A RELATIVE AND A PLACE

Crawford Lane was considerably disconcerted.

“I will call later and buy the ticket,” he said to the broker. “At
present I have some business with this young rascal, who robbed me this
morning of a considerable sum of money. Now he has the assurance to make
a charge against me.”

The broker looked from one to the other. He was bewildered, and could
not decide which to believe.

Crawford Lane and the two boys went out into the street.

“Now, Mr. Lane,” said Scott, in a resolute tone, “please hand over that
money.”

“So you are acting the part of a highway robber, are you? If you know
what is best for yourself you will get away from here as soon as
possible.”

“I am ready to go as soon as you give me my money. If not—-”

“Well, if not?”

“I will summon a policeman.”

It chanced that a member of the Broadway squad was within hearing.

He stopped and said: “Am I wanted here?”

“Yes,” replied Lane, quickly; “I want you to arrest that boy.”

“On what charge?”

“Robbery. I took pity on him, and though I knew scarcely anything of
him, I let him occupy the same room with myself at a hotel on the Bowery
last night. He stole some Bank of England notes from my pocket while I
was sleeping, and I want him arrested.”

Scott’s breath was quite taken away by the audacious misrepresentation
of his treacherous acquaintance.

“Well, what have you to say?” asked the policeman.

“Only that this man was himself the thief, and stole the notes from me.”

“You young rascal!” exclaimed Lane, in assumed indignation. “That is a
likely story. I leave it to the officer which was more likely to have
money to be taken–a gentleman like myself, or a boy like you.”

“I think you will have to come with me,” said the officer to Scott.

“But,” put in John Schickling, “that man has told you a lie. He owes my
mother nine dollars for room rent.”

“I never saw the boy before in the whole course of my life,” said Lane,
boldly. “He seems to be a confederate of the boy who robbed me.”

“You can tell your story at the police station,” said the policeman to
Scott. “You, sir, can go with me and prefer a charge.”

“I am in a great hurry,” replied Lane, taking out his watch. “I will
call at the police station in an hour. Now I have an important
engagement.”

“You will have to come now,” said the officer, beginning to be
suspicious.

“Oh, well, if it is necessary,” said Lane, determined to brazen it out.

Scott was considerably taken aback at the unexpected turn which matters
had taken, and felt some anxiety.

“Will you come with me?” he said, addressing John Schickling.

“You bet I will,” responded John, briskly. “I ain’t goin’ back on a
friend. I’ll tell you what I know about this man.”

“You’d better clear out,” said Lane, “if you know what is best for you,
or you’ll find yourself in hot water, too.”

“I’ll take the risk,” rejoined John, not at all alarmed.

So they started for the station house in the City Hall, when something
unexpected happened.

A young man, handsomely dressed, met the procession, as he was himself
walking up Broadway. His eyes lighted up when they rested on Crawford
Lane.

He darted forward, and grasped him by the arm.

“At last I have found you!” he exclaimed. “Officer, I call upon you to
arrest this man.”

The officer stared, surprised as he might well be.

Crawford Lane tried to release himself from the grasp of the speaker,
and had he succeeded would have fled unceremoniously.

“What does this mean?” asked the policeman. “He is going with me to the
station house to prefer a charge against this boy.”

“That’s a good joke! He prefer a charge!”

“He says the boy has robbed him.”

“Then you may conclude that he has robbed the boy. He robbed me in
London some weeks since, and I have just caught him.”

“This is all a mistake,” said Lane, hurriedly. “Officer, you may let the
boy go.”

“Do you withdraw the charge?”

“Yes.”

“I prefer to go to the station house,” said Scott, quietly. “I wish to
tell my story there. This man stole ten pounds from me in English
money.”

At this moment there was a sudden excitement in the street. A man had
been knocked over by a passing truck, and all eyes were turned toward
the scene of the accident.

Justin Wood removed his hand from the arm of Crawford Lane, and the
latter lost no time in taking advantage of his freedom. He darted down a
side street, and when his companions turned to look for him he had
disappeared.

Justin Wood looked annoyed.

“He has escaped this time,” he exclaimed, “but I will have him yet.”

“Then I shall not be needed,” said the officer, as he resumed his beat.

“How did this man get a chance to rob you?” asked Justin Wood, turning
to Scott.

Scott briefly explained.

“Did he take all your money?”

“No, sir. I have ten pounds left.”

“Pardon me, but is this all you have?”

“Yes, sir.”

“But you have a home?”

“Only such a home as I may be able to make for myself.”

“Have you no relatives in this city?”

“Yes, sir, I have one. I am going to see him if I can, this afternoon.”

Mr. Wood took a card from his pocket.

“I am staying at the Gilsey House,” he said. “If you need help or
advice, call there and send up your name. By the way, what is your name,
my boy?”

“Scott Walton.”

“I shall remember it. Now I must leave you as, like your late friend, I
have an important engagement.”

“I suppose I must be getting back,” said John, “as my brother will need
me. I am sorry I didn’t collect the nine dollars from that jay.”

“He has got the best of all of us,” returned Scott. “Where do you live?
I may want to look you up some day.”

“In West Thirty-sixth Street,” said John. “I haven’t got any card with
me, but I can give you the number.”

“I won’t forget it. You have been my first friend in New York, and I
don’t want to lose you.”

“I never thought I would like an English boy before,” said John, “but I
like you.”

“Thank you. I hope we shall remain friends.”

When Scott was left alone it occurred to him that he had not yet
exchanged his English money, and he returned to the broker’s office,
where he made the exchange, receiving about fifty dollars in greenbacks.

“This is all I have to depend upon,” reflected Scott. “It won’t do for
me to remain at the hotel much longer. My money would soon be gone.”

He had ascertained that the rates at the hotel were two dollars a day,
including board.

This was not a large price, but Scott felt that it was more than he
could afford to pay. It was absolutely necessary that he should begin to
earn something as soon as possible.

He could decide upon nothing till he had seen his mother’s cousin, Ezra
Little. If that gentleman should agree to take him into his store in any
capacity, he felt that his anxieties would be at an end. Hence, it was
desirable that he should see Mr. Little as soon as possible. He had
already ascertained that his relative was in the dry-goods business on
Eighth Avenue, but he felt that it would be better to call upon him at
his residence on West Forty-seventh Street. Probably Mr. Little would
have more leisure to talk with him there.

It was with a fast-beating heart that Scott, standing on the steps of a
three-story brick house on West Forty-seventh Street, rang the bell.

The door was opened by a servant girl.

Just behind her was a boy who looked to be about Scott’s age, and who
listened inquisitively to what Scott had to say.

“Is Mr. Little at home?”

“He will be in in a few minutes. You can come in and wait for him.”

“I should like to do so.”

The servant opened the door leading into a small reception room to the
left of the front hall, and Scott, entering, seated himself.

The boy already referred to entered also. He was a very plain-looking
youth with light red hair.

“Did you have business with Mr. Little?” he asked, curiously. “I am his
son.”

“Yes.”

“Do you come from the store?”

“No.”

“Perhaps you are meaning to apply for a place there?”

“I should be glad if your father would give me a place. I have just come
from England. My mother was a cousin of Mr. Little.”

Loammi Little, for this was the name of the red-haired boy, regarded
Scott with curiosity mingled with surprise.

“What is your name?” he asked, abruptly.

“Scott Walton.”

“I never heard of you, though I have heard pa say that a cousin of his
married a man named Walton. Where is your father?”

“He is dead,” answered Scott, sadly. “He died on the voyage over.”

“Humph!” said Loammi, in a tone far from sympathetic. “I suppose you are
poor.”

“I am not rich,” replied Scott, coldly.

He began to resent the unfeeling questions with which his cousin was
plying him.

“If you have come over here to live on pa, I don’t think he will like
it.”

“I don’t want to live on anyone,” said Scott, his cheek flushing with
anger. “I am ready to earn my own living.”

“That’s the way pa did. He came over here a poor boy, or rather a poor
young man.”

“I respect him the more for it.”

“All the same I would rather begin life with a little money,” said
Loammi.

“I have a little money,” rejoined Scott, with a half smile.

“How much?”

“I would rather wait and tell your father my circumstances.”

“Oh, well, if you don’t like to tell. Pa’ll tell me all about it.”

“That is as he chooses–but I would rather tell him first.”

“How old are you?” asked Loammi, after a pause.

“Sixteen.”

“So am I.”

“Your father has a store on Eighth Avenue?”

“Yes; have you been in it?”

“Not yet. I only arrived in New York yesterday.”

“Where are you living?”

“In a hotel on the Bowery.”

“That isn’t a fashionable street.”

“So I judge; but I can’t afford to board on a fashionable street.”

“No, I suppose not. You are pretty well dressed, though.”

“My father bought me this suit in London before we started for America.
Are you working in your father’s store?”

“No, I am attending school. I am not a poor boy, and don’t have to work.
Did you work any before you left the old country?”

“No, I was at school.”

“Are you a good scholar?”

“That isn’t for me to say. I stood very well in school.”

“I am studying Latin and Greek,” observed Loammi, proudly.

“I have studied them both,” said Scott, quietly.

“How far were you in Latin?”

“I was reading Cicero’s orations when I left school.”

As this was considerably beyond the point to which Loammi had attained,
he made no comment. He was considering what question to ask next, when
his father entered the room.

There was a strong resemblance between father and son. Ezra Little was
a slender man, about five feet ten inches in height, with hair of a
yellowish-red, inclined to be thin toward the top of the head.

There was a feeble growth of side whiskers extending halfway down each
cheek. His eyes were of a pale blue, and his look was shrewd and cold.

He gazed inquiringly at Scott.

“This boy says his mother was your cousin, pa,” exclaimed Loammi.

“What name?” asked Ezra.

“Scott Walton.”

Ezra Little nodded.

“I see. Your father was an artist?”

“Yes.”

“Where is he?”

“He died on the voyage over.”

“Leaving you alone in the world?”

“Yes,” answered Scott, sadly.

“Well, what are your plans?”

This question was asked coldly.

“My father died so lately that I haven’t had time to form any plans. I
thought I would like to consult you about them.”

“I suppose you haven’t much money?”

“No, sir.”

“You have some?”

“About ten pounds.”

“Fifty dollars.”

“Yes, sir.”

“And that is all?”

“Yes, sir.”

“That won’t keep you long,” said Loammi, disdainfully. “I s’pose you’ll
expect pa to take care of you.”

“Have I hinted anything of the kind?” demanded Scott, indignantly. “I am
young and strong, and I am quite ready to earn my own living. I don’t
want anybody to support me.”

“Well spoken, lad!” said Ezra, in a tone of approval. “I’ll think over
your case. Loammi, tell your mother that Scott will stay to supper.”

“Thank you, sir.”

Mrs. Little was as plain in appearance as her husband and son, but Scott
liked her better. She appeared to have a kindly disposition, and
expressed sympathy for him when she heard of his father’s death.

This was in contrast to Mr. Little and Loammi, upon whom it seemed to
make no impression.

“And where are you staying, Scott?” she asked, in a tone of friendly
interest.

“At a hotel on the Bowery.”

“How much do they charge you?” inquired Ezra Little.

“Two dollars a day.”

“It is very extravagant for a boy with your small stock of money to pay
such a price.”

“I know it, sir, but I only went there yesterday, I shall not think of
staying.”

Scott had decided not to mention his loss to Mr. Little, as he felt sure
that it would bring upon him a reproof for his credulity in trusting a
man of whom he knew so little as Crawford Lane.

“Why couldn’t he come here, Ezra?” suggested Mrs. Little, turning to her
husband.

Mr. Little coughed.

“After supper I shall speak to Scott about business,” he said, “and that
point will be discussed.”

Scott looked forward to the interview with interest and anxiety. For him
a great deal depended on it.

He hoped that Mr. Little would give him a place in the store where he
would be in the line of promotion, and be able to earn his living.

He followed Mr. Little from the dining room into what might be called a
library, though there were only about fifty books in a small bookcase.
There was a desk, however, used by Mr. Little for letter writing, and
for the keeping of his accounts. Here, too, he received business
visitors.

“Well,” he said, pointing Scott to a chair, “now we will discuss your
plans. You want a chance to work?”

“Yes, sir.”

“I may find a place for you in my store, but I warn you that you can’t
expect much pay to begin with.”

“I don’t expect much pay, sir. If I can earn enough to support myself it
will satisfy me.”

“Eh, but that would require high pay. It costs a good deal to support a
boy in New York.”

This rather alarmed Scott, for he felt that he must manage somehow to
support himself on what he earned.

“We generally pay a beginner only three dollars a week,” proceeded Mr.
Little.

“Three dollars a week!”

Why, Scott was paying two dollars a day for board and lodging at the
hotel.

He looked at Mr. Little in dismay.

“I shouldn’t think I could support myself on three dollars a week,” he
said.

“We might strain a point and pay you three dollars and a half.”

“Is there any boarding house where I could live on three dollars and a
half?”

“Well, no; perhaps not; but you have some money, you tell me.”

“Yes, sir, I have fifty dollars.”

“Just at first you can use a part of that to supply deficiencies.”

“I thought I might need that for clothes.”

“Ahem!” said Mr. Little. “I have thought a way out of the difficulty.”

Scott looked at him hopefully.

“I think Mrs. Little can find a small room for you upstairs, and you can
live here.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“Of course what you earn in the store won’t pay for your keep, so I
suggest that you hand me the fifty dollars to make up.”

Scott did not like that suggestion. He did not feel like giving up the
money bequeathed him by his father. It would make him feel helpless and
dependent.

Besides, when he wanted clothing, where should he find money to pay for
it? Yet, if he declined Mr. Little’s offer, he knew that the fifty
dollars would soon be exhausted, and he might have no other place
offered him.

“When could I move here?” he asked.

“To-morrow, and on Monday morning, you can begin work at the store.”

“Very well, sir.”

“You can give me the money now.”

“I will give you forty dollars, but I shall have to pay my hotel bill.”

“You can keep five dollars for that. It will be sufficient.”

So Scott handed over forty-five dollars to Mr. Little, who counted it
over with evident satisfaction. Then the English boy started for the
hotel.

He had secured a place, but somehow he felt depressed. His prospects did
not seem very bright, after all.

Continue Reading

TRACKING THE THIEF

Soon after supper Crawford Lane said: “Suppose we go to some theater
this evening. It will pass away the time pleasantly.”

Scott looked pained.

“Mr. Lane,” he said, “you seem to forget that it is scarcely more than a
week since my poor father died.”

“Excuse me, Scott. I ought to have remembered it. Shall you miss me if I
leave you to spend the evening alone?”

“No, Mr. Lane. On some accounts I should prefer to be alone.”

“Very well. You need not sit up for me, as I shall return late. Go to
bed when you feel inclined, and we shall meet in the morning. So long!”

Scott remained in the office of the hotel. He did not object to being
left alone, for he was forced to acknowledge that he did not care much
for the company of Crawford Lane.

Circumstances had thrown them together, and Lane had been of some
service to him in his absolute ignorance of the city, but Scott resolved
to break away from him as soon as possible.

Looking toward the desk, he espied a copy of the New York directory.

That gave him an idea. He would look up the name of Ezra Little, and
find out where he lived and what his business was.

Turning over the pages of the bulky volume, he came to the letter L.
There was a long list of Littles. Finally, he found Ezra Little, dry
goods, No. 849 Eighth Avenue; house, 392 West Forty-seventh Street.

“I will go to see him to-morrow,” thought Scott, hopefully. “Since he
has a store, he may find a place for me.”

Just off the ship, he found that walking about the streets had fatigued
him, and he went to bed about nine o’clock.

Lane had requested him to leave the door unlocked, so that he might get
in without difficulty on his return from the theater. Indeed, Scott was
obliged to do this, as Lane had carried off the key, intentionally or
otherwise.

It has already been mentioned that Scott had divided his small capital
into two equal parts, one of which he placed in the original envelope in
his coat pocket, the other in an inside pocket in his vest.

The coat he hung over a chair, but the vest he thought it prudent to
place under his pillow.

It was not long before Scott was sound asleep. He found himself more
fatigued than he had supposed.

Crawford Lane had gone to Niblo’s Theater, where there was a showy
spectacular play which suited his fancy. On his way home, he stepped
into a hotel, where he picked up a copy of the New York _Herald_.

He looked it over listlessly, but all at once he started in surprise,
not unmixed with dismay. In the list of passengers on the _Etruria_,
which had arrived very early the previous evening, he saw the name of
Justin Wood.

There was nothing remarkable about the name, but it so happened that it
had peculiar associations for Crawford Lane.

Seven weeks before, he had gone abroad with Justin Wood, a wealthy
young man, as his companion. Wood was liberal, and he had taken a fancy
to Lane to such an extent that he offered to defray his expenses on a
short European trip.

In London, Crawford Lane managed to rob his companion of a considerable
sum of money, and, of course, disappeared directly afterward.

For three weeks he spent money profusely. At the end of that time, he
had barely enough left to buy a ticket for New York by the ship
_Arcturus_.

When he landed, his funds had dwindled to three dollars, but he expected
to increase them by appropriating the Bank of England notes which he
learned were in the possession of Scott Walton.

But the arrival of Justin Wood complicated matters. He must keep out of
the way of the man he had robbed, and this would not be easy while both
were in the same city.

“Suppose he had been at the theater this evening!” he said to himself,
nervously.

As Justin Wood was an athlete, an encounter would probably have been far
from pleasant for his faithless friend.

Crawford Lane pursued his way homeward in a very serious frame of mind.

“It is lucky,” he thought, “that fate has thrown in my way this green
boy. With his hundred dollars I will start to-morrow for Chicago, and
stay there for the present. That will keep me out of the way of Justin
Wood.”

It was about midnight when Lane reached the hotel on the Bowery. He went
upstairs at once.

As he lit the gas he turned his gaze on the bed near the window. Scott
was fast asleep, with one arm thrown carelessly over the quilt.

“Sleeping like a top!” murmured Lane. “These young boys always sleep
sound. I used to when I was a boy. I had an easy conscience then,” he
continued, with a half laugh. “I’m not quite so innocent as I was, but I
know a lot more. Well, I must get to bed, for I must be up bright and
early to-morrow morning.”

He carefully locked the door, for he did not want anyone else to
anticipate him in his dishonest plans.

Crawford Lane slept rather later than he intended. When, upon opening
his eyes, he consulted his watch he found that it was half-past seven
o’clock.

“I ought to have been up an hour ago,” he said to himself. “Suppose the
boy is awake, all my plans would be upset.”

He dressed in great haste, and then, with one eye upon the sleeping
boy, tiptoed to the chair over which Scott’s coat was hanging, and drew
exit the envelope from the inside pocket.

He would have examined the contents, but Scott stirred slightly, and
Lane felt that it would be the part of prudence to leave the room at
once.

He went downstairs and reported at the desk, valise in hand.

“I am obliged to take an early train for the West,” he said, “and will
settle my part of the bill.”

“Will the boy remain?”

“Yes; his uncle will call for him during the day.”

“Very well, sir. Breakfast is on the table.”

“I shall not be able to stop, as I am already late. I left the boy
asleep. If he inquires for me you may tell him I will write him
from–Buffalo.”

“Very well, sir.”

Lane went out and got breakfast on Fulton Street.

“I hope I have seen the youngster for the last time,” he said to
himself.

There was one awkward thing in his way. He would have preferred to leave
the city at once, but outside of the English notes, he had scarcely any
money, and it would be necessary to wait till ten o’clock, when he could
call at some broker’s and exchange them for American bills.

Lane went into the Astor House and entered one of the small reading
rooms on the second floor.

Then, for the first time, he opened the envelope and examined his booty.

To his great disappointment, he found but half the sum he expected to
find–but ten pounds in place of twenty.

“Confusion!” he muttered. “Was the boy deceiving me? He certainly said
that he had twenty pounds.”

The explanation of the discrepancy readily suggested itself. The boy had
placed the balance of the notes somewhere else.

“I wish I had had the sense to examine the envelope before I left the
room.”

But the boy might have waked up, and though he regretted not having
taken all his money, Lane felt that he must make the ten pounds do.

Meanwhile Scott slept on till eight o’clock.

When he opened his eyes he looked over to the other bed. Evidently it
had been slept in, but it seemed now to be unoccupied.

It occurred to Scott as singular that his companion, who must have got
to bed late, should have risen so early, but no suspicion of wrong-doing
entered his mind till he put on his coat. Then he discovered at once the
disappearance of the envelope.

Scott was startled.

“He has stolen my money,” he instantly decided.

He felt in the pocket of his vest. The other ten notes were there,
fortunately, but Scott was by no means satisfied to give up the ten he
had lost. He hurried down the stairs, and in some excitement went up to
the hotel clerk.

With some agitation Scott addressed the clerk. “Has the gentleman who
came with me left the hotel?” he asked.

“Yes,” was the answer, “about an hour since.”

“Isn’t he coming back?”

“No. He told me to tell you that he was called suddenly to the West. He
will write to you from Buffalo.”

Scott felt limp and helpless. He turned pale and clung to the counter
for support.

He was only a boy, and he realized that with his companion went half his
scanty means.

“Didn’t Mr. Lane take breakfast here?” he asked. “Perhaps he is still
here.”

“No; he said he could not wait. He wanted to catch the early train. It
is strange he didn’t tell you he was going. You are young to be left
alone.”

“I don’t mind that,” said Scott, bitterly, “but he has robbed me.”

“Eh?” returned the clerk, briskly. “What’s that?”

“He stole ten pounds in English notes from my pocket while I slept.”

The clerk whistled.

“Is he a relation of yours?” he asked.

“No; he was only a fellow passenger on the ship _Arcturus_, which
arrived in this port yesterday morning.”

“Then you haven’t know him long?”

“No.”

“I am very much surprised. He seemed like a gentleman.”

“What shall I do?” asked Scott, feeling that he needed advice from some
one who knew the world better than he did.

“You might inform the police.”

“But if he has already left the city, I am afraid it wouldn’t do much
good.”

“Did he take all you had?” inquired the clerk, with the sudden thought
that in that case Scott would be unable to pay his hotel bill.

“No; I divided my money into two parts. He only took half.”

“That was lucky,” said the clerk, relieved. “Perhaps he hasn’t left the
city yet,” he added, after a pause.

“But he was going for an early train, you told me.”

“That is what he said. He might wait till after ten o’clock to change
the notes. Have you the number of them?”

“No, or–yes, I can tell what they would be from those I have left.
Probably they would come directly before or directly after those.”

“Then you stand a chance to recover them, or at any rate to have him
arrested. It is too early to do anything yet. You had better eat
breakfast, and then go down to Wall Street. That is where the brokers
have their offices, and you may meet him there.”

“Thank you.”

“Do you mean to remain here?”

“Yes, for the present. I shall probably stay till to-morrow, at any
rate.”

Scott went in to breakfast, and notwithstanding his loss he ate
heartily. He was of a sanguine temperament and disposed to make the best
of circumstances. So he congratulated himself on having retained a part
of his money.

“When do the brokers’ offices open?” he asked, when he again saw the
clerk.

“At ten o’clock.”

“I will walk leisurely toward Wall Street, then. If Mr. Lane comes
back—-”

“If he does, we will keep him. But I don’t think there is any chance of
it.”

Scott walked down to the City Hall Park, and then proceeded down
Broadway in the direction of Trinity Church, which, he was told, faced
the head of Wall Street.

As he was passing the Astor House, he espied a familiar face and figure.
It was the boy who had spoken to Crawford Lane the day before–John
Schickling.

“Good-morning!” he said, touching the boy’s arm.

John Schickling looked round with a puzzled expression, for he did not
recognize Scott. The day previous he had only taken notice of Crawford
Lane, and not of his companion.

“I don’t remember you,” he said.

“I was walking with Mr. Lane yesterday when you spoke to him.”

“Oh, yes. Where is he now?”

“That’s what I want to find out. He and I stopped at a hotel on the
Bowery last night. When I woke up this morning I found that he had
stolen some of my money and disappeared.”

“He’s a rascal!” said John, warmly. “It is just like him. Had you known
him long?”

“No; we met on board the ship that brought us over from Liverpool. I am
a stranger in the city, and he agreed to act as my guide.”

“You didn’t expect you would have to pay so dearly for it?”

“No.”

“What are you going to do?”

“The money he took was in English bank notes, and the hotel clerk
thought he might go down to Wall Street to exchange them there at some
broker’s.”

“Very likely. And you are going there now?” asked John.

“Yes.”

“Then I’ll go with you. I want to collect that money he owes mother.”

“I will be glad of your company. I feel strange in America. I am an
English boy.”

“I’ll help you all I can. I am on an errand for my brother. He is a
young man, and I work for him, but I know he won’t mind my following up
this fellow and trying to make him pay me. Say, how old are you?”

“Sixteen.”

“I am fifteen.”

“You are the first American boy I have met.”

“I hope you will like me better than Mr. Lane. He is an American, but
isn’t much credit to the country.”

The two boys reached Wall Street about ten minutes past ten. They turned
the corner and entered the great financial artery of New York.

Soon they reached a broker’s office, and went in.

Advised by John, Scott went up to a small window, behind which stood a
clerk.

“I have some English notes which I would like to exchange for American
money,” he said.

“Hand them to me.”

As he looked them over, the clerk’s face showed surprise.

“I have just bought some,” he said, “the numbers of which correspond
very nearly with these.”

Scott grew excited.

“What was the appearance of the man who presented them?”

The description was given.

“They were my notes,” said Scott. “The man stole them from me. Where did
he go?”

“I can’t tell, but perhaps our messenger may know. Wait a minute.”

The messenger–William Doon, a boy of eighteen–remembered that Lane had
gone as far as Broadway, and turned to go uptown.

“Come along,” said John, “we may catch him yet.”

Scott gave himself up to the guidance of his boy friend, and hurried up
Broadway, but without much hope of finding Lane. He had not yet sold his
notes, feeling that he must if possible catch the thief who had
plundered him.

Just above Chambers Street, on the west side of the street, was a
cut-rate railroad ticket office.

“Suppose we go in there,” suggested John. “He may buy a ticket for some
place out West. He wouldn’t dare to stay in New York.”

This seemed not unlikely, and Scott followed young Schickling into the
office.

It was a lucky thought. No sooner had they entered than Scott recognized
his faithless acquaintance at the counter inquiring the price of a
ticket to Chicago.

“I can give you a ticket this morning for fourteen dollars,” said the
agent. “It is a rare chance, but it will have to be used within three
days.”

“I will take it,” answered Lane, drawing a roll of bills from his
pocket.

It was the money he had received from the broker.

Scott was exasperated at the man’s coolness. He was no milk-and-water
boy, but a lad of spirit.

“Mr. Lane,” he said, grasping the other’s arm, “give me back that money
you stole from me.”

Crawford Lane turned and gazed at Scott in dismay. He had never expected
to see him again, and could not understand how he had got upon his
track. But he decided to brazen it out.

“What do you mean, boy?” he demanded, roughly. “You must be crazy.”

“I mean this, that you stole some English bank notes from me at the
hotel where we slept, and—-”

“That is absurd. I leave it to this gentleman whether these are English
notes.”

“Certainly not,” said the ticket agent. “This is American money.”

“If you don’t leave this office and stop annoying me I will have you
arrested,” blustered Lane.

“No, you don’t,” interposed John Schickling, whom until now Lane had
not noticed. “We’re on to your little game. We’ve just come from the
broker’s office where you exchanged the money.”

Continue Reading

THE FIRST DAY IN NEW YORK

Halfway across the Atlantic the good ship _Arcturus_ was making her way
from Liverpool to New York. She was a sailing vessel, and her speed by
no means equaled that of the mighty steamships, more than one of which
passed her, leaving her far behind.

While she was used chiefly for freight, she carried a few passengers,
less than twenty in all.

I wish to call the reader’s attention to the occupants of one of the
small staterooms, a man and a boy. There was a great contrast between
them. The man was thin and hollow-cheeked, and as he lay in his berth he
looked to be, as he was, in the last stages of consumption.

The boy, who must have been nearly sixteen, was the picture of health.
He was inclined to be dark, with black hair, bright eyes, and with
considerable color in his cheeks.

He bent over the reclining figure, and asked, with anxious solicitude:
“How do you feel, father?”

“No better, Scott,” and the father began to cough.

“Does it hurt you to cough?”

“Yes, but it won’t trouble me long.”

“You will be better?” said the boy, half inquiringly.

“No, Scott, I shall never be better. I am very near the end.”

“You don’t mean that?” exclaimed the boy, in pained surprise.

“Yes, I do, Scott, and you may as well know it. I doubt whether I shall
live to see New York.”

Scott Walton looked dismayed, for till now he had not suspected that his
father’s life was in danger. Yet, as he gazed at the fragile form, he
was forced to believe that his father spoke truly.

“What will become of me,” he said, with emotion, “alone in a strange
land?”

“That is what I want to speak to you about.” Here the man began to cough
again.

“Don’t talk, father. It makes you cough.”

