _young_ fellows began to dip
their heads and straggle, when Colonel Weare rode back to them, and
cried out,—“_59th! for shame, for shame!_” This was like magic; the
men dashed on steadily, but at the instant he received a ball in the
spine. Colonel Fane, who headed the battalion, now rode up to Colonel
Weare; and perceiving his state, shook hands with him, and then gave
directions for his removal: there was not an instant to lose—the men
were advancing like lions to the bridge—“_God bless you, Weare!_” was
all that the Colonel had time to say, and he then rode on with the
regiment; but in the next minute he received a shot himself in the
groin, and was obliged to leave the men to themselves. They did their
duty, and carried the bridge. Poor Fane was dead before his friend
Weare, with whom he shook hands, in the belief that he would not be an
hour alive. Both died of their wounds in a few days, and I attended
both their funerals in the town of Vittoria. A finer picture of a hero
in death, than the naked body of Weare on his cold bed was, no man ever
beheld—noble fellow! A letter just arrived at the regiment the day
after he died, to say that his wife and family had landed at Lisbon
with the view of joining him: sad was the answer to that letter!...
Colonel Fane was the brother of General Fane, you know, and a finer or
more gallant fellow never fought. Both these leaders were buried in a
_yard behind the Hospital_, while a French General was, at the same
time, entombed _within the walls of the principal Church_; but this was
because the Frenchman was a _Roman Christian_, and the others _English
Christians_. It grieved me to see it; and never did I feel the folly
and absurdity of such religious differences so forcibly as on that
melancholy occasion. The Spanish priests regretted (and sincerely too)
that they had it not in their power to honour the remains of their
_allies_ as they, from Christian charity, did the remains of their
_enemy_.

_Col. Shell._ I knew both Fane and Weare well, and better officers
could not be.

_Ensign Young._ Captain Killdragon, was it Colonel Fane's horse that
gallopped into the enemy's ranks, as you were telling us the other
evening?

_Capt. Killdragon._ No, no. That was at the battle of Salamanca. It
occurred with the 5th Dragoon Guards.

_Mr. Cashly._ What was that? I was in the brigade at the time.

_Capt. Killdragon._ The horse that lost his rider, and—

_Mr. Cashly._ Oh! yes, yes, yes. I know.

_Major Swordly._ Let us hear it.

_Capt. Killdragon._ When the regiment charged the French on the plain,
one of the men was thrown off his horse: the animal dashed into the
enemy's lines, and after the regiment to which he belonged had retired
from the charge, he was seen scampering about amongst the French
infantry, kicking and frolicking. The 5th was ordered to renew the
charge, which they did; and as they were approaching the enemy, the
horse in question gallopped over to them, regularly fell into the
ranks, as if a dragoon had been upon his back: he continued in rank
during the operation of the charge, and returned in line with his
troop, to the astonishment of his rider, and the admiration of all who
saw him.

_Mr. Cashly._ It is a fact, I know it to be so.

_Capt. Ball._ Mess-waiter, look to the decanters!—gentlemen, I have a
proposal to make: we cannot be more harmonious than we are; but by way
of diversifying our happiness, suppose Killdragon favours us with his
“_British Bayoneteers_.” It will bring back the recollections of the
“_work_” as he calls it.

    [_All now warmly called on Captain Killdragon, who was not
      a man that required much pressing; so, having filled his
      glass and put on a regular corporal countenance, he sang
      the following song, in a fine bold voice, and all the Mess
      joined in merry chorus_:—


                    THE BRITISH BAYONETEERS.

                               I.

      Eyes right! my jolly field boys,
        Who British bayonets bear,
      To teach your foes to yield, boys,
        When British steel they dare!
      Now fill the glass, for the toast of toasts
        Shall be drunk with the cheer of cheers:—
      Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!
        For the British Bayoneteers!
              Then fill the glass, for the toast of toasts, &c.

                              II.

      Great guns have shot and shell, boys,
        Dragoons have sabres bright,
      Th' artillery's fire's like hell, boys,
        And the horse like devils fight;
      But neither light nor heavy horse,
        Nor thundering cannoneers,
      Can stem the tide of the foeman's pride,
        Like the British Bayoneteers.
              Then fill the glass, for the toast of toasts, &c.

                              III.

      See, see, red Battle raging,
        In wild and bloody strife;
      His burning thirst assuaging
        In the smoking tide of life!
      From the shower of balls our men give way—
        But the rank of steel appears:
      They charge!—Hurrah! Hurrah! for the day
        Is the British Bayoneteers!
              Then fill the glass, for the toast of toasts, &c.

                              IV.

      The English arm is strong, boys,
        The Irish arm is tough,
      The Scotchman's blow, the French well know,
        Is struck by sterling stuff;
      And when, before the enemy,
        Their shining steel appears—
      Good by'e! Good by'e!—How they run! How they fly
        From the British Bayoneteers!
              Then fill the glass, for the toast of toasts, &c.

Loud applause followed this song, for the wine had pretty freely
circulated before it was sung. A deviled turkey was now brought in, the
decanters were all replenished, and several jolly songs sung. It was
a festival day; therefore did the young _subs_ leave off the everyday
rule of quitting the mess-table after the “_second allowance_,” and
indulged _ad libitum_. In short, a merrier set of fellows, from the
Colonel to the Quarter-master, never broke up from a happy mess-table,
than they, at half-past 12 o'clock, A. M.



                        GERAGHTY'S KICK.


            “Send that to your next-door neighbour.”


At the battle of Talavera, when the hill on the left of the British
line had been retaken from the enemy, after the most obstinate and
bloody fighting, the French continued to throw shells upon it with most
destructive precision. One of those terrible instruments of death fell
close to a party of grenadiers belonging to the 45th regiment, who were
standing on the summit of the hill. The fusee was burning rapidly,
and a panic struck upon the minds of the soldiers, for they could not
move away from the shell on account of the compact manner in which the
troops stood: it was nearly consumed—every rapidly succeeding spark
from it promised to be the last—all expected instant death—when Tom
Geraghty, a tall raw-boned Irishman, ran towards the shell, crying out,
“By J——, I'll have a kick for it, if it was to be my last;” and with a
determined push from his foot, sent the load of death whirling off the
height. It fell amongst a close column of men below, while Geraghty,
leaning over the verge from whence it fell, with the most vehement
and good-natured energy, bawled out “Mind your heads, boys, mind your
heads!” Horror!—the shell burst!—it was over in a moment. At least
twenty men were shattered to pieces by the explosion!

Geraghty was wholly unconscious of having done any mischief. It was a
courageous impulse of the moment, which operated upon him in the first
instance; and the injury to the service was not worse than if the shell
had remained where it first fell. Self-preservation is positively in
favour of the act, considering that there was no other way of escaping
from destruction.

Very serious consequences would have still attended the matter, had it
not been for the active exertions of the officers; for the men of the
regiment, among which the shell was thrown, and who had escaped, were
with difficulty prevented from mounting the hill and executing summary
punishment upon the grenadiers, from whom the unwelcome messenger had
been so unceremoniously despatched. Thus they would have increased to
an alarming degree the evil consequences of Geraghty's kick.

An unexpected shower of admiration and flattery, like the sudden
possession of great and unexpected wealth, produces evil effects
upon a weak head. The perilous kick, instead of exalting Geraghty's
fortunes, as it would have done had he been a prudent man, produced
the very opposite consequences. He was talked of throughout the
regiment—nay, the whole division, for this intrepid act; every body,
officers and all, complimented him upon his coolness and courage; and
the general who commanded his regiment (Sir John Doyle) gave him the
most flattering encouragement. All this was lost upon Geraghty; he was
one of those crazy fellows whom nothing but the weight of adversity
could bring to any tolerable degree of steadiness; and instead of
profiting by his reputed bravery, he gave way to the greatest excesses.
Finding that he was tolerated in one, he would indulge in another,
until it became necessary to check the exuberance of his folly. He
gave way completely to drunkenness: when under the effects of liquor,
although a most inoffensive being when sober, he would try to “carry
all before him,” as the phrase goes; and having succeeded in this so
frequently, amongst the privates and non-commissioned officers of his
regiment, the excitement of the excess began to lose its pungency in
his imagination, and he determined to extend his enjoyments amongst the
officers: this very soon led him to most disagreeable results. It had
been ordered that the privates should not walk upon a certain part of
the parade in Colchester Barracks. Geraghty, however, thought proper to
_kick_ against it as determinedly as he formerly did against the shell.
Charged with strong rum, he one day strutted across it in a manner
becoming a hero of Talavera (as he thought), and was seen by two of
his officers, ensigns, who sent the orderly to desire him to move off
the forbidden ground; but Geraghty declined obedience, and told the
orderly to “_be off to the devil out o' that_.” The ensigns, on being
informed of the disobedience, proceeded to the delinquent, and renewed
their orders, which were not only disregarded, but accompanied by a
violent assault from Geraghty. The refractory giant seized an ensign in
each hand, and having lifted both off the ground, dashed their heads
together. This was seen by some other officers and soldiers of the
regiment, who all ran instantly to rescue the sufferers from Geraghty's
gripe. None could, however, secure him; he raged and threatened
vengeance on all who came within the length of his long arms; nor would
he have surrendered had it not been for a captain in the regiment,
under whose eye he pulled many a trigger against the enemy. This
officer approached with a stick, seized him by the collar, and began to
lay on in good style. “Leather away,” cried Geraghty, “I'll submit to
_you_, Captain, and will suffer any thing; flog me, if you like. You
are a good sodger, an' saw the enemy; but by J——, I'll not be insulted
by brats o' boys who never smelt powdther.”

The consequences of this violence of course led to punishment: Geraghty
was flogged for the mutiny; he received six hundred and fifty lashes,
laid heavily on; yet he never uttered a groan during the whole of
this suffering; and when taken down, although bleeding, bruised, and
doubtless greatly exhausted, assumed an air of insolent triumph; put on
his shirt, and boldly walked off to the hospital. The body of the man
was overcome,—the pallid cheek, the bloodshot eye, the livid lip, the
clammy mouth—all declared it; but the spirit was wholly untouched by
the lash: nothing on earth _could_ touch it.

The 87th was subsequently quartered in Guernsey: here the sheriff, a
little powdered personage of the forensic faculty, was the immediate
cause of another punishment to Geraghty, by having preferred a
complaint against him. The deepest enmity towards the civic officer
arose in Geraghty's breast, and he vowed vengeance against him. It
happened that after long looking out for the fulfilment of his vow, he
met the sheriff one dark night in a narrow way: a moment so precious
could not be wasted; so Geraghty, with an oath like the thunder of
Jupiter, seized his victim by the collar of his coat and the posterior
portion of his pantaloons, and having twirled him in the air just as he
would a monkey, flung him “neck and crop” (as the flinger said) over
the church-yard wall, which stood full seven feet high, beside the road.

The sheriff received several bruises and a dislocation of the shoulder
by the fall, but managed to creep home, after a little rest taken on a
grave, quite as much frightened as he was hurt. Of course the necessary
steps were taken next day to bring Geraghty to justice; but at the
trial the sheriff failed in his evidence, having none but his own oath,
while the prisoner proved that he was in bed when the roll was called,
and also that he was on parade at six in the morning: the court was
of opinion that the sheriff might have been mistaken, and therefore
acquitted the graceless grenadier.