“I must, my son. Perhaps I may have no other chance. I am sorry that I
must leave you almost penniless.”

“I don’t mind that, father. If you could only live—-”

“Don’t interrupt me, for there are some things I must tell you. You will
find in my wallet twenty pounds in English bank notes, worth in America
about one hundred dollars. This sum will support you while you are
looking for a situation, for you will need to find work.”

“I am strong and willing to work, father.”

“Yes, you are strong. You don’t take after me, but after your mother’s
family.”

“Have you any relatives in America?”

“There is a cousin of your mother’s in New York, Ezra Little. I believe
he is well-to-do. I can’t tell you what he is doing or where he lives,
but you can look up his name in the New York directory.”

“Is he the only relative we have in America?

“No, there is a cousin of my own, Philo Walton, who went out to one of
the Western States. He was a good-hearted fellow, and likely to make his
way, but I have heard nothing of him, and I don’t know whether he is
still living or not.

“There seems a very small chance of your finding him, in so large a
country, but you can probably find Ezra Little. Take down these names,
Scott. They may be of importance to you.”

Scott drew out a small memorandum book, and did as directed.

“I would not have started from England, had I supposed I should have
become worse so rapidly,” continued Mr. Walton. “I think the sea air has
aggravated my disease. There seemed nothing for us at home though, and
no friends on whom we could call. I built my hopes on Ezra Little. I
thought for your mother’s sake he would help her boy. If I could live to
see him, and commend him to you in person, I could die in peace.”

He had hardly completed these words when he had a terrible fit of
coughing, which seemed to rack his feeble frame.

“Don’t talk any more, father!” said Scott, in alarm. “Can’t I get you
something to relieve you? I will go to the steward and ask for a cup of
hot tea.”

Without waiting for an answer he left the stateroom and sought the
steward.

He was gone but ten minutes, but when he returned the bedclothes were
stained with blood.

His father had had a hemorrhage, and was lying with closed eyes,
breathing faintly.

The ship doctor was summoned, and applied restoratives, but without
effect. Before the morning dawned, Scott was fatherless.

It was a great trial to the lonely boy to see his father’s body
consigned to the deep. He wished he might carry it to the land which was
to be his future home, and have it buried in some quiet cemetery; but it
would be a week at least before the slow-going ship would reach New
York, and the sailors would have rebelled at having a corpse on board
for that length of time.

Scott secured the money of which his father had spoken, and a sealed
packet inscribed:

_For My Son._

_To be opened a year from my death._

The boy’s grief was so sincere that his curiosity was not aroused by
this inscription. He put the packet in his traveling bag, and tried to
prepare himself for the solitary life he must now lead.

There was a good deal of sympathy felt for the lonely boy on the ship,
and more than one of the passengers proffered sympathy and
companionship.

Scott received their advances politely, but showed by his manner that he
preferred to be alone.

A week later, however, when the vessel was within a few hours of
reaching her destination, he felt that it would be well to obtain some
information about the new country that awaited him.

Among the passengers was a young man who looked to be about twenty-five.
His name was Crawford Lane. He wore a light overcoat, a showy necktie, a
low-cut vest, and was in appearance a very good specimen of the Bowery
swell.

He joined Scott as he was standing on deck, trying to catch the first
glimpse of land.

“Well, my young friend,” he said, affably, “I suppose that you, like the
rest of us, are glad to be near port.”

“I don’t know,” replied Scott, listlessly.

“Of course you miss your father.”

“Oh, so much!” said the boy, the tears coming into his eyes. “For years
we have lived together and been constant companions.”

“Just so! My father died five years ago, and I often miss him.”

“But you doubtless have other relatives, while he was all I had,”
explained Scott.

“Yes, I have other relatives. An uncle of mine is the present mayor of
Chicago. Of course, you have heard of Chicago.”

“Yes; it is one of your largest cities, is it not?”

“Yes, it’s a smart place, Chicago is.”

“Do you live there?”

“Not at present. I have relations in New York also. They are rich; live
on Fifth Avenue, or near by.”

“You are fortunate in having so many relations,” said Scott, with a
touch of envy.

“I don’t know. One of my uncles tried to cheat me out of part of my
inheritance. Relations are not always the best friends.”

“I hope he did not succeed,” said Scott, politely, though he felt very
little interest in the fortunes of his fellow voyager.

“No. That is, he defrauded me of ten thousand dollars, but there was a
good deal more, so that I was not inconvenienced.”

Lane spoke carelessly, and gave Scott the impression that he was a rich
man.

“Then you have a home to go to,” said Scott, sadly.

“No,” answered Lane. “You see my father and mother are dead, and I live
at the hotels or in apartments of my own. I don’t care to live with
relations. Have you any relations in New York?”

“None that I have seen. There is a cousin of my mother, Ezra Little, who
I am told is well-to-do. But I never saw him, and I don’t know how he
will receive me.”

“Then you will probably go to a hotel?”

“I suppose so, but I know nothing of New York.”

“I hope,” said Lane, in an insinuating tone, “that your father left you
in easy circumstances?”

“No, I shall have to make my own way.”

“Surely you have some money.”

“Yes, I have twenty pounds. I am told that amounts to a hundred dollars
in American currency.”

“Yes,” answered Lane, brightening up. “Well, that will tide you over
till you get something to do. But probably your relative will provide
for you.”

“No,” said Scott; “I shall not ask him to do so. I prefer to earn my own
living.”

“Just so. Well, I can be of some service to you. I will find you a
reasonable place to stop, and when you get ready you can call on this
Mr. Little.”

“Thank you!”

Scott was disposed to accept the offer of his new acquaintance, as, of
course, he himself knew absolutely nothing about New York.

When the _Arcturus_ arrived in port, Scott placed himself in charge of
Mr. Lane, and accompanied that gentleman on shore. He congratulated
himself on having a competent guide.

He was struck by the bright and bustling appearance of the great
American metropolis, and, English though he was, he was fain to admit
that it was more attractive than London.

Scott had but one gripsack, but in this respect Crawford Lane was no
better off.

“I just took a brief trip across the water,” he explained, “and I don’t
believe in being hampered with baggage.”

“Then you were not gone long?” said Scott.

“No; I just ran across in company with an old college friend. He will be
absent several months, but I could not spare the time from my business.”

“Have you anything which a boy of my age could do in your office?”
asked Scott, who felt that he must now be on the search for a place.

“Not at present. My business is of a peculiar nature. I travel for a
large house. But I will keep my eyes open, and if I should hear of
anything I will most certainly let you know.”

“Do you expect anyone to meet you at the pier?”

“No, I never say much about my movements. My friends can wait till I get
fairly established in a hotel.”

Scott was somewhat amazed when his new acquaintance conducted him to a
very plain house on the Bowery.

“I don’t care for style,” remarked Lane, observing Scott’s surprise,
“and though I could afford to go to the most expensive hotel in the
city, I know that your means are limited, and I wish to select one in
which you can afford to remain with me.”

“Thank you, Mr. Lane; you are very considerate. I haven’t much money,
and I must be economical.”

“I will step up to the desk and arrange about rooms,” added Lane.

“Thank you.”

Crawford Lane left Scott sitting in the reading room, but he returned in
five minutes.

“I find,” he said, “that the hotel is crowded. I have engaged a single
room with two beds. Will that be agreeable?”

Scott felt that he would have preferred to room alone, but he did not
know how to make objection, and acquiesced in the arrangement.

“I would like to go upstairs at once,” he said, “so that I may wash and
change my underclothing.”

“Very well.”

They were shown up by a bell boy. The room on the third floor was rather
small, but contained two single beds.

The place and its furnishings looked dingy, and even dirty, but Scott
was not disposed to make any unnecessary complaint.

“I will take the bed near the door, if you don’t object,” said Lane.

“It is immaterial to me.”

“Very well. By the way, didn’t you say you had some Bank of England
notes to exchange for American money?”

“Yes.”

“While you are making your toilet, I might slip down to a broker’s in
Wall Street, and make the exchange. What do you say?”

Scott had his share of caution, and he remembered that his knowledge of
Mr. Lane was very limited. Indeed, on reflection, it occurred to him
that his sole knowledge of his acquaintance was derived from that
gentleman himself.

“I think,” he said, “that I will wait till to-morrow. I have a little
silver with me that will do me till then.”

“Oh, very well!” said Lane, in an indifferent tone, though his face
expressed some disappointment. “I only thought that I might save you
some trouble.”

“Thank you, but I don’t mind the trouble. I shall be interested to see
Wall Street myself.”

“All right, I will go there with you to-morrow, or whenever you choose.”

“I should not like to take up your time. Probably you have business of
your own to occupy you.”

“Oh, I can get through a good deal of business in a short time. When you
are ready, come downstairs. You will find me in the office.”

Left to himself, Scott took a good wash and put on some clean linen,
which he found refreshing. He divided his bank notes into two parcels,
one of which he put in his inside coat pocket, the other in an inside
pocket in his vest.

He took the hint from his father’s custom.

In twenty minutes he was ready to go downstairs. He found Crawford Lane
awaiting him in the office.

“Shall we go in to dinner now, Scott?” said his new friend, familiarly.

“Yes,” answered Scott, for, grieving though he did over his father’s
loss, he had the appetite of a healthy boy.

The dinner was plain, and the table neither neat nor attractive, but
Scott felt that he had no right to be fastidious, and upon the whole ate
heartily.

“Now, shall we go for a walk?” suggested Lane.

“If you like.”

Lane led the way to Broadway, pointing out various buildings and objects
of interest.

“What do you think of New York?” he asked.

“This seems a very lively street.”

“Yes, there is but one Broadway in the world.”

“But London is larger.”

“Yes, but less attractive.”

“I hope I can find something to do. Then I shall be contented.”

“Don’t borrow any trouble about that. I have influence, and will see
that you find employment,” said Lane, patronizingly.

“You are very kind, Mr. Lane.”

“I mean to be. I hope you will look upon me as a friend–and a brother.”

These words were kind, but Scott hesitated to respond. He had seen no
occasion to distrust his companion, but for some reason, unaccountable
to himself, he could not give him his confidence.

They sauntered up Broadway till they reached Waverly Place. Just at the
corner they attracted the attention of a boy of perhaps fifteen, who
seemed to recognize Scott’s companion.

He was a dark-haired, pleasant-looking boy, whose face seemed to
indicate German descent.

“Mr. Lane,” he said, touching Scott’s companion on the arm.

Crawford Lane wheeled round and eyed the boy as if disconcerted.

“What do you want, boy?” he demanded, haughtily. “I don’t know you.”

“Oh, yes, you do. My name is John Schickling.”

“I haven’t the honor of knowing you, Mr. John Schickling,” said Lane, in
a tone of sarcasm.

“You know me well enough,” said the boy, persistently.

“Just as you like, but I have no time to spend with you to-day. Pass on
and let me alone,” said Lane, impatiently.

“I will as soon as you pay me what you owe me.”

“Why, you impudent young rascal, how should I owe you anything?”

“You hired a room from my mother at three dollars a week, and you went
off owing three weeks’ lodging, if you will give me nine dollars I will
give you a receipt.”

“This is ridiculous nonsense. I never lived in three-dollar rooms.”

“All the same you had a room at our house for several weeks at the
price. I have been looking for you every day since you left us.”

“Boy,” said Crawford Lane, “I have just returned from Europe, and
therefore cannot have roomed in your house. If you have any doubt on the
subject, my young friend here will tell you that we arrived in New York
this morning on the ship _Arcturus_.”

“That may be,” rejoined John; “but it is two months since you left our
house. You have had time to go to Europe and back.”

“I can’t be troubled with you to-day, boy. Get out of my way!”

“Where can I find you? Where are you stopping?”

Crawford Lane drew a card from his pocket, and scribbling an address on
it, passed it to the boy. While John Schickling was trying to make it
out, Lane hurried on with Scott.

“Fifth Avenue Hotel!” repeated Johnny. “Why, that’s a very dear place.
If Mr. Lane can afford to stay there, he can afford to pay mother’s
bill.”

Later in the day John entered the Fifth Avenue Hotel, and went up to the
desk.

He showed the card to the clerk.

“Is any gentleman of that name staying here?” he asked.

“No,” answered the clerk, shaking his head.

“Has he ever stopped here?”

“No; I should remember the name if he had.”

“Sold again!” said Johnny. “If I ever meet Mr. Lane now, he won’t get
off so easily.”

“That is a very impudent boy!” said Lane, as he resumed his walk with
Scott.

“I thought him a pleasant-looking fellow. Didn’t you know him?”

“Never saw him before in the whole course of my life!”

“It is strange,” mused Scott. “He called you by your name.”

“Did he? I didn’t observe.”

“Yes.”

“Then he must have overheard you addressing me.”

“But he met us. He was not walking behind us.”

“I can’t undertake to explain it,” said Lane, shrugging his shoulders.
“The boy is evidently very artful. It is a put-up job.”

Scott made no comment, but he had been favorably impressed by John
Schickling’s open, frank face, and he felt some doubts about relying on
Lane’s explanation.

Continue Reading

SAVE MISS PATTY GREY-FUR

BUT it was not nearly such a nice day as it had been yesterday. The
sun never shone at all, and the snow fell in such big, thick flakes
that sometimes they could hardly see a yard in front of them.
Besides, a cold north wind was blowing, and it made the stream so
rough that their raft danced up and down on the tiny waves, and more
than once they were nearly upset.

The fields that lay on either side of the stream were quite empty,
and it seemed as if everybody but Fuzz and Buzz thought it wiser to
stay at home on such a cold day.

But about twelve o’clock they saw a tomtit hopping about on the
branches of a willow-tree that grew near the water, and after
looking at them in surprise for a moment he asked them where they
were going.

They told him that they were going to see their aunt, Miss Patty
Grey-Fur.

“Oh, are you?” said the tomtit. “Well, I should be sorry to call
Miss Patty Grey-Fur an aunt of mine. Why are you going to see her?”

“Because we want some corn,” said Fuzz.

“She won’t give you any,” said the tomtit. “She is the meanest old
mouse that ever lived in a barn. You should just hear some of the
tales that are told of her in these parts. You would turn round and
go home if I told you one-half of what I know about her.”

“Then we would rather not hear it, thank you,” said Fuzz quickly,
“for we must go on.”

“Just as you like, of course,” said the tomtit. But he was very
sorry all the same to find that they would not listen to him, for
tomtits like telling tales about their friends. That is why they are
often called “tale-tits”. Then he flew away; and as Fuzz and Buzz
floated on alone, they asked each other what sort of a mouse their
aunt could be.

“We shall soon know,” said Buzz; “and it can’t be true that she
won’t give us any corn.”

All that afternoon their tiny raft sailed on and on, and at last,
just as it was beginning to get dark, they heard the loud roar of
the river into which their stream would soon flow. As they had no
wish to be carried down by it to the sea, they stood up on their
little hind legs, so as to be ready to catch hold of the first
branch that came within their reach. And a minute or two later they
were both clinging to the branch of a weeping-willow tree, and,
running along it, they soon reached the bank, from which they
watched the little piece of wood which had carried them so far and
so well floating on without them.

Luckily for Fuzz and Buzz the top of the snow was frozen quite hard,
so that they could walk over it quite easily, and after crossing a
big white field they arrived at the barn where Miss Patty Grey-Fur
lived.

“The next thing,” said Fuzz, “is to find the way into the barn.”

“You will be very clever if you do that,” said a poor little weak
voice beside them; and, looking down, they saw a tiny house-mouse
shivering in the snow. “I have been trying to find a way in all day,
but unless you go past Miss Patty Grey-Fur’s hole there is no other
way.”

“Show me where Miss Patty Grey-Fur’s hole is, then,” said Fuzz
boldly, “and I will knock at the door and tell her that we want to
come in.”

The little mouse opened his eyes wide at this, but he said nothing,
and led the way round to the back of the barn. Now this barn was
not, like most country barns, a tumble-down sort of place into which
a mouse might make his way by any number of holes. It was quite a
new barn, built of iron, and as Fuzz and Buzz followed the
house-mouse they could not see a single hole anywhere. When they had
walked nearly all round it, the house-mouse stopped beside a pipe
that led up from the floor of the barn to the roof. Now this pipe
did not go straight up in the way that pipes usually go, but it
leaned to one side, so that an active mouse could easily walk up it.

“You must go up this pipe,” said the house-mouse, “and when you get
to the top you must walk along the gutter until you see a tiny hole
in the roof, and then if you put your head inside it, you will see
Miss Patty Grey-Fur sitting there.”

So Fuzz and Buzz ran up the pipe and along the gutter as they had
been told, until they came to the little hole in the roof. But just
as Fuzz was going to put his head inside it, Miss Patty Grey-Fur
popped hers out so suddenly that Fuzz very nearly tumbled backwards
off the roof.

“What are you doing here?” she said in an angry squeak. “I have had
nothing but beggars at my door all day long, and I am quite tired of
telling them to go away.”

“We aren’t beggars, Aunt Patty,” said Fuzz bravely. She looked such
a very cross old mouse that he would have liked to run away. “We are
your nephew and niece, Fuzz and Buzz Brownie.”

[Illustration]

But if he thought that she would be pleased to see them, he was very
much mistaken.

“Oh, are you?” she said with a sort of sniff. “Well, then, the
sooner you go home again the better. This is not at all a safe place
for field-mice. There are dogs, and cats too, in the yard. Besides,
there are a great many children, and if they saw you they would be
sure to want to catch you and put you in a cage and keep you as a
pet. How would you like that?”

“We should not like it at all, Aunt Patty,” Fuzz said; “so if you
will let us come inside the barn we shall feel much safer. And then
tomorrow, when we have got enough corn, we will go home again.”

“I shall do nothing of the sort,” said Miss Patty Grey-Fur; and now
her long whiskers were quite stiff with rage. “How dare you want my
corn! There is not enough here to last me through the winter if I am
not very careful of it. And I cannot afford to give you one single
grain.”

Now, as Fuzz, who had been peeping in through the hole, could see
for himself, this was not true. The barn was full of corn from the
roof to the floor. Then quite suddenly Fuzz began to laugh, and he
laughed and laughed until the tears ran down his face.

“What are you laughing at?” said Miss Patty Grey-Fur. “You are a
very rude young mouse indeed.”

“I did not mean to be rude,” said Fuzz, “but I could not help
thinking, that if you did really eat all this corn you would be as
big as the barn by the time the spring came.” But before he had
finished speaking Miss Patty Grey-Fur pulled her head in with a
sudden jerk, and then shut the door in their faces.

And so Fuzz and Buzz were left standing outside in the gutter, and
they had to climb down the pipe again, and tell the little
house-mouse, who was waiting for them in the snow, that their aunt
would not let them in either.

The next thing to be done was to find a place in which to spend the
night, and the little house-mouse was just telling them that the
only place he knew of was a cold, draughty hole behind the
water-butt, when he suddenly stopped and pricked up his ears.

“We must hide,” he said, “somebody is coming. Let us get inside the
water-pipe.”

And just as they had all three safely hidden themselves inside the
end of the pipe that led up to Miss Patty Grey-Fur’s door, four or
five mice came round the corner of the barn and sat down in the snow
underneath the pipe.

“I hope the others wont be long,” said one of the mice, a big fat
fellow with a very long tail. “It’s cold work waiting here in the
snow.”

“Then why do they wait’?” whispered Buzz to the house-mouse. But he
frowned at her not to talk.

Then several frozen-looking sparrows flew over the barn and sat down
beside the mice, then came two pigeons, then some more mice, and
then two barn-door fowls.

“I think we are all here now,” said the big mouse who had spoken
before, “and you all know that we are here to talk about Miss Patty
Grey-Fur, and to make up our minds how we are to turn her out of the
barn.”

But when he had got as far as that, the other mice, and the sparrows
and the pigeons and the fowls, all began to talk at once, and it was
some time before Fuzz and Buzz and the house-mouse could hear what
any of them were saying. But there was no doubt that they were all
speaking of Miss Patty Grey-Fur, and calling her all sorts of names;
and soon Fuzz heard the sparrows say, that though they had gone to
her door and begged for a little corn because the snow had covered
up all their other food, she had not given them one single grain.
The pigeons had the same tale to tell of her, and so had everybody
who had come to the meeting.

“Well,” said the fat mouse, “listen to this plan of mine, and tell
me if you think that it is a good one. Miss Patty Grey-Fur loves
toasted cheese, and if nothing else will make her come out of her
barn a piece of toasted cheese will. I have got a bit that I took
out of a mouse-trap last night, and I will put it just outside her
door. She will smell it and come out, and then we will push her off
the roof. She will fall down to the ground, and then Rags the
terrier will soon snap her up. That will be the end of Miss Patty
Grey-Fur, and we shall have her barn all to ourselves.”

Now, though Miss Patty Grey-Fur had been as unkind to them as she
had been to everybody else, Fuzz and Buzz could not listen to this
plot against her without feeling very angry, and as soon as the
meeting was over, and the mice had gone back to their holes and the
birds had flown away, Fuzz said that they must go up and tell her of
the danger she was in. But they would have to be quick, for the big
mouse had said that they would be back with the toasted cheese in a
very few minutes.

SO they all three, for the house-mouse came too, ran up the inside
of the pipe and knocked at Miss Patty Grey-Fur’s door.

“Who’s there?” she said in a very cross voice.

“Fuzz and Buzz,” her nephew and niece said together.

“Oh, it’s you, is it?” she said. “Haven’t you gone home yet? Go
away. I am not going to give you any of my corn, so you need not
think that I am!”

But when Fuzz told her of the meeting that had just been held down
in the yard, she opened her door at once and let them all three in.
Her face was quite pale with fright.

“You may have as much corn as ever you like, all of you,” she said.
“You have saved my life. I am so fond of toasted cheese, that if I
had smelt it I am sure I should have darted outside, and then they
could easily have pushed me down from the roof. I wonder how any
mouse could think of being so unkind to another mouse!”

But none of Miss Patty Grey-Fur’s guests answered. For their three
mouths were so full of corn that they could not speak.

They all thought that the barn was quite one of the nicest places
they had ever seen in all their lives. It was filled with corn from
top to bottom, and there was enough in it, so at least Fuzz thought,
to feed hundreds of mice for hundreds of years. And the little thin
house-mouse ate more than either Fuzz or Buzz, for though they had
been hungry he had been almost starving.

By and by a knock came at the door, and a smell of toasted cheese
stole through the barn.

But though the mice outside, and the sparrows and the pigeons and
the two barn-door fowls, waited and waited, no Miss Patty Grey-Fur
came darting out to snatch the nice titbit. Her door remained firmly
closed, and by and by the birds flew away, and Miss Patty Grey-Fur
and her three guests curled themselves up in a warm corner and went
to sleep.

But though the birds had flown away and the two fowls had gone to
roost, the five mice who had climbed up on to the roof did not dare
to go down into the yard again. For the big mouse had told Rags,
that if he would wait at the bottom of the pipe he would throw down
fat Miss Patty Grey-Fur to him; and so Rags had left his warm
kennel, and had sat down in the snow beside the water-pipe, waiting
for Miss Patty Grey-Fur to fall down into his mouth.

When the time passed and she did not come he grew very angry, and as
in the bright moonlight he could see the five mice sitting up in the
gutter that ran round the roof, he made up his mind to wait until
they came down, and to eat them instead of Miss Patty Grey-Fur.

So, as the five mice could see him waiting down below, and could
guess very well why he was waiting, it was no wonder that they did
not dare to go down into the yard. And they passed a very cold and
very unhappy night in the gutter.

In the morning Rags called to his friend the cat, who had just come
out of the cottage, and showed her where the five mice were sitting
in a row. Puss said that while two or three of them would make a
very dainty breakfast for her she would throw the others down to
him. Then she began to climb up the water-pipe.

The five mice were very much frightened indeed, and they knocked at
Miss Patty Grey-Fur’s door and begged her to let them in before the
cat caught them.

Whether Miss Patty Grey-Fur would have forgiven them and let them in
will never be known, for she was sleeping so soundly that she did
not hear them tapping.

But Fuzz, who had been awake for some time, heard the noise they
were making outside, and he opened the door and let them in. And
just in time too, for as the tail of the fifth mouse whisked into
the hole the cat came round the corner.

She was very cross when she saw that neither she nor Rags was going
to have any of those five mice for breakfast.

As for the mice, they were trembling so much at the narrow escape
they had had, that it was some time before they could thank Fuzz and
Buzz for having let them in.

Then they all ran away from the door and right down into the middle
of the barn, for the cat had put her paw through the hole and was
trying to catch them. But when she found that her claws touched
nothing but the air, she climbed down from the roof and began to
scold Rags for having sent her on a wild-goose chase. Though why she
should call the five mice wild geese she did not even know herself.
While she was scolding Rags the five mice were eating a very nice
breakfast indeed, and their poor little half-frozen bodies were
gradually getting warm again in the snug, cosy barn.

Miss Patty Grey-Fur had quite forgiven them for the plot they had
hatched against her, and when she saw how hungry and how cold they
were, she became very sorry that she had not let them in before. She
saw now how greedy and selfish she had been, and she was very much
ashamed of herself. She made up her mind never again to be so
greedy, but to let every mouse in the yard come into the barn and
share the good corn in it.

But Fuzz and Buzz had not forgotten the poor half-frozen-looking
sparrows and pigeons who had been at the meeting the night before,
and they begged their aunt to allow them to put out some breakfast
for the birds too.

“Why, of course,” said Miss Patty Grey-Fur, who wanted now to be as
good and kind as she had before been bad and selfish. “I am sorry
that my front-door is too small for them to come inside, but we will
carry some corn out to the gutter.”

As there were altogether nine mice in the barn, and as they all
worked with a will, there was soon quite a little pile of corn in
the gutter. The birds were not very long in finding out the feast
that had been got ready for them, and they flew down on to the roof
and made a very good meal indeed.

“And now,” said Fuzz when all the birds had had as much as ever they
could eat, “we ought to be going home again.” But he looked with a
little shiver out on to the white world that lay round the barn.
“And we shall have to walk all the way, you know, Buzz,” he said,
“for the stream won’t take us back again, as it is going the wrong
way.”

“No, you shall not walk,” cooed a pretty gray pigeon, who was still
perched on the edge of the gutter. “I will carry you both as far as
the wood. So get as much corn as you can and we will start at once,
for I should like to be back before it gets dark.”

Then the gray pigeon flew down into the yard, and picked up in his
beak a paper bag which was lying in the snow. It had once held
sweets, but now it was empty, and had been thrown away by one of the
children.

“Look,” he said, “this will do to hold your corn. Now fill it as
full as you can.” So, helped by Miss Patty Grey-Fur and by the
house-mouse and by the five other mice, Fuzz and Buzz filled the bag
to the top, and then they dragged it out to the gutter, where the
pigeon was waiting for them with an end of tallow-candle in his
beak.

“You mice are fond of candles, aren’t you?” he said; “so you had
better take this too. I found it on a window-sill of the cottage.”

Now field-mice do not eat tallow-candles, at least not often, but
Fuzz remembered that the water-rat had said how fond he was of them,
so he opened the bag and popped the end in on the top of the corn.

“If we meet that nice water-rat again,” he said to Buzz, “we will
give it to him.”

Then as they were quite ready to set off on their journey home they
said good-bye to their aunt, and to all the other mice, and having
laid the bag of corn carefully on the back of the pigeon, they
climbed on to it themselves.

“Hold tight!” said the pigeon, and then he spread his wings and flew
up in the air. Sailing down the stream had been nice, but flying
through the air nestled among the soft warm feathers of a pigeon was
still nicer, and Fuzz and Buzz were quite sorry when they reached
the edge of the wood, and the pigeon dropped gently down until he
stood on the ground.

They were in the middle of thanking him for having carried them so
well and so safely, when their old friend the water-rat popped his
head out of his hole which was close by.

“Hullo!” he said. “Here you are again! I thought I knew your voices.
Well, did you get what you went for?”

“Yes, we did,” said Fuzz and Buzz, pointing to the bag full of corn
which lay beside them.

[Illustration]

“You surprise me,” said the rat. “One hears such tales of Miss Patty
Grey-Fur that I did not believe she would have given you anything.
Well, you can’t go any farther tonight, for it is getting dark, so
if you will spend the night with me I shall be very happy.”

“And I must be going,” said the pigeon. And though Fuzz and Buzz
begged him to eat some of their corn before he went, he would not
take a single grain, and after saying good-bye he spread his wings
and flew away back to the barn.

Then the rat took Fuzz and Buzz down to his hole, and his wife was
very kind to them. And when the two rats saw the piece of
tallow-candle which Fuzz and Buzz had brought for them, their sharp
black eyes shone with pleasure, and while Fuzz and Buzz ate a few
grains of corn for their supper, the two rats ate the tallow-candle,
and said that they had not enjoyed anything so much for a long time.

When they awoke in the morning they found that the stream was frozen
quite hard. The rat said he would get a big dock-leaf, and that they
should sit on it with their bag, while he would pull them over the
ice. It did not take the rat very long to find a big strong
dock-leaf, and a few minutes afterwards Fuzz and Buzz were sitting
on it, and were gliding over the firm ice even faster than they had
sailed down the stream two days before.

The rat was very strong, he never seemed to want to stop for breath,
but, with the stalk of the dock-leaf held firmly in his mouth, he
ran on and on the whole day long, until at last he reached the spot
near which the Brownie family lived.

There the rat said good-bye to them, and taking a little run to give
himself a good start, he put his feet together and slid away down
the stream at a rate which soon took him out of sight.

Then Fuzz and Buzz, dragging the heavy bag of corn after them, went
home as fast as they could.

Mr. and Mrs. Brownie were very glad to get their two children safely
back again. And when they saw what a lot of corn Fuzz and Buzz had
brought back with them, they knew that they now had more than enough
food to last them until the spring came.

And during the long winter evenings, when the wind was blowing and
the snow was falling, Fuzz and Buzz used to sit in their warm, cosy
nest, and talk about all they had seen and done when they went down
to the barn to fetch the corn.

Continue Reading

THE WATER-RAT PLAYS HIDE-AND-SEEK WITH THE OWL

ONCE, not so very long ago, a family of field-mice lived in the
middle of a big wood. There was Mr. Brownie, the father-mouse, and
Mrs. Brownie, the mother mouse, and their two children, a boy-mouse
and a girl-mouse, whose names were Fuzz and Buzz.

In the summer, and in the spring and autumn too, field-mice have a
very nice time indeed; but in the winter, when the ground is frozen,
and the nuts and acorns and berries are gone from the trees and
bushes, their life is not quite so happy. And then, if the
father-mouse has not laid in a good store of food they have not
enough to eat, and are often very hungry until the spring comes
round again.

But this Mr. Brownie was a very careful mouse, and during the autumn
he always got such a large store of nuts and acorns, that when the
winter came it found their larder nice and full.

But one windy day in the month of October, when he was hard at work
digging up a big grass-root to carry home for the winter, a sad
thing happened to him. A heavy branch was blown down from a tree
close by, and it hit one of poor Mr. Brownie’s front paws and broke
it.

Fuzz and Buzz, who were having a merry game with the yellow leaves
that were being tossed about by the wind, ran up to him looking very
much frightened indeed, and then Fuzz went off as fast as he could
to tell his mother that his father had been hurt.

[Illustration]

Of course Mrs. Brownie came at once, and as one or two of her
neighbours ran after her to see where she was going in such a hurry,
they helped to carry poor Mr. Brownie home to his cosy nest.

And it was a great many days before he was able to leave it again,
for his paw took a long time to get well.

And when at last he limped on three paws to the door of his little
house and looked out into the wood, autumn had gone and winter had
come. And such a cold winter, too! Every blade of grass was covered
with white frost, and every leaf had a pretty white edge to it.

Mr. Brownie gave a big shiver as he glanced round him, and then he
said to his wife:

“My dear, I hope while I have been ill you have not forgotten to
fill our larder. It was nearly empty when I was last in it.”

“But, my dear,” Mrs. Brownie cried, “I have forgotten to fill it.
Besides, I have been so busy nursing you that I have not had time to
think of anything else. And I don’t believe that there is a single
nut or one grass-root left in it.”

“Then, my dear,” said Mr. Brownie sadly, “we shall starve this
winter, for it is too late now to find any acorns or anything else.
The squirrels and the birds have taken them all.”

Fuzz and Buzz looked very unhappy when they heard what their father
and mother were saying, and Fuzz said to his sister:

“How sad it will be to be always hungry!”

And the two young mice, and their father and mother as well, looked
still more unhappy as the days went by and the nuts and acorns in
their larder grew fewer and fewer. But though Mr. Brownie could only
limp about on three legs, he was not idle during those days. Mrs.
Brownie was so very fat that she could not walk far without sitting
down to rest, so she stayed at home, but Mr. Brownie, with Fuzz and
Buzz trotting one on each side of him, went about the wood looking
everywhere for nuts or acorns. But they could not find any. Mr.
Brownie was a very proud mouse, so he would not beg from his
neighbours; but they soon heard that he had very few nuts and
acorns, and without waiting to be asked they gave him as much food
as they could spare from their own larders. But that was not very
much. The summer had been a wet and a very short one, and none of
the mice who lived in that wood had been able to collect a very big
store of food. So what they could give to the Brownie family would
not be nearly enough to last them until the spring came, and the sun
thawed the ground and made it soft again so that they could scratch
into the earth and dig up roots.

“Oh, dear, dear!” sighed Mrs. Brownie. “Why didn’t we take my
sister’s advice and go and live as she does in a barn, where there
is always plenty of good oats and corn to be picked up?”

“Because,” said Mr. Brownie, “there are too many cats and dogs
living near barns to make them at all safe places for honest
field-mice like ourselves. But you never know when you are well off,
Mrs. Brownie.”

“Well, at any rate,” Mrs. Brownie remarked, “we couldn’t be worse
off than we are just now. For what is to become of us all without
any food this winter, I am sure I don’t know.” And then poor Mrs.
Brownie put her front paws up to her face and began to cry.

“Mother! Father!” Fuzz said suddenly in an eager little squeak. “Why
shouldn’t Buzz and I go down to the barn where my aunt lives and
bring back as much corn as ever we can carry’?”

But no sooner had he said that than Mrs. Brownie stopped crying, and
told her son in a very severe voice indeed not to talk nonsense; and
Mr. Brownie said that if he let them go he was sure that they would
never come back again, for some big dog or cat would be sure to kill
and eat them.

“Well, you see, Father,” said Fuzz, “if we don’t go we shall die
just the same, for there are only three acorns and one nut, which is
a bad one, left in the larder.”

And what Fuzz said was so very true that in the end he had his way,
and before the Brownie family went to bed that night it was settled
that the very next morning he and Buzz should start for the barn
where their aunt lived.

Miss Patty Grey-Fur was the name of their aunt, and once, about two
summers ago, she had come out to the wood on a visit to the
Brownies. She had not stayed very long, for she said she found the
country a very dull place. She had seemed a nice, gentle old
lady-mouse, and Fuzz and Buzz were sure that she would be kind to
them and give them as much corn as they wanted.

So early the next morning, after having said good-bye to their
father and mother, Fuzz and Buzz set out on their travels.

It would take them quite two days to reach the barn; but they could
not lose their way, for all they had to do was to follow the stream
that ran through the wood until it brought them out into the big
river on the bank of which the barn stood.

It was such a fine frosty morning, that although Fuzz and Buzz had
only had two bites each at an acorn they were very merry; and as
they ran in and out over the dry leaves that lay on the ground, they
talked gaily of the great heap of oats and corn that they meant to
bring back with them. How they were going to carry it they did not
stop to think, for, as Fuzz, who was a very wise young mouse, said,
the first thing they had to do was to get to the barn.

The sound of the running water led them straight to the stream,
which flowed through the wood very quickly, and was quite deep
enough to drown both of them if they had fallen into it. After they
had run beside the stream for some time Buzz began to get rather
tired.

“Oh, wouldn’t it be nice,” she said, “if we had a boat, Fuzz, and
could be carried down the stream in it!”

“That’s a very good idea of yours,” Fuzz cried at once; “let’s look
for a nice piece of bark, and then we will put it in the stream and
float on it.”

Buzz was just a little bit frightened when she found what Fuzz was
going to do, and she said she was sure they would be drowned; but
Fuzz told her not to be silly, and said that as long as he was with
her no harm should come to her. Then he set to work to look for a
piece of bark which should do for a raft. He soon found one, and,
helped by Buzz, he pulled it to the edge of the water and let it
fall into the stream. Then before it had time to float away he took
hold of one of Buzz’s little front paws, and together they jumped on
to their raft.

“Oh, oh!” squeaked Buzz in a great fright, for their weight had made
the wood sink about a quarter of an inch below the water, and that
was quite enough to wet their little feet, and their legs too. And
the water was so cold! But in a minute their raft came up again, the
water ran off it, and it floated merrily away down the stream. Buzz
was then no longer afraid of being drowned; and after they had dried
their paws and curled their tails round them to keep them warm, she
said that it was much nicer to sail down the stream than to walk
along its banks. And Fuzz said the same.

THE raft was quite big enough for them to sit side by side, but of
course there was not very much room for them to move about. They
were quite content, however, to sit quite still, and to watch the
banks slipping past them.

Several times they had narrow escapes from being drowned, for as
they had no means of guiding their little raft they had to go
wherever the stream took them, and once it bumped them right up
against a big stone that rose out of the water. This made the raft
tilt to one side so much, that if Fuzz and Buzz had not held tightly
to one another they would have slid off into the water. But before
either of them had time to feel frightened, they were carried safely
past the big stone and were floating down the stream again.

As the morning went on, Fuzz and Buzz began to get very hungry. So
when the raft floated to one side of the stream and got caught by
some tall reeds which grew at the edge, Fuzz and Buzz made up their
minds to land, and go into the wood and see if they could find
something to eat.

Leaving their raft among the reeds, they climbed up the banks and
went into the wood. And as just in that part of it some fine
beech-trees were growing, Fuzz and Buzz, to their great delight,
found several beech-nuts lying underneath the leaves. They sat down
and ate a good dinner, and then, taking the rest of the beech-nuts
with them, they went back to their raft and were soon sailing down
the stream again.

[Illustration]

Winter afternoons are very short, and not long after Fuzz and Buzz
had had their dinner the sun began to turn into a great red ball,
and to sink behind the trees.

“But we need not stop even when it does get dark,” said Buzz, “for
we can float along in the night just as well as in the day, and
perhaps in the morning we shall find ourselves at Aunt Patty’s
barn.”

“Not you!” said a hoarse voice so close to them that Fuzz and Buzz
gave a little start, and then, looking down into the stream, they
saw that a big water-rat was swimming along beside their raft.

“What did you say, please?” Fuzz asked politely.

“I said that if you went on floating after dark you would never get
to wherever you are going,” said the water-rat; “for in the hollow
tree at the edge of the wood a big owl lives, and if he sees you he
will have you for his supper, as sure as I am swimming here. Two
such tender, fat young field-mice as you are don’t come his way
every night, and would be a rare treat for him.”

But as neither Fuzz nor Buzz wished to be a rare treat for anybody,
at least not in that way, they looked at one another, and a cold
shiver ran down their backs. Fuzz was the first to feel brave again,
or at least to pretend that he felt brave, and he said to the
water-rat:

“But owls never come out in the daytime, they only fly about at
night.”

“Well, of course I know that,” said the rat.

But Fuzz and Buzz, at any rate, did not want to be eaten by the owl
who lived in the hollow tree, and they thanked the water-rat so much
for his advice that he was quite pleased.

“Would you like some of our beech-nuts?” said Buzz.

“No, thank you,” said the water-rat, whose voice, like the voices of
all water-rats, was very gruff and hoarse; “I never eat that sort of
thing. But it is very polite of you to ask me to have some, all the
same.”

Then, swimming sometimes beside them, and sometimes behind them, and
sometimes in front of them, the rat went with them down the stream,
and they told him where they were going and why they had to go.

“No food at all in your larder!” said the rat. “Dear me, that’s bad.
That is the worst of living on nuts and things of that sort. Now, I
catch my food when I want it, and very good food it is too. Bacon
and candle-ends are what I like best, but of course, living in the
country as I do, I don’t very often find any. In the spring, though,
I eat a good many birds’ eggs; and that reminds me that I know of an
empty wren’s nest near the edge of the wood. You might sleep there
to-night, and go on to the barn in the morning. I will come with you
and show it to you.”

Fuzz and Buzz, whose mother had taught them very nice manners,
thanked him again, and the three went down the stream together, and
the rat talked away so fast that none of them saw that it was
growing darker and darker. But soon the low hooting of an owl broke
the silence that had fallen over the wood, and Fuzz and Buzz looked
at one another in a great fright.

“Let’s get into the wood and hide,–quick, quick!” said Buzz.

But the rat, who did not seem to be in the least afraid, laughed at
her.

“Look how high the banks are,” he said. “Long before we could get to
the top of them the owl would swoop down on us. But a little farther
on there are some thick bushes, and if we can get under them before
he sees us, we shall be quite safe.”

But it was doubtful whether they would be able to reach the bushes
in time, for when the owl hooted again, they could hear that he was
very much nearer to them than before.

“Don’t be afraid,” said the rat, who now seemed to be quite enjoying
the adventure. But Fuzz and Buzz, who could neither swim nor dive
like the water-rat, were not able to help being afraid.

Again and again the owl hooted, and each time the cry sounded
nearer.

“Never you mind,” said the rat, as he dived right underneath their
raft and came up on the other side, “he sha’n’t catch you.”

But Fuzz and Buzz did mind, and they thought as they crept close to
each other in a great fright, that it would be sad indeed if the owl
had them for his supper that night.

“He wouldn’t look at you if he thought there was a chance of his
getting me,” said the rat. “You see, I am so much bigger that I
would do for his breakfast next morning as well. Hullo! There he is,
right overhead. Now, you watch, and you will see some fun.”

And the rat suddenly swam about two or three yards in front of the
raft, and made such a loud splashing with his paws and his tail that
the owl could not help seeing him. In a moment he swooped down upon
the water, and Buzz and Fuzz squeaked with terror. For they thought
that their friend must have been caught. But not a bit of it. Just
as the owl made that quick swoop the rat dived beneath the water,
and the owl rose again without having caught him.

[Illustration]

But the owl had heard their squeak, and he said to himself, that if
he could not get a rat for his supper a mouse would do just as well.
So down he flew again, and Fuzz and Buzz thought that their last
moment had come. But when the owl was so close to them that they
could see his sharp beak and his cruel claws quite plainly, their
tails, which were floating in the water, were suddenly pulled, and
they tumbled backwards head over heels into the stream.

Down, down they sank, so deep that the idea came into their heads,
that if they were not going to be eaten they were going to be
drowned. But just as they were gasping and choking for air they rose
to the top of the water again, and then they saw that they were
under some thick bushes, and that the rat, with the end of their
tails in his mouth, was swimming towards the bank.

“Climb on to my back,” said the rat, and though his fur was very wet
and slippery, they did as they were told, and clung tightly round
his neck.

“Wasn’t that fun, eh?” said the rat with a laugh. “I am sure the owl
is as mad as he can be. To lose his supper twice in one night is
enough to make the old bird very angry. It’s fine sport to play
hide-and-seek with an owl, although it _is_ rather dangerous. Well,
here’s the nest that I told you about. And now I must be going home,
or my wife will wonder where I am. Good-bye! I hope you will have a
safe journey, and that you will get as much corn as you want.
Perhaps I may see you on your way back.”

Hidden among the thick prickly branches of a hawthorn hedge not far
from the ground, Fuzz and Buzz saw the empty wren’s nest, and after
thanking the rat for having saved their lives, they climbed into it
and were soon fast asleep.

Next morning they went down to the stream and looked for their raft.
And as, before he went home, the rat had put it where they could
easily find it, they had not to look very long, and were soon
floating down with the stream again.

Continue Reading

UNEQUAL FORTUNE

Disappointed in all my well-founded hopes, for such I thought them,
I departed to rejoin my regiment at Malta. Landing at Calais, I
proceeded to Paris and thence continued my route to Marseilles. On
the day we arrived at Avignon, where a large garrison was stationed,
it happened that the commandant dined at the _table d’hôte_. I sat
opposite to him, conversing with a young Spanish nobleman attached to
the Spanish Embassy at the British Court, who took this route to return
to Spain. Having met him in the diligence, I had soon discovered him
to be a Spaniard, and in his language our discourse was maintained.
During dinner the Peninsular campaigns became the topic of general
conversation, in which I joined with the commandant, whom I soon
recognised as an old opponent. He did not recognise me. Nine years
had elapsed since our last meeting; he saw me walking lame into the
room; and I was in mailcoach trim. Having with apparent carelessness
asked him if he knew the Prince Prosper d’Arenberg, he answered in the
affirmative, and that they were particular friends. He added that they
were both taken prisoners in the same action. He then asked if I had
been in Spain during the period of the campaigns. I said yes, when he
remarked that perhaps I was in the Spanish Service. I told him that
then, as well as now, I served in the British army. He asked if I were
an Englishman; and when I said yes, he remarked in that complimentary
strain peculiar to well-bred Frenchmen, that one rarely meets an
individual speaking the languages of three different nations and with
such exactness as to pass for a native of each. The Spanish _attaché_,
not to be second in courtesy, attested the justice of the assertion
so far as it related to Spanish, declaring that until that moment he
took me for his countryman. The commandant then broke into the Spanish
language, which, to say the truth, he spoke far from well; nor did I
ever meet a Frenchman who could speak it without causing a smile from
his auditors. Continuing his broken and ill-pronounced Spanish, at
which the _attaché_ smiled and looked at me, the commandant said that
he spoke in that language because he had taken me for a Spaniard, on
which I replied that for a similar reason I spoke to him in French.
He instantly fixed his eye on my countenance; he was beginning to
recognise me. He then quickly asked me if I knew Lord Hill; and where
I first became acquainted with Prince Prosper. I told him that I had
the honour of knowing his lordship, and that my first acquaintance with
the prince was at Arroyo Molinos in Spain. His eyes now opened wide and
with apparent emotion he asked if he might take the liberty of asking
my name, which I had no sooner mentioned than, starting from his chair
and striding round to where I sat, to the no small astonishment of all
present, he embraced me warmly, saying that he would not kiss me, for
he had not forgotten Lisbon. He now presented me to the whole company,
which was numerous, as the British officer who made him prisoner, and
whom he had so often mentioned as a “grand petit diable.” He went on to
tell how he was made prisoner; but this I decline to repeat, as it was
rather too florid in description and too flattering to me. I will put
it briefly and in plainer words.

[Sidenote: MY FORMER PRISONER.]

It may be remembered that in the action of Arroyo Molinos, on October
28th, 1811, I jumped over the wall, through a breach in which the head
of the French column had passed and the rest were following. Before
my leap I had noticed a martial figure nobly mounted, evidently the
chief of a corps, leading on the French 40th Regiment of the line.
He was not more than five or six paces from the breach, while I was
from ten to twelve yards from it. Perceiving that he must pass through
before I could come up, wild with excitement and conscious also that
the commanding general was looking on, I rode at the wall, and having
cleared it instantly turned round to the breach into which Colonel
Voirol had just entered and was passing through. We met face to face
and instantly commenced a martial duet. We were both superbly mounted,
but the rocky nature of the ground was such that our horses were
totally unmanageable. We soon fell, or rather dragged each other to the
ground, when, true to the immutable laws of nature, I as the lighter
and more trivial remained uppermost. On falling, I must instantly have
been forked to death by the many Frenchmen around me; but all were too
intent on flight to look to others, and immediately after Voirol and
I came to the ground the most advanced soldiers of the 28th and 34th
Light Companies charged through the opening in the wall, as I have
before described. General Howard (now Lord Howard of Effingham) coming
up, I said, “General, here is a colonel for you; take him in charge.
I cannot stop; I must go on with the light bobs.” In the encounter I
had received a blow on the head, which knocked off my cap and set
it rolling down the rocks. I pushed on bareheaded till I picked up a
French foraging cap. After we returned in the evening from the pursuit
of the fugitives, I found both my horse and cap. This was the scuffle
which I mentioned in describing the battle; and I now detail the
circumstances, because my captive now supported my story, which critics
might pronounce absurd, of an individual scuffling with a whole column.

The commandant, Colonel Voirol, was as fine, upright and soldierlike a
person as could be seen, measuring upwards of six feet in height and
proportionally well built in every respect. His antagonist of Arroyo
Molinos, besides being of slight figure, was beneath the colonel in
stature by some inches; therefore it was perhaps that during his
description of the manner in which he was made prisoner, he was
scanned with dubious glance by all. The natives of France look with a
very jealous eye upon any foreigner whose martial prowess is put in
competition with that of the “Grande Nation Militaire.” This feeling
was still more apparent among the ladies, of whom there were many
present; for the women of France feel if possible more enthusiastic
for military greatness than even the men; and comparing battles
with what they read of tournaments in romances, fancy that tall and
robust figures must be invulnerable against any of slighter mould.
But Voirol’s gallantry was too well established in the French Army to
suffer from the misconception of _table d’hôte_ critics.

My gallant old friend cordially pressed me to remain with him for at
least a few days; but as I was travelling by diligence and my leave
already expired, I felt compelled to decline his hospitality; and
I determined to depart after dinner, not having time even to visit
the hallowed shrine where Petrarch mourned in pathetic numbers his
incredible love for the wrinkled old wife of another. But poetry
must have some object, real or ideal, in view to keep excitement
continually on the stretch. The hour of departure being announced by
the _conducteur_, the commandant accompanied me to the door of the
diligence, and again cordially shaking hands I departed for Marseilles,
where I embarked for that military hotbed, Malta.

Some time after my arrival I was visited by a most severe attack of
ophthalmia. My right eye became more like a ball of fire than an
organ of vision; the dreadful pain in my head entirely banished sleep
for so long a period that I dread to mention it. I heard the clock
of St. John’s Church strike every hour and half hour, day and night,
for a period of two months. I was bled, blistered and physicked to
the last extremity, and bathed in warm baths until I often fainted
from weakness; in addition to this, I had one hundred and ninety-five
leeches applied inside and outside the eyelids. However, through a
strong natural constitution I recovered; and by the unremitting care of
Staff-surgeon Lindsay and Assistant Staff-surgeon Kennedy, who attended
me, the ball of the eye was preserved, but its vision was lost. In
consequence of this loss His Majesty was graciously pleased to grant me
a pension.

[Sidenote: A PENSION GRANTED AND WITHDRAWN.]

In 1822 the regiment was removed to the Ionian Islands; having remained
there until 1826 we were ordered home; and on arriving in England we
moved into Lancashire. Soon after this the regiment was ordered to
Ireland, and landed at Dublin, where we did garrison duty for some time.

At this time I was directed to appear before the General Medical Board,
to have, as I supposed, the pension granted me for the loss of vision
confirmed; but to my utter surprise it was discontinued, although the
Medical Board, as also the certificate of Doctor Guthrie, the medical
gentleman employed by Government in similar cases, attested the loss
of useful vision. Upon my waiting on the Secretary of War, I was
given to understand that the Government had decided that no pensions
should henceforth be granted for the loss of limb or other injury,
except for actual wounds in the field. It is true that I had received
neither a bayonet wound nor musket-ball in the eye; but as a proof of
the correctness of Doctor Guthrie’s testimony, to this day (fourteen
years since the injury took place) I am obliged, to enable me to see
clearly with the left or sound eye, to close the defective one. But
the Secretary of War may have fallen into error in giving his reasons
for depriving me of the pension; for persons were indicated to me who
continued to receive pensions for injuries, though they were never
wounded in their lives. However, I would not quote names, lest in so
doing, for the purpose of strengthening my own claims, I might endanger
the interests of others.

The withdrawal of the pension disconcerted me much; for fully relying
on the royal grant being as permanent as the injury for which it was
made, I had married a Venetian lady of the famous family of Balbi. The
pension I had looked upon as some remuneration for my long and arduous
services.

Besides what I considered the injustice shown towards me throughout,
there were other considerations which powerfully wrought on my feelings
and rendered my position extremely irksome. I mounted the castle guard
in Dublin as lieutenant in 1805; and now in 1828, after three and
twenty years, I mounted the same guard as captain only. This was known
and remarked by many friends and acquaintances; it was known too that
in the brilliant campaigns which took place in the interim I had been
present and serving in two distinguished corps; and I discovered, or
fancied I discovered, something bordering on doubt as to my military
character in the countenances of all who regarded me. To account for
my non-advancement, or remove the doubts consequently entertained, was
out of my power. Decorum prevented my entering into detail of my own
services. To speak frankly, I was ashamed of my slender rank after such
a length of service; yet in conscience I could not accuse myself as the
cause.

[Sidenote: A VETERAN AT THE GOOSE-STEP.]

But my severest ordeal was yet to come; and to support this all my
philosophy and long-tried patience were insufficient. After remaining
some time in Dublin the regiment was ordered to Mullingar; and here,
as it would appear, my second childhood commenced. I was compelled to
fall in with a squad composed of young officers, who for the most part
entered the Service many years after H.R.H. the Commander-in-chief had
noted my name for a majority, and with soldiers who knew not yet how to
shoulder their firelocks. In this respectable company I was condemned
to be taught how to march–a branch of military tuition from which I
had considered myself emancipated at least twenty years before. In this
ordeal I was chased through the barrack square by an ignorant disciple
of Euclid, commonly called a dress sergeant, armed with a colossal pair
of widely yawning compasses. This scrutiny of my steps after I had
carried a musket-ball in my leg for fourteen years; after I had marched
as a boy in one of the most distinguished regiments in the Service from
Lisbon to Corunna, under the best drill and strictest disciplinarian in
the army, Sir John Moore; after I had crossed and re-crossed Spain and
Portugal in different directions without the mathematical precision of
my paces having ever been found fault with;–after all this, and after
twenty-four years’ service, to be brought up by a pair of compasses
in the barrack square of Mullingar was an indignity which I imagine
that human nature in its most subservient state could not, nay, should
not willingly submit to. Disgusted by this Mullingar ordeal, which
might be repeated again and again _for the good of the Service_, I
formed the determination of immediately retiring from that Service.
Add to this contemptuous treatment of old officers the suppression
of the old-established institutions of the corps; the celebration of
such martial _fêtes_ as the anniversary of the battles of Salamanca,
Nivelle and Toulouse. Those were days upon which it was the custom
of the regiment that all the men should wear the laurel, all the
officers, whether married or single, should dine at the mess-table and
guests be invited, thus giving an opportunity for those tales of war
which transmit a noble martial feeling into the glowing breast of the
aspiring young warrior who burns to prove the temper of his steel.
Sentiments such as these glowed in the breasts of the young boys who
joined the 28th Regiment in 1803, 1804, and 1805, while with suppressed
breathing we rapturously listened to the old officers who lately
returned from Egypt told of the gallant feats of arms they witnessed
and shared, and so inspired us that our heated imaginations pictured
soldiers in fight as of more than mortal size, and we longed “to follow
to the field some warlike chief” to lead the way to glory.

[Sidenote: OLD DAYS OF GLORY.]

In the 28th Regiment the anniversaries of the battles in which the
corps had served were strictly observed as days of jubilee and proud
recollection. The month of March in particular was one of revelry in
commemorating the battles fought in Egypt on the 8th, 13th and 21st.
The 17th, the Feast of St. Patrick, was not forgotten; and to these was
subsequently added the 5th, the anniversary of the celebrated battle of
Barossa; so that in March we had five days of celebration, which filled
our hearts with joy and on the following day our head with aches. The
inspiring war-cry, “Remember Egypt!” was after the return from that
country always used when leading into action. The regiment may now use
the names of many other places wherein they fought and distinguished
themselves; but I doubt if the mention of any subsequent battle will
act so powerfully on the minds of the men as the soul-stirring words,
“Remember Egypt!” and “The backplates!”

Why this war against old officers and long-established institutions?
On the return of the victorious army from the Peninsula and later
from France, a crowd of Green Park martinets rushed into the Service,
who, looking upon any distinction gained by others as a reflection on
themselves, seemed to be stimulated by sentiments like those of the
Chinese emperor, who destroyed all existing records in the hope that he
might be considered as the first who had reigned.

On the return of the regiment to Dublin, I, in pursuance of my
determination to retire, procured twelve months’ leave of absence to
proceed to the Island of Corfu; but previous to leaving England I made
a last effort at the Horse Guards. In an interview with Lord Hill,
finding there was no prospect of promotion, I took the liberty of
telling his lordship that it was not my intention ever again to return
to perform the duties of captain. His lordship remarked that he did
not see how that could be, as officers on procuring leave of absence
were required to sign a declaration that they would neither exchange
nor resign before rejoining their regiments. I told his lordship that
I should find out a remedy; and on an explanation being demanded, I
said that I should forego my year’s leave and send in my resignation
immediately. Upon this, his lordship with that kindness and feeling
which endeared him to all, and which gained him the title of “Our
father” from every soldier in the 2nd Division of Lord Wellington’s
army, a title more honourable than all the well-earned brilliant stars
which decorated his breast, recommended me not to be too precipitate.
I could not avoid remarking that his lordship could hardly accuse me
of precipitancy when I had waited for promotion which had been put off
from time to time for fourteen years, and at the expiration even of
that extraordinary length of time His Royal Highness’s pledge still
remained unredeemed. Lord Hill declared that he could never pay the
Duke of York’s legacies. I told his lordship that I resigned all claim
to the legacy, and rested my claims on their own merits, upon which
the General-in-chief desired me to write to him, and he would see what
he could do for me. In consequence of this favourable omen I wrote to
his lordship, enclosing a copy of my memorial presented to the Duke
of York in 1814, together with the testimonials which accompanied
it. To this letter I received a renewal of the old statement, that I
was still noted for promotion on a favourable opportunity; and so I
became fully convinced of the truth that deep scars, fractured bones
and the strongest testimonials were of no avail unless bolstered by
other support. I hesitated no longer; and although senior captain of
my regiment I renounced my year’s leave of absence and immediately
forwarded my resignation.