General Doyle, however, was not quite convinced of the prisoner's
innocence, and although acquitted, he received a private reprimand
from the General, who also addressed the regiment publicly upon the
necessity of behaving with decorum towards the inhabitants, giving Mr.
Geraghty many severe hints upon the sheriff's affair, which showed
that Sir John Doyle was not one of those who doubted his delinquency.

“Eighty-seventh,” said the General to the regiment in a loud voice,
“you have always distinguished yourselves in the field, and have
never disgraced yourselves in your quarters: you have fought with the
enemies of your country, and not against your countrymen. I trust you
will continue to respect the civilian, and thereby respect yourselves.
An occurrence has taken place lately which I am shocked at, and if I
thought the 87th regiment would practise such gross conduct against the
worthy inhabitants of this island, _it would break my heart_.”

This natural appeal had a powerful effect: every man felt as if his own
father addressed him, and Geraghty amongst the rest participated in
the respectful homage paid to the parent of the corps; for he then was
sober, and consequently rational and kind-hearted.

A short time after this the General held a levee, and Geraghty
happened to be the sentry on his house. The sheriff having attended,
was returning from the doors, the General and several friends in the
balcony above, elevated at no greater distance than that within which
every word spoken at the door could be distinctly heard by them: the
sheriff passed close to Geraghty, who, not thinking that there was
anybody within hearing, seized the little gentleman by the buttonhole,
and forcibly detained him while he addressed him in the following
impressive manner: “Come here, you little rascal:”—the petrified
civilian trembling, looked up and listened,—“I tell you what; by J——,
if it wasn't that I'd brake the poor owld General's heart, I'd just
take an' I'd smash every bone in your skin this minute; so ger out o'
my sight, and never come near me again while you've breath in your
little body.”

Sir John heard the whole of this address, and saw the sheriff hasten to
obey the commands of the sentry. He did not bring him to court-martial,
for he wisely thought that punishment was wholly useless: however, he
procured his discharge, as the only means of securing the regiment
against the farther consequences of _Geraghty's kick_.



                    DUELLING IN THE SERVICE.


                      —— Keep your honour clear,
                Barring all consequences.

                                        _Burns._


That the practice of duelling is to be tolerated in general society,
I will not take upon me to say; but that it is absolutely necessary
in the army, no officer of that profession will deny. It should,
however, be regulated by temperate and honourable rules. In a body
like the army, where unanimity and obedience to command must prevail,
every thing that tends to disturb those passive qualities, should be
scrupulously forbidden. But as the evil passions of the heart have
not less exercise amongst military men than in any other division of
society, quarrels cannot of course be avoided. Yet if these quarrels
were allowed to develope their virulence in bickerings and open abuse,
every corps of officers, it is to be feared, would be divided into
parties, and disunion would place in jeopardy that power which can only
act efficiently by unanimity. Hence the necessity of a more particular
attention to gentlemanly demeanour amongst the military, and hence
also the necessity of the existence of some power which will enforce
conformity to its regulations. This, to a certain extent, is to be
found in military authority; but beyond this, there is no remedy,
except in the practice of duelling; and the more this practice is
cherished in the army, the more honourable and lasting will be its
reputation; the less will its quiet be disturbed; fewer will insult
or injure their brother-officers, and consequently fewer will be
necessitated to vindicate their honour by duel.

The admirable decorum and gentlemanly friendships which prevail in the
army generally, bear strong testimony to the truth of my argument;
and as insults and injuries cannot pass there with impunity, those
despicable characters, _professed duellists_, are rarely, if ever, to
be met with in the service. They do not, at all events, practise their
“_profession_” amongst military men, for the most obvious reasons in
the world. Yet there have been, and are still in the army, men who
approach towards this odious character; they are, however, but very
few, nor will they attempt to offer insult openly; their aim is to
assume an overbearing superiority, and, by all indirect means in their
power, to impress every one with a sense of their vast prowess and
undaunted courage: through all this they are guarded in their manner
and expressions, and only go so far as to render themselves both
despised and shunned.

An ancient writer observes, that “The long sword and the swaggering
cock are the ordinary marks of a faint heart in disguise;” and never
was there more truth in any observation: for, as modesty and courage
are usually associated, and as regard to self-preservation is natural
to every one who contemplates the possible consequences of a duel, it
is very unlikely that a truly brave man would wantonly expose himself
to peril, by insulting another, without ample provocation. As a man
of courage, he would feel that he could not shrink from a challenge,
and that once engaged in it, “there must be no shuffling”; but the
swaggerer is altogether a different sort of person, and will be found
on examination to be made up of vanity, cruelty, and cowardice; he
indulges in the two former, but is betrayed by the latter. He is
forward to insult, because he is predetermined to shrink from the
dangerous consequences his insults might threaten to bring upon him;
and by indulging in the practice of bullying, he is in fact playing
a game in which there is a great deal of counterfeit reputation to
be won, and much base vanity to be gratified, but little or nothing
to be lost by him: you may, at the end of the game, kick him in the
breech, and he will politely thank you for so distinguishing a mark of
attention, provided you call not upon him for the stakes. His great
enjoyment is in attacking men from whom he can win off hand, but he is
amazingly shy of those who know how to play.

An instance of this kind occurred within my own observation at Ostend,
in 1815, in which the character of a swaggerer was completely developed
and effectually disgraced. The person I allude to, belonged to one of
the regiments which were sent out to garrison Ostend, farther than
which town they did not proceed in the campaign. An officer, who
had not only served at Waterloo, but in most of the actions in the
Peninsula, was insulted in a coffee-room by a low person, attached to
one of the departments of the army; and of so inferior a rank, that he
chose rather to report his gross misconduct to his commanding officer
than to degrade himself by fighting a duel with him. The Swaggerer, who
was a needy fellow, and one who would be the bottle friend of anybody
who would treat him, was, it appeared, upon terms of intimacy with the
person who insulted the officer; and, in his defence, thought proper
to display himself, a few nights after the other had been reported.
The result proved, that in this he made a totally false estimate of
the officer's courage, and was deceived in the confidence or hope
that an insult from him would be met by the same return as that given
to his low companion. Under this idea he placed himself, in company
with others of his own class, at a table in the coffee-room, close to
one where the officer alluded to was sitting, engaged at a game of
backgammon with a friend. The mode of attack which he then adopted,
was to allude, in the most insulting terms, to the affront given a
few days before to the officer; and in so loud a voice, that it was
evident he intended that the allusions should be heard; he talked of
white feathers, “shy cocks,” &c. all which the officer appeared to take
no notice of, so that the talker became “stronger in his strength,”
and blustered away in such a manner as made all who heard him suppose
he was a most determined fire-eater, and that his stomach would digest
lead with as much ease as a cock ostrich's would a horse's shoe.
Nothing farther took place in the affair that evening, and all parties
separated; but next morning the _denouement_ was brought about, which I
have no doubt was as little expected by Mr. Swagger as that he himself
was not a “monstrous excellent” gentleman. The officer's friend called
upon him ere he was out of bed; and in sending up his card, intimated
that he would wait until the gentleman had “made his toilette.” Word
was immediately returned, that he might “walk up.”

On perceiving the countenance and air of the visitor, the hero of
cups, who had not yet stirred from his bed, made an effort to conceal
his fears by a forced compliment; and when he learned the nature of
the visit clearly, and saw that there was no loop-hole open for a
jump, he declared solemnly he did not recollect a single word which
passed from his lips the night before, and offered to make the most
ample apology. He was therefore requested to rise, which he did with
the obedience of a timid child; and having done so, was directed to
write down, word after word, one of the most humiliating apologies
that a determined head could dictate; and having done so, was farther
_requested_ to appear in the coffee-room where the insult passed, and
to read the paper to the company. Even this he agreed to; but it was
only an agreement, for he never appeared at the appointed place; his
regiment was ordered home to be disbanded, so he started off to England
by the next packet. The apology, however, was read in the coffee-room,
and afforded an admirable lesson to any swaggerer who might have been
present.[15]

Our French neighbours, who would have us to think they would fly to
the field of single combat as readily as would a cock pheasant, are
not without the swaggering white feather. I recollect some instances
of this—particularly when the British army arrived victorious at
Bordeaux, the field of ancient British glory. Scarcely an officer or
soldier could, whilst we were there, escape a fight of some sort.
Our soldiers, who cared neither for duelling nor its laws, levelled,
in good style, the insulters, by a few “_facers_,” _à la_ Cribb, and
settled the contest by committing their antagonists' heads to chancery;
but the officers had as many duels to provide for daily, while amongst
the Gascons, as they had tradesmen's bills; all which they settled as
honourable men should settle their accounts—by paying off every one in
his own coin.

One night, while in the theatre, an Irish gentleman and myself were
quietly enjoying the performance (the house crowded with British
officers and fine women; for the beauties of Bordeaux fought no duels
with us, except those in which nothing but the heart is to be lost,
they having nothing else to lose), when an officer of one of the
French corps took up a position exactly behind my friend, and in a
fierce and brutal manner opened a volley of abuse upon him, in French,
interlarding his language with English extracts, such as “_Beef-stek!_”
“_Ros-beef!_” and then serving up the vegetable “_pomme de terre_,”
_secundum artem_; nothing of which my high-spirited but unfrenchified
friend comprehended in the slightest degree. All the notice he took of
the outrage was by saying to me, “This French fellow is making a great
fuss; what the devil is he jabbering about?” Had I answered by stating
the fact, Heaven help the Frenchman! he would have been in the pit
in a second; but knowing the irascibility of my Hibernian companion,
I replied evasively, determined to take a better opportunity for
resentment.

The play went on, and the assailant went away; but I knew that he
attended the theatre every night. I informed my friend when we went
home of what had happened: his rage became almost ungovernable. We of
course proceeded to the theatre the next night, and met the Frenchman
in the saloon. He was leaning against a table, taking an ice; and, as
previously arranged, one of us took our station close upon each side
of him, and began a dialogue in English, of the same cast as the
insulting soliloquy in French, the previous night, introducing certain
French words which were not to be misunderstood. This we were wrong in
doing; but my friend insisted that “it would be useless to call him
out without taking a little bit of satisfaction out of him, for his
impudence.” Accordingly, we enjoyed a considerable quantity of fun, at
the expense of the Frenchman, who at length blustered out and demanded
what we meant, in a most cut-and-thrust manner. “What does he say?”
said my friend to me. I told him. “O faith, I'll soon answer you, Sir,”
said he, and seizing the Frenchman's nose, (a long one) he tweaked
it in such a tortuous and effective style, as made the mouth beneath
it roar, “Nothing now but _immediate_ satisfaction.” After this I
explained the matter, and the Frenchman seemed astonished at the aspect
which affairs had taken. He departed, assuring us that he would return
in half an hour with his friend. We informed him that he would find
us in the theatre. There we remained, to the last moment of its being
open: but had we stayed a month, we should not have had another word
about the nose affair.