Thus the author of these Memoirs left the Army. He served at the
siege and capture of Copenhagen; he was for twelve days in constant
fight during Sir John Moore’s retreat to Corunna, and at the end of
this campaign he fought at the battle of Corunna in that division of
the army who drove the whole of the enemy’s cavalry off the field and
turned his left wing; he was for more than twelve months at Tarifa
continually engaged with the enemy’s foraging detachments, and he was
in both attacks on the strong post of Casa Vieja; he served in the
ever memorable battle of Barossa in that flank battalion (to use the
words of Lord Lynedoch) “which so greatly distinguished itself in the
action”; he served in the action of Arroyo Molinos, and he was present
at the siege and storming of Badajoz, where valour’s self might stand
appalled; he served through the Pyrenees as a volunteer, where more
continued hard fighting occurred than elsewhere throughout the whole
Peninsula campaigns, and finally fought in the great battle of the
Nivelle, in which he had a leg shattered. Innumerable skirmishes in
which he was engaged and in which light companies are so frequently
employed need not be mentioned. Of his conduct in these many actions
the testimonials of commanding officers and colonels of regiments
are a sufficient witness. And yet after serving for a quarter of a
century, with feelings harassed by neglect and petty vexations, he felt
himself driven to retire, and that without the slightest badge or mark
of military service save those indelibly imprinted by the searching
weapons of the more considerate foe. Whether he has been dealt with as
might be expected from a liberal, just and great nation is a question
humbly submitted to his Sovereign and his country.

Continue Reading

AT THE GRAND REVIEW IN PARIS

After remaining in London at a heavy expense while I awaited the
answers of my commanding officers and the result of my memorial, I left
town and joined the 2nd Battalion of the regiment, then quartered at
Lewes. Here I remained for some time; and then being still on sick,
or rather wounded, leave, I visited my old acquaintance, the Prince
d’Arenberg, from whom I had received repeated and pressing invitations.
Arriving in Brussels, I found that unfortunately he was then in
Italy. When I was rather weary of Brussels but unwilling so soon to
go back to England, especially as the prince was shortly expected
to return, some particular friends, Sir John Burke of Glenesk, Sir
William Elliot and Lord Bury, aide-de-camp to the Prince of Orange,
determined on an excursion to Paris, and I was prevailed upon to
accompany them. We travelled in Burke’s private carriage. The early
part of our journey was excessively agreeable; but on drawing near the
capital we encountered an extraordinary number of vehicles of every
description and on approaching a small town within a post or two of
Paris towards dark, we met a train of from thirty to forty carriages.
Upon asking the cause of this great concourse, a Mrs. Atchison, whom
with her two amiable daughters we had known at Brussels, exclaimed
from one of the carriages, “What, are you not aware that Napoleon
will be in Paris to-morrow?” and she added that every British subject
there was hastening away as fast as post-horses could be procured,
which was attended with much difficulty and delay. Thunderstruck at
this information, for not a word even of Napoleon’s escape from Elba
was known two days before at Brussels, we immediately stopped; and as
soon as we could procure change of horses we proceeded to Cambray.
Here the party separated: Mrs. and the Misses Atchison escorted by the
two baronets leisurely proceeded to Brussels; Lord Bury and I shaped
our course with all speed for Ostend, on our way to England. We were
detained at Cambray until towards dark by the difficulty of procuring
post-horses; but just as we were about to set forward, a French officer
carrying, as he stated, despatches of utmost importance, galloped into
the yard, his steed covered with foam. He immediately demanded a horse,
and the authority which he carried left the postmaster no choice; he
immediately provided one. I asked the officer a few questions as to
the sentiments entertained in the capital and of the nature of his
despatches, but I could procure no direct reply. As I was getting into
Lord Bury’s cabriolet, with his lordship and his private servant, I
chanced to mention that our route lay through Lisle, when the man of
despatch at length opened his mouth, saying that he also was bound
for Lisle, and that if we would take him into our carriage and let
the servant ride his horse, he would engage to pass us through the
different enclosed towns which lay in our route, at which without
his intervention we should be detained if arriving after dark. This
proposal was made in consequence of the inclemency of the weather,
which was tremendous, incessant heavy rain, accompanied with high
winds, thunder and awful lightning. Though Bury felt reluctant to
expose his servant to the raging elements, yet our great anxiety to get
clear of the French territory overcame every other consideration.

[Sidenote: NAPOLEON HOME FROM ELBA.]

During our progress I asked our new companion many questions, but he
would appear much fatigued and slept, or feigned to sleep, the greater
part of the time; however, he kept his word in passing us through the
towns. On presenting his credentials the drawbridges were dropped,
we entered, changed horses and passed on without our passports being
looked at until we arrived at Lisle. Here our companion left us with
scant ceremony. Being no longer under the protection of the man of
despatch and having arrived after dark, we were not permitted to leave
the fortress until morning. We afterwards learned that this officer,
who sat so very comfortably in Lord Bury’s carriage between two British
officers, was at the time the bearer of disaffected despatches to
induce the two Generals Lallemande to declare in favour of Napoleon.

Our night at Lisle was restless; but fortunately we got off next
morning without meeting any obstruction, and having soon entered
the Belgian territory felt a degree of security which previously
we considered very doubtful. Our feelings somewhat resembled those
experienced by the Prince d’Arenberg after crossing the Spanish
frontier into Portugal.

Although now freed from dread of detention, yet we relaxed not in
posting forward to Ostend. On arrival Lord Bury waited on General
Vandeleur, commanding the British troops there, and related the
circumstances attending our journey. The general was excessively
astonished and appeared somewhat startled, not having had the slightest
knowledge of Napoleon having left his island; indeed he seemed rather
incredulous. Bury requested that I should be sent for to the hotel,
where I was making hasty preparations for our departure to England.
On appearing, I confirmed Lord Bury’s statement, adding that from all
I could collect along our route, or rather flight, I felt perfectly
convinced that Napoleon was at that moment in Paris. Courtesy, and
I believe courtesy alone, induced the general no longer to appear
incredulous. At the same time he begged us to be very cautious as to
what we should say, for if what we had heard were true he would find
himself in rather an embarrassing position among the Belgians, who
seemed much inclined towards the government and person of Napoleon.

Being politely dismissed by the general we proceeded to England, and
landing at Ramsgate pushed forward to Canterbury. Here we halted for
breakfast, when hundreds collected round the hotel since a report was
spread that the Duc de Berri had just arrived from France, whom they
were anxious to behold; but upon learning that it was the English Lord
Bury, not His Royal Highness the French Duc de Berri who had arrived,
they retired rather disappointed. That night we arrived in London,
but not a soul would give credence to our account; and Napoleon was
victoriously sitting on the throne of France and in the heart of the
capital some days before even his departure from Elba was known in
London.

Immediately on my return I applied to Sir Henry Torrens for a staff
appointment in the army of Belgium; and I asked that, should His Royal
Highness not have an opportunity of appointing me at present, he would
be pleased to permit my proceeding there, as from my acquaintance with
many general officers under whom I had had the honour of serving, I
felt emboldened to think that I should be employed. This letter was
written to Sir Henry Torrens at his own request; but as he was a few
days afterwards sent to Brussels to confer with the Duke of Wellington,
I repeated my request to Lieutenant-Colonel Shaw, Military Secretary
_ad interim_. To this application I received an answer to the effect
that the commander-in-chief was sensible of my zeal for active service,
but had no present opportunity of employing me on the staff, nor could
he comply with my request for leave of absence. It may be necessary
here to state that at that period a general order had been issued
strictly prohibiting all officers on leave of absence from leaving the
kingdom without the special permission of the commander-in-chief. My
leave of absence which terminated on the 24th of the month was renewed
as a matter of course, but not without the prohibition mentioned.

[Sidenote: THE BATTLE OF WATERLOO FOUGHT.]

My regiment being in Ireland and not ordered to the Netherlands, I
still remained in London urging my request, but to no purpose. In the
meantime the battle of Waterloo was fought; and the 36th were ordered
to reinforce the duke’s army. I now procured permission to proceed
direct from London. Major-General Sir William O’Callaghan was ordered
out at the same time; and as we had been intimately acquainted in the
Peninsula, I now acted as his aide-de-camp. In this way I anticipated
the arrival of the regiment in Paris by at least a month, which gave me
full opportunity, uninterrupted by regimental duties, of examining the
discipline, dress and movements of the different armies then in Paris,
particularly as they passed in review order.

This review was a splendid spectacle. Each crowned head of the powers
engaged had nominally a regiment in the army of each brother sovereign;
and each in his turn marched past as colonel of his regiment, saluting
with due military discipline the crowned head to whose army the
regiment belonged. The Emperor Alexander wore his cocked hat square
to the front, kept firm on his head by a black ribbon tied under his
chin. When he saluted in marching past his chosen master, he shot his
right arm at full length horizontally from his right shoulder, and then
curving the arm with tolerable grace to the front he touched the upper
part of his forehead with his hand, the fingers closed together and the
palm turned downwards. His appearance was soldier-like; yet he seemed
not a hardy veteran, but rather a good-humoured, well-conditioned
English yeoman than the representative of Peter the Great. Contentment,
apparently uninterrupted by thought or reflection, seemed to sit on
his unruffled brow. The King of Prussia wore his hat fore and aft.
In saluting he sent his right hand perpendicularly upwards, the palm
turned towards his face, his fingers stiff and their tips brought
suddenly against the point of his hat. Sullenness was portrayed on his
countenance. His figure was tall; but I saw nothing lofty about him
save his station, which, had it not been hereditary, would never have
been his. He was what we call in a horse wall-eyed. Nothing indicated
the determined warrior, polished courtier or profound statesman; and
during the whole time in which I presumed to regard him I do not
recollect that a single thought of the Great Frederick flashed on my
mind. The Emperor Francis wore his hat neither square nor fore and aft;
the right cock was brought rather forward. In saluting, his right arm
was slowly brought up to meet the fore part of his hat, to touch which
his fingers were bent into a bunch. His stature was scarcely above the
middle size, his face melancholy and overcast; it did not appear to
be that sullen melancholy which indicates disappointed ambition–it
seemed rather to be produced by painful recollections of happy scenes
and feelings which, like blooming youth gone by, can never return. His
deportment was that of an over-thoughtful, but an affable gentleman;
dejection he combated, but could not shake off; he would appear happy,
but failed in the endeavour. His former deadly foe and conqueror (a
fortunate revolutionist emerged from obscurity) was now united to the
child of his affections, the descendant of the Cæsars. The overthrow
of the one must drag down the other. Unwillingly then he drew his
sword, for whatever he might have previously suffered he now made war
against his daughter and her husband. These conflicting feelings must
have harassed his very soul; his position was cruelly embarrassing; and
it was impossible to witness his distress and not participate in his
feelings. His appearance throughout proclaimed him an unwilling actor
in the gorgeous show. He alone seemed to reflect that players sometimes
act the part of kings, but that here the farce was reversed.

[Sidenote: A PAGEANT OF EMPERORS.]

It struck me as rather singular and wanting in delicacy that every
band of music in the Austrian, Russian and Prussian armies, while they
marched past the group of kings, played the tune by us called _The
Downfall of Paris_; but I subsequently learned that among the nations
mentioned, as also in France, the music bore a quite different name and
meaning.

During these reviews the troops of the foreign nations marched from
Paris through the Place Louis Quinze; and passing through the Champs
Elysées filed off into the suburbs. The last review, or rather march
past, was by the British troops. The line of route was now reversed.
Our troops, proudly following the tattered flags but upright standards
of Britain, debouched from the Champs Elysées, and after marching past
filed through Paris. The music played at the head of every regiment was
the inspiring tune “The British Grenadiers.” The duke took his station
close to the Place Louis Quinze, towards the entrance from the Champs
Elysées. He was dressed in the uniform of a British field-marshal; he
grasped a mamaluke sabre, the hand which held it resting on the pommel
of his saddle. In this position he remained for some hours during the
marching past of the troops; and although he evidently saw all, yet he
moved not at all; and during the whole time (for I was near) even his
sword moved not an inch from its original position. All the working was
in his mind; his body was absolutely still.

As the British troops moved forward they called forth general
admiration; and, candidly speaking, their appearance was splendid in
the extreme. This opinion is not prompted by either partiality or
prejudice; but having had the opportunity of previously beholding the
parade of the allied troops, all showing stage effect rather than
the free use of the limbs, I could not avoid noticing the contrast
between them and the British soldiers, whose movements were in strict
conformity with the intention of Providence in providing joints to be
freely used for the easy carriage of the body. It was this manly, free
and firm step which induced the Emperor Alexander after the reviews
were over to declare that he would introduce the British discipline and
system of drill into his army, since the English movements were more
in conformity with the natural structure of man. Even the dress of the
British soldier was calculated more for comfort and use than for mere
outward appearance, and yet was far from being unseemly.

[Sidenote: THE IRON DUKE.]

The Russian troops appeared like rampant bears; the Prussians like
stuffed turkeys; the slow-going Austrians were in figure, countenance
and appearance altogether characteristically Germanic; the French, from
their being well inured to fire and moving with such little up-and-down
steps making but little progress to the front, brought to mind that
species of animal called turnspit in the active performance of his
duty. But the object of general regard, and that which attracted the
attention of all, was the hero who led the British troops through an
unparalleled series of brilliant campaigns and victorious battles. The
all-seeing eagle eye which illumined his countenance, the aquiline
nose which stamps talent on the countenance of man, together with the
peculiar length of upper lip, marked him apart. In all he seemed the
Roman of old–save in pomp.

Shortly after the reviews the 36th Regiment arrived in Paris, and
on the same day Sir William O’Callaghan’s aide-de-camp, his nephew,
Captain Colthurst, made his appearance. The general being thus
provided, I joined my regiment. We were quartered at Montmartre, the
theatre of Marmont’s fidelity. Subsequently we encamped in the Bois
de Boulogne; thence we moved into cantonments not far distant from
Versailles. A part of the regiment were quartered in the Chateau of
the Postmaster-General of France. His history so far as it relates
to his attachment to Napoleon, his imprisonment and the mode of his
escape aided by a British general officer lately reinstated in rank, is
already well known.

Towards the close of December 1815 the regiment was ordered home. We
passed through Paris on the day that Marshal Ney was shot; whether
our presence there during that melancholy occasion was accidental
or designed I cannot say, but it was probably designed. His death
was worthy of his former undaunted character, which gained him the
title of “Le brave des braves.” Disdaining to have his eyes bandaged
he commanded the soldiers appointed for his execution to fire; and
shedding bitter tears they obeyed his order, by which France was
deprived of the bravest and brightest genius who ever led her armies
to victory. On the second restoration of Louis XVIII. a general pardon
was granted by proclamation in his name to all French subjects then
residing in Paris; but by a strange construction of words it was argued
that Ney was not included, although at the time he did reside in Paris,
if a soldier be considered as ever residing anywhere.

[Sidenote: EXECUTION OF MARSHAL NEY.]

Soult, although he fought in the ranks of Napoleon at Waterloo, yet
made so noble a defence that the Duc de Richelieu durst not push the
prosecution; yet His Grace declared that it would be an abuse of mercy
to pardon Ney. He was found guilty of high treason, upon which verdict
he was executed. But against whom or what was the treason? Not against
France, in whose defence or for whose aggrandisement he fought five
hundred battles, and never drew his sword against her. His treason
then consisted in his unfortunate choice of allegiance between two
individuals: one, the Emperor selected by the French nation and under
whose standard all the armies of France were ranged; the other a king
indeed but a nominal one, a king who fled his country on the approach
of a foreign invader, as Napoleon actually was on coming from the
Island of Elba. This king too was opposed by the nation upon whom he
was foisted, as he himself gratefully but imprudently proclaimed by
declaring that next to God he owed his crown to the Prince Regent of
England. This insult to his countrymen was deeply felt all through
France, and cannot be more forcibly expressed than by the manner in
which the French at the time proclaimed him as “Louis XVIII., King of
France and Navarre, by the grace of three hundred thousand foreign
bayonets.” As traitor against this king, Ney was executed; but, had he
been spared, the monarch’s crown would have been the brighter, and the
bravest of the brave have been spared to his country.

In our route to Calais the detachment of the regiment to which I
belonged passed through the village of Creçy, where we halted for
a day. Natural curiosity, not unmixed with national pride, induced
some of us to visit the plains glorious to Edward III. and the Black
Prince. Our guide pointed out the little tower in which the victorious
Edward is stated to have taken post during the battle; it had all
the appearance of having been a windmill. The glorious days of the
Edwards and Henrys flashed on our imaginations: days when the warlike
monarchs led their gallant troops in person and by their heroic example
fired them to deeds of glory; days when personal merit was promptly
and impartially rewarded. Rewards for gallant deeds of arms did not
_then_ depend upon a county election. The chief who witnessed and who
consequently could best judge possessed the power to reward without
reference to the jarring interests of voters at home.

On surveying the extensive plain, our guide pointed out a mound,
distant from the windmill about two miles. Here it was, he said, that
the French army made their last desperate effort. A small chapel is
built on the site, called “La Chapelle des Trois Cents Corps Nobles,”
to commemorate the fact that where the chapel stands three hundred
nobles of the contending armies fighting fell. On returning to our
billets I signified to the man of the house my wish to visit the
hallowed spot next morning, as it was then too late in the day. Upon
this our good host entertained us with many legendary tales of the
chapel, and said amongst other things that the door could never be
kept shut. My evident incredulity rather displeasing him, he protested
most solemnly that bolts and locks had been repeatedly put on the
door to endeavour to keep it shut, but to no purpose: it was always
found wide open in the morning; and as to watching it, none could be
found sufficiently daring to make the attempt. Notwithstanding the
solemn assertions of our good host, I told him that I was determined
to proceed to the chapel next morning and shut myself within its
mysterious walls. When he had used many arguments to dissuade me from
my purpose but found me still determined, he remarked that there was
one difficulty in my shutting myself up there, since, in consequence
of the fact that the chapel could never be kept closed, it had been
without a door for more than a century. Much disappointed, but still
perceiving by the solemn manner of my host that his account of the
chapel was not intended as a jest, I told him that I should certainly
go there next morning and nail a blanket against the doorway, to
witness the consequence of closing the chapel; and this foolish act
I was determined to carry into execution, but as we received orders
that night to continue our march at daybreak next morning, my quixotic
enterprise was frustrated. The impossibility of closing the chapel was
religiously believed by every inhabitant of the place, not excluding
the parish priest.

We embarked at Calais and descended at Ramsgate and Dover, and thence
proceeded overland to Portsmouth, which we garrisoned until the year
1817, when we embarked for the Island of Malta.

In 1819 I procured leave of absence to proceed to England; and in this
year I repeated my visit to Brussels. I found Prince Prosper at home
and received the most marked attention from the old duke, his father.
Here it may not be irrelevant to mention that Napoleon, as contributing
to fortify his unwieldy empire, insisted on the Prince Prosper
marrying a Miss Tacher, a niece of Josephine, and transferred to him
his father’s title, Duke d’Arenberg, at the same time by a similar
arbitrary act compelling the old unduked duke to assume the title of a
baron of the French empire. This was one of Napoleon’s master strokes
of policy. Prince Prosper was now married to his second wife having
been previously divorced from his first duchess, Miss Tacher that was,
to whom the mustachios had been sent from Lisbon.

At the old duke’s table I had always a cover; and a groom and a pair
of horses were exclusively at my service. The duke was a remarkably
fine old man, but had been blind for many years when I had the
honour of making his acquaintance. The calamity occurred through the
following lamentable circumstance. At his father’s house, celebrated
for hospitality, a large party of friends were entertained, for whose
greater amusement rural sports were resorted to. The wild-boar hunt
was generally selected, in which the duke, then a young man, took great
delight; but as one of the guests, who was _chargé d’affaires_ of the
British Court, expressed an unwillingness to join in the boar hunt,
preferring partridge-shooting, the young duke in courtesy gave up his
favourite amusement and joined his friend, for whom he entertained
the greatest esteem. All being arranged, the parties set forth, and
on their arrival at Enghien, a considerable estate belonging to the
duke about five-and-twenty miles from Brussels, the sport began. The
duke took his station behind a hedge; and his English friend screened
himself behind a neighbouring fence. The cover being very close,
beaters were sent in to drive out the birds, as in woodcock-shooting
in England. A rustling sound being heard by the Englishman, who had
the boar hunt, which took place in the same parts, still in his mind,
he fired through the fence and lodged the contents of his gun in the
face of his friend. At a cry of distress from the duke, the Englishman
broke his way through the fence, when fancy his horror at perceiving
his dear friend prostrate on the ground, his figure recognised, but
all his features disguised by blood and his eyes incapable of seeing
his agonised friend. Nearly frantic at witnessing the dreadful result
of his incautious fire, he holloaed out for assistance; and on the
arrival of some domestics he instantly ran into the town of Enghien,
and ordering a postchaise drove off to Brussels, nor stopped he, except
to change horses, until he arrived at Ostend, where he instantly
embarked for England, never again to return to the Netherlands. The
two faithful friends never more beheld each other, one because he was
blind, the other on account of a horror which he could never overcome.
The duke was carried to Brussels and the first medical aid which the
Netherlands could produce immediately consulted. The most eminent
physicians and surgeons of France and England were sent for, but to no
purpose–the vision was for ever destroyed.

[Sidenote: A NOBLE SERVITOR.]

During my visit at Brussels, by the duke’s desire, I passed a few
days at Enghien. Being alone, I was entertained by an old family
steward, who always resided there. The family mansion having been
burnt, its place was supplied by two handsome pavilions. The old
domestic, who had been previously advised of my visit, was the most
respectable person for his station whom I ever met; in truth, he
appeared a perfect gentleman of the old school, as well in dress as
in address. Nearly seventy chill winters must have passed over his
head, but although those rigid seasons left many a rough stamp behind,
his sympathy and warm heart gave ample testimony that an equal number
of genial summers had done their part. His white hair was bound with
black ribbons and formed a massy queue, extending some way down his
shoulders; yet, silvered as were his venerable locks, he was highly
powdered too,–this always gives a peculiarly dressy appearance.
His coat was of the old-fashioned cut, sloping backwards from the
lower part of the breast to the extremity of the skirts and bearing
large steel buttons. His waistcoat was of a similar cut, having long
low-flapped pockets, below which were short velvet breeches, black
silk stockings and polished shoes with large silver buckles. To be
attended by such a personage during dinner distressed me very much.
I should have felt more easy if in place of serving he had sat down
and borne me company; this I proposed, but no remonstrance of mine
could prevail upon him to acquiesce. He remarked that he could never
so far forget his duty and respect as to sit at the same table with
his lord’s guest, and moreover that I should be without the attendance
which he had received orders to give. I then proposed that the young
lad who always rode after me should wait. To this he objected, unless
I ordered it, which I declined to do, perceiving by a half-muttered
expression that it would be indecorous to introduce a stable groom into
the dining-room. After dinner, which I hurried over, I insisted on his
placing a second wineglass and obliged him to sit down, stating that
there were many circumstances relative to his lord with which I wished
to become acquainted, and for which I had the duke’s authority. This
he considered as a mandate and sat down; yet such was the distance at
which he placed his chair from the table that he imposed upon himself
the obligation of standing up whenever I prevailed upon him to take his
glass of the good wine, which I had always to pour out for him.

During my stay at Enghien this respectable gentleman-butler related
many anecdotes of gallant deeds performed by the Dukes d’Arenberg, but
as was natural dwelt most upon those scenes which took place in his
own time. Next morning he conducted me to the spot where the fatal
accident deprived his lord of sight. The old man was of the shooting
party; and with tears in his eyes he described the whole scene most
minutely and pathetically. Having seen all the grounds, I returned to
the pavilion; but on that day too I could not prevail on the old man to
sit down to dinner, and finding him inflexible and being hurt at seeing
so old and so respectable a person on his legs whilst I sat at dinner,
I determined to depart next morning. On coming away I cordially shook
the good old man by the hand, and would most willingly have made some
donation, but I could not presume to offer him money, knowing how much
it would hurt him; I should as soon have offered such an affront to the
duke.

[Sidenote: THE FRIEND WHO SHOT HIM.]

When I returned to Brussels the good old duke asked me with the
greatest coolness if I had seen the spot where he was deprived of
sight. He seemed to treat the circumstance with perfect indifference;
but he evidently felt great emotion whenever the name of his unhappy
friend was mentioned, and I repeatedly heard him say, “My poor friend!
he suffers more than I do.” Some years after the accident took place
the duke visited England, and calling upon his friend, who happened
to be out, left his name and address. When the other returned and saw
the duke’s card, he instantly ordered post-horses and departed for
Italy, not being able to summon fortitude sufficient to encounter
that friend whom he so highly prized. The duke suffered much by this
disappointment; for although deprived of the power of seeing him, still
it would have afforded him the greatest consolation to press to his
bosom the friend whom he now more than ever esteemed. Not long after
the duke travelled into Italy, where he was doomed to experience a
similar disappointment. Happening to visit the same town in which his
friend was living for a time, he paid him a visit, but not finding him
at home did not leave his card, as he hoped to meet him another time;
but when the friend returned and heard from his servant a description
of the caller, he instantly set out for England. They never met after
the sad accident; and they both departed this life nearly at the same
moment.

During the duke’s sojourn in England he ordered a machine to be made
entirely imagined by himself, which in his lamentable state enabled
him to play at whist, a game to which he was very partial and which
afterwards principally contributed to his amusement. It was a small
mahogany box about eighteen inches long, six inches deep, and the same
in breadth; it screwed under the leaf of the table in front of where
the duke sat to play; in its side were four rows or little channels,
and in each channel were thirteen holes corresponding with the number
of cards in each suit; in each of these holes was a movable peg, which
could be pushed in or pulled out. The pack being dealt out, a page,
who sat close to the duke, sorted his cards, placing them in suits and
in order of value from left to right, each suit being separated from
the others by the duke’s fingers, between which they were placed by
the page. Beginning from the left with spades, hearts, diamonds and
clubs in order, the peg corresponding with each card in the duke’s hand
was drawn out, so that the duke passing his fingers over the machine
learned each card in his hand by means of the corresponding peg. Each
of the other players named the card which he played. For instance,
the person sitting on the left of the duke said, “I play the seven of
hearts”; the next, “I play the ten”; the third, “I play the queen,”
when the duke exclaimed, “And I play the king,” and infallibly down
came the king. I never saw him make a mistake. When he had played a
card he pushed in the peg corresponding to that card. On one occasion
having had the honour of being his partner against the Marquis de
Grimelle and another, I won a napoleon, which I bored and kept in
memory of having won it with a partner totally deprived of sight. The
duke was much pleased at my doing so.

The duke entertained in princely style. His table displayed the
choicest viands, the rarest productions of the seasons and the most
exquisite wines. I remarked that on fast-days there was a particular
kind of white soup always placed before the abbé who was attached to
the family. Curiosity induced me to ask Prince Prosper, next to whom I
always sat, of what this select soup consisted. The prince replied in a
suppressed tone of voice that it was extracted from frogs; “For,” said
he, “the Church has decided that those animals are not to be considered
as flesh: but yet, since the soup thus produced is not sufficiently
rich, a couple of pounds of veal are added; and although he is fully
aware of the deception practised, the abbé is so good a person that he
pardons the cook and absolves him from all sin.”

[Sidenote: LETTER FROM H.R.H. THE DUKE OF KENT.]

My leave of absence allowing me to remain no longer at Brussels, I
returned to England. At parting, the good, the truly noble old duke
presented me with a letter of introduction recommending me to the
protection of H.R.H. the Duke of Kent; and although, as I have stated,
he had been blind for many years, yet I saw him write the concluding
one or two lines and subscribe his name to this letter.

On my arrival in London, finding that the Duke of Kent was then at
Sidmouth, I presumed to write to him, enclosing Duke d’Arenberg’s
letter. In my letter to His Royal Highness I gave a short summary of
my services, at the same time stating that an introductory letter from
so humble an individual as myself to a personage of such exalted rank
could have no other object than that of soliciting His Royal Highness’s
protection in forwarding my military promotion. By return of post I was
honoured with the following reply:

“SIDMOUTH, _January 8th, 1820_.