Thus, even in the army, both of England and France, a cowardly braggart
will occasionally show himself. This, however, very seldom happens,
owing to the certainty of disgrace, which attends the exposure of their
false pretensions.

Another character is also to be met with in the army, nearly as
injurious to its internal peace as the swaggerer. This is the man who,
from weakness of judgment, flies to duelling for the rectification of
every trifling dispute—one who thinks that a mere contradiction is
“the lie.” These are not sanguinary heroes, and will fire in the air,
or exchange shots with the most perfect good-nature; but they must
argue by duel, and the first pop settles the argument. An example of
this is within my recollection:—a Major W. and a Captain W. fell into
a most trivial dispute. Cards passed. The parties met—the seconds and
the principals, as polite and good-humoured as if they had assembled
to shoot at a target for a wager. “Beg the Major to move a little to
the right.” “The Captain may have _our_ pistols with pleasure.” “We
are much obliged to the Major,” and so on. They both fired at once—both
fell, and then in the coolest manner possible, addressed each other
thus:

“Captain, are you wounded?”

“I am, Major.”

“So am I—mortally!”

There was but one house near, and in one room were these unhappy
victims of a diseased refinement obliged to remain for a whole night,
before the termination of which Major W. died. The other recovered,
after a long confinement from a most severe wound in the hip.

A third character is one who goes to extremities at once, and deals
out the lie or the blow in the heat of passion. There are few quarrels
that cannot be amicably arranged by judicious seconds, _if_ the lie or
blow have not passed; but those who deal in such acts or expressions,
generally lose their lives in duelling. Many have fallen in this way,
and many but narrowly escaped, owing to the almost impossibility of
settling the matter without a bloody or protracted combat.

Two officers, a Lieutenant and a Surgeon, quarreled in this way at
Ostend, in 1815. They were intimate friends, and had differed in
a public coffee-room about a trifling bet at backgammon, when the
Lieutenant gave the unqualified lie to the other in a loud voice, and
in the presence of several gentlemen. The Surgeon instantly knocked
him down, and in his rage kicked him out of the room. A message was
sent next day from the Lieutenant at twelve o'clock, and a meeting was
appointed to take place at four, outside the ramparts. The parties
met, each attended by a second. There was also a mutual friend, and a
Flemish surgeon. The combatants took their distance at ten paces. The
earth was covered with snow, and afforded, therefore, a greater chance
of a hit from either side; but the evening was drawing in dusky. There
was scarcely a word spoken by any of the party; and from the nature
of the quarrel, no hope of separating without blood was entertained.
The combatants stood back to back, close together, and each marched
five paces, when the words “_halt_—_front_—_fire_” were given. They
fired: the Surgeon in a very elevated direction above his antagonist's
head, the Lieutenant point blank at his man without effect. The former
fired as described without letting his second previously know that
he intended to do so, and (as he afterwards declared) for the purpose
of terminating the affair; he feeling satisfied that his antagonist,
although the first aggressor, was in no way his creditor. This,
however, was unnoticed by both his own second and that of his opponent.

It was now demanded by the Lieutenant's party whether the Surgeon was
disposed to apologize, and answered in the negative. The pistols were
again loaded, and the Surgeon, seeing that nothing but blood or apology
could terminate the matter, proposed by his second to advance two paces
closer every round. This was declined by the Lieutenant's party. The
word was again given, and it was evident that neither of the combatants
intended to leave their next shot to chance, for each took deliberate
aim while one could count ten; yet, strange to say, (although both
well-known good shots) neither ball took effect. They certainly could
not have been many hairs' breadth from fate. I saw the aim of the
pistols from a hedge close by; both men were as steady as rocks, and I
fully expected to see both fall.

It was now getting dark: the apology was again demanded, and again
refused. Another round was inevitable; but there were no more balls
which would fit both pistols. It was, therefore, proposed that the
seconds should return to the town for them. This was agreed to, and the
combatants returned both to a cottage or farm-house near, where they
coolly sat by the kitchen fire while the balls were preparing—at least
half an hour—for it was necessary to cast the balls. It was by this
time settled night, but the moon rose very bright; which, together with
the reflection from the snow, gave a tolerably good light. The men took
their ground once more—all parties silent—again was the word given—and
again deliberate and slower aim was taken. One pistol missed fire, the
other was harmless.

There had now been three hours spent: the seconds, however, consulted,
and both the combatants shook hands. It was a heart-sickening scene
to all; and more so when it was observed that each of the opponents
expressed themselves happy that the other had escaped. It is but
justice to say, that when the surgeon informed him (all being then
over) that he had fired in the air, the most generous assurance was
given that if it had been known to the Lieutenant's party at the time,
they would not have fired another shot: the surgeon declared that he
did so from a repugnance to fire at his friend, when he felt that he
had taken summary satisfaction the night before; he therefore fired
obliquely, and not palpably upwards, in hopes that one shot would
satisfy the Lieutenant without affording a chance to misconstrue the
surgeon's good feelings towards him.

Thus terminated a duel, which, but for something like a miracle, would
have been fatal to one or both of these mutual friends. The lie was an
irritating insult; but had the insulted acted prudently, he would not
have returned it by a blow, and therefore would have held a greater
power over his opponent. He should have sent him an immediate message,
and the consequences most likely would have been that an apology as
public as the insult would have been made: in my mind, a far greater
triumph than the death of the insulter, for such is the moral humility
from conviction of having committed an injury; and the atonement
is ample. If no insult except a blow (or even that in some cases)
were returned on the moment, but cool and determined steps taken for
gentlemanly satisfaction, there would be but few fatal duels; for few
men when under the influence of calm reason (a state seldom attending
the man while insulting) will hesitate to make every amends in his
power. If otherwise, then is the pistol the friend.

In almost every case of duel, it is not the wish to kill, or injure,
but to vindicate our wounded pride or honour, that urges us to
satisfaction; therefore should every fight be under the direction of a
prudent and honourable friend, who will neither carelessly throw away
the life entrusted to his charge, nor compromise its honour. After
an insult is given, the sooner the insulted cuts off communication
with the insulter, the better; then matters will have the best chance
of terminating as they ought. If this maxim were universal, how many
lives would have been saved! how many lives, also, which have dwindled
out in sorrow and repining, for the death of friends by rash duels,
would have passed without remorse and pain! A Major[16] would not have
expired ignominiously on a scaffold for shooting a brother-officer; nor
a Lieutenant[17] have drawn tears from the judge of a criminal court by
the excess of his grief for the rash slaughter of his friend.

FOOTNOTES:

[15] Another case of rank cowardice, hooded with boasting and
swaggering, will be found in the sketch entitled “_A Rough Passage to
Portugal_,” at another part of this work.

[16] This case occurred in Ireland about twenty years ago:—The Major
followed a Lieutenant to his room, forced him to stand before him, and
the latter fell. The Major was hanged. Both left wives and orphans!

[17] Lieutenant Kenny and Dr. Chambers.



                  NIGHTS IN THE GUARD-HOUSE.

                           No. III.


“Make haste with yir tay, there, Pollard, an' let yir wife go home to
her quarthers, for it's gettin' as dark as the divil; an' for a young
good-lookin' English woman like her, it's not fit she should be out so
late of a-night.”

“There, Mulligan: I'm done. Here, Mary, take away the tin pot, and be
off home,” replied private Pollard, finishing the last sup of his two
pints of good home-brewed tea.

Mrs. Pollard was the woman who messed for the squad now on guard; and
a very pretty, neat, little, black-silk-bonneted “Lancashire witch”
she was: one who had been daring enough to leave a comfortable home to
couple her fortunes with a private soldier; yet virtuous enough to live
in the midst of a regiment, affectionate and faithful to her husband.

“Well, I'm sure! this _is_ a dark night, Mr. Mulligan,” said Mrs.
Pollard, looking out. “But I says nothing to nobody as I goes along;
and I'm sure I shaunt meet no harm—'ticklerly as I walks pretty
sharpish.”

“I see yir not afeard o' the Irish fellows afther all, Mrs. Pollard,”
said Mulligan.

“La bless you! not I. When I was a-coming over to Hoireland I was told
by the folk in our town as how the Hoirish were all woild, and that
they used to hunt un in the woods to tame un. Feather's John swore to
me that he seed one on 'em with wings and a tail. But, La bless yi! I
didn't think much on't. I was a little afraid, to be sure, at first. I
didn't think there was houses and fields, and trees, loik as we have
un in Lancashire; but I never believed the Hoirish had ony thing loik
wings or tails.”

    [_A laugh from the whole guard._]

“Well,” asked Mulligan, “what d'ye think of 'em now, Mrs. Pollard?”

“Why, now I finds 'em just loik ony other folk: they're civil and
koind; and I'm sure the country is very foin and very cheap. Ecod! I
don't care how long we stops here!—Good night, Pollard: Serjeant, good
night—Good night, lads all.” And Mrs. Pollard in her pattens toddled
off to her quarters.

“'Pon my sowl,” said Mulligan, “the counthry people in England are
as ignorant as hogs about Ireland. They do really suppose us all
to be outlandishers. Maybe its because we don't spake in their own
hoppy-go-jumpy sort of lingo, that they think we are such bugaboos.”

“It's na' sa muckle o' that, neither,” observed Serjeant M'Fadgen, as
he lighted his pipe. “I'll tell y' what it is: the English think that a
mon is nathing at a' if he's been born out o' England.”

“Well, perhaps a great many think so,” said Corporal O'Callaghan; “but
in the coorse of my life I fell in with plenty of Englishmen who were
just as good as any other people, and as liberal in their feelings, as
regards not only Ireland but every other counthry. I'll grant ye that
they were dacent and well ejucated men; for I do certainly think the
lower ordthers of England are just as ignorant and as pigheaded as any
people on the face o' the earth.”

“'Deed, Corporal, I think there is na muckle difference in a' mankind
when they're very ignorant—ay or when they are educated: as our Bardy
says,

              ‘The man's the man for a' that.’”

“Yes, but look at the recruits that Sargent Brown and Jack Andrews
brought over from Winchesther last September,” said Corporal
O'Callaghan: “did ever you see such a set o' regular blutherumbunios in
your life? the divil a one o' them could do the “_right-left_” dthrill
for full six weeks! an' look at the Irish and the Scotch fellows! the
great, raw, ugly, romikin divils that we got at the same time; why they
could move a company off the parade in little more nor that time, as
well as I could myself.”

“It's na use o' talkin', Corporal,” replied M'Fadgen, “the English
sodgers are gude, the Scotch sodgers are gude, an' the Irish sodgers
are gude; but the Scotch an' Irish enter the sarvice to beetter
themselves, while the English 'list from misfortune: _we_ tak it as a
wife, for beetter or for worse, to live an' dee by it; but the English
tak it only as sort o' reemedy; they dinna like it; but it's oor meat
an' drink; and that's the reason why we make mair progress in learnin'
oor duty. Yet if ye get an Englishman but fairly into it, heart an'
han', he'll turn oot as gude an' as brave a sodger as ever bore a
musket over his shouther.”