“The Duke of Kent was favoured last night with Captain
Blakeney’s letter of the 6th instant, including one from his
esteemed and illustrious friend the Duke d’Arenberg, and he
feels anxious not to lose a moment in assuring Captain Blakeney
that if he possessed the means or influence necessary to
expedite his promotion they should _instantly_ be exerted to
the _utmost_ in his behalf both from the friendship and esteem
he bears the good duke through whom he has been introduced to
him, and from conceiving Captain Blakeney’s statement of his
services to warrant his friendly interference in his behalf;
but the fact is that the duke cannot interfere with any point
regarding army promotion beyond the limits of his own corps,
the Royal Scots, in which, from the circumstance of its having
been during the whole war double the strength of any other
regiment, there are too many claimants upon him for long and
faithful services for it to be in his power to hold out the
slightest expectation to Captain Blakeney of being able to
bring him into that corps. This he can assure the captain is
a matter of real regret to him, and he trusts when he says so
that Captain Blakeney will give him credit for his sincerity.
In concluding this letter, the duke feels it an act of justice
to the good Duke d’Arenberg to observe that it is impossible
for any gentleman to plead more warmly the cause of another
than His Serene Highness has that of Captain Blakeney, or to
state more strongly the obligations he owes him for his liberal
and friendly conduct towards the Prince Prosper whilst that
nobleman was a prisoner of war under his charge. If Captain
Blakeney should happen to be in town when the duke returns
to Kensington, which will probably be the end of March or
beginning of April, the duke will have great pleasure in
receiving him and in explaining the matter more fully to him
_viva voce_ than it is possible for him to do in a letter,
however extended the length of it might be. Should Captain
Blakeney have occasion to address the duke again previous to
his arrival, he is requested to leave his letter at Messrs.
Kirklands, No. 88, Bennet Street, St. James’s.

“CAPTAIN BLAKENEY, _36th Regiment_.”

I scarcely need say that such a letter as this from the son of my
Sovereign was to me most highly flattering, and on it was founded the
delusive expectation of presenting myself before His Royal Highness
and verifying the statement of my services as advanced in my letter. I
applied at the Horse Guards for copies of the different recommendations
forwarded from time to time in my favour by general and other officers,
as well as of those which accompanied my memorial presented to H.R.H.
the Duke of York in 1814. These were very liberally given to me, and
are as follows:

[Sidenote: LETTERS OF GRAHAM AND ABERCROMBIE.]

FROM THE RIGHT HONOURABLE GENERAL LORD LYNEDOCH, G.C.B.

“ISLA DE LEON, _March 30th, 1811_.

“SIR,–I have the honour to state to you that I have just
received a report from Lieutenant-Colonel Browne of the 28th
Regiment, who commanded the flank battalion which so greatly
distinguished itself in the action of the 5th instant (_i.e._,
at Barossa), of the eminent services of this officer. All
the other officers of the regiment left wounded, and himself
severely hurt by a contusion, he continued to animate and keep
the men of those companies together during the hottest fire,
giving the lieutenant-colonel the most essential assistance.
As Lieutenant Blakeney is a lieutenant of July 1805, I trust
this statement will be most favourably considered by the
commander-in-chief, and that this officer will soon reap the
reward of such distinguished conduct.

“I have the honour, etc., etc., etc.,
“THOMAS GRAHAM,
“_Lieutenant-General_.

“COLONEL TORRENS, _Military Secretary_.”

FROM THE HONOURABLE COLONEL ABERCROMBIE, C.B.

“ALBUQUERQUE, _November 20th, 1811_.

“SIR,–I have the honour to enclose to you herewith a memorial
which has been transmitted to me by Lieutenant Blakeney
belonging to the battalion under my command, and which I
request you will be good enough to forward to Major-General
Howard.

“As far as I had an opportunity of judging of the merits of
Lieutenant Blakeney, I have every reason to be well satisfied
with him as an officer of great zeal and activity. His
exertions at the battle of Barossa obtained him the approbation
of Lieutenant-General Graham, by whom he was recommended to the
commander-in-chief for promotion.

“His conduct also in the late action with the enemy at Arroyo
de Molinos was very conspicuous, and did not, I believe, pass
unnoticed by Lieutenant-General Hill.

“I have the honour to be, etc., etc., etc.,
“ALEXANDER ABERCROMBIE,
“_Lieutenant-Colonel 28th Regiment_.

“COLONEL WILSON, ETC., ETC., ETC., _commanding the Brigade_.”

[Sidenote: LETTERS OF HILL, BROWNE, AND OTHERS.]

FROM THE RIGHT HONOURABLE GENERAL LORD HILL, G.C.B.

“PORTALEGRE, _November 24th, 1811_.

“MY LORD,–I had an opportunity of witnessing Lieutenant
Blakeney’s zeal and gallantry at the head of the light infantry
which formed the advance guard of General Howard’s column at
Arroyo de Molinos on the 28th ultimo. I have therefore much
pleasure in forwarding and recommending his memorial herewith
enclosed.

“I have the honour to be, etc., etc., etc.,
“R. HILL,
“_Lieutenant-General_.

“LORD FITZROY SOMERSET, _Military Secretary_.”

FROM LIEUTENANT-COLONEL BROWNE, C.B., _late 28th Regiment, commanding
56th Regiment_.

“SHEERNESS, _October 4th, 1814_.

“MY DEAR BLAKENEY,–I have to acknowledge yours of the 28th
ultimo, and am happy to bear testimony to your gallant conduct
as an officer whenever an opportunity offered, which was
conspicuous in the battle of Barossa, so much so that it was
the cause of my recommending you to the protection of Sir
Thomas Graham. And believe me, my dear Blakeney, your ever
sincere friend,

“T. F. BROWNE.

“CAPTAIN BLAKENEY, _36th Regiment_.”

FROM LIEUTENANT-COLONEL CROSS, C.B.

“KILKENNY, _August 23rd, 1814_.

“SIR,–Understanding that Captain Blakeney is about
memorialising His Royal Highness the Commander-in-chief for the
rank of major in the army, founding his claims on his services
and wounds, I have great pleasure in bearing testimony to
the fact of his having twice volunteered to serve with this
battalion in the Peninsula before he was effective; and that
upon every occasion after his joining that the regiment was
in fire his conduct was highly meritorious, and his gallantry
when it was the proud lot of the battalion to charge and carry
the enemy’s redoubt on the heights of Andaya on November 10th
was most conspicuous; and on this occasion it was his great
misfortune to receive the severe wound under which he is still
suffering, and I accordingly with great respect presume to
recommend his case to the favourable consideration of His Royal
Highness the Commander-in-chief.

“I have the honour to be,
“WILLIAM CROSS,
“_Lieutenant-Colonel 36th Regiment_.

“MAJOR-GENERAL TORRENS, _Military Secretary_.”

FROM MAJOR-GENERAL SIR CHARLES BELSON, K.C.B.

“FERMOY BARRACKS, _August 22nd, 1814_.

“SIR,–Captain Blakeney of the 36th Regiment (late of the 28th
Regiment) having written to me for testimonials of his services
whilst under my command, to be submitted to you, I have the
honour of stating that he entered into the 28th Regiment very
young, and that he served with it until March 1812 in the
campaign under the late Sir John Moore, on that retreat and
at the battle of Corunna. He was in the light company, and
distinguished himself particularly at the Bridge of Betanzos.
His conduct was also conspicuous at Arroyo de Molinos, and was
noticed by Lieutenant-General Lord Hill upon that occasion. I
beg to add that he is an officer who will put himself forward
and distinguish himself whenever he may be employed, and
to recommend him for such reward or promotion as His Royal
Highness the Commander-in-chief may be pleased to grant.

“I have the honour to be, etc., etc., etc.,
C. BELSON,
LIEUTENANT-COLONEL, _commanding 28th Regiment_

MAJOR-GENERAL TORRENS, _Military Secretary_.”

The above letter, which was enclosed to me, was accompanied with a note
containing the following few words:

“MY DEAR BLAKENEY,–I hope the enclosed will answer your
purpose (and in justice I could say no less) to promote your
wishes. I have not time to say more.

“Your friend,
“C. BELSON.

“P.S.–The first troops that leave this country will be your
old friends, the 28th.”

The above strong testimonials I never had an opportunity of presenting
to the illustrious personage for whose perusal they were intended.
The Duke of Kent did not survive to return to the capital. His Royal
Highness expired at Sidmouth, the place from which he did me the honour
of writing the letter quoted, the last perhaps which he ever either
penned or dictated. Thus in the general calamity which afflicted the
nation by the death of His Royal Highness, I was in common with the
whole of my fellow subjects doomed to mourn a great national loss; and
for myself deplored the untimely fate of a royal and generous prince,
who would have extended his protection to me, as his letter, I think,
clearly demonstrated.

[Sidenote: H.R.H. THE DUKE OF YORK MAKES A NOTE.]

In the early part of the year 1820 a partial brevet took place to
reward meritorious officers, whose names through oversight had been
passed over. I presented myself to H.R.H. the Duke of York, and asked
to be included. His Royal Highness replied that the partial promotion
contemplated was intended as a reward for services performed in the
field. I took the liberty of remarking that it was for services
performed in the field I applied for promotion, adding that I should
not value promotion otherwise obtained. The duke then said that in
mentioning services overlooked, allusion was made to those officers
whose names were mentioned in despatches. In reply I felt emboldened
to remark that, although my name was not mentioned in despatches, yet,
besides other strong testimonials, I was strongly recommended for
distinguished conduct in two different actions by the generals who
respectively commanded in each, than whom the British Army cannot boast
more brilliant military characters–Lords Hill and Lynedoch. His Royal
Highness was pleased to make a pencil note, and bowed. I retired; and
of the import of that note I remain to this day ignorant, as I never
had further communication on the subject.

During my interview with the Commander-in-chief I presented the Duke
of Kent’s letter, which was returned next day without comment. Against
the presentation of this letter I was strongly advised; but guided by
my own sentiments and feelings, I would not be dissuaded. I considered
that whatever difference of opinion might have subsisted between the
illustrious personages, all unfriendly feelings would cease in the
breast of the survivor. Yet, though I felt chagrin at the little
notice taken of His Royal Highness’s letter, I consoled myself a
little with the thought that the infant Princess Victoria, coming in
nature’s course to the throne, might perhaps be pleased to take into
consideration that which her royal sire had expressed so much anxiety
to promote. But the royal brothers now lie side by side in peace, and
so close that

“The vet’ran’s sigh, to gallant York that’s sent,
Glides trembling o’er the breast of virtuous Kent”;

and the time has gone by for vexing either with my claims.

Continue Reading

TRAVEL IN A COACH OF THAT COUNTRY

Early in October the Duke of Wellington, having San Sebastian now
secure in his rear and foreseeing that a great battle must soon be
fought, determined to push forward his left wing, gain the lower
Bidassoa and the great Rhune mountain and thus establish a part of his
army within the French frontier. The better to conceal his design,
which was rather hazardous, continual manœuvring took place from right
to left of the allied lines, which completely succeeded in deceiving
the enemy. Everything was so well arranged that not the slightest
appearance of an attack was discovered. On the morning of October 7th
the 5th Division and Lord Aylmer’s brigade proceeded to the fords; and
still the enemy perceived no change, the tents in the allied camp being
left standing. The 5th Division soon crossed the stream, and had formed
on the opposite bank without firing a shot or a shot being fired at
them, so completely were the enemy taken by surprise. A signal rocket
was now fired from Fontarabia, when the batteries along the whole line
of our attack opened against the enemy, who were driven from their
different posts before they well knew what was passing; and so little
did Soult contemplate an attack in that quarter, always expecting it
from Roncesvalles, that on the 6th he reviewed D’Erlon’s division at
Ainhoa, and remained that night at Espelette. Next morning, although
a false attack was made against D’Erlon’s position, yet Soult having
heard the cannonade from San Marcial, instantly discovered the true
point of attack and hurried thither; but before he arrived at the scene
of action all his positions on the Bidassoa were carried; and although
his presence corrected many errors and gave surprising confidence to
his troops, yet he never could regain what was lost during his early
absence. He loudly complained of want of vigilance in his generals; and
not without just cause, for they were nowhere prepared.

[Sidenote: SHORT CUT UNDER FIRE.]

Meanwhile the 6th Division continued the false attack on D’Erlon.
Colonel Douglas with a Portuguese brigade was sent further on to the
left, and the 36th Regiment were ordered to be in readiness for his
support. Colonel Leggatt, who commanded us, sent me to find Douglas
and inform him that the regiment were ready when required. Douglas had
attacked and gallantly carried a post strongly occupied on the crown of
a hill, at the foot of which I arrived just as he was led down, having
been severely wounded in the neck. After the usual congratulations of
old friends I delivered my message. He requested me to ride up the hill
and see what was going forward, adding that the position was gallantly
carried and it would be a pity to lose it. Topping the hill I found the
Portuguese warmly engaged; but the enemy were advancing in force on
two sides of the hill. I rode back to Douglas, who was slowly moving
to the rear, and he asked me to go as fast as possible and report;
there was no time to be lost. Taking the nearest direction towards the
regiment, I was compelled to pass in front of a line of the enemy’s
skirmishers, who had been winding round the hill. They displayed the
courtesy of their nation by discharging a general salute; its only
result was a shot through my great coat and one in my saddle-bow.
Having safely run the gauntlet and though in great haste, yet resolving
to show the polite nation that we yielded as little in courtesy as in
arms, I turned round and taking off my hat bowed low. The firing ceased
and they gave me a loud cheer. Hurrying forward, I soon joined the
regiment who were already in motion. Pushing on with the light company,
to whom I acted as guide, and arriving at the point where I had saluted
the skirmishers, we fully expected to be engaged; but to our surprise
the French were retreating, leaving the hill in possession of the
Portuguese. It appeared that as soon as our regiment began to descend
from the lofty hill upon which they were formed, they were perceived by
the enemy, who, taking them no doubt for the head of a strong column,
considered it prudent to retire. The regiment having come up, ascended
the hill, where we remained until towards dark, and then retired,
leaving the post to the Portuguese. The loss of the Portuguese was
rather severe, upwards of a hundred and fifty men _hors de combat_.
But the spirited attack made by Douglas, the British regiment moved up
to his aid, and the false attack of the whole 6th Division completely
succeeded in deterring D’Erlon from making any attempt to succour the
French right wing, where the true attack was raging and where his
support was most necessary.

[Sidenote: COURAGE OF SPANISH SOLDIERS.]

During all these movements and combats, which lasted nearly three days,
the allies were invariably successful; and all the objects proposed
were fully attained. The fighting was desperate and well maintained on
either side. On fording the Bidassoa, Halket’s light Germans drove
up all the enemy’s advanced parties close to the summit of the Croix
des Bouquets; but this being the key of the position, the enemy were
strengthening it continually from the first onset both with guns and
troops: so that when the Germans approached, the position had become
so strong that Halket, having lost many men during his ascent, was
brought to a stand. At this critical moment Colonel Cameron with
the 9th Regiment, having arrived just as the Germans were checked,
put them aside and making a desperate charge gained the summit. The
enemy’s guns had just time to retire through their infantry, who also
quickly retreated to a second ridge. The approach to this was narrow;
but Cameron reducing his front quickly followed. However, the enemy
having the start were soon formed, and the approach being winding with
sharp turns, they poured a destructive fire both in front and flank
into the regiment. Yet this did not retard their quick advance for a
moment; while the enemy seemed no way moved by the vehement advance of
Cameron until the regiment approached within a few yards, when a loud
cheer and rapid charge so astonished them that they scarcely knew what
they were about until they found themselves borne off the hill. Thus
the 9th Regiment gallantly carried the key of the position, but with
a heavy loss both in officers and men, the usual result of unswerving
bravery. But were I to relate the gallant deeds of all throughout the
whole of these operations, it would be necessary to enumerate all the
British corps employed; nor was the bravery displayed by the Spaniards
less daring. Courage was never wanting to the Spanish soldiers; but
confidence in their chiefs was rare. Through the battles of the
Pyrenees their divisions were intermixed with those of the British,
not formed aloof in a separate corps, as at Talavera and Barossa, nor
depressed and held back by such paralysing commanders as Cuesta and La
Peña. They now, conjointly with their brave allies, fought forward; and
well did they maintain their line. On the 8th, after General Giron with
a body of Spaniards had driven off the French outposts on the road from
Vera to Sarre and was charging up a hill near Puerto and pressing on
abreast with the British troops, he was suddenly checked by a strong
line of abattis, defended by two French regiments sending forth a heavy
fire. The Spaniards became irresolute, but maintained their ranks. At
the moment Lieutenant Havelock, of the 43rd Regiment, who was on the
staff, witnessing the check and unable to curb his excitement, taking
off his hat and holloaing to the Spaniards, applied his spurs and
dashed over the defence in among the enemy. At this the whole line of
Spaniards broke into cries–“The little fair boy!–Forward with the
little fair boy!” and they tore through the abattis, and furiously
charging the two French regiments drove them up the hill and over and
hurried them into the embrace of General Kemp’s ascending brigade, who
sent them waltzing with graceful velocity round the base of the hill.
But although gallant example will almost always fix wavering resolve
and give impetus and immediate decision to calculating courage, yet it
but seldom succeeds in eliciting bravery out of cowardice. The surest
criterion by which to judge of the gallantry and steadiness of the
Spaniards during those operations is by reference to the casualties
they suffered. It is true that a body of men may suffer great loss even
in running away, but in the present instance there was no retreating;
all was fighting forward; and when men advancing or standing still
suffer severe loss, it is a certain proof of bravery and firmness.
The loss of the enemy during these last combats was fourteen hundred
men; and that of the allies, British, Portuguese and Spaniards, sixteen
hundred; and of this number eight hundred were Spaniards.

[Sidenote: INADEQUACY OF SPANISH OFFICERS.]

Most persons who have written on the campaigns in the Peninsula
represent the Spanish army as ragged, half-famished wretches; nor did I
refrain from such epithets on seeing the miserable troops commanded by
the Marquis Romana in the campaign of Sir John Moore; but on reflection
no blame could be attached either to their immediate commanders or to
the soldiers for their motley appearance. The scandal and disgrace were
the legitimate attributes of the Spanish Government. The members of
the Cortez and Juntas were entirely occupied in peculation, amassing
wealth for themselves and appointing their relatives and dependents to
all places of power and emolument, however unworthy and unqualified;
and although it was notorious that shiploads of arms, equipments,
clothing and millions of dollars were sent from England for the use
and maintenance of the Spanish troops, yet all was appropriated to
themselves by the members of the general or local governments or their
rapacious satellites, while their armies were left barefoot, ragged
and half-starved. In this deplorable state they were brought into the
field under leaders many of whom were scarcely competent to command a
sergeant’s outlying piquet; for in the Spanish army, as elsewhere, such
was the undue influence of a jealous and covetous aristocracy, that,
unsupported by their influence, personal gallantry and distinction,
however conspicuous, were but rarely rewarded. This is a pernicious
system, especially with an army in the field; for injustice and neglect
powerfully tend to damp and dispirit the ardour even of the most
zealous and devoted, and discourage that laudable ambition which is
the lifespring in the breast of a true soldier.

Again the armies became tranquil except at Pampeluna. Shortly before
its surrender it was ascertained that the Governor-General was in
the habit of sending despatches to Soult by a woman. A general order
was therefore issued to the covering divisions to have all women
coming from the rear and going to the front searched. Soon after this
order was received, a woman who passed into the camp of the regiment
came howling to the commanding officer, who, not comprehending a
word she said, sent for me to interpret. This was attended with some
difficulty, the Basque dialect being but imperfectly known and the
woman totally ignorant of any other. However it appeared that this
woman, suspected of carrying despatches clandestinely, came simply to
dispose of a pannier of bread and a small basket of eggs. In passing
the quarter-guard she was stopped and searched, during which search all
her bread and eggs were taken away by the men of the guard, commanded
by a lieutenant of the regiment. Payment was not forthcoming, for the
simple reason that the troops, being six months in arrear of pay, not
a sixpenny piece was to be found amongst the men. On my reporting the
affair as it occurred, the colonel ordered the officer to pay for the
bread and eggs out of his private finances, at the same time giving him
and the whole guard a severe but well-merited reprimand; for besides
the plundering of the woman, which might have been attended with
serious inconvenience by deterring others from bringing supplies to
the camp, the woman came from the front; and this must have been seen
by the whole guard. On my paying the woman for her bread and eggs as
directed, she loudly demanded remuneration on other accounts–loss
of time, torn garments, etc.; but strictly confining myself to the
colonel’s instructions I declined entering into her others affairs, at
which she appeared much disappointed. There were at that period many
females searched with scant ceremony, but whether or not any despatches
of the nature expected were ever seized I never heard.

[Sidenote: SURRENDER OF PAMPELUNA.]

Soult having failed in every attempt to throw succour into Pampeluna,
it surrendered on October 31st, after a gallant defence of a few
months, during which many successful sallies were made. The covering
divisions being now at liberty, a forward movement was decided upon;
but the first days of November were excessively boisterous and rainy.
On the 6th and 7th, the earliest period when a movement could take
place, the right wing under Sir Rowland Hill were pushed into the
valley of Bastan, preparatory to a general attack which was intended
for next day; but the heavy rain which fell on the evening of the 7th
and next day rendered the roads again impassable, and so the battle of
the Nivelle was delayed for two days.

On the evening of the 9th the 6th Division descended through the Pass
of Maya, which we had guarded with such anxious care for upwards of
three months; and marching the whole of that night we found ourselves
on the memorable morning of November 10th close in front of the enemy’s
position, which they had been incessantly strengthening during the
whole of that period. It was still dark; and here we halted in columns,
awaiting the progress of our left and left centre, who were pushed
forward before daybreak. At length the auspicious dawn appeared,
cheering and renovating after a harassing night march over deep and
slobbery roads. Although in our present position we appeared to be
well sheltered by forest trees, yet as soon as the misty haze of dawn
was dispelled by clearer light our columns were discovered by the
enemy’s redoubts, which frowningly looked down from the heights above.
After a short cannonade, which they immediately opened, their range
became so accurate that their shells were falling amongst us rather
quickly, causing many casualties. I saw one shell drop in the midst of
a Portuguese regiment in close column immediately in our rear; it blew
up twelve men, who became so scorched and blackened that on their fall
they resembled a group of mutilated chimney-sweeps. The 36th Regiment
lost several men by the bursting of shells. Sir H. Clinton, who
commanded the division, perceived that although the huge trunks of the
trees amid which we were formed might stop a solid round-shot propelled
horizontally, yet their open branches afforded no protection against
shells descending from a height above us. Considering therefore the
place no longer tenable, he marched us out of the wood and drew up in
line on its skirts in full view of the enemy’s redoubts, judging that
even this open exposure would not be attended with so severe a loss as
continuing to be shelled in column.

We now had a full view of the splendid scenery in front and the active
warfare on our left; and I had an opportunity of witnessing a good
deal of what was passing. A long narrow strip of ground, flanked with
a wall on either side, not far from us, separated the combatants on
our left. The British troops frequently advanced and were driven back;
so did the enemy, and so they fared. Often did French officers advance
into the field bearing their standards to animate their followers;
but they instantly fell and were as instantly replaced. At last the
British troops, disdaining the protection of the wall, rushed in a
body into the field and carried it. I can see plainly before me now
Colonel Lloyd, who commanded the 94th Regiment, mounted on a large jet
black charger, waving his hat to cheer on his men and riding up to the
bayonets of the enemy close behind their wall. I saw him fall. His men
were up at the instant and dearly avenged their commander’s death.
I felt double regret at his fate, having had the pleasure of being
intimately acquainted with him when he was in the 43rd Regiment.

[Sidenote: ADVANCE OF THE 6th DIVISION.]

The order at length arrived about ten o’clock for the 6th Division
to advance. Wrought up to the greatest excitement from being so many
hours without moving, exposed to a fire of shot and shell and musketry
from the breastworks of enemies partly concealed, and seeing the
battle advancing upwards on our left, we now eagerly rushed forward.
Proceeding rapidly we soon waded the Nivelle immersed above our middle,
the men carrying their pouches above their heads, and immediately
drove back all the enemy’s piquets and outposts on both banks of the
river without deigning to fire a shot. Some few we bayoneted who were
too obstinate to get out of our way in time. Thus far advanced, the
glorious scene became more developed. High up the mountains the blaze
from their forts and redoubts was broad and glaring, while the mountain
sides presented a brilliant surface of sparkling vivid fire, never
ceasing but always ascending as our gallant troops rushed forward; and
nearly two hundred pieces of artillery angrily roaring forth mutual
response, echoed from mountain to mountain, rendering the whole scene
truly magnificent.

[Sidenote: MY LEG SMASHED.]

Having crossed the Nivelle, we rapidly advanced towards the forts and
redoubts above Ainhoa, destined to be carried by the 6th Division.
The hill which we, the 36th Regiment, faced was the steepest I ever
climbed. The ground over which we had to pass had been intersected
for months with incessant labour and French resource; every five
yards exposed us to a new cross-fire and deep cuts, which furnished
graves for many a gallant British soldier. The brambles all through
were so high and thickly interwoven and the inequalities of the
ground so great as to prevent those who were not ten yards asunder
from seeing each other. We moved forward in line; there was no road.
Under such circumstances but little order could be preserved; and,
as must be expected where all were anxious to advance, the strongest
and most active gained the front. In this disordered order of battle
the regiment advanced against the heavy-armed battery and principal
redoubt. This was the goal which we kept in view, the prize, to obtain
which the regiment unswervingly and rapidly ascended the mountain,
from whose summit it thundered destruction all around. Between us and
the base of this battery, to which we at length drew near, a small
and rather clear space intervened. I shot forward alone with all
the velocity I could command after so rapid an ascent, and arriving
immediately under the fort I perceived the enemy regularly drawn up
behind trees cut down to the height of about five feet, the branches
pointing forward, forming an abattis. I immediately turned about, and
after receiving an appropriate salute retraced my steps with redoubled
speed. I seized the king’s colour carried by Ensign Montgomery, which
I immediately halted; and called for the regimental Colour Ensign,
McPherson, who answered, “Here am I.” Having halted both colours in
front of the foremost men, I prevented any from going forward. By these
means we shortly presented a tolerably good front, and gave the men a
few moments’ breathing time. The whole operation did not take above ten
minutes; but the men coming up every instant, each minute strengthened
the front. At this exciting moment my gallant comrades, Lieutenants
Vincent and L’Estrange, who stood by my side, remarked that if I did
not allow the regiment to advance, the 61st Regiment would arrive at
the redoubt as soon as we should. I immediately placed my cap on the
point of my sword and passing to the front of the colours gave the
word, “Quick march. Charge!” We all rushed forward, excited by the old
British cheer. But my personal advance was momentary; being struck by
a shot which shattered both bones of my left leg, I came down. Vincent
instantly asked what was the matter. I told him that my leg was broken,
and that was all. I asked him to put the limb into a straight position
and to place me against a tree which stood close by; in this position I
asked for my cap and sword, which had been struck from my hand in the
fall; and then I cheered on the regiment as they gallantly charged into
the redoubt.

[Sidenote: THE FRENCH THRUST OUT FROM SPAIN.]

The fort being carried, the regiment pursued the enemy down the
opposite side of the hill, whilst I remained behind idly to look
around me. The scene was beautifully romantic and heroically sublime.
Groups of cavalry were seen judiciously, although apparently without
regularity, dotted along the sides of every hill, watching an
opportunity of falling on the discomfited foe. Our troops gallantly
bore on over an unbroken series of intrenchments, thickly crowded with
bayonets and kept lively by incessant fire. The awful passing events
lay beneath my view; nor was there aught to interrupt my observation
save a few bodily twitches, the pangs of prostrated ambition, and the
shot and shells which burst close, or nearly cut the ground from under
me. Alone I lay reclined, being unable to maintain an upright position;
and thus I had a good opportunity for melancholy contemplation, not
unmixed with patriotic joy as I reviewed the battle which tended slowly
upwards. The deadly strife was surprisingly grand; yet the sublimity of
the scene defied all attempt at description. The wreck and destruction
of men and matter was strewn around; the piteous life-ending moans
of the wounded writhing in torture, and the loud yelling fury of the
maddened combatants, repeated by a thousand discordant echoes, were
truly appalling, especially to a person who being put out of the fight
could be only a spectator of the tumult. The fierce and continued
charge of the British was irresistible, nor could they be checked;
onward they bore, nor stopped to breathe, rushing forward through glen,
dale and forest, where vivid flashed the fire and bright gleamed the
steel. Yet they seemed to chase only the startled red deer, prowling
wolf or savage wild-boar, until they arrived at the steel-bristling
strongholds of the foe. Now they occupied the same level upon which I
lay. Here the battle raged in its utmost fury; and for a short time
it became stationary. The contending foes were the soldiers of the
two most warlike nations of Europe and the most steadfast in mutual
jealousy and aversion. The British legions impetuously rushed forward
on the native soil of France, resolved to uphold till death the honour
and glory of their country. Those of France with equal bravery and
resolution determined to resist to the last this insulting intrusion on
their soil. Thus mutually stimulated to madness, they met with a shock
tremendous. France nobly maintained her well-earned military fame;
but her surprisingly valiant deeds proved vain in this bloody border
strife, where noble emulation wrought up to the highest pitch the Percy
and Douglas and a third not nerveless arm, all now dealing forth
deadly blows under one and the same banner. What foe could resist their
united attack or penetrate the shield formed of the Rose, Shamrock and
Thistle when closely bound together in a union strong as lasting? What
foe could triumph over Wellington, who, born in Ireland, with the keen
policy of Scotland, adopting England and combining the genius of all
three, was the one appropriate chief to wield their united strength in
the field? A force constituted of such moral and physical strength,
and led by such a man could not long be withstood. The star of the
three united nations shone victorious on the summits of the lofty
Pyrenees, gilding the tall pines which capped their heads for miles and
foreboding downfall to Imperial France, since it was the star of true
liberty and national independence. The French on their side with broken
brand and fallen crest reluctantly gave way, sullenly retiring within
their national boundary, no longer invulnerable.