“Why, to be sure, Sergeant, there is a dale o' thruth in that,”
replied O'Callaghan: “I only say, that we larn the business quicker,
because it's more in our way; but faith! I've met English boys in the
Peninsula, that never were surpassed by any sodgers on earth—right
steady fellows—proper salamandthers—men who would jump into a breach
undther a flankin' fire as soon as any divils in the world. I'm only
saying that they are as ignorant before they 'list as we are, an' have
no rason at all at all in talking about Irishmen or Scotchmen as one
bit below them.”

“_Below_ them! eh?—Pooh! that's a' to be put to nathing, but raight
doon ignorance,” said the Sergeant; “I never knew any Englishmon that
wasn't either a booby or a puppy, wha didn't think we were quite as
gude as themsels.”

“Damn'd if you a'nt right, Sergeant,” observed Jack Andrews: “I am an
Englishman, born and reared. I have seen the world, and as you say,
Sergeant, the Englishman _must_ be either a booby or puppy, who places
himself and his countrymen above either Scotch or Irish. The fact is,
we have all fought together, and will fight again, please God and
the Holy Alliance. Was that fellow, snoring there on the guard-bed,
an Englishman, when he rescued me from the gripe of three French
grenadiers, by the fair dint of battering their heads with the butt
end of his musket—I mean Dennis Tool? Did _he_ consider that he was
fighting to rescue an Englishman or his own countryman? We were two
against four: he shot the fellow who attacked him, and got me safe from
the other three: and it was when we were on picket, cut off clean from
our guard. I say, that I never, during the whole time I served in the
Peninsula, saw or heard of any difference as regards country; it is
only at home that there is bickering on that subject.”

“Well, faith! I suppose, it's to keep their hands in practice, that
they fight and wallop each other at home, having no more enemies to
fight with abroad,” remarked the Corporal.

“And as to difference—I'd be glad to know where that lay on the
bullock-cars which carried down the wounded men from Busaco, after the
bit o' business we had there. _You_ were amongst 'em, O'Callaghan,
as well as me. _There_ was a pretty mess of English, Scotch, and
Irish broken legs; _there_ was your national blood dropping from the
cars—and it appeared all of the same colour. The cursed rough roads
and broken wheels didn't spare _me_ more than _you_, Corporal; and the
canteen that wet the Scotch and Irish lips, and kept life in them,
was not ungrateful to the Englishman's at the point of death. We had
no difference then, either on country or religion; every jolt of the
wheels made us feel that we all suffered alike for our King and for our
Country—Great Britain. I wish some of our talkative argufiers in London
had got a glimpse of us all there, they wouldn't be inclined to make
much _differ_ between the men, who, after all, must bear the brunt of
their quarrels.”

“Raight, Andrews, raight,” warmly cried the Sergeant. “The deil crack
my croon, but ye speak like a mon; the pooliticians wha endeevour to
mak diveesion amongst the three nations, are na friends to the King nor
their ain country neither.”

“Oh! the divel a doubt o' that,” said the Corporal.

“And to talk about stupid recruits,” continued Jack Andrews. “You
should see the yokels we picked up at Winchester fair last year. They
were just as easy to be gulled—if not easier—than any Pat I ever
caught. I'll just tell you how we worked the oracle there. The party
was ordered out on the first day of the fair: it consisted of the Depot
Sergeant-major, Sergeant Brown of ours, a Sergeant of the 76th, a
couple of Corporals, and half a dozen privates, with a fifer as tall as
a lamp-post, and a drummer not bigger than the drum he carried. I and a
fellow of the name of Peters were supplied with coloured clothes, and
smock frocks, so as to appear like country gawkies. All the officers
of the Depot went disguised as coachmen, grooms, fancy covies, &c.,
so as not to be known by the townspeople. However, _they_ only went
for a lark: _we_ went a fishing for gudgeons. The party mustered at
nine o'clock, and marched out of the barracks with streaming cockades,
to the tune of ‘The Downfall of Paris.’ The fat Sergeant-major took
a position ten yards in front, and the party occupying at least a
hundred yards in length. Peters and I mixed with the crowd, and
followed with our mouths open, like the rest of the folk: _down_ the
_high_ street—_round_ the _square_—the long fifer puffing his lungs
out, and the pigmy drummer bumping his knees against his parchment box
of wind: the Sergeant-major with the hilt of his sword in a parallel
line with his bow-window belly, and keeping time to a nicety, while
the motley group behind—some of the guards—some of the line—some of
the rifles—all sorts of facings—marching as proudly as if they were
triumphantly entering Madrid. When the party got to the fair, Peters
and I left them, and strutted about, shying at cocks for gingerbread,
and playing all manner of pranks, until a favourable opportunity
offered of breaking our mind to the yokels, who fell in with us. Then
we began to represent ourselves as lads who had a ‘nation deal of work
to do,’ and so on, all of which remarks were instantly echoed by the
gulls about us. We then would offer cheerfully to treat them, and so
adjourn to the nearest tent, where, after a few pots of beer, we at
once declared our intention to list with the party, and spun out a long
rigmarole of how my eldest brother, who listed that day three years,
was now a Captain in India, as rich as a Nabob. Thus we went on, and
in general we had little more to do than to let one of us slip off for
the Sergeant of the party, who dropped in, as if by accident. All this
was soon arranged, and I of course offered a drink to the Sergeant, and
shook hands with him: he joined us as one of our best friends, every
body shaking hands with him, when I at length started up, and offered
to list on the minute, if any body joined me. Peters then rose in a
jolly off-handed-way, and immediately offered to make one with me.
The shilling was put into each of our hands in the King's name, and
we gave three cheers. Ten to one, but two or three more out of the
company followed our example. If not, the Sergeant sat down, pulled
out a fist-full of money, and a couple of watches; observing that, as
we were now King's men, he was happy to have it in his power to reward
us with a trifle of the bounty money, and to make each of us a present
of a good silver-watch out of the Captain's pocket—adding, that there
were now eight vacancies for Sergeants in the regiment, and he was sure
that, if any well-looking young man would push for one of them, he
would have it before the week was out. You would be astonished to see
the effect the watches had; perhaps three or four would offer on the
instant: but the making of the Sergeants was sure to bring them down.
I never shall forget one fellow—Turner, I mean—he of the grenadier
company, you know:—when Sergeant Brown had enlisted seven of them, this
fellow stands up, and he says, with a slap on the table, ‘Oi tells
you what, Mr. Sergeant; you'll not have me unless you makes me the
same thing as yourself _now_; so, if you loiks to do that, whoy here's
your man.’ ‘Well,’ says Brown, ‘how tall are you? let me see—Ay—a
good size—about five feet eleven.—With all my heart; you shall be a
Sergeant.’

“Brown then cut three pieces of white tape, and pinned them on Turner's
right sleeve, in the form of V's; he then drew his sword, made the
fellow kneel down, and with a tone of martial command, cried out,
‘Rise, Sergeant Turner, in the name of St. George and the Dragon.’

“The thing was done—the shilling given—and the new ‘Sergeant,’ as
conceited as a Colonel's pug, took his station in the ranks of the
party. When the gulls asked for watches and money, seeing that Peters
and I got both, the Sergeant said he had given two-and-twenty away that
day, but that he had just sent up to the barracks for six-and-twenty
more, as well as two hundred pounds in money. We ‘had done the trick,’
as they say, and brought in eighteen as able-bodied boobies as any in
Hampshire. But what do you think we did the day after? We employed a
gipsy fellow to sit in a tent all day, with a fur cap and a false beard
on him, to tell fortunes in favour of us.”

“Hoo the deel's that?” demanded M'Fadgen.

“Why, I'll tell you. We got the tent from the store—an old marquee—and
we instructed the gipsy to tell every fellow who he saw was likely to
suit, that his fortune lay in a red coat; that he was to be a high
officer in a marching regiment, and to marry a General's daughter—with
a hundred other things; such as—that he was born to be a great man,
and that he had it in his countenance. To the young women he would
say, that either their brothers or their sweethearts were to be great
generals in the army, and that they themselves were to be officers'
ladies. The simple girls would run directly to their sweethearts, and
tell what they had heard of future greatness; and it was ten to one
but the booby who heard it, went first and got drunk; then, half gin
half joy, entered the road to glory by a silver ticket in the shape of
a shilling. It is not always that you can humbug the Irish and Scotch
so: if they are not previously inclined to enlist, scarcely any thing
will make them do so; indeed the Irish very often humbug the _sergeant_
out of a skinful of drink, and then hop off, without even _touching_
the silver trap. They are easier enlisted, from their poverty; but not
half so easily humbugged as my countrymen, the worthy John Bulls.”

“By dad, Jack,” observed Mulligan, “_you're_ no fool, at all events. I
wonder how the devil they ever caught you.”

“My own will,” replied Jack. “I was educated well; my parents died
when I was but young. I ran away, and went on the stage, where I
starved a couple of years; and having got acquainted with a sergeant in
Portsmouth, I learnt the nature of the service. I examined a soldier's
life thoroughly; and, on mature consideration, gave it the preference
to that of a wanderer without profession or trade. I knew that if I did
my duty I could be happy, and I entered determined to do it. I _have_
done it, and I _am_ happy—perhaps more so than many men in trade, who
call themselves rich.”

“Jock Andrews, ye speak your sentiments like a good sodger, and I hope
afore long that ye'll have the stripes. Indeed I think yir mark'd oot
for it. I agree with ye, there is nae sort o' common life where a man
is so weel off as a sodger wha does his duty; but he _must_ do his
duty, mind ye. He has got his comfortable hame with his comrades, his
breakfast of brochan[18], or tea, or coffee—his dinner o' gude boiled or
roast beef, with potatoes—a clean table-cloth, an' a knife and fork;
his bed foond him; his claithes foond him; his hospital in sickness,
and his barrack-room in health; an' after a' this, a trifle in his
pouch to keep the De'il out. He has na bill to pay—not a baubee. What
mair does he want? Show me the workin' man o' ony trade wha can say
that he has got mair, an' stands clean oot o' debt.”

“Not one in England,” replied Andrews.

“An' I'm sure you won't find one in Ireland,” observed O'Callaghan.

“This is while the sodger is employed in the three kingdoms; but look
at him abroad. There he has a' found him, an' o' th' best the country
can afford, for twa pence an' a baubee ilka day; the remainder he has
to spen'—at least he can coont on saxpence a-day clean out o' a', an'
just to do as he likes wi'.”

“By the powers, Serjeant!” exclaimed private Mulligan, “if I had fifty
brothers an' sisthers, I'd make them all list directly, so I would; and
I wouldn't exchange my situation now with any mechanic at two guineas
a-week, who works like a pack-hors, and afther all, in rags and in
dirt—not a testher[19] to bless himself with. It's only lazy, hulking,
ill-tempered fellows, that dislike a sodger's life; they don't like to
be ordthered, nor to be clane and dacent; an' so they get kicked about
like an owld hat, as they desarve: but let a man do his juty as a man,
an' he will find himself respected an' happy; no body dar say _ill you
done it_, but all things will go smooth, and he'll be as comfortable
an' as snug as a bug in a rug.”

“Well done, Mulligan! Bravo! bravo!” roared out all the guard; and an
applauding laugh from every listener produced an agreeable effect upon
the face of the worthy private, who, no doubt, would have resumed his
subject, but that the hour for relieving the posts was arrived—and this
put an end to the _confab_.

FOOTNOTES:

[18] Oatmeal porridge.

[19] An Irish appellation for sixpence.



                         THE BISCUIT.


                        —— T'would disarm
  The spectre Death, had he the substantial power to harm.

                                                   _Byron._


Our advanced guard had been skirmishing with the enemy for five
days—and with empty stomachs. The Commissary of the division had either
missed us in his march with the provisions, for which he had been
dispatched to the rear, or else had not been successful in procuring
a supply: but whatever might have been the cause, the consequence
was trying to us; for the men, officers and all, were wholly without
provisions for three days. At the time the Commissary went to the rear,
two pounds of biscuit, one pound of meat, and a pint of wine, were
served out to each individual; and upon this quantity we were forced
to exist for five days; for nothing was to be bought: if we had been
loaded with gold, we could not have purchased a morsel of any sort of
food.

Most of the men, from having been accustomed to disappointment in
supplies of rations, managed their little stock of provision so
economically, that it lasted nearly three days; and some were so
gastronomically ingenious and heroic, as to have extended it to four.
But, on the other hand, the greatest number were men of great appetite
and little prudence, who saw and tasted the end of their rations on
the second day after possession. Indeed, the active life in which all
were then engaged, left few without that piquant relish for their food,
which the rich citizen in the midst of his luxury might gladly exchange
half his wealth for: the greatest of them all, in taste as well as
purse, can never enjoy his epulation with so enviable a zest, as those
campaigners did their coarse dry beef, and flinty biscuit.

As the men grew weaker, the work grew heavier; and as hunger increased,
so did the necessity for physical exertion. The enemy were constantly
annoying us, and every hour of the day brought a skirmish, either with
their little squads of cavalry, their riflemen, or their Voltigeurs.[20]
The rifles would advance by the cover of a hedge, or hill perhaps,
while the Voltigeurs would suddenly dart out from a ditch, into which
they had crept under cover of the weeds, and fall upon our pickets
with the ferocity of bull-dogs; and when they were mastered, would (if
not killed, wounded, or held fast) scamper off like kangaroos. In like
manner, the cavalry would try to surprise us; or, if they could not
steal upon us, would dash up, fire their pistols, and, if well opposed,
gallop off again—particularly if any of our cavalry were near; for they
never liked close quarters with the British dragoons, owing, no doubt,
to the superior strength and power of our horses:—this is as regards
mere skirmishing. The French dragoons, when so situated as to be able
to ride close to ours without danger of “cut and thrust,” would
skirmish for hours—they would retire, load, advance, fire, and off
again; but they very prudently disliked the steel.

On the fifth morning after the commissary had delivered the rations
above mentioned, we had a very sharp brush with the enemy. A company
of infantry and a few dragoons were ordered to dislodge the French
from a house in which they had a party, and which was necessary to the
security of our position; for from this house they used to sally upon
our pickets in a most annoying manner. The French, not more than about
fifty in number, made a considerable resistance: they received the
English with a volley from the windows, and immediately retreated to
a high bank behind the house: from this point they continued to fire
until their flank was threatened by our dragoons, when they retreated
in double-quick disorder, leaving about fifteen killed and wounded.

Our men were then starving. The poor fellows, although they had
forgotten their animal wants in the execution of their duty, plainly
displayed in their faces the weakness of their bodies. Every man of the
crowded encampment looked wan and melancholy; but all kept up their
flagging spirits by resolution and patience. Many a manly fellow felt
in silence the bitterness of his situation, and many a forced Hibernian
joke was passed from a suffering heart to lighten a comrade's cares.
There was no upbraiding, for all were sufferers alike; and, with the
exception of a few pardonable curses on the commissary, there was no
symptom of turbulence—all was manly patience.

In about an hour after the taking of the old house in front, I went
out from our huts in a wood to see the place of action. I met four or
five of our men wounded, led and carried by their comrades. The officer
commanding the party now joined me, and walked back to the house, to
give farther directions regarding other wounded men not yet removed.
When we had gone about fifty yards, we met a wounded soldier carried
very slowly in a blanket by four men. As soon as he saw the officer who
was along with me, he cried out in a feeble but forced voice, “Stop!
stop!—lay me down:—let me speak to the Captain.” The surgeon, who was
along with him, had no objection, for (in my opinion) he thought the
man beyond the power of his skill, and the sufferer was laid gently
down upon the turf, under the shade of a projecting rock. I knew the
wounded man's face in a moment, for I had often remarked him as being
a steady well-conducted soldier: his age was about forty-one or two,
and he had a wife and two children in England. I saw death in the poor
fellow's face. He was shot in the throat—or rather between the shoulder
and the throat: the ball passed apparently downwards, probably from
having been fired from the little hill on which the French posted
themselves when they left the house. The blood gurgled from the wound
at every exertion he made to speak. I asked the surgeon what he thought
of the man, and that gentleman whispered, “It is all over with him.”
He said he had done every thing he could to stop the blood, but found,
from the situation of the wound, that it was impossible to succeed.

The dying soldier, on being laid down, held out his hand to my friend
the Captain, which was not only cordially received, but pressed with
pity and tenderness by that officer. “Sir,” said the unhappy man,
gazing upon his Captain with such a look as I shall never forget—“Sir,
you have been my best friend ever since I entered the regiment—you
have been every man's friend in the company, and a good officer.—God
bless you!—You saved me once from punishment, which you and all knew
afterwards, that I was unjustly sentenced to.—God bless you!”—Here the
tears came from his eyes, and neither the Captain nor any one around
could conceal their kindred sensation. All wept silently.

The poor sufferer resumed;—“I have only to beg, Sir, you will take care
that my dear wife and little ones shall have my back pay as soon as
possible:—I am not many hours for this world.” The Captain pressed his
hand, but could not speak. He hid his face in his handkerchief.

“I have done my duty, Captain—have I not, Sir?”

“You have, Tom, you have—and nobly done it,” replied the Captain, with
great emotion.

“God bless you!—I have only one thing more to say.”—Then addressing
one of his comrades, he asked for his haversack, which was immediately
handed to him.—“I have only one thing to say, Captain:” said he,
“I have not been very well this week, Sir, and did not eat all my
rations.—I have one biscuit—it is all I possess.—You, as well as
others, Sir, are without bread;—take it for the sake of a poor grateful
soldier—take it—take it, Sir, and God be with you—God Almighty be with
you!”

The poor, good-natured creature was totally exhausted, as he concluded;
he leaned back—his eyes grew a dull glassy colour—his face still paler,
and he expired in about ten minutes after, on the spot. The Captain
wept like a child.

Few words were spoken. The body was borne along with us to the wood
where the division was bivouacked, and the whole of the company to
which the man belonged attended his interment, which took place in
about two hours after.

He was wrapped in his blanket, just as he was, and laid in the earth.
The Captain himself read a prayer over his grave, and pronounced a
short, but impressive eulogy on the merits of the departed. He showed
the men the biscuit, as he related to them the manner in which it
had been given to him, and he declared he would never taste it, but
_keep_ the token in remembrance of the good soldier, even though he
starved. The commissary, however, arrived that night, and prevented the
necessity of trial to the Captain's amiable resolution. At the same
time, I do believe, that nothing would have made him eat the biscuit.

This is no tale of fiction: the fact occurred before the author's eyes.
Let no man then, in his ignorance, throw taunts upon the soldier, and
tell him, that his gay apparel and his daily bread are paid for out
of the citizen's pocket. Rather let him think on this biscuit, and
reflect, that the soldier earns his crust as well as he, and when the
day of trial comes, will bear the worst and most appalling privations,
to keep the enemy from snatching _the last biscuit out of the citizen's
mouth_. It is for his countrymen at _home_ that he starves—it is for
them he dies.

FOOTNOTE:

[20] Troops of very short stature and strong make, very much esteemed
by Napoleon. They wore short breeches, and half gaiters. None of the
men were more than five feet three inches high.



                   THE BATTLE OF THE GRINDERS.

                      A DOMESTIC “AFFAIR.”


            Quarrelsome dogs get dirty coats.

                                            _Old Proverb._


It is to be greatly regretted that the lower orders of the people in
some of the towns where the military are quartered, often quarrel with
the soldiers; and it is still more so, that the fault is generally,
most unjustly, thrown upon the latter. From the admirable order which
is preserved throughout the whole of the British army, ill conduct
upon the part of the soldiery towards the people, as rarely occurs as
it escapes exemplary punishment. A drunken soldier, like any other
drunken individual, may be occasionally insolent or outrageous; but
certainly not more so because he _is_ a soldier. Unless under the
effects of intoxication, the first offence never—or at least very
seldom—comes from the soldier to the civilian. On the contrary, there
exists, among the inhabitants of many towns, a strong disposition
to insult the military—more particularly the officers: but this
reprehensible disposition, I am happy to think, is wholly confined to
the lowest order of the people. An authentic fact, which I am about
to relate, throws considerable light upon the real nature of such
quarrels. It is but too true, that when the report of an affray between
those two ingredients in the state goes forth, every body exclaims,
that the soldiers are in the wrong, and should be checked; military
despotism is held up as making rapid strides; and British liberty is
represented as in danger of being trodden under foot, forsooth, by an
insolent soldiery! This is often the cry, even amongst enlightened
men, when they hear of a quarrel between the military and the people,
or rather the _rabble_; for, thank God! the men properly designated by
that grand and mighty term, “_the people_,” are far removed in mind
as well as manners, from those composing the ignorant and factious
class who delight in doing all the injury in their power, not only to
a soldier, but to every one entrusted with the preservation of social
order. These, thank God! are also of the fewer number.

The Grinders[21] (as they are termed) of Sheffield were formerly very
annoying to the dragoons quartered near them; and, unless they have
changed their manners within the last three or four years, continue
in that evil disposition to this day. But I have little hope that
any change has taken place; for they appeared of that order whose
noses were peculiarly suited to the grinding-stone; and though the
wheel may go round for half a century, it will, I fear, never give
their intellects a polish, even of the dullest kind. But although the
better classes of Sheffielders are neither famous for hospitality to
nor regard for the military, yet they are never forward in offering
disrespect to them; and the officers quartered amongst them have
sometimes met with individuals worthy of that gratitude which is due
for every cordial and hospitable attention.

Some years ago, the 5th Dragoon Guards, or Green Horse, were on duty
at Sheffield.—The officers of the heavy dragoons, to which class this
regiment belongs, have never been remarkable for military coxcombry; on
the contrary, they have been always remarked for sedate and gentlemanly
demeanour. There is, therefore, less pretext for the insult which gave
rise to the conflict I am about to describe.