This memorable battle, which introduced the victorious British army
and their allies into France, commenced before daybreak and continued
until after dark. The enemy were beaten back from their strong frontier
position, losing fifty-one guns, two thousand prisoners, stores
incalculable and some thousands killed and wounded; the nature of
the ground prevented the number of these from being ascertained,–it
must have been immense. As to our regiment’s advance up the hill to
the attack, it may perhaps be alleged that I should not have urged
forward the colours so rapidly nor have been so far in front. Our
advance, considering the steepness of the hill, was certainly rather
rapid; but had we not thus rapidly advanced, as in a continued charge
through breastworks, we should have lost double the number of men; and
it certainly would not have fallen to the proud lot of our regiment
_alone_ to have stormed and carried the enemy’s great redoubt; and
this we did, as may be gathered from the remark made by Vincent and
L’Estrange about the 61st Regiment. But it is of little consequence
whether I kept up with the colours or the colours came on at my pace;
anyway it affords proud consolation to reflect that it was in front of
them I fell.

[Sidenote: WINNING A STEP IN THE SERVICE.]

Immediately before entering the redoubt, Montgomery, who carried
the king’s colour, furled the sheet round the staff, which he used
as a lance, and thus armed gallantly charged in amongst the foremost
bayonets. Being a powerful and athletic person (afterwards lieutenant
of Grenadiers), he made good use of his silk-bound weapon, and never
did blood-stained royal banner bear more honourable testimony of
personal prowess in war. I know not what became of the staff; it should
ever be kept with the regiment and accompany it into action. Besides
common promotion arising from casualties, one captain of the regiment
got the brevet rank of major; he was _not_ in the action, but I, who
was serving voluntarily and had a leg shattered while charging at the
head of the regiment, was neglected. Being subsequently asked if I did
not get the brevet step for my voluntary services and wound, I answered
no, but that I got a permanent step and that was a lame one.

From the Duke of Wellington’s despatch relative to the battle of the
Nivelle the following extract is copied: “While these operations
were going on in the centre, I had the pleasure of seeing the 6th
Division, under Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Clinton, after having
crossed the Nivelle and having driven in the enemy’s piquets on both
banks, and having covered the passage of the Portuguese division under
Lieutenant-General Sir John Hamilton on its right, make a most handsome
attack upon the right of the Nivelle, carrying all the intrenchments
and the redoubt on that flank.” In justice to the regiment I beg to
remark that if the attack of the division was most handsome, that
of the 36th Regiment must have been most beautiful, for it was this
regiment which managed to take the lead and single-handed carried the
redoubt.

Immediately after the redoubt was taken, under which I fell, another
fort on our right, not yet attacked, turned some of its guns against
the one just captured; and their shot and shell ploughing the ground
all around me nearly suffocated me with dust and rubbish. Those who
were not very severely wounded scrambled their way down the hill; but
I might as well have attempted to carry a millstone as to drag my
shattered leg after me. I therefore remained among the dead and dying,
who were not few. My situation was not enviable. After some hours
Assistant-Surgeon Simpson of the regiment appeared. I then got what is
termed a field dressing; but unfortunately there were no leg splints;
and so arm splints were substituted. Through this makeshift I suffered
most severely during my descent. Some of the band coming up, I was put
into a blanket and carried down the hill; but as we proceeded down this
almost perpendicular descent, the blanket contracted from my weight
in the middle, and then owing to the want of the proper long splints
the foot drooped beyond the blanket’s edge; it is almost impossible to
imagine the torture which I suffered. Having gained the base of the
hill towards dark, a cottage was fortunately discovered and into this I
was carried.

Up to the noon of this day I congratulated myself on my good fortune
in having served in the first and last battle fought in Spain, and
proudly contemplated marching victoriously through France. I recalled
too with pleasure and as if it were a propitious omen, that on this day
five years ago I first trod Spanish ground. On November 16th, 1808, we
marched into Fuentes de Oñoro, under the command of Sir John Moore.
Then I was strong hale and joyous, with the glorious prospects of war
favourably presented to view; but the afternoon of this, the fifth
anniversary, proved a sad reverse. On this day I was carried out of
Spain, borne in a blanket, broken in body and depressed in mind, with
all my brilliant prospects like myself fallen to the ground. Such is
glorious war.

[Sidenote: DRESSING A WOUND.]

After the field dressing Simpson departed in search of other wounded
persons; and on his report of my wound two or three other medical
officers sought me, fortunately in vain, that they might remove the
limb. On the 4th day I was conveyed to a place where a hospital was
established; but the inflammation of the leg was then so great (it was
as big as my body) that no amputation could be attempted. A dressing
took place which was long and painful, for I had bled so profusely
while in the cottage that a cement hard as iron was formed round the
limb, and before my removal it was absolutely necessary to cut me out
of the bed on which I lay. After a considerable time passed in steeping
with tepid water, the piece of mattress and sheet which I carried away
from the cottage were removed; and now began the more painful operation
of setting the leg. Staff-Surgeon Mathews and Assistant-Surgeon Graham,
31st Regiment, were the operators. Graham seized me by the knee and
Mathews by the foot. They proposed that four soldiers should hold me
during the operation; to this I objected, saying with a kind of boast
that I was always master of my nerves. They now twisted and turned and
extended my leg, aiming along it like a spirit level. The torture was
dreadful; but though I ground my teeth and the big drops of burning
perspiration rapidly chased each other, still I remained firm, and
stifled every rising groan. After all was concluded I politely thanked
Mathews, carelessly remarking that it was quite a pleasure to get
wounded to be so comfortably dressed. This was mock heroism, for at
the moment I trembled as if just taken from the rack; however, it had
a strange effect upon Mathews, who told Lavens that he feared I was
somewhat deranged from the great loss of blood and agonising pain which
I suffered. Lavens, Assistant-Surgeon of the 28th Regiment and an old
messmate, only laughed and offered to be responsible for the soundness
of my intellect if no other cause than bodily pain interfered. Some
time afterwards Mathews told him that the inflammation had much
subsided and he thought that amputation might safely be performed;
yet I appeared so strong, doing so well and in such good spirits, he
felt some little inclination to give the limb a chance, if he could
believe that my good spirits would continue. Lavens, whom I saw every
day, replied that he need not dread low spirits on my part under any
circumstance, and as to the difference between the loss of life and
that of a limb he felt convinced it would be no great matter to me. If
therefore he thought the preservation of the limb depended on corporeal
or mental constitution, he recommended the trial. Mathews told all this
to me, when I willingly concurred in the attempt to save the leg. It
had served me well during many a long and weary march, in many a lively
skirmish and some hard-fought battles, particularly whilst in the 28th
Light Company; I therefore felt extremely unwilling to part with it.
One feels regret at losing even a favourite walking-stick; what then
must the feeling be at losing a faithful leg? The trial was decided on;
but in justice to Dr. Mathews I feel called upon to declare that he
most fully pointed out the imminent danger attending the experiment.
Thus far I have entered into detail in consequence of a remark made to
the General Medical Board, Drs. Weir, Franklin and Car, who said, when
I appeared before them in London, that the medical officer who saved
my leg was in no way borne out in making the attempt, for there were
ninety-nine chances to one against my life. It is true that the wound
was as severe as could possibly be inflicted; the tibia and fibula were
both shattered, and the orifice made seemed the entrance to a quarry of
bones, five-and-thirty pieces of which exfoliated and kept the wound
open for several years.

[Sidenote: A GENEROUS SPANIARD.]

When I was carried out of the field my whole fortune consisted of one
crusado novo, a Portuguese silver coin value three shillings. This I
had much difficulty in persuading the poor cottagers to accept, not
from a consideration that the sum was an inadequate remuneration for
the mutilation of their mattress and whatever food they supplied, but
solely from pure motives of generosity. They wept at my parting, and
prayed to every saint in heaven or elsewhere for my speedy and perfect
recovery. On my arrival therefore in hospital, I possessed not a single
farthing; and in my situation other nourishment was required than that
of a ration pound of bread and beef. My host, Don Martin D’Echiparre,
continually sat by my bedside. Looking upon him as a generous and
liberal person, I, after a few evenings, candidly confessed my
pecuniary embarrassments, requesting him to lend me a few dollars and
offering him my gold watch until I should receive a remittance from the
paymaster. He replied, “Do you take me for a Jew? I never lend less
than a hundred guineas; these you may have when you please.” This I
considered a bombastical evasion and declined his offer. Next morning
he made his usual visit and approaching close said in a low voice,
“You refused last night to take a hundred guineas; take at least these
fifty,” and he held them forth. I told him that so large a sum was both
superfluous and useless; however, after a good deal of controversy, he
consented to lend me so small a sum as ten guineas.

After a lapse of three months an order was received to remove the
hospital depôt to St. Jean de Luz. What was to be done? I had received
no remittance; consequently I had no means of repaying the ten guineas,
six of which were already spent–one more was absolutely necessary to
defray the cost of my removal to St. Jean de Luz, which would take four
days. I was to be carried in a litter borne by inhabitants, to pay whom
would require the greater part of the guinea. To pay back the remaining
three would be but a poor return; but my truly noble and generous host
having entered the room, relieved me from my unpleasant dilemma. After
expressing his deep regret at my departure, he thus addressed me:
“Being aware that you have had no remittance from the army; and knowing
from the hospitable and generous manner in which you have entertained
the many officers who continually came to see you, in which hospitality
I nightly participated with pleasure, that you must want money, I put
these four farthings in my pocket for you,” presenting four Spanish
doubloons. “I offer you,” continued he, “this small sum because of your
obstinacy in refusing the hundred guineas; but if you will accept that
sum and another hundred in addition, you would please me much more. Do
not pay me from St. Jean de Luz nor from England, but only when you get
home to your friends in Ireland; and if you never pay, it will be of
no consequence whatever.” However I declined to accept either hundreds
or doubloons: and after mutual protestations of sincere friendship and
regard, we bade each other a final farewell and parted with unfeigned
regret. This anecdote I relate as highly honourable to the country in
which it occurred. D’Echiparre was a Frenchman by birth, but a Spaniard
by adoption, and in the Spanish language we always conversed. He was
a Valladolid merchant and had realised upwards of ten thousand pounds,
which in that part of the country was considered a handsome fortune.

[Sidenote: A POSTCHAISE, BUT NO ROAD.]

On my arrival at St. Jean de Luz I was so fortunate as to procure two
months’ pay (not in advance for we were seven months in arrear), when I
immediately sent the ten guineas to my generous host.

The time having arrived to get rid of the cumbrous sick and wounded
officers, we were removed to los Pasages and there embarked in a
transport bound for Portsmouth; but the wind proving contrary prevented
our entering the channel and we were compelled to put into Bantry Bay
in Ireland. Here we anchored close to a village, if I recollect right,
called Castletown, and put up at an inn kept by the widow Martin. The
wind continuing very boisterous and contrary, we resolved to travel
overland through Ireland. Enquiring for a postchaise, we were informed
that there was a postchaise, but that some miles of the road were
as yet unfinished, and consequently not carriageable. Upon this we
dropped down to the village bearing the name of the bay. Here having
learned that the road was perfectly good, we landed our baggage and
went ashore; but now to our great dismay we found that this village
had no postchaise. In this dilemma we decided to place our baggage on
pack-saddles and to travel as in Spain. The operation of packing had
commenced, when looking into the courtyard I discovered a hearse. Upon
enquiry the waiter said: “Please, your honour, it is an ould lady who
died here lately, and her friends thought they would bury her proudly;
so they sent to Cork for the hearse and it is going back to-day to
Bandon.” I sent for the driver and immediately concluded a bargain;
he engaged to carry us to Bandon in the hearse; and thence we were
to have two postchaises to take us to Cork for a sum agreed upon. The
pack-saddling was relinquished; and the whole party, consisting of
Captain Taylor, 28th, with a broken thigh, Captain Girlston, 31st, a
broken arm, Captains Bryan and Cone, 39th, sick leaves, and Captain
Blakeney, 36th, a broken leg, entered the hearse. Our first stage was
Dunmanway, where we made a tremendous meal; the innkeeper complimented
us by saying that he never saw travellers in a hearse make so hearty
a breakfast. Our appearance must have been extraordinary; for as we
moved along in the carriage of death, but not with its usual pace, the
country folk, abandoning their legitimate avocations, ran after us for
miles.

On our arrival at Bandon thousands of the inhabitants followed and
impeded our way. I recollect that a regiment of militia quartered
there ran like others to see the novel show, when hundreds of the
runabout crowd cried out to them: “Get ye out of the way! What have ye
to do with the honours of war? Look there!” and they pointed to our
crutches, which stuck out from the open hearse in all directions, like
escutcheons emblasoning the vehicle of death. At length we got safe to
our inn, attended as numerously as if the hero of the Peninsula himself
had been present. Here I called upon a lady who lived close to our
inn–a Mrs. Clarke. She had two sons in the army, with both of whom I
was intimately acquainted, particularly the eldest; he was a brother
officer of mine in the 28th Regiment and was afterwards removed to
the 5th Regiment, in which he lost a leg. To him we are indebted for
that valuable publication, _The United Service Journal_. The other I
knew in the 77th Regiment; he also had been severely wounded in the
leg, so that the lady had seen both her sons on crutches. When she saw
the rough crutches which I carried, or rather which carried me, she
offered me a pair more highly finished, belonging to one of her sons;
but since mine were made of the halberts of two sergeants who lost
their lives charging into the redoubt under which I fell, I declined
the lady’s very polite offer.

[Sidenote: A ROAD, BUT NO POSTCHAISE.]

Next morning we set out for Cork; and being actually enclosed within
postchaises we contrived to screen our honours of war from public
notice and therefore were not cheered to our hotel. At Cork the party
separated, each making his way to England as best he could. On my
arrival in London, I waited on Sir Henry Torrens, military secretary
to His Royal Highness the Commander-in-chief. I mentioned to the
secretary my intention of memorialising the Duke of York for promotion
by brevet, in consideration of my voluntary services and severe wounds
received whilst so serving. Sir Henry after hearing my statement
said that I was perfectly right, but at the same time advised me to
procure testimonials of my services from my different commanding
officers in support of my memorial. With this advice I willingly
complied, conscious of my having on every occasion endeavoured to
perform my duties to the fullest extent of my abilities. After such
encouragement from so high an authority as the Commander-in-chief’s
secretary and firmly relying on the nature of the testimonials which
I should receive, I considered my promotion certain. I immediately
wrote to Colonel Cross, commanding 28th Regiment at Fermoy, and to
Colonel Browne (late 28th), commanding 56th Regiment at Sheerness.
With their replies and a memorial to His Royal Highness, I waited
on the secretary; but on presenting them, he, without even opening
them, said: “Recollect, Captain Blakeney, that I did not promise you
promotion. I cannot give away majorities.” I replied that I did not
apply for a majority; I only asked for the rank by brevet, which was
throughout the army considered as a reward for meritorious officers
when regimental promotion might be attended with difficulty. I received
no answer. Chagrined and disappointed because, when the secretary had
told me that I was right in making a memorial and had advised me to
get my commanding officer’s testimonials, he now opposed that memorial
before he even submitted it to the Commander-in-chief, I retired with
strong impressions, which I now decline to state. In a short time I
received an answer to my memorial stating that I could not at the
present moment be promoted by brevet, but that I should get a majority
when a favourable opportunity offered. Unbounded confidence was not
inspired by this promise from the Horse Guards, particularly after what
had passed on the subject. How far this diffidence was justified may be
seen in the sequel.

The above statement may appear extraordinary; but between the time of
my first interview with Sir Henry Torrens and the arrival of those
testimonials from my various commanding officers, which the secretary
had suggested, the star of Napoleon had begun to set. His abdication
soon followed; war was no longer contemplated; and the claims of
officers, of whatever nature, were abandoned to a heartless neglect.

Continue Reading

FIGHTING IN THE PYRENEES

All the troops, except those left to repair and garrison Badajoz,
having moved off, I proceeded immediately to Lisbon. Here I remained
as short a time as possible, not from over anxiety to see England,
but because, although I had the horrors of the sacking of Badajoz in
painful recollection, I felt greater horror at the idea that I might be
taken for a Belemite. During the splendid campaigns which took place in
the Peninsula from 1808 to 1813 many British officers were collected
at Belem, and with peculiar tact so contrived as always to remain in
the rear of the army. Some were unwillingly kept back from debility of
constitution or through wounds, but a large majority were inflicted
with a disease which, baffling the skill of learned doctors, loudly
called for a remedy far different from that of medical treatment.
This patrician band, amounting to the incredible number of upwards of
a thousand, were formed into an inefficient depôt at Belem, a suburb
of Lisbon, distant thence about five miles. That this over prudent
body was not exclusively composed of wounded will appear when it is
known that the greater number of its members had never seen nor heard
a shot fired during the whole of the eventful period mentioned, far
more cautions indeed than the smooth-faced Roman patricians who fled
from the slingers at Pharsalia. This careful band did not venture so
far even as the skirts of the fight; and it might truthfully be said
that the movement of the whole army was attended with less difficulty
than the movement of a single Belemite to the front. The complaint or
disease of which they complained they invariably attributed to the
liver; but medical men after careful analysis attributed it to an
affection of the heart, founding their conclusions on the fact that
whenever any of those backward patients came forward, the violent
palpitations of that organ clearly proved that it was much more
affected by the artificial fire in the field than was the liver by the
physical heat of the sun.

A ludicrous scene took place in Lisbon whilst I was there, in which
one of these gentlemen of the rearguard made a very conspicuous,
though not happy figure, and so caused much merriment. Prevailing upon
himself to fancy that he was deeply in love with a young and beautiful
Portugese lady of noble birth and ample fortune, he was unwearied in
his addresses. These, as it would appear, were not disagreeable to the
amiable fair; but her parents entertaining quite different sentiments,
used every endeavour to cut off all communication between the lovers.
Notwithstanding, our hero, active and persevering in the wars of Venus
as passive and quiescent in those of Mars, was not to be shaken; and
finding that his visits to the lady’s house were no longer desired,
he became incessant in his attendance at a post taken up opposite
to a particular window in the rear of the mansion wherein the lady
resided. Here a telegraphic correspondence was established between
the lovers. This being discovered by the vigilant parents, means were
adopted to prevent the appearance of their daughter at the propitious
window. Finding however that the hero was not to be diverted from his
purpose, and that he continued to attend every evening about dusk in
the vicinity of the window, they determined to bring about by stratagem
that which neither threat nor remonstrance could effect.

[Sidenote: WITH LOVE’S LIGHT WINGS.]

In the meantime the champion, more of love than of war, relaxed not
in his dusky visits, although uniformly disappointed. Fancy then his
ecstasy one evening, after such continued vexations and as he was
about to depart, at again beholding the cherished object of all his
solicitude present herself at the accommodating window. His heart
bounded at recognising the high bonnet with pink ribbons, so well
remembered. Half frantic with delight he rapturously pressed his hands
to his heart, then applying them to his lips shot them forward in the
direction of the lovely fair. Here his happiness was increased tenfold
at perceiving that his angel, who on former occasions but doubtingly
countenanced his love, now with fervour apparently equal to his own
repeated all his amorous gestures; this he naturally attributed to pure
affection, heightened by long separation. His amorous expressions also
were repeated, so far as the distance which separated them allowed him
to distinguish words, although as he afterwards related he fancied the
intonation of the voice an octave higher than usual and the sudden
interruptions rather hysterical; but this he attributed to the flurried
state of her mind at the moment. All tended in his excited imagination
to show the great interest she felt at the interview. Urged by these
sentiments, he hurried forward; his charmer hurried from the window.
Excited to the highest pitch and considering the retreat from the
window, which was left open, rather an invitation than a repulse, he
determined to enter; and fortunately discovering a short ladder in
the garden, left as he thought through accident or neglect, with its
aid he boldly entered the room. The obscurity here being greater, he
could barely see the loved object of his search quickly retire to a
large armchair; to this he promptly followed, and throwing himself
upon his knees held forth his clasped hands in a supplicating manner,
when lo and behold! the doors were suddenly thrown open and a numerous
concourse of ladies and gentlemen with lights hurried into the room
before the lover had time to resume his upright position. Fancy his
confusion and amazement at beholding in the first person who entered
the object of all his affections, and his horror and consternation
when turning round to the object before whom he knelt, he found his
closed hands firmly clasped by a large Brazilian monkey! This ape was
the particular favourite of the young lady, and on this occasion was
dressed by order of her parents in the precise apparel which they
had seen their daughter always wear during the balcony interviews.
Thunderstruck and abashed as he regarded all the objects round and as
the shrill voice and chirping hysterical sounds flashed on his memory
now dreadfully explained, he fully represented wild despair and abject
humility. Yet he still clung to the hope that the young lady would try
to extricate him from his degrading dilemma, when she thus addressed
him: “Ah, faithless wretch!–not content with endeavouring to betray
me alone, but also to attempt seducing the affections of my favourite,
my darling monkey! Begone, wretch, nor let me ever more behold thy
odious presence!” and darting at him a glance of the utmost disdain
she flounced out of the room. Now, becoming furious at his ludicrous
situation, and scarcely knowing how to vent his rage, he drew forth
his sword from under his cloak and in a menacing attitude prepared to
attack the innocent object at whose feet he had so lately knelt, and
to whom he had so ardently poured forth the fervency of his passion.
The imitative animal, instantly snatching up a large fan which lay
on the armchair and little knowing his danger, immediately assumed
a similar menacing attitude, when a loud cry burst forth from all,
“Shame, shame, to enter the lists against a poor defenceless monkey!”
This was too much to be borne, and the beau, the dupe of stratagem,
followed the example of the young lady by leaving the room, with this
difference–the young lady proudly and slowly went upstairs, but our
hero with an entirely opposite feeling rushed hurriedly down. There
was thought of remonstrances to the British authorities; but it being
ascertained that this tender man of war was not quartered in Lisbon,
but a Belemite who in amorous mood strayed away from his tribe, no
military investigation took place. However the affair becoming the
topic of general merriment, the gallant gay Lothario could not endure
the derision to which he was exposed. But what annoyed him most was the
report that he had fought a duel with a monkey. He therefore determined
to join the army and resigning the voluptuous court of Venus ranged
himself at last under the rigid standard of Mars; thus what the hero
of the Peninsula failed to accomplish was brought about by a Brazilian
baboon, the forcing of a Belemite from out his safehold to the field of
war.

[Sidenote: A JULIET OF BRAZIL.]

Having remained but a very few days in Lisbon, I proceeded to England
and reporting myself at the Horse Guards was ordered to join the 2nd
Battalion of my regiment, quartered at Lewes. Thence I was immediately
sent on recruiting service; but having shortly after procured my
recall, I applied to His Royal Highness the Duke of York for leave to
join the 1st Battalion of the Regiment then in the Peninsula, although
I belonged to the 2nd Battalion at home. His Royal Highness was pleased
to grant my request; this was facilitated by there being at the time
three captains of the 1st Battalion in England. I now proceeded to
Portsmouth to procure a passage to Lisbon. Here I found there was but
one transport ready to sail for the Peninsula; this being a horse
transport was filled with those animals and dragoon officers, to whom
alone the cabin was dedicated. However, Colonel Sir James Douglas,
Colonel Belnevis, Majors Leggatt and Arnot, infantry officers, having
arrived before me at Portsmouth had contrived to get berths, but there
was none left for me; even the floor was portioned off. My application
for a passage was therefore negatived; but after repeated entreaties
to Captain Patten, Agent of Transports, he permitted me to sail in
the vessel, with the proviso however that I should pledge my word of
honour not to take that precedence in choice of berths to which my rank
entitled me; in a word, not to interfere with the convenience of the
cavalry officers, who were all subalterns. From my anxiety to return to
Spain and impatience of delay, I hesitated not a moment in agreeing to
the proposal.

[Sidenote: A THREATENED FIGHT BY SEA.]

Our voyage proceeded prosperously until we approached the Bay of
Biscay, when entering on its skirts and in very rough weather we fell
in with a British man-of-war. Perceiving us alone, she very genteelly
undertook to protect us. In pursuance of this disinterested act she
made signals for us to follow her movements, in obeying which we
entered much deeper into the bay than the master of the transport or
any other person on board could account for. While we were steering
thus for a considerable time, certainly very wide of our true course,
an American privateer with a prize in tow hove in sight, when our
kind and voluntary protector immediately left us, making his course
for those vessels, which on his approach separated taking different
directions. But the British man-of-war turning his back on the
hostile privateer, allowed her to depart without any molestation; and
considering perhaps that he best served his country in doing so chose
the prize for chase, by the capture of which salvage would reward his
patriotism. The three vessels were soon out of sight. The man-of-war
and the prize we never saw more; but towards evening the privateer was
again discovered bearing down upon us. Approaching within gunshot she
lay to on our starboard bow. Having four guns aside which were shotted
and everything ready for action, we also played the bravo, and reefing
our mainsail also lay to. Colonel Douglas, as chief in command, took
no particular station; Colonel Belnevis, Major Leggatt and Major Arnot
commanded the starboard guns; the bow gun, same side, was allotted
to me. When we had silently broadsided each other for some time, the
privateer, seeing our vessel full of troops and moreover double her
size, dared not hazard an attempt at boarding, and perceiving our four
guns aside did not fire into us; while we, on the other side, had many
reasons for not wishing an action. Perceiving however the hesitation
of the enemy, we put the best face on the affair and resolved stoutly
to bear down direct upon her. On our approaching the privateer crowded
all sail and to our infinite satisfaction bore away, repeating the
same signals made by our faithful commodore in the morning–_i.e._, to
follow her movements; and this too with the English flag flying. To say
the truth we were in miserable fighting trim; for although we had four
guns aside, we dreaded their explosion more than the shot from our
enemy. The locks of these guns were but very imperfectly fastened on;
and through some extraordinary oversight no medical officer had been
embarked.

The wind having much increased and we being in the centre of the bay,
the vessel rolled awfully. Water-casks, portmanteaus, hencoops breaking
from their lashings fearfully traversed the decks, and obeying only
the rolling of the vessel threatened broken limbs to all who came
in their way. These obstacles and many others of a minor kind gave
particular annoyance to the cavalry officers, who being dressed for
professional fight and mostly being but a short time in the Service,
wore their spurs unconscionably long and consequently detrimental; for
many things which otherwise would have crossed the deck, fastened on
the spurs, and their owners in the confusion of the moment could not
account for the closeness with which they were charged, forgetting
that their own weapons dragged the encumbrances after them. All things
considered, we were well pleased at not being obliged to fight; our
nerves could not have been doubted. The infantry, four field officers
and one captain were veterans often proved in action; and the gallantry
of the dragoons could not for a moment be called in question, for
they showed themselves gamecocks even to the heels. The name of one
of these officers I mention from his peculiar and melancholy fate,
Lieutenant Trotter, 4th Dragoon Guards. At the Battle of Waterloo he
gallantly took a French dragoon officer prisoner in single combat.
While conducting him to the rear (of course on his parole and therefore
permitted to ride), Trotter never thought of being on his guard; but
the assassin, watching an opportunity when Trotter turned round, drew
out a pistol which he had concealed in his breast and shot poor Trotter
through the head. He instantly fell dead but the murderer escaped.

[Sidenote: A STRANGE PROTECTOR.]

When we had succeeded in lashing the water-casks, portmanteaus and
coops, and recooping the fugitive poultry, and having fortunately got
rid of both our foe and our protector, we, to make use of a military
phrase, brought up our left shoulders to resume our proper course, from
which we had been diverted, nay, ordered to deviate by the insidious
interference of a man-of-war. The master of the transport calculated
that by obeying his signals, our voyage was considerably prolonged.
Thus was the public Service retarded and British troops placed in a
perilous situation by a person whose bounden duty it was to protect
them, yet who first led us into danger and then left us to our fate in
a comparatively defenceless transport while he himself turned his back
on friend and foe and went in search of a prize. Few such instances
have occurred or are likely to occur, since such conduct is surely as
repugnant to the feelings of our brave sailors as to our own.

During the rest of our voyage we met with no further adventure. After
our encounter I told Colonel Douglas that having been now called upon
duty I was entitled to a choice of berths according to my rank, in
which Douglas fully agreed; but as I had pledged my word to Captain
Patten that I should not interfere with the dragoon officers, I
continued my usual dormitory, which was on the hay put on board for the
horses.