Two of the Green Horse officers—a captain and a subaltern, were
proceeding quietly from Sheffield towards their barracks, which lay
about half a mile out of the town: a squad of Grinders coming from
their work overtook them; and, grinning through the dirty tunic which
invariably covers the faces of all their tribe, opened a volley of
gibes and jeers upon the officers. “There be two b—— red herrings!”
said one. “They're a gotten more gould on their jackets than in their
pockets,[22] I'll warrant,” observed another, and so on; accompanying
their coarse remarks by an expression of countenance and manner not to
be misunderstood by the passers-by, who rather encouraged the outrage
by approving looks. This provoking annoyance continued several minutes,
but the officers walked quietly on, and apparently took no notice of
their persecutors. As they proceeded, two privates of their regiment
happened to turn out of a passage on their way to the barracks, and
thus accidentally fell in, close to the rear of the grinders; and had,
therefore, a full opportunity of witnessing what was going forward.
As soon as they perceived the real state of matters, both stepped up
to the officers; and having given the salute in line, one of them
respectfully asked, “if their honours would have any objection to let
them give the fellows a small bit of a threshing.” So reasonable a
request could hardly be denied: the only fear the officers had, was
that the grinders, who were five in number, might prove too many for
the soldiers. However, a good will is half the battle; and, as the
two dragoons were strapping active fellows, without any kind of arms
except those with which nature had furnished them—one, a well-made
Lancashire man of five feet eleven inches, and the other, a hard
square-built Hibernian, of about two inches less—and as both were in
light stable dresses, which seemed _cut out_ for the occasion, it was
decided by the officers that their men should, if possible, render to
the five grinders what, in justice, they so well deserved.

Scarcely had a minute elapsed from the issuing of orders to attack,
when the five mechanics lay in various convoluted positions in the
dust, the colour of which was instantly changed to florid red in
various parts, owing to the operations performed upon some of the
fallen noses by the knuckles of the heavy dragoons—

      “And Earth blushed deep for her base sons' offences.”

An attempt to rally was several times made by the grinders, but
although men of _steel_ and familiar with the _blade_, their skill and
strength but little availed, so they prudently beat a retreat, having
been first well beaten themselves.

The troops now coolly withdrew from the field of action in perfect
order, having received the unqualified thanks of the _officer
commanding_. But the enemy, who had now received a consider able
reinforcement, pursued by rapid marches the _Heavies_, and came up with
them within about a hundred yards from the barracks. The grinders'
force was now increased to about one hundred, well armed with hammers,
knives, and pokers. The barrack-gate was in view of the two soldiers,
who had retreated so far extremely well, but closely followed up by the
enemy's skirmishers. A party of about a dozen now joined the dragoons,
and attacked the foe with vigour; but this handful could do little
against so numerous an enemy, except to secure an orderly retreat into
the garrison. This was done, and the gates closed upon them. Meantime
the grinders mustered in great numbers, receiving reinforcements from
all quarters, and seemed to threaten an assault upon the barracks. A
sortie was immediately determined upon, and only one restriction put
upon the troopers—whose force was now about eighty—namely, that they
should not carry with them to the attack their swords, pistols, or
carbines, but every man should provide himself with a broom-stick.
The stable-brooms flew from their staves _instanter_ at the kick of
the enraged dragoons; but as there was not a sufficient number of
those formidable weapons, iron sword-scabbards, shovel handles, and
rack-bars, by further permission, completed the arms of the troops.

The sortie was conducted in a most admirable manner:—the gates were
thrown open by an instantaneous movement: a sergeant's guard, armed
with carbines and swords, appeared drawn up in line on the inside:
the Grinders beheld the formidable force, and the word “_ready_”
struck such a panic into their hearts, that they ran off in confusion,
without waiting for the “_present_.” However, they did not run far;
but halted at the end of the road, about fifty yards from the gates;
and their leaders were in the act of encouraging them to return to the
assault, by appealing to the powers that watched over the “_rights of
the people_.”—“Magna Charta, and the cause of the Grinders!” were the
last words of the chief; and the effect of his speech was manifested
in loud huzzas. At this instant the Broomsticks sallied out upon the
Grinders, with a desperation which obliterated in a moment even the
traces of their chief's harangue. Little was the use of the hammer, the
knife, or the poker; the obtundity of the broomsticks beat down every
point, and workmen with their tools were strewed along the inglorious
ground—_ground_ as it were, while they ought to have been employed in
_grinding_. Never was military power exerted over the “power of the
people” more to the satisfaction of every body, except the Grinders
themselves; for they were not cut in pieces by the sword, nor their
heads blown off by the ball; but belaboured with broomsticks in the
most admirable and _popular_ manner, by a force two-thirds inferior to
their own!

It is much to be regretted that plebeian freaks should produce serious
evils; but effects will follow causes, in spite of our regrets. This
affair, although attended with no loss of lives, produced considerable
loss not only to the employers of the Grinders, but to the families
of the unfortunate combatants; for seventy were taken wounded to the
hospital in an hour after the first attack, and some suffered a long
time under their wounds. They, however, received an excellent lesson,
which they did not soon forget; for when the 5th Dragoon Guards, in a
few years after, were quartered amongst them, instead of insult they
met with the greatest respect—(_à la distance_)—from the entire body of
the Grinders.

FOOTNOTES:

[21] The lowest order of workmen employed in the manufacture of cutlery.

[22] Both the officers were men of considerable private fortune. One
was a captain, now retired from the army, and residing on his estate
at Newcastle-on-Tyne.



                 A ROUGH PASSAGE TO PORTUGAL:

                       SKETCHED FOR THE

                  BENEFIT OF YOUNG OFFICERS.


        At mercy of the waves, whose mercies are
        Like human beings during civil war.      BYRON.


“Whatever is, is right.” These words served to adorn the poetry of
Pope; and as a consolatory axiom, to soothe the injuries inflicted
upon mankind during this “pilgrimage here below,” it serves a good
purpose; but, however consoling it may be to the philosopher under
worldly troubles, it answers but poorly its intentions with a young
subaltern, who from “the turn of a straw,” has been thrown out of his
promotion; and so finds his flattering day-dreams of hope turned into
painful and disappointing realities. The moral tongue may tell him—“all
is for the best;” that, “whatever is, is right,” and his own lip may
echo the maxim with a sigh of approbation, but he cannot in his heart
believe it: reflection, “like a worm i' the bud,” feeds upon him with
a more active and injurious tooth, than that of the insect which gnaws
the page of the moralist. Of this I feel convinced, although I know I
disobey the Fathers in so doing; but I cannot help it: nor can I help
thinking, that the occurrences of the voyage I am about to describe,
tended to any thing but the benefit of the three subalterns who
encountered them; any more than I can help feeling satisfied, that the
petty trickery of a boatman's trade produced the evils I allude to, and
changed totally the chances and prospects in life of three individuals.

There are so many leading causes to all evils, that it is difficult
to say which may be properly fixed on as the most responsible. As
the smallest pebble thrown upon the silent lake will displace,
imperceptibly, every particle of its waters, so does each movement
of our life influence the undisturbed mirror of futurity which lies
before us. The incidents of our existence are like the fragments within
the glasses of the kaleidoscope—the slightest movement changes, more or
less, the whole of the succeeding pictures. Thus were the flattering
views of three individuals changed by the ordinary turn of a boatman's
roguery. Had this little circumstance never occurred, a totally
different course of events must necessarily have followed:—but after
all, perhaps, we may say, would it have been better?

Two young and inexperienced officers, whom I will introduce under
the names of Mr. Smith and Mr. Brown, were ordered, in January 1810,
to join the army in Portugal. They took the coach immediately and
proceeded to Portsmouth, where they received an order for a passage
from Captain Patten, the agent for transports. The master of the vessel
appointed for their passage happened to be in the agent's office at
the time, and reported that the accommodation was desirable. His was
a store-ship, which had no troops on board; so that the cabin was to
be in the sole possession of the two Subalterns—no small advantage to
those who dislike the inconvenience of a sea-sick crowd, packed into
fifteen feet by ten of a transport's cabin, and no prospect of good
weather. The master of the vessel also informed them that there was
every prospect of sailing immediately, as the wind was quite fair, and
recommended them to lose no time in getting on board.

The officers hastened to embark. They remained no longer in Portsmouth
than was necessary to allow of their purchasing a sea-stock of fresh
provisions, consisting of half a sheep, some tea and sugar, a few
loaves of fresh bread, three or four bottles of milk, and a couple of
dozen of eggs. This matter did not take up more than an hour. They
paid their hotel expenses, and one of them stepped down to the Point
to engage a boat to take them to their ship, which was at anchor at
Spithead. The fare is regulated at three shillings each boat for that
distance, unless when the wind is blowing fresh, and then it is six
shillings. There was a stiff breeze out; but by no means entitling
boats to the double fare. The officer selected a boatman, and told him
he would give him six shillings if he would take him and his friend,
but the amphibious shark, knowing that the signal was made for sailing,
demanded fourteen; which unreasonable demand was agreed to and the
matter settled. The officer now returned to the inn, and in ten minutes
baggage and all were on the beach. But the boat was gone, nor could
the boatman be found. In vain were others of his calling requested to
take the fare; the vessels were getting under weigh, and nothing less
than five pounds was the demand for a boat. This was evidently a trick
played off by the man who was engaged for fourteen shillings, in the
hope of dividing a much larger sum with whatever other of his fellows
should be employed.

Now there were two strong reasons why the officers would not submit
to this imposition: one might have been waived, but the other was
absolute: in the first place, they thought it would be a service to the
public to have the man, who had disappointed them, punished; and in the
next they really could not afford to pay the sum demanded by the other
boatmen. In this situation, they had the mortification to see the whole
fleet set sail from the harbour.

The first consequence of this disappointment was, that they were
obliged to remain five weeks longer before they could get another
vessel, owing to the unfavourable winds which set in a few days after
they lost their passage. Their disappointment was rendered still more
galling by news from Lisbon, that the ship in which they were to
have sailed had arrived in the Tagus on the sixth day after she left
Portsmouth. The further consequences I will now describe.

After many visits to the Transport-Agents' office, and much grumbling
from the little _official_ himself, the Subalterns received an order
for a passage in a very fine ship, and were soon on board. Here
they found the cabin occupied only by a lieutenant of dragoons, who
commanded a detachment of his regiment, also on board with their horses.

This lieutenant, who acted so prominent a part in the _rough passage_,
is worthy of an outline. He was a subaltern of four or five years
standing, but had yet known no more of service than the barrack
parade and a good mess-dinner were capable of affording. He was the
son of a rich London tradesman—a legitimate child of Cockaigne; and
as powerfully impressed with the peculiarities of that distinguished
land as any of his countrymen. He could point out every feature
of metropolitan amusement, from half-price at _Common_-Garden, to
the Panorama in Leicester-Square—could repeat the biography of
all Mr. Pidcock's menagerial subjects, together with those of the
Tower—understood the Sunday park-ride, and knew to a fraction the
charges of all respectable horse-hirers in London—could discuss a plate
of a-la-mode at the Three Cantons, or ticket his way to a Guildhall
dinner—was well acquainted with Gog and Magog, and could criticize
a peal of triple bob-majors with any citizen within the sound of
Bow-bells. From his face, (although full twenty-seven years old,)
one could tell that his taste had begun upon lolly-pops, improved in
raspberry-puffs, and ultimately expanded in the sugary bosom of a
twelfth-cake. He was married withal; and had but just tasted the sweets
of his honey-moon, when he was ordered to embark for Portugal. This
last circumstance had imparted to his countenance a strong tinge of
melancholy, calculated to remind the beholder of Liston, in the part
of Romeo; indeed the sudden retreat of his chin and forehead, from
the centre of the facial line, made him infinitely more interesting
than even that performer could ever have been in his most sentimental
characters. He had a purse pretty well filled with guineas, purchased
at twenty-five shillings each, and a good stock of little luxuries for
a sea-table; therefore was he civil and good-natured, as your true and
genuine _cockaignee_ (vulgarly spelt cockney) always is, when amongst
strangers out of his own land.

When the other two Subalterns arrived on board, they were received
by the Dragoon (whom we shall call Mr. Dickens) with all that
condescending civility, which imaginary importance deigns to bestow
upon imagined inferiority. He requested them to taste his peculiarly
fine German sausage at _tea_; showed them his canteen, and praised the
manufacture of it; promised to let them see his horses in the hold next
day; and having himself taken the best birth in the cabin, recommended
others for their acceptance.

The ship sailed next morning along with a numerous fleet, under
convoy of the Hibernia and San Joseph, for Lisbon, and things went on
agreeably enough, Lieutenant Dickens having all his own way. On the
fourth day after sailing, they came in sight of the high hills, and
bold coast of Portugal, within a few leagues of Oporto. It was a most
delightful day; the goatherds could be plainly seen on the hills; and
they no doubt admired the magnificence of the fleet, which glided under
them like a flock of huge sea-birds. The water was calm, but there was
a sufficient breeze in the sails (which were all set before the wind)
to make the passengers imagine that the objects on shore passed rapidly
by—and Lieutenant Dickens looking out from the forecastle, through a
newly purchased field glass, for the boats of oranges, which (as the
master of the vessel said) would put off from Oporto to the fleet,
wonderfully improved the picture—in his own eyes.

Nothing could be more favourable than the voyage so far; and the
officers of course expected to be on shore at Lisbon, in two days more
at farthest.

In these expectations they were enjoying a pleasant dinner—the
Lieutenant, from the prospect of landing, having become more
condescendingly agreeable, and less inclined to muse upon his departed
honey-moon. The calm sea and the sight of the land had the effect of
removing from all stomachs those squeamish sensations which the rolling
of the ship in the middle of the Bay of Biscay had produced, and the
wine circulated well after a substantial dinner was duly disposed of.

In the course of the evening the Dragoon became peculiarly
communicative, and began to comment, not only on things in general, but
on things in particular: the state of the army and the state of the
nation were reviewed; and in one of his harangues he roundly asserted
that “the Hirish made very good private soldiers; but the _hidear_ was
preposterous to say that they were fit to command in the _haumy_.” To
this one of the Subalterns (who happened to have been born in Ireland)
replied in warm but inoffensive language, recapitulating the names of
some hundreds of distinguished Irish officers, at the head of whom he
placed Lord Wellington, under whose command they were, even at that
moment. The Dragoon was somewhat posed at this, but rallied.

“Haw, Sir!” said he, “you mention a vast number; but I still do not
_halter_ my _hopinion_. Lord Wellington is a very _fortunate_ man,
Sir; but he is nothing of a commander; and before three months, Sir,
we shall all be driven out of the Peninsula_r_—that _hevery_ body must
allow.”

“_I_ will not allow it,” replied Mr. Smith; “for one.”

“Nor I, for another,” rejoined Mr. Brown.

“'Pon my honour, gentlemen, you know nothing, either of politics or of
the _haumy_; you _should_ read the papers.” With this observation the
Dragoon arose from the table, put on his foraging cap, and went on deck.

Mr. Smith and Mr. Brown had not sat half an hour after the departure of
the Dragoon, and had scarcely concluded their remarks on the arrogance
of his manners as well as the absurdity of his opinions, when an
unusual bustle was heard on deck. They went up to learn the cause, and
found that a south-west wind had set in, and it was coming on to blow
hard. It was nearly dusk; but they could perceive that the fleet had
tacked about from the land, and was bearing out to sea. A total change
of feeling took possession of every mind; and sleep became the only
resource to those who had hoped for a speedy landing.

Next morning, what a change! Where were the sunny hills—the dark shade
of the rocks on the darker water? where the blue tranquil sky that but
the day before anticipated the serenity of May? Vanished!—Over the
stern of the ship, on the gloomy horizon, something like a raincloud
was seen,—the land they were leaving: all overhead was one murky
mass of mist; around, the increasing surges were contending against
a fierce wind; the yielding vessel, half way on her side, plunging
rapidly through the white and crackling foam—her body vibrating as
each wave struck against her sides. And where were the ships that
covered the peaceful seas with their white sails, but yesterday?
Gone—dispersed! each alone in a wide circle of the ocean, surrounded by
the threatenings of the storm. Like some young voyager—perhaps, within
her very planks—whose hours were passed in sailing along the peaceful
and shining shores of pleasure, dreaming of beautiful things to come—in
a moment separated from its happy associations; alone on the stormy sea
of life,—friends all gone,—prospects wholly changed! But why do I say
_perhaps?_ It was _really_ the case with the three Subalterns: with
this bad weather came their troubles: their prospects changed even with
the wind.

Before the day closed a violent gale set in, and for four succeeding
weeks there was but little remission of its force; a lull for a day or
so, after it had blown for eight or ten, was the only change in the
determined south-west wind; and often was it terrible in its wrath,
carrying away sail after sail, and obliging the ship to go under her
bare poles, or one close-reefed topsail. All this time they were
tacking to and fro through the Atlantic Ocean.

To Lieutenant Dickens this sudden change of weather was scarcely
supportable. His temper became as foul as the wind; he grew bilious,
squeamish, sick, and irritable; he found fault with every thing, and
kicked his dog. A certain degree of coolness took place between him and
the other Subalterns, originating in the previous night's conversation,
and fostered by the change of weather: the parties scarcely spoke to
each other; and in this most unpleasant situation they continued for
eight or nine days.

Quarrels are disagreeable things on shore; but on board ship, where
of necessity the hostile parties are compelled to be in each others'
presence, they are the most irksome of all unpleasant matters: and if
they are to be avoided scrupulously in the army, while on shore, there
is ten times more reason for keeping clear of them while on ship board:
young officers cannot be too mindful of this; let them be affable,
obliging, not too reserved, but by no means too familiar. These rules
apply to society in general, but to society on board ship peculiarly.
It is no very desirable thing to remain several weeks shut up in a
vessel with an opponent—to sleep in the same cabin with him; and at
every heel of the ship in bad weather, roll about with him on the deck,
and fall with your head in his face, or his in yours. This can be
easily avoided on shore; but at sea—Oh, Heaven defend us from the trial!

The cabin company remained for eight or nine days in this disjointed
state: at last all the fresh provision was exhausted; for, in the
hopes of soon going on shore, a considerable waste took place during
the fine weather. The master of the transport, who was, in gentlemanly
qualities, an exception to the generality of men in his station, now
offered his table to the officers at a moderate charge per week—wine as
cheap as it was in Portugal; with the understanding that the allowance
of rations should not be drawn, but given to the ship. This relieved
in a great measure the whole mess from the unpleasantness of their
situation, but did not entirely restore good feeling: all parties spoke
occasionally to each other, but they were extremely formal and distant.
However, an admirable mess, with good wine, and a jolly gentlemanly
host, made things as comfortable as could be expected; and had it not
been for the cross-grained nature of the _cockaignee_, the remainder of
the voyage would have passed happily; for although it was often found
necessary to dine _à la Turque_, upon the floor, and lash their limbs
every night to the births, to keep them from falling out—although the
creaking of the bulk-heads,—the thunder of the waves against the ship's
side—the half filling of the cabin frequently by a sea, and the eternal
southwest wind, were all excessively tormenting; yet there was a
hilarity, which arose from this new order of things, under the guidance
of the master, that very soon began to reconcile the officers to their
fate. But the spirit of discord hovered round the ship, and through the
agency of Mr. Dickens, his disciple, turned all comfort once more awry.

The master's cabin was a neat little apartment on one side of the
vessel, near to the great cabin, fitted up for officers; and here the
party messed. This small room, furnished in a warm and comfortable
manner, formed a pleasing contrast to the wide cold cabin of the
officers, stripped of every thing (which is technically called by the
transport board, “fitting up”) except a huge deal table, a few oak
chairs, and births on each side, made of half-planed deal. Lieutenant
Dickens, who was very fond of playing a handsome flageolet, to the
great annoyance of all on board who had “music in their souls,” when
the ship was on the starboard tack and heeling much on one side, would
fix himself all day in the seat which was next the vessel's planks; for
the deck was too raw—too cold—too sailorish for his nerves to bear. In
this seat he would tongue over and over such tunes as “_Malbrooke_,”
and “_Away with Melancholy_,” as if he were teaching a bulfinch to
pipe—bar after bar, until the man at the helm above him was ear-cracked
by the monotonous sounds. One day, it so happened, that Mr. Dickens did
not remain in this lee-seat after breakfast, but sat on deck wrapped
up in his horse cloak, feeling himself too bilious to remain below.
However, he was not so bilious as to remain on deck when dinner was
announced: down he went, ready to eat any thing, or any body, that
came in his way. Mr. Smith was sitting in the leeward seat, occupied
in writing, that being the most steady for the purpose, and in this
seat he had sat for the whole of the day. Being intent upon the paper,
he did not observe the Dragoon enter the cabin, or perhaps he would
have given up the seat, merely because it was the custom of the other
to sit in it at dinner; but as he did not observe the gentleman, he
continued to write. At this moment, the cook entered with a tureen of
soup, smoking hot, and an unlucky sea having struck the vessel as he
was placing it for dinner, away he and the soup went sliding under the
table. A quantity of the savoury fluid bedaubed the face and breast of
the Dragoon—its warmth tickled him rather unpleasantly, and acting on
a bilious cockaignee temperament, produced a petulant attack upon Mr.
Smith. He insolently “desired” that gentleman to quit _his_ seat. This
was received as it should have been: Mr. S. remarked that the table at
which they sat was that of the master, and one seat was just the same
as another; but that as Mr. D. had demanded it so impertinently, he was
determined not to give it up. The Dragoon retorted with great asperity,
and, frothing with passion, called Mr. S. an insolent “fellow.” Mr. S.
(who was only a lad of nineteen) lost his temper, and retorted with
warmth, still keeping the seat. The dragoon instantly lodged a blow
upon Mr. S.'s face, which, from the situation of the parties, could
not be returned; but the master, who had now come into the cabin, took
the Dragoon by the shoulder, and declared that he should not sit at his
table after having behaved so outrageously. However, Mr. S., although
so much younger than Mr. D., had prudence enough to remain quiet, on
account of the master; but firmly resolved to take effectual steps, as
soon as they should land, to obtain satisfaction.