On our arrival at Lisbon, Colonel Douglas ascertained the name of our
convoy and that of the captain. He declared at the time that he would
report the whole transaction to the Commander-in-chief. Whether he did
so or not I cannot say, as I never after had the pleasure of meeting
him but once, and that on the Pyrenees and under circumstances which
precluded much conversation: he was bleeding profusely from a gunshot
wound which he had just received in the neck. I recollect being told on
our arrival at Lisbon by a gallant old naval officer, who was highly
indignant at the affair, that we were taken in convoy because our
voluntary protector did not belong to the station, and therefore took
the opportunity of offering his services as a pretext for trespassing
on Sir Richard Keats’ cruising ground.

Having remained in Lisbon barely long enough to prepare equipment
necessary to take the field, I now marched from that capital for the
fourth time; but although superior in rank I did not feel more happy.
On former occasions I proudly fell into the ranks of as fine and
gallant a corps as ever moved forth to battle; I laughed and joked with
old comrades whom I sincerely esteemed. Our march was enlivened with
martial music, and we enjoyed each other’s society when the daily march
was over. That was a walk of pleasure; but now the contrast was woeful.
Silent and alone I left Lisbon. I had a dreary march of some hundred
miles before me; heavily therefore I plodded along and always in dread
of being taken for a Belemite. At last however I fortunately fell in
with an artillery officer, a lieutenant who was proceeding to the army
with a relay of mules for the guns. My new acquaintance being also
proficient in more languages than one, we could, as occasion required,
and without dread of detection, pass as natives of different countries;
and through the general information acquired by the curious traveller
who has wandered far, we were enabled to act in many capacities. In
some measure therefore to brighten the gloom and break the monotony
of our long and dreary march, we exerted our ingenuity in frequent
varieties of calling.

[Sidenote: PLANNING AN ELOPEMENT.]

In our playful frolics we acted many parts; but to recount all the
occurrences which took place during this extraordinarily long march
would be impossible; yet, lest it should be imagined that I wish to
insinuate that fortune smiled upon all our juvenile and thoughtless
freaks and to show that, as all who adventure much, we also shared
her frowns, I shall relate one anecdote. Approaching the Ebro, we
were billeted in the house of a hidalgo a short way from the town of
Reynosa. In the mansion of our noble host dwelt two beautiful young
ladies, nieces of a High Church dignitary, then absent at Madrid.
With one of these fair ladies the lieutenant of artillery became
desperately enamoured, and his love seemed to be returned. A mutual
attachment was confessed; a union was mutually agreed upon; and the
fair Iberian heroically determined to knit her fate with that of her
lover and confiding in his honour resolved on an elopement. That my
friend’s intentions were perfectly honourable I had no doubt; but to
induce a Spanish bishop to give the hand of his niece to a heretic was
not to be thought of. Under these circumstances I of course lent my
aid, seeing that my companion was determined at all hazard to carry
her off. The elopement was fixed for the morning dawn. The heroine,
the better to elude discovery, determined to travel for a stage or
two in male attire; to this I contributed a new hat. In this hat were
closely crammed a pair of doeskin inexpressibles belonging to the
great gun officer, which were privately consigned to the fair lady
and by her kept in her room until required. One of our servants was
to accompany the lady and gentleman, who were to start at daybreak,
each riding in a man’s saddle and as men do, to which the lady made
no objection. In truth Spanish ladies see nothing either morally or
physically wrong in this mode of travelling. The principal object to
be attained was to lull the suspicions of the family, particularly
that of the young lady’s aunt and of her elder sister, whose vigilance
was roused by certain telegraphic glances which passed between the
incautious lovers. To forward this we invited the whole family that
night and generously supplied them with mulled wine highly spiced and
sweetened and qualified with a liberal portion of brandy. This punch
royal was plentifully supplied; and to say the truth the beverage was
freely quaffed by all to a very late hour, when at length all retired
to rest. The anxiously looked-for dawn having appeared, we beheld the
little lady emerging from her room fully equipped for travelling. Her
costume certainly caused some mirth. My friend’s doeskins not being
sufficiently ample, were ripped down the rear; but for security, as
well as to prevent untoward accidents, the young lady had established a
communication between the separated parts of the dress by cross-lacing
or frogging, such as may be seen across the breast of a hussar’s
blue frock. My hat was tastefully perched on the crown of her head,
rather on one side and made fast to a net or caul in which her hair
was confined, an arrangement not unfrequently adopted by men in
Spain. Thus, with the addition of a pair of top or jockey-boots (also
mine) and a handsome whip, she had all the appearance of a smart and
fashionable little postilion. Her white jacket was also slit and
frogged, but in front and for a similar reason. Now as we lightly
tripped downstairs a confused noise was heard through the house, a
violent retching caused by the previous night’s dissipation; all were
indeed aroused; and as we were hurrying our little postilion towards
the stables we were overtaken by the ever vigilant aunt and a host of
servants. Protestations of honourable intentions were vain; the poor
little postilion was made prisoner and marched back to the house, while
we slunk off crestfallen and abashed.

[Sidenote: AN ELOPEMENT PREVENTED.]

Moving silently along we arrived that night at Reynosa and were
billeted in different houses. Next day we visited the interesting
little hamlet Fontebro, so called from its being close to two springs,
whence that noble stream the Ebro derives its waters; this was three
miles distant from Reynosa. On our return we dined with the gentleman
at whose house I was quartered, a most hospitable person; his wife was
equally hospitable; they cordially invited us to remain some days. We
met a large party of ladies and gentlemen at dinner and were highly
entertained, as is generally the case at all foreign tables where
people meet to eat, drink and be merry, rather than to watch what
others eat and drink and criticise their manner of doing so. I once
heard a fine gentleman ask the person next him at a dinner-party and in
hearing of the person who caused the remark, “Can you fancy anything
so vulgar and ill-bred as to be helped twice to soup?” The answer was
pungent and laconic, “Yes, remarking it.”

In the midst of our hilarity a servant entered with a parcel directed
to the two English officers who had arrived at Reynosa the previous
evening. For some reason or other I felt no inclination to open it;
but the good couple of the house insisted that we should stand upon no
ceremony, but examine its contents. When I loosened the string with a
faltering hand, the first object which presented itself was my hat,
with a pair of jockey-boots stuffed into it, the hat so soaked and
squeezed that it appeared more like a dirty wet sponge than a cover
for the head; next came the little white frogged jacket, which caused
a good deal of laughter. On my showing some reluctance to explore
further, the lady of the house, next to whom I sat, put her hand into
the little bag and to our confusion drew forth my friend’s mutilated
buckskins with the hussared rear face; these she held up to full view,
whirling them round and round for the benefit of all eyes. The roars
of laughter now became absolutely hysterical; we endeavoured to join
in the general mirth, but I fear our laughter partook somewhat of
Milton’s grin. Hundreds of questions were now asked in a breath–where
did they come from? to whom did they belong? why cut them up? with
many other curious enquiries, especially from the ladies. Seeing that
any attempt at plausible explanation would most likely be doubted,
we considered it better truly to relate the principal circumstances,
glossing them over as well as we could. Our account but increased the
mirth, especially among the fair, who wondered at our having been at
all abashed at what should only cause a hearty laugh. One asked which
of us helped to lace up the young lady, as she could not see to do it
herself; and other like questions they asked which I cannot now call
to mind. They all pathetically lamented the disappointment of the poor
young would-be fugitive who was all ready. The affair certainly created
much merriment; but we could not conceal even from ourselves that the
merriment was entirely at our expense. Thus ended our last adventure,
with a loss to my friend of a pair of doeskin tights cut up for a lady,
and to me of a pair of boots and a new hat, for the water with which it
was saturated had ruined it beyond repair.

[Sidenote: ARRIVAL IN THE PYRENEES.]

Next morning before dawn we crossed the Ebro and continued our march
towards the army, perfectly cured of our frolics. Passing through
Vittoria a few days after the celebrated battle there fought, I halted
for a day to visit many old comrades, seventeen officers of the 28th,
who had been wounded in the action. After cordially condoling with
them all I went on again; and after a march of six hundred miles at
length joined the army in the beginning of July on the great barriers
placed by nature to separate France from Spain. The consequences of
the victory at Vittoria still continued to operate. The enemy were
thrust backwards at all points, and about the 7th or 8th of the month
the entire frontier of Spain, from the celebrated Roncesvalles to the
fortress of San Sebastian on the Bay of Biscay, was, with the exception
of Pampeluna and one or two minor places, occupied by the victorious
allies. In this position the triumphant army remained tranquil for a
short time, except for the operations carried on in the investment and
siege of San Sebastian and of Pampeluna.

Soon after the battle of Vittoria the titular king, Joseph, returned
to Paris and was replaced in the chief command of the French army of
Spain by the Duke of Dalmatia. On July 12th this marshal arrived at
Bayonne from Dresden, despatched thence by Napoleon. Soult, inferior
to no officer in France (except perhaps the emperor), either in
judgment or activity, immediately set about remodelling his army; and
to revive their confidence and rouse their drooping spirits, cast down
by repeated disasters, he determined to make an offensive movement
against the position maintained by the allies. After ten or twelve
days passed in continual preparations for carrying out his plans of
relieving Pampeluna and if possible raising the siege of San Sebastian,
he on July 25th simultaneously attacked the passes of Roncesvalles and
Maya; and such was the weight of his columns that he broke through
those passes, obliging the allies, after hard fighting and disputing
every inch of ground, to retire, which movement continued the whole
of that day and part of the night. On the 26th the enemy again came
on and a good deal of fighting took place. The allies still retreated
and directed their course towards Pampeluna. Soult was close at hand.
The 4th Division under General Cole had passed Villaba, within three
miles of Pampeluna, in full retreat, early on the morning of the
27th, closely followed by General Picton with the 3rd Division, and
both divisions closely followed by Soult. This induced the garrison of
Pampeluna to make a fierce sortie; and General O’Donnel, who commanded
the blockading troops, seeing Soult rapidly advancing and the two
British divisions as rapidly retreating, and becoming naturally much
alarmed, commenced spiking his guns and destroying his magazines,
when fortunately Don Carlos D’Espana with his division arrived at the
critical moment; he immediately drove back the garrison and reassured
O’Donnel. Soult now fully expected to relieve Pampeluna in a few hours
and appearances were much in favour of his doing so; in fact it was all
but accomplished.

[Sidenote: ADVANCE OF SOULT.]

Picton, now perhaps reflecting that his retreat in the morning,
together with that of Cole whom he commanded, was more precipitate
than need called for, and perceiving the crisis at hand and all that
depended on the affair, suddenly halted and placed his division across
the outlets from the valleys of Zubiri and Lanz, thus screening
Pampeluna. At the same time he ordered General Cole to occupy the
heights between Oricain and Arletta; but that general, observing a
hill which stood forward about a mile in advance and commanded the
road to Huarte, moved forward to possess it, with the concurrence of
Picton who now saw its importance. Soult, who was close at hand, also
saw the importance of possessing this hill, which as the armies were
then situated was the key of Pampeluna. He immediately pushed forward
a strong detachment with accelerated pace to gain the hill; and so
exactly simultaneous was the rush of the contending parties that while
the enemy were ascending one side Cole’s advanced guard were mounting
the other. Two Spanish regiments, part of O’Donnel’s blockading
troops, already posted on the hill and seeing the hostile troops
approaching the summit, made a furious charge on the enemy’s ascending
strong body and gallantly bore them down the hill. Soult lost the key.
His heavy columns soon came up, flushed with what they considered a
victory, as they had driven before them two British divisions; but
their career was suddenly checked on seeing the mountains in their
way crowned by ten thousand troops of Cole’s division; and not two
miles further back stood Picton with a still stronger force, the 3rd
Division, resting on Huarte.

Soult having now his troops in hand commenced a general attack. His
first and most vigorous effort was against the Spanish hill immediately
on the right of Cole’s division; but the gallantry of the Spaniards
was repeated and the enemy thrust down the hill. At this moment Lord
Wellington arrived from the valley of Bastan, where he had left General
Hill to deal with Count D’Erlon. Although he witnessed the victorious
gallantry of the Spaniards, yet perceiving the great loss they
sustained and the importance of maintaining the hill, he ordered the
4th English Regiment to their support. A general skirmish now commenced
along the whole front, which continued until one of the customary
Pyrenean visitors, a dense fog, put an end to the firing for the day.
Various movements took place on both sides and throughout almost all
the divisions during the night and next morning. About noon the enemy
gathered at the foot of the position; and a cloud of skirmishers pushed
forward and ascended the hill like the flames and smoke of a volcano
that could not be contained. At the same time Clauzel’s division burst
forth from the valley of Lanz, and pushing forward rapidly turned
Cole’s division, and were doubling in his rear when a Portugese
brigade of the 6th Division suddenly appearing checked them in good
time; and at the same instant the 6th Division, who came into line
that morning, formed in order of battle across the front of the enemy.
Thus the French column, who moved forward with intention to turn the
left of the allies, now found themselves in a sore predicament; two
brigades of the 4th Division attacked them on the left; the Portuguese
brigade galled their right; while the whole body of the 6th Division
overwhelmed them in front and with a loud cheer and deadly charge sent
them headlong off the field, which was strewed with their dead. This
part of the fight was thus terminated. But higher up the hills the
battle continued with increased fury; every hill was charged, taken
and retaken repeatedly; nor were the French less forward than the
British in repeating their charges. The 6th Division, in which I served
with the 36th Regiment, after having quitted those in the valley, now
climbed the rugged steep and lined with the troops above just becoming
victorious; and a few more charges decided the fate of the day. The
enemy withdrew at all points. They stated their loss to be no more than
two general officers and eighteen hundred killed and wounded; but it
was generally rated much higher. The allies had upwards of two thousand
men killed and wounded.

[Sidenote: STUBBORN FIGHTING.]

The 29th was respected as a military sabbath by both armies, neither
firing a shot throughout the day; but this calm was the immediate
precursor of a violent storm. On the morning of the 30th a furious
attack was commenced against General Hill’s corps, which led to a
battle at Buenza. D’Erlon had twenty thousand men, the allies scarcely
half that number. Hill maintained his ground for a long time; but, his
left being turned, he retired, losing five hundred men. Being joined
by Campbell and Morillo he offered battle; but Soult, who had come
up, declined the fight. On the same morning at daylight another combat
commenced at Sauroren; and this combat lasted much longer and was far
more severe than Hill’s. Here the 6th Division suffered severe loss in
charging the enemy, who retired reluctantly, but too far to return.
They were now driven from the whole of their position and beaten at all
points.

In these battles of the 30th the allies suffered a loss between killed
and wounded, including some taken prisoners, of nearly two thousand
men. The loss on the enemy’s part was far greater; their killed and
wounded alone surpassed that of the allies, besides three thousand made
prisoners. Soult now turned his face towards France. At ten o’clock on
the morning of the 31st General Hill came up with his rearguard between
Lizasso and the Puerto. Turning round, they halted and made good
battle; but their position was forced. Fortunately for them a thick fog
prevented an effective pursuit. The allies lost about four hundred men
and the enemy about the same number. On August 1st and 2nd the enemy
were in full retreat for France; and although, wherever encountered
they suffered defeat, yet they were never in flight; and on these
two days we suffered a loss of at least one thousand men put _hors
de combat_; and we were on the point of suffering another and a more
severe loss.

[Sidenote: WELLINGTON ALMOST CAPTURED.]

On August 2nd, the last day of the fighting, the Duke of Wellington
hurried to Echallar to reconnoitre the enemy and consult his maps,
taking a party of the 43rd Light Infantry as a guard; but the enemy
unobserved, discovering the party sent a detachment to cut them off.
A Sergeant Blood of the 43rd with some of the men, being in front,
perceived the enemy coming on at speed; and seeing the danger in which
the duke was placed, dashed down from rock to rock roaring out the
alarm. The duke instantly mounted and galloped off; the French came up,
but only in time to fire a volley after him.

Both armies now reoccupied pretty nearly the same positions which they
held previous to the attack of July 25th; and thus terminated the
fighting commonly called the battles of the Pyrenees; and never were
battles more fierce or harassing. The principal encounters were at the
point of the bayonet. We and they charged alternately up and down the
sides of rugged and rocky mountains, exposed to the excessive summer
heat of July and at the same time to the cold of winter. Dripping with
perspiration from hard fighting and scorching sun in the valleys, we
had immediately to clamber up to the tops of high mountains and face
the extreme cold naturally to be found there and dense fogs, which
soaked through us and are more penetrating and oppressive than heavy
rain; and this change we suffered more than once in the day, our
constitutions thus undergoing a similar ordeal to that which I have
heard is resorted to in perfecting chronometers, which, to prove their
qualities of compensation, are moved in rapid succession from an oven
to an ice-house and _vice-versâ_.

During these combats we, with the Spaniards and Portuguese, lost
between killed, wounded, and taken seven thousand three hundred
officers and men. The enemy on their part lost upwards of thirteen
thousand and about four thousand prisoners. This short but bloody
campaign lasted but nine days, one of which, the 29th, was dedicated
to rest and peace; on the other eight days ten distinct battles
were fought and hotly contested. I cannot enter into or attempt a
full description of those combats, fought along positions always
intersected by lofty mountains which generally confined the view of
regimental officers to their respective corps. Even staff officers
scarcely knew what was passing beyond the limits of their brigades
or divisions; and consequently the information necessary to furnish
accurate detail must depend on the narratives of many, and thus would
far exceed the just limits of these modest Memoirs. Throughout those
combats the Spanish fought with the greatest bravery, as did the
Portuguese. It was remarked at the time that had Picton with the two
divisions under his command continued to retreat for two hours longer
on the morning of the 27th, Soult would inevitably have gained the
double object which he had in view, the relief of Pampeluna and the
animation of his drooping troops; for although he might have been
compelled to retreat immediately afterwards, he could have boasted
of beating back the allies and succouring the beleaguered fortress,
and averred that his subsequent retreat was preconcerted to guard the
French frontier. And this renewal of the spirit and confidence of his
troops might have been attended with double disadvantage; for it may be
remarked of opponents throughout animated nature that as one becomes
elated by success, the other in equal ratio becomes depressed; and
though physical strength remain intact, moral influence is shaken.

Some changes in posting the divisions now took place. General Hill’s
corps formed on the heights above Roncesvalles; and the 6th Division
lay down in front of the Maya Pass. The contending armies now again
remained tranquil, although our lines were not far asunder, but in
no part so close as at the Maya Pass, where the advanced sentries of
both lines in many places, particularly at night, were not ten yards
asunder. In this novel mode of campaigning we continued for upwards
of three months. At the commencement some fieldworks were thrown up
by us and soon abandoned; but during the whole time of our stay there
the enemy were incessant in fortifying their lines from the base of
the mountains to their very summit, upon which their strong forts and
redoubts were constructed.

[Sidenote: HOSTILE SENTRIES IN CONTACT.]

While we were in this position no acts of hostility took place save
at Pampeluna and San Sebastian, although our mutual piquets after
nightfall were in some parts in the same field, occasionally separated
by a partial wall or small stream and frequently by nothing which
might show a line of demarcation. Slight or, as they were termed,
china walls were the most frequent barriers. In many instances the
advanced sentries were almost in contact; yet so well was civilised
warfare understood that they never interfered with each other and
scarcely ever spoke. The usual words, “All’s well,” were never cried
out. This monotonous roar was superseded by “stone chatters”–white
polished stones, about two pounds’ weight each, were placed on the
spot where each sentry was usually posted at night, and he struck them
against each other twice in slow time. This was repeated along the
chain of sentries. Should any sentry neglect this for more than five
minutes, the next sentry instantly struck the stones three times and
quickly; this rapidly passed along the line and a visit from the piquet
immediately followed. By these means we were sure that a sentry could
not sleep nor be negligent on his post for more than five minutes at
a time. It was rather remarkable that whatever signals our sentries
made were immediately repeated by those of the enemy. In visiting these
advanced sentries, I sometimes spoke to French officers performing a
similar duty, although this, strictly speaking, was not sanctioned. On
those occasions I often got a small flask of French wine; the manner
in which this was procured was rather curious. The French officer put
down his flask and retired a few paces, when I advanced and emptied it
into my wooden canteen; I then replaced the flask and my friendly foe
took it up after I had retired. This may appear strange to the civil
reader and upon reflection so it did to ourselves; nor could we well
explain how it was that two officers familiarly conversing within a few
yards should entertain such absolute horror of coming within touch, as
if it were equal to high treason; but such was the case. It would seem
that warfare bore close affinity to the plague; so long as you avoided
contact all was safe. It was prohibited under the heaviest penalty that
soldiers should ever exchange a word with the enemy. At this time the
army was very scantily provisioned; and many disgraceful desertions
took place to the French who were well supplied.

On one of my visits to the sentries, when I had got my flask of wine,
the French officer asked me, apparently as a commonplace question, when
we intended to attack them, adding, “You need have no hesitation in
telling us, for we know you intend it, and we are prepared night and
day to receive you.” I replied that as to his preparation to receive us
his present generosity gave earnest; but as to the time when the attack
should take place, I was totally ignorant. I added that Lord Wellington
was too well acquainted with natural consequences not to know that he
who betrays himself by divulging his secrets cannot reasonably depend
on another for fidelity; and that he who threatens openly will be
counteracted secretly; that in either case defeat is generally the
result. After this I never entered into conversation with any French
officer.

[Sidenote: CAPTURE OF SAN SEBASTIAN.]

Whilst our right and centre were in this state of tranquillity, towards
our left, especially near San Sebastian, the war was carried on with
the greatest activity. This fortress, after one or two failures and
very severe losses on our part, was at length taken by storm on
August 31st. The small castle which crowned Monte Orgullo held out
until September 9th, when it capitulated, the gallant governor having
obtained honourable terms. Immediately after the storming the town was
set fire to in all quarters; and the most shocking barbarities, such as
are scarcely credible, were perpetrated by the British soldiers on the
unfortunate inhabitants of all ages and sexes.

Early in August Soult had meditated a strenuous attack to relieve
San Sebastian, but the scattered and disorganised state of his army
caused much delay. At last, when all was ready, he was about to assault
the allies on August 30th, but something prevented which induced him
to defer the attack until next morning. On August 31st therefore at
daylight, the enemy rushed forward with the usual impetuosity attending
their first attack, bearing down all before them. Their front column,
directed by General Reille, made great progress up the heights to San
Marcial, while Lamartiniere’s division assailed to the right; and when
their skirmishers had gained two-thirds of the hill and were checked,
their dense column were moved forward. Then the Spaniards, who were
posted there, undauntedly coming forward, vigorously charged the French
column and sent them headlong down the hill.

During this time the head of Villatte’s column, having crossed the
fords at the foot of the hill on rafts and boats, ascended the ridge
and more vigorously renewed the fight, and gained the left of the
Spanish line. The 82nd English Regiment moved forward a short distance
to maintain the post. At this moment Lord Wellington appeared, when the
Spaniards, scarcely kept steady by their own officers, now shouting
forth a cheer of recognition rushed forward to the charge with such
impetuosity that these opponents too were swept down the hill as if
by a torrent. Some pontoon boats which came to their rescue, becoming
overloaded by the fugitives in their hurry to get away, were sunk,
when many were drowned; and the breaking of the bridges to allow the
boats to come to the rescue decided the combat at that point, with
the loss of many hundreds of the enemy. Soult, who beheld this defeat
from the mountain called “Louis XIV.,” determined to try in another
quarter; but it was several hours before the scattered masses could
be collected and the bridges repaired. This effected, he sent the
remainder of Villatte’s reserve over the river, and uniting it with
Foy’s division urged on a more formidable attack at Vera. In this
combat he was not more successful; but although beaten at all points,
still he hesitated not. He determined to make a third attack, for he
had plenty of troops still left. He had forty thousand men collected
in the morning; he attacked with thirty thousand; and the allies in
action amounted to only ten thousand. But the heavy cannonade clearly
heard from San Sebastian during the morning now ceased, for during
the combats above mentioned, San Sebastian had been stormed and taken
without any interruption from without. The movements of Soult previous
to his attack were in appearance confused, but they were designedly so,
with a view of deceiving Wellington; but the latter was well informed
on the night of the 29th what Soult’s plan was; and he consequently
sent orders to the Maya Pass to move the troops there stationed
forward on the morning of the 31st to keep D’Erlon’s corps occupied,
and prevent his sending any reinforcement to aid Soult’s attack. Sir
Charles Colville therefore moved out with the 6th Division. We had a
sharp affair and lost some fifty or sixty men; no other part of the
right or centre of our line was disturbed. Wellington felt perfectly
secure in the strength of his position. A brigade of Guards had come up
from Oporto; and three fresh regiments had just arrived from England
and formed a brigade for Lord Aylmer. Soult, having received in the
course of the day (31st) a report of the storming and capture of San
Sebastian, no longer hesitated; he retired, determined to assemble
his forces and prepare for a more general action. In these latter
combats the enemy lost three thousand five hundred men, the English
and Portuguese one thousand, the Spaniards sixteen hundred, all in the
field; but the whole loss of the allies on this day, including the
storming of San Sebastian, exceeded five thousand. Both armies now
fell into their former positions, and for some time tranquillity was
observed.

Continue Reading

HELL ON EARTH

On the departure of the prince I immediately joined my regiment at
Albuquerque. On my arrival I had the honour of dining with General
Hill. He congratulated me on my good fortune in carrying the prince
safely to Lisbon, remarking that had I not been able to harangue the
peasantry in their native language, sixty soldiers instead of six
would scarcely have been a sufficient guard. The general had heard
from several Spanish officers of the difficulty and danger which I had
encountered. He then congratulated me on the certainty of my immediate
promotion; was pleased to say that I should soon reap the reward which
I so well merited, and then handed me the following letter, which he
requested me to keep by me:–

“GALLEGOS: _January 16th, 1812_.

“SIR,–I am directed to transmit to you the annexed extract
of a letter from Lieutenant-Colonel Torrens, in reply to your
recommendation in favour of Lieutenant Blakeney.

“The Commander-in-Chief will take an early opportunity of
recommending Lieutenant Blakeney for promotion.

“I have the honour to be, etc.,
“FITZROY SOMERSET,
“_Military Secretary_.

“LIEUTENANT-GENERAL HILL.”

Towards the latter end of February my name appeared in the _Gazette_,
promoted to a company in the 36th Regiment, dated January 16th, 1812.
After endeavouring in vain to accomplish an exchange back into my
old corps, I forwarded a memorial to the Duke of Wellington applying
for permission to join the 1st Battalion 36th Regiment, then in the
Peninsula. His Grace answered that he could not interfere with the
appointment of an officer from one battalion to another; that being
promoted I must join the 2nd battalion, to which I properly belonged;
and that I must therefore proceed to England and report my arrival
to the adjutant-general. A copy of this answer was forwarded from
headquarters to the officer commanding the 1st Battalion 36th Regiment,
then at Almendralejo. It was matter of surprise to many that whilst
hundreds of officers were vainly applying for leave to go to England, I
could not procure leave to keep from it; but such, no doubt, were the
arrangements between the Horse Guards and the army in the Peninsula.

[Sidenote: THE AFFAIR OF MERIDA.]

In the beginning of March General Hill moved upon Merida, endeavouring
to surprise a detachment of the enemy there stationed. He approached
within a short distance without being discovered; but an advanced guard
being at length perceived, the enemy hastily evacuated the town. As we
neared the place we saw their rearguard of cavalry crossing the bridge.
Our cavalry and light artillery had previously forded the Guadiana, and
it was confidently expected would soon come up with the retiring foe.
No longer doing duty with the 28th Regiment, I rode over the bridge as
the German dragoons were closely pressing on the enemy’s rear, passing
by their flank. I soon came in view of their main body. They proceeded
hesitatingly, having no doubt been informed by their patrols that our
cavalry had already forded the Guadiana. They halted on a conical hill,
or rather rising mound, which they occupied from its base to its
summit, apparently expecting to be charged. I immediately wheeled round
and returning at full speed informed General Hill of what I had seen.
The general, whose coolness was never more apparent than when the full
energy of the mind was called into action, replied in his usual placid
manner: “Very well; we shall soon be with them. Gallop over the bridge
again and tell General Long to keep closer to the wood.” Instantly
setting off I soon recrossed the bridge, at the far end of which I
met Lord Charles Fitzroy returning after having delivered a similar
message. The cavalry general’s reply was that he wished to keep clear
of the skirts of the wood, when one of us remarked that the wood must
have skirts more extensive than a dragoon’s cloak to keep them at such
a distance. The enemy, perceiving how far they kept away, descended
from the mound on which they had expected to be charged, and rapidly
pushed forward without any molestation; for as our dragoons moved they
still more deviated from the enemy’s line of march, and seemed to be
_en route_ for Badajoz. Had our cavalry closed upon the wood and even
menaced a charge, the progress of the enemy would have been impeded;
but had our cavalry and light guns, by which they were accompanied,
pushed forward rapidly, which they could have done since the plain was
flat and level, and headed the enemy, they would have kept them until
our infantry came up. But nothing of the kind was attempted, and so
every French soldier escaped, though every one ought to have been made
prisoner, and this affair of Merida would have been more complete than
even that of Arroyo Molinos; for when I reported the position of the
enemy to General Hill, they were not more than two miles distant from
our advanced guard. This affair caused an era in the life of General
Hill; for I heard many of his oldest acquaintances remark that before
the evening of this day they never saw a cloud upon his brow.