The indignation which Mr. Brown felt at this conduct on the part
of the Dragoon, was very great, and it increased every moment; but
he contented himself with pointedly remarking upon the unfair and
unofficer-like act of striking Mr. Smith while in a situation where
it was evident he could not defend himself. A week went on in sullen
silence between the Dragoon and the other members of the mess. One
day, however, Mr. Brown called for a glass of water, which was brought
him by the cabin-boy. It was rather muddy; but those who have made
long voyages know that water is an article in which sailors must not
be very nice. The Dragoon, as soon as Mr. Brown had swallowed the
draught, called for another, and putting it to his nose, uttered the
word “beastly” in the most pointed manner; at the same time casting a
significant sneer at him who could be so little of a man of _taste_, as
to drink such water. Brown, who was a high-minded fellow, that would
take an insult from no man, grew red with rage, but said nothing.
Dickens went immediately on deck, the gale having slackened a good
deal. Brown at last could contain his indignation no longer; he ran
upon deck; demanded satisfaction, and was received with insolence. Rage
overcame Brown, and he gave the Dragoon, in the sight of his own men, a
severe thrashing: it was done quickly, and would have been more severe,
but for the prompt and generous interference of Mr. Smith—the man who
yet had the mark of the blow upon his face!

This brought the Dragoon's manners into complete subjection: there was
no more insolence, but a most determined silence on his part for the
remainder of the voyage, which lasted upwards of a fortnight longer.
The weather, however, grew fine for a week before the ship made the
rock of Lisbon, and the opponents thus could keep more asunder.

It was clearly understood by all parties, that a meeting would take
place as soon as they went on shore; and the Dragoon, in preparation
for this, one fine day, when about fifty miles off the Tagus,—the ship
quite steady—“paraded” his pistols on deck (a _handsome_ pair,) oiled
the locks, &c. and fired several shots at a mark! This only smelled
of powder: not a grain of courage could have been conjoined with such
genuine Cockaigne bravado; as the subsequent conduct of Dickens amply
proved. Even on the very night of the day on which he made this display
of his pistols, the natural man came out of his fustian case, and undid
the doings of the artificial. Thus it was:—About half-past ten at
night, as all but Lieutenant Dickens were on deck, enjoying the beauty
of the scene, which was glistening with moonlight—the air temperate and
serene—the vessel moving steadily, with a fair breeze on her quarter,
at about four knots an hour—the watch and the dragoons lounging about
the forecastle and main deck—the officers and the master smoking segars
on the quarter-deck—and all particularly happy in the prospect of
soon terminating their voyage; even the horses in the hold, appearing
to be sensible of the great change from hurricane to calm, neighing
playfully, and biting each others' necks, after having, (poor animals!)
suffered severely during the voyage, in the course of which several of
them had died. Such was the state of things on board, when one of the
watch informed the master that a strange sail was bearing down on them.
In a few minutes she was within about half a quarter of a mile, and
they could see her, like a fairy castle, floating on the moon-bright
water. She was a square-rigged ship, as they could plainly see from the
outline of the dark mass, which was well thrown out upon the moonlight
behind her. The master no longer doubted his danger, and declared that
the approaching vessel was a French privateer of eight or ten guns.
It was immediately determined to fight in case he attacked them; as
there were six-and-thirty hands on board, including the soldiers, and
as they carried four carronades, and had plenty of small arms. For
this purpose all the men armed themselves, and were mustered on deck,
determined to resist being boarded, and to maintain a running-fight....
Can it be credited? the _Commanding-officer_, Lieutenant Dickens,
was the only individual who remained below!—he was in bed, and too
_bilious_ to fight; particularly at such an unseasonable hour: yet
it was on this very day that he had wasted his powder in firing at a
mark! However, there is no accounting for illness; the bile is a most
treacherous enemy.

The strange sail was now within about five hundred yards of the
transport, and closing fast upon her: the matches were lighted and
the sailors at the guns; the soldiers with the two officers drawn up
on the quarter-deck, and armed with cutlasses, carbines, and pistols.
She now steadily approached within pistol-shot: her men could be seen
moving to and fro on her decks, and the bubbling of the froth at her
bow plainly heard: all but the waters were silent; when a voice from
the strange ship hailed in English, “What are you?”—“An Englishman,”
was the immediate reply, and up went the British colours to the mizen
gaff. A broadside was of course expected, or a summons to surrender,
when—up went the stranger's colours; and the red cross, transparent
in the moonlight, showed at once that the “privateer” was a British
ship! Thus terminated all anxiety on both sides; for the same fears and
preparations had been felt and made by the stranger, as by the Horse
ship. Both continued their course together, and next day entered the
mouth of the Tagus.

That beautiful river was now before them, and nothing ruffled the pure
delight which the three subalterns felt, but the recollection of the
quarrel, and the expectation of its consequences. In two hours they
were winding smoothly along the course of the Tagus, all eyes employed
in gazing on the romantic scene—the mountains upon each side studded
here and there with white convents, whose bells answered each other
from hill to hill—the yellow sands glistening along the shore—the
blue mountains in the distance—the fertile country;—on the right the
city of the seven hills, white Lisbon, five or six miles in front—the
wide bed of the river as far as the eye could reach, bespread with
fishing-boats, their peaked sails like so many butterflies gliding
along—the covered, Venetian-looking barges, passing and re-passing—the
clear sky and the warm sun—all sweetly engaged the attention of the
party on board, and made them for a moment forget their hostility.

The ship was now very near the fort or castle of Belem, within a
league of Lisbon; when Mr. Smith gave his sword to the soldier who had
waited on him during the voyage, and was surprised beyond measure,
when the man brought it back, and said that Lieutenant Dickens had
ordered him not to clean it. This fresh insult irritated him very
much, and he remonstrated warmly with Mr. D. on the subject. In his
anger, passing him to go down to his cabin, he pushed the Dragoon
officer aside. However, the latter seemed to feel compunction, and
seized this opportunity, declaring before the master of the vessel,
and the officers, that he was extremely sorry for the blow he had so
intemperately given Mr. Smith, and begged his pardon: but he assured
all present, that he was determined on a meeting with Mr. Brown. This
apology was treated with silence by Mr. Smith; and the Lieutenant
showed but little knowledge of duelling affairs, when he supposed that
an apology could have sufficed.

Matters were now brought to a close on board: the ship dropped anchor
opposite the Fish-market Quay, when the three subalterns and the master
went on shore. Thus ended the rough passage, but the stormy quarrel
which began at sea was yet unsettled; and as I have gone so far with
the story, I may as well go a little farther.

The party, in proceeding from the ship to the land, were of course
disinclined for conversation. Not a word was spoken, until Lieutenant
Dickens addressed the master thus—“Have they any hackney-coaches at
Lisbon.”

“No coaches, but a sort of covered chaises.”

“Hah! that will do. We can soon be out of the town. I shall want one
this evening.”

This evidently alluded to the expected duel.

Nothing more passed, and the officers went to their hotels—Mr.
Brown expecting an immediate message, and Mr. Smith preparing to
send a friend on his part. But no pistols were in requisition, the
_Cockaignee_ was no blood-spiller; and to _settle_ the matter,
concocted charges of mutiny, &c., against Smith and Brown! Both were
placed under arrest and tried by court-martial! But such was the
opinion of the Commander of the Forces, that on reading the proceedings
of the court, he immediately ordered the _Cockaignee himself_ to
be put in arrest, and tried by court-martial for “_striking_ Mr.
Smith.” The consequence was, that all parties suffered: Mr. Brown
and Mr. Smith were cashiered: the sentence passed on the latter was,
however, softened down by the opinion of the court, which would have
acquitted him, but that the Dragoon _swore_ the push given on the
deck was a _blow_. Dickens fared worst of all: he was “_dismissed his
Majesty's service_,” by which he lost the purchase-money of his _two_
commissions—Cornetcy and Lieutenantcy. Every officer was thoroughly
disgusted at the affair being made the subject of public investigation
instead of being referred to the pistol; and the service was much
injured by the detention of field-officers from their regiments, to
sit in court-martials about such a matter. The Dragoon felt that he
was despised for the step he had taken, and showed his sense of it
by attempting suicide. Mr. Smith and Mr. Brown returned to England,
and were _reinstated_ in their former commissions. The Dragoon, after
some years, was permitted to _re-purchase_ a _cornetcy_; and once more
sported his _white feather_ in the army.

Thus, by the mere accident of meeting this weak and arrogant
officer—or, to go farther into causes, by the roguery of a boatman,—a
train of most serious and disagreeable consequences was produced to two
young and inexperienced men; first, a five weeks' bill at a Portsmouth
hotel; second, a six weeks' gale of wind, with a cat-and-dog party;
third, a court-martial, and loss of commission; fourth, an unexpected
return to England; and lastly, the rugged hill of promotion to
attempt anew under unfavourable circumstances! Let this and all this
be recollected by every young officer. It is no story of invention;
these are facts registered in the Judge-Advocate-General's office, and
therefore form a good practical lesson.


                      END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.


                              LONDON

           PRINTED BY S. AND R. BENTLEY, DORSET STREET.


                *       *       *       *       *


Transcriber's Notes (continued)

The original text often has common words shortened, especially in
dialogue. Many other words, including personal names and military
titles, are spelt inconsistently, capitalised inconsistently and
hyphenated inconsistently.

In reproducing that text, obvious typographical errors have been
corrected but the variations referred to above have all been retained
unless otherwise stated.

Corrections to the Original Text

The following misprints have been corrected:

  Page 77 - "minnet" changed to "minet" (At this very minet).

  Page 197 - "recal" changed to "recall" (now recall without
                delight).

  Page 325 - "Panoramar" changed to "Panorama". [A reference to
                "Mr. Barker's Panorama" in Leicester Square.]

Other Changes

The following changes to the original text have been made for clarity
or consistency:

  One reference each of 2d, 3d, 23d and 82d changed to 2nd, 3rd, 23rd
  and 82nd respectively to match the more numerous instances of the
  latter forms in the original text.

  Page 36 - "half-glasses" changed to "half glasses" (my thirty half
  glasses of sherry).

  Page 73 - "Punhite" changed to "Punhete".

  Page 151 - "Corporal Callaghan" changed to "Corporal O'Callaghan".

  Page 248 - "Badajos" changed to "Badajoz" twice.

  Page 286 - "Mac Fadgen" changed to "M'Fadgen".

  Page 287 - "Mac Fadgen" changed to "M'Fadgen".

  Page 287 - "Corporal Callagan" changed to "Corporal O'Callaghan".

Footnotes

Footnotes have been re-indexed using numbers and collected together
at the end of each chapter.

Variations and Unusual Spelling/Hyphenation

The following variations of a word or descriptive term are found in
the original text and have been retained:

  Sergeant, Serjeant, Sargeant, sarjeant
  day-break, day-brake, daybreak
  breastplate, breast-plate
  aspin leaf, aspin-lafe
  honeymoon, honey-moon
  quartermaster, quarter-master
  southwest, south-west
  Englishman, Englishmon, Englisman
  towards, toward
  rattletrap, ratling

Consistent but unusual hyphenation or spelling include:

  fist-full, to-day, to-morrow
  Shakspeare





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