All hopes of being permitted to remain in the Peninsula having
vanished, I resolved to return to England. With heavy heart I parted
from the regiment in which I first drew my sword, in which my earliest
friendships were formed and my mind modelled as a soldier. In Colonel
Abercrombie’s quarters at Merida many of the officers were assembled.
Sorrowful, I bade adieu to my gallant old comrades, and quaffed a
goblet to their future success whilst I clasped the colours to my
breast–those colours which alone throughout the British army proudly
display the names of the two bloodiest fought battles in the Peninsula,
Barossa and Albuera; and in each of these battles the regiment claimed
a double share of the glory. At Barossa, while Colonel Belson at the
head of the 1st Battalion charged and turned the chosen grenadiers
forming the right of the enemy’s line, Colonel Browne of the regiment,
at the head of their flank companies, united with those of two other
corps, commanded the independent flank battalion; and this battalion,
the first in the battle and alone, suffered more casualties both in
officers and men (I allude particularly to the flankers of the 28th
Regiment) than triple that sustained by any other battalion present
in that memorable fight. At Albuera the 2nd Battalion of the regiment
were led by a gallant officer, Colonel Patterson; and the brigade in
which they served, that which with the brigade of the gallant Fusiliers
turned the wavering fortunes of the day, were commanded by the gallant
Abercrombie, the second lieutenant-colonel of the regiment.

[Sidenote: FAREWELL TO THE SLASHERS.]

Next morning at parting the light bobs gave me a cheer. I distinguished
among them some few of the old ventriloquists of Galicia; but on this
occasion their notes were, I believe, genuine. I bade a mournful
farewell to the old Slashers, and bent my steps towards Badajoz, then
about to be besieged. The next evening (March 15th) I came before the
place; and very opportunely Lieutenant Huddleston of the 28th Regiment,
my brother officer in the battalion company which I commanded for a
short time, arrived on the same day, being appointed to serve in the
Engineer department. He willingly shared his tent with me; and Sir
Frederick Slavin, also of the 28th Regiment, then adjutant-general
of the 3rd Division, introduced me to General Picton, who did me the
honour of saying that I should always find a cover at his table during
my stay before Badajoz. General Bowes, with whom I had the pleasure
of being acquainted at Gibraltar, gave me a similar invitation. Thus,
finding myself comparatively at home, I felt in no way inclined to
proceed too quickly to Lisbon.

During the siege I assisted generally in the trenches. On March 16th
everything was finally arranged, and on the following evening the
different divisions and regiments prepared to occupy their respective
posts. All the troops being assembled, generals and commanding officers
inspected their brigades and regiments in review order. The parade
was magnificent and imposing. The colours of each regiment proudly,
though scantily, floated in the breeze; they displayed but very little
embroidery. Scarcely could the well-earned badges of the regiments be
discerned; yet their lacerated condition, caused by the numberless
wounds which they received in battle, gave martial dignity to their
appearance and animated every British breast with national pride. The
review being terminated, a signal was given for each corps to proceed
to that spot of ground which they were destined to open. The whole
moved off. All the bands by one accord played the same tune, which
was cheered with shouts that bore ominous import and appeared to shake
Badajoz to its foundation. The music played was the animating national
Irish air, St. Patrick’s Day, when the shamrock was proudly clustered
with the laurel; and indeed, though these two shrubs are not reckoned
of the same family by proud collectors in the Cabinet, veterans hold
them to be closely allied in the field. Never was St. Patrick’s day
more loudly cheered or by stouter hearts, and never was the music more
nobly accompanied nor with more warlike bass; for all the troops echoed
the inspiring national air as proudly they marched to their ground.
Phillipon maintained an incessant fire of cannon, roared forth in proud
defiance from the destined fortress; and Badajoz being now invested on
both sides of the Guadiana, the operations of the siege were eagerly
pressed forward.

On the 19th, during the completion of the 1st parallel, a sortie was
made by the besieged soon after mid-day. Fifteen hundred of their
infantry, screened by the ravelin San Roque, formed between that
opening and the Picurina or small redoubt. They immediately pressed
forward and gained the works before our men could seize their arms,
while at the same time a party of cavalry, about fifty, the only
horsemen in the fortress, got in rear of the parallel. The confusion
was great at the first onset. Those on guard and the working men
were driven out of the trenches, and the cavalry sabred many in the
depôts at the rear; but the mischief being quickly discovered was soon
remedied. The Guards being reinforced immediately rallied and drove the
enemy out of the works at the point of the bayonet, when many lives
were lost. A part of the embankment was thrown into the trenches, and
the enemy carried away almost all the entrenching tools found in the
parallel. We lost one hundred and fifty men in killed and wounded
during this attack.

[Sidenote: CAPTURE OF FORT PICURINA.]

The siege was now carried on without interruption, notwithstanding the
severity of the weather, which frequently filled the trenches with
water; and so great was the fall of rain on the 22nd that the pontoon
bridge was carried away by the Guadiana overflowing its banks, and
the flying bridges over that river could scarcely be worked. This
threatened a failure of the siege, from the difficulty of supplying the
troops with provisions and the impossibility of bringing the guns and
ammunition across. Fortunately for the attack of the fortress however
the disaster was remedied by the river falling within its banks.

The morning of the 25th was ushered in by saluting the garrison with
twenty-eight pieces of cannon, opened from six different batteries;
and in the evening Fort Picurina was stormed, gallantly carried and
permanently retained. The enemy made a sortie on the night of the 29th,
on the right bank of the Guadiana against General Hamilton’s division,
who invested the fortress on that side; they were driven back with
loss, and on this occasion the besiegers had no casualties.

On the last day of March twenty-six pieces of ordnance from the 2nd
Parallel opened their fire against Fort Trinidad and the flank of the
protecting bastion, Santa Maria. This fire continued incessantly, aided
by an additional battery of six guns, which also opened from the 2nd
Parallel on the morning of April 4th against the ravelin of San Roque.
On the evening of the 6th Trinidad, Santa Maria and the ravelin of San
Roque were breached.

Preparations were made to storm the town that night; but reports
having been made by the engineers that strong works had been erected
for the defence of the two breaches, particularly in rear of the
large one made in the face of the bastion of Trinidad, where deep
retrenchments had been constructed and every means resorted to which
art and science could devise to prevent an entrance, the attack was
therefore put off. Many hundred lives were spared, but for twenty-four
hours only. All the guns in the 2nd Parallel were now directed against
the curtain of Trinidad; and towards the following evening a third
breach appeared; and the storming of Badajoz was arranged in the
following order for the night of the 6th. The 4th division under
command of Major-General the Honourable C. Colville, and the light
division under Lieutenant-Colonel Barnard, were destined to attack the
three breaches opened in the bastion of Trinidad, Santa Maria and the
connecting curtain. Lieutenant-General Picton, with the 3rd or fighting
division, was directed to attack the castle, which, from the great
height of its walls and no breach having been attempted there, the
enemy considered secure against assault. The ground left vacant by the
advance of the 4th and light divisions was to be occupied by the 5th
division, commanded by General Leith, with instructions to detach his
left brigade, under General Walker, to make a false attack against the
works of the fortress near the Guadiana, as also against the detached
work the Pardaleras. Brigadier-General Power, commanding a Portuguese
brigade on the opposite bank, was ordered to divert by making false
attacks upon a newly formed redoubt called Mon Cœur, upon Fort St.
Cristoval, upon the _tête du pont_ and upon I forget what else. With
these instructions the troops moved forward from the entrenchments
about ten o’clock at night to attack the destined town. The 3rd
Division, under Picton, preceded the general movement about a quarter
of an hour for the purpose of drawing away the enemy’s attention from
the openings in the wall, since these were considered the only really
vulnerable points of the fortress. The 4th and light divisions pushed
gallantly forward against these breaches, and were not discovered
until they had entered the ditch. During their advance the town was
liberally supplied with shells from our batteries, and the upper parts
of the breaches were continually fired upon by light troops placed
upon the glacis to disperse the enemy and prevent their repairing the
broken defences. This fire was but slightly answered, until the two
divisions mentioned were discovered entering the ditch, when they were
assailed by an awful cannonade, accompanied by the sharp and incessant
chattering of musketry. Fireballs were shot forth from the fortress,
which illumined the surrounding space and discovered every subsequent
movement.

[Sidenote: NIGHT ATTACK ON BADAJOZ.]

The dreadful strife now commenced. The thundering cheer of the British
soldiers as they rushed forward through the outer ditch, together with
the appalling roar of all arms sent forth in defiance from within,
was tremendous. Whenever an instant pause occurred it was filled
by the heartrending shrieks of the trodden-down wounded and by the
lengthened groans of the dying. Three times were the breaches cleared
of Frenchmen, driven off at the point of the bayonet by gallant
British soldiers to the very summit, when they were by the no less
gallant foe each time driven back, leaving their bravest officers
and foremost soldiers behind, who, whether killed or wounded, were
tossed down headlong to the foot of the breaches. Throughout this
dreadful conflict our bugles were continually sounding the advance.
The cry of “Bravo! bravo!” resounded through the ditches and along
the foot of the breaches; but no British cry was heard from within
the walls of Badajoz save that of despair, uttered by the bravest,
who despite of all obstacles forced their way into the body of the
place, and there through dire necessity abandoned, groaned forth their
last stabbed by unnumbered wounds. Again and again were the breaches
attacked with redoubled fury and defended with equal pertinacity and
stern resolution, seconded by every resource which science could adopt
or ingenuity suggest. Bags and barrels of gunpowder with short fuses
were rolled down, which, bursting at the bottom or along the face of
the breaches, destroyed all who advanced. Thousands of live shells,
hand-grenades, fireballs and every species of destructive combustible
were thrown down the breaches and over the walls into the ditches,
which, lighting and exploding at the same instant, rivalled the
lightning and thunder of heaven. This at intervals was succeeded by an
impenetrable darkness as of the infernal regions. Gallant foes laughing
at death met, fought, bled and rolled upon earth; and from the very
earth destruction burst, for the exploding mines cast up friends and
foes together, who in burning torture clashed and shrieked in the air.
Partly burned they fell back into the inundating water, continually
lighted by the incessant bursting of shells. Thus assailed by opposing
elements, they made the horrid scene yet more horrid by shrieks uttered
in wild despair, vainly struggling against a watery grave with limbs
convulsed and quivering from the consuming fire. The roaring of cannon,
the bursting of shells, the rattle of musketry, the awful explosion of
mines and the flaring sickly blaze of fireballs seemed not of human
invention, but rather as if all the elements of nature had greedily
combined in the general havoc, and heaven, earth and hell had united
for the destruction alike of devoted Badajoz and of its furious
assailants.

In consequence of untoward disasters, which occurred at the very
onset by the troops being falsely led, their numbers were seriously
diminished and their compact formation disorganised. The third or last
opening in the curtain was never attempted, although this breach was
the most practicable, as it had been made only a few hours before, and
thus there had been no time to strengthen its defences. Owing to this
ruinous mistake, the harassed and depressed troops failed in their
repeated attacks.

At length the bugles of the 4th and light divisions sounded the recall.
At this moment General Bowes, whom I accompanied in the early part of
the fight, being severely wounded, and his aide-de-camp, my old comrade
and brother officer Captain Johnson, 28th Regiment, being killed, as
I had no duty to perform (my regiment not being present), I attended
the general as he was borne to his tent. He enquired anxiously about
poor Johnson, his relative, not being aware that this gallant officer
received his death-shot while he was being carried to the rear in
consequence of a wound which he had received when cheering on a column
to one of the breaches.

Having seen the general safely lodged, I galloped off to where Lord
Wellington had taken his station. This was easily discerned by means
of two fireballs shot out from the fortress at the commencement of the
attack, which continued to burn brilliantly along the water-cut which
divided the 3rd from the other divisions. Near the end of this channel,
behind a rising mound, were Lord Wellington and his personal staff,
screened from the enemy’s direct fire, but within range of shells. One
of his staff sat down by his side with a candle to enable the general
to read and write all his communications and orders relative to the
passing events. I stood not far from his lordship. But due respect
prevented any of us bystanders from approaching so near as to enable
us to ascertain the import of the reports which he was continually
receiving; yet it was very evident that the information which they
conveyed was far from flattering; and the recall on the bugles was
again and again repeated. But about half-past eleven o’clock an officer
rode up at full speed on a horse covered with foam, and announced the
joyful tidings that General Picton had made a lodgment within the
castle by escalade, and had withdrawn the troops from the trenches to
enable him to maintain his dearly purchased hold. Lord Wellington was
evidently delighted, but exclaimed, “What! abandon the trenches?” and
ordered two regiments of the 5th Division instantly to replace those
withdrawn. I waited to hear no more, but, admiring the prompt genius
which immediately provided for every contingency, I mounted my horse. I
was immediately surrounded by a host of Spaniards, thousands of whom,
of all ages and sexes, had been collecting at this point for some
time from the neighbouring towns and villages to witness the storming
and enjoy the brilliant spectacle, wherein thousands of men, women
and children, including those of their own country, were to be shot,
bayoneted or blown to atoms. Notwithstanding the hundreds of beautiful
females who closely pressed round and even clung to me for information,
I merely exclaimed in a loud voice that Badajoz was taken and then made
the best of my way to the walls of the castle; their height was rather
forbidding, and an enfilading fire still continued. The ladders were
warm and slippery with blood and brains of many a gallant soldier, who
but a few moments previously mounted them with undaunted pride, to be
dashed down from their top and lie broken in death at their foot.

[Sidenote: WELLINGTON AT BADAJOZ.]

As soon as General Picton had arrived at the walls he instantly
ordered them to be escaladed, frightful as was their height. Ladder
after ladder failed to be placed against the walls, their determined
bearers being killed. But Picton, who never did anything by halves
or hesitatingly, instead of parsimoniously sending small parties
forward and waiting to hear of their extinction before fresh support
was furnished, boldly marched his whole division to the foot of the
walls; and thus, without loss of time, by immediately supplying the
place of the fallen, he at length succeeded in rearing one ladder.
Then having his reserves close at hand, scarcely was a man shot
off when an equally brave successor filled his place; and in this
manner those who mounted that one ladder at length made a lodgment.
This being firmly established, the fire from within slackened; many
ladders were soon reared and the whole of the 3rd Division entered the
castle. The Connaught Rangers were said to be the first within the
wall. In consequence of some misconduct, General Picton had changed
the name “Rangers” to “Robbers.” After the storming of the castle a
private of the corps called out half-drunken to the general, “Are we
the ‘Connaught Robbers’ now?” “No,” answered Picton; “you are the
‘Connaught Heroes.’”

[Sidenote: MEETING OF THE 3rd AND 5th DIVISIONS.]

The confusion in the castle was awful all night long. All the gates had
been built up but one, and that narrowed to the width of two men. On
this straight gate a terrible fire was directed from outside and in.
The 3rd Division first fired on the French and, when they had gone,
continued to fire on their own comrades of the 5th Division, who had
entered the town on the opposite side by escalading the bastion of San
Vincente. This capture was opposed as fiercely and made as bravely as
that of the castle. The 3rd Division having taken the castle about
half-past eleven, Picton received orders to maintain it until break of
day, when he was to sally forth with two thousand men and fall on the
rear of the breaches, which it was intended should again be attacked
by the 4th and light Divisions. The party who carried the ladders
of the 5th Division lost their way and did not come up until after
eleven o’clock, which necessarily made General Leith an hour late in
his attack on the bastion of San Vincente, so that before he entered
the town the castle was in possession of the 3rd Division. The enemy
who defended the breaches being no longer attacked in front, turned
all their force against the 5th Division as they advanced from their
captured bastion along the ramparts. As soon as General Walker’s
brigade of this division gained the interior of the fortress, they
moved forward along the ramparts, driving everything before them until
they arrived not far from the breach in the Santa Maria bastion; here
the enemy had a gun placed, and as the British troops advanced a French
gunner lit a port fire. Startled at the sudden and unexpected light,
some of the foremost British soldiers cried out, “A mine, a mine!”
These words passing to the rear, the whole of the troops fell into
disorder, and such was the panic caused by this ridiculous mistake
that the brave example and utmost exertions of the officers could not
prevail upon the men to advance. The enemy, perceiving the hesitation,
pushed boldly forward to the charge, and drove the British back to
the bastion of San Vincente, where they had entered. Here a battalion
in reserve had been formed, who, in their turn rushing forward to the
charge, bayoneted or made prisoner every Frenchman they met, pursuing
those who turned as far as the breaches. The 3rd and 5th Divisions
interchanged many shots, each ignorant of the other’s success and
consequent position; and both divisions continued to fire at the
breaches, so that had the 4th and light divisions made another attack
many must have fallen by the fire of both divisions of their comrades.

From both within and without, as has been said, a constant fire was
kept up at the narrow and only entrance to the castle. This entrance
was defended by a massive door, nearly two feet thick, which was
riddled throughout; and had the 3rd Division sallied forth during the
confusion and darkness, they must have come in contact with the 5th
Division, when no doubt many more lives would have been lost before
they recognised each other. This was fortunately prevented by Picton
being ordered to remain in the castle until morning.

The scenes in the castle that night were of a most deplorable and
terrific nature: murders, robberies and every species of debauchery and
obscenity were seen, notwithstanding the exertions of the officers to
prevent them. Phillipon expecting that, even though he should lose the
town, he would be able to retain the castle at least for some days, had
had all the live cattle of the garrison driven in there. The howling
of dogs, the crowing of cocks, the penetrating cackle of thousands of
geese, the mournful bleating of sheep, the furious bellowing of wounded
oxen maddened by being continually goaded and shot at and ferociously
charging through the streets, were mixed with accompaniments loudly
trumpeted forth by mules and donkeys and always by the deep and hollow
baying of the large Spanish half-wolves, half-bloodhounds which guarded
the whole. Add to this the shrill screaming of affrighted children,
the piercing shrieks of frantic women, the groans of the wounded, the
savage and discordant yells of drunkards firing at everything and in
all directions, and the continued roll of musketry kept up in error on
the shattered gateway; and you may imagine an uproar such as one would
think could issue only from the regions of Pluto; and this din was
maintained throughout the night.

[Sidenote: SURRENDER OF PHILLIPON.]

Towards morning the firing ceased; and the 4th and light divisions
passed through the breaches over the broken limbs and dead bodies
of their gallant comrades. A great part of the garrison were made
prisoners during the night by the 5th Division; but Phillipon, with
most of the officers and a portion of the men, retreated across the
Guadiana into Fort Cristoval. He demanded terms of capitulation next
morning; but Lord Wellington gave him ten minutes to consider and
straightway prepared the guns to batter the place. However, that was
prevented by Phillipon surrendering at discretion.

As soon as light served and communication between the castle and the
town opened, I bent my way along the ramparts towards the main opening
in the Trinidad bastion. The glorious dawn of day, contrasted with
the horrible scenes which I had witnessed, filled the mind with joy.
The sun rose in majesty and splendour, as usual in the blooming month
of April, which in that climate is as our May. The country around was
clothed in luxuriant verdure, refreshed by recent dew, which still
clinging to each green leaf and blade in diamond drops reflected the
verdant hue of the foliage upon which it hung till diamonds seemed
emeralds. A thousand nameless flowers, displaying as many lovely
colours, were on all the earth. Proudly and silently the Guadiana
flowed, exhibiting its white surface to the majestically rising orb
which gave to the ample and gently heaving breast of the noble stream
the appearance of an undulating plain of burnished silver. On its
fertile banks the forward harvest already promised abundance and
contentment even to the most avaricious husbandman. The fruit trees
opened their rich and perfumed blossoms; the burnished orange borrowing
colour of the sun glowed in contrast with the more delicate gold of
lemon; and everywhere grey olive trees spread ample boughs–but here,
alas! they were not the emblems of peace. Every creeping bramble and
humble shrub made a fair show that morning; birds sang in heaven; all
sensitive and animated nature appeared gay and seemed with grateful
acknowledgments to welcome the glorious father of light and heat. The
lord of creation alone, “sensible and refined man,” turned his back
on the celestial scene to gloat in the savage murders and degrading
obscenity that wantoned in devoted Badajoz.

When I arrived at the great breach the inundation presented an awful
contrast to the silvery Guadiana; it was fairly stained with gore,
which through the vivid reflection of the brilliant sun, whose glowing
heat already drew the watery vapours from its surface, gave it the
appearance of a fiery lake of smoking blood, in which were seen the
bodies of many a gallant British soldier. The ditches were strewn with
killed and wounded; but the approach to the bottom of the main breach
was fairly choked with dead. A row of _chevaux de frise_, armed with
sword-blades, barred the entrance at the top of the breach and so
firmly fixed that when the 4th and light Divisions marched through, the
greatest exertion was required to make a sufficient opening for their
admittance. Boards fastened with ropes to plugs driven into the ground
within the ramparts were let down, and covered nearly the whole surface
of the breach; these boards were so thickly studded with sharp pointed
spikes that one could not introduce a hand between them; they did not
stick out at right angles to the board, but were all slanting upwards.
In rear of the _chevaux de frise_ the ramparts had deep cuts in all
directions, like a tanyard, so that it required light to enable one to
move safely through them, even were there no opposing enemy. From the
number of muskets found close behind the breach, all the men who could
possibly be brought together in so small a place must have had at least
twenty firelocks each, no doubt kept continually loaded by persons in
the rear. Two British soldiers only entered the main breach during the
assault; I saw both their bodies. If any others entered they must have
been thrown back over the walls, for certain it is that at dawn of the
7th no more than two British bodies were within the walls near the main
breach. In the Santa Maria breach not one had entered. At the foot of
this breach the same sickening sight appeared as at that of Trinidad:
numberless dead strewed the place. On looking down these breaches I
recognised many old friends, whose society I had enjoyed a few hours
before, now lying stiff in death.

[Sidenote: DEAD AT PEACE, LIVING AT PLAY.]

Oppressed by the sight which the dead and dying presented at the
breaches, I turned away and re-entered the town; but oh! what scenes
of horror did I witness there! They can never be effaced from my
memory. There was no safety for women even in the churches; and any who
interfered or offered resistance were sure to get shot. Every house
presented a scene of plunder, debauchery and bloodshed, committed with
wanton cruelty on the persons of the defenceless inhabitants by our
soldiery; and in many instances I beheld the savages tear the rings
from the ears of beautiful women who were their victims, and when the
rings could not be immediately removed from their fingers with the
hand, they tore them off with their teeth. Firing through the streets
and at the windows was incessant, which made it excessively dangerous
to move out. When the savages came to a door which had been locked
or barricaded, they applied what they called the patent key: this
consisted of the muzzles of a dozen firelocks placed close together
against that part of the door where the lock was fastened, and the
whole fired off together into the house and rooms, regardless of those
inside; these salvos were repeated until the doors were shattered,
and in this way too several inhabitants were killed. Men, women and
children were shot in the streets for no other apparent reason than
pastime; every species of outrage was publicly committed in the houses,
churches and streets, and in a manner so brutal that a faithful recital
would be too indecent and too shocking to humanity. Not the slightest
shadow of order or discipline was maintained; the officers durst
not interfere. The infuriated soldiery resembled rather a pack of
hell-hounds vomited up from the infernal regions for the extirpation
of mankind than what they were but twelve short hours previously–a
well-organised, brave, disciplined and obedient British army, and
burning only with impatience for what is called glory.

But whatever accounts may be given of the horrors which attended
and immediately followed the storming of Badajoz, they must fall
far short of the truth; and it is impossible for any who were not
present to imagine them. I have already mentioned that neither the
regiment to which I was just appointed nor that which I had just left
was at the siege. I therefore could have had but little influence in
controlling the frenzied military mob who were ferociously employed
in indiscriminate carnage, universal plunder and devastation of every
kind. Three times I narrowly escaped with life for endeavouring to
protect some women by conveying them to St. John’s Church, where a
guard was mounted. On one occasion, as Huddleston and I accompanied
two ladies and the brother of one of them to the church mentioned, we
were crossed by three drunken soldiers, one of whom, passing to our
rear, struck the Spanish gentleman with the butt-end of his firelock on
the back of his head, which nearly knocked him down. On my censuring
the fellow’s daring insolence in striking a person in company with two
English officers, another of the men was bringing his firelock to the
present, when I holloaed out loudly, “Come on quick with that guard.”
There was no guard near, but the ruse luckily succeeded, and so quickly
did the soldiers run away that I felt convinced that their apparent
intoxication was feigned. On another occasion a sergeant struck me
with his pike for refusing to join in plundering a family; I certainly
snapped my pistol in his face, but fortunately it missed fire or he
would have been killed. However the danger which he so narrowly escaped
brought him to his senses; he made an awkward apology and I considered
it prudent to retire. By such means as these, by the risk and humanity
of officers, many women were saved. We did not interfere with the
plundering; it would have been useless.

[Sidenote: HELL-HOUNDS OF SAVAGE WAR.]

One circumstance, being of a very peculiar nature, I shall relate.
During the morning of the 7th, while the excesses, of which I have
given but a faint idea, were at their height, Huddleston came running
to me and requested that I would accompany him to a house whence he
had just fled. The owner was an old acquaintance of all the officers
of the 28th Regiment, when a few months previously we were quartered
at Albuquerque, where he lived at the time. Huddleston conducted me to
the bedroom of this man’s wife. When we entered, a woman who lay upon
a bed uttered a wild cry, which might be considered as caused either
by hope or despair. Here were two British soldiers stretched on the
floor, and so intoxicated that when Huddleston and I drew them out
of the room by the heels they appeared insensible of the motion. The
master of the house sat in a corner of the room in seeming apathy; upon
recognising me he exclaimed, with a vacant stare, “And why this, Don
Roberto?” Having somewhat recovered from his stupor, he told me that
the woman on the bed was his wife, who was in momentary expectation
of her _accouchement_. In my life I never saw horror and despair so
strongly depicted as upon the countenances of this unfortunate couple.
Several soldiers came in while we remained; and our only hope of saving
the unfortunate lady’s life was by apparently joining in the plunder of
the apartments, for any attempt at resistance would have been useless
and would perhaps have brought on fatal consequences. I stood as a kind
of warning sentry near the bedroom door, which was designedly left
open; and whenever any of the men approached it, I pointed out the
female, representing her as a person dying of a violent fever; and thus
we succeeded in preserving her life. Huddleston and I then set to work
most actively to break tables and chairs, which we strewed about the
rooms and down the stairs. I remained for some hours, when I considered
that all was safe; for although many marauding parties had entered,
yet on perceiving the ruinous appearance of the house, and considering
that it must have already been well visited, they went off immediately
in search of better prey. We even scattered a shopful of stationery
and books all over the apartments, and some of the articles we held in
our hands as if plunder, for the purpose of deceiving the visitors. I
recollect taking up some coloured prints of Paul and Virginia; these
I afterwards presented as a trophy of war to an old friend, Mrs.
Blakeney, of Abbert, Co. Galway, as the sole tangible remembrance of
the storming of Badajoz. I frequently called at the house during the
two following days and was happy to find that no further injuries
were suffered. Huddleston’s servant and mine slept in the house. We
ourselves retired to the camp as darkness approached, for to remain in
Badajoz during the night would have been attended with certain danger,
neither of our regiments being in the place. The sack continued for
three days without intermission; each day I witnessed its horrid and
abominable effects. But I shrink from further description.

[Sidenote: SOLDIERS RETURN TO SANITY.]

On the morning of the fourth day (April 10th) the 9th Regiment were
marched regularly into town. A gallows was erected in the principal
square and others in different parts of the town. A general order
was proclaimed that the first man detected in plundering should be
executed; but no execution took place. The soldiers well knew how far
they might proceed, and no farther did they go. The butcheries and
horrible scenes of plunder and debauchery ceased in Badajoz; and it
became an orderly British garrison. During the sack the Portuguese
troops plundered but little, for as they had not been employed in
the storming the British soldiers would have killed them had they
interfered with the spoil. But during the three days’ transfer of
property they lay hid close outside the town, where they awaited the
British soldiers, who always came with a sheet or counterpane filled
with every species of plunder, carried on their heads and shoulders
like so many Atlases; and as these always left the town drunk and lay
down to sleep between it and the camp, the artful Portuguese crept
up and carried away everything, and thus they finally possessed all
the plunder. I witnessed this mean jackal theft a hundred times; and,
without feeling the slightest affection for those second-hand dastard
robbers, I enjoyed seeing the British soldiers deprived of their booty,
acquired under circumstances too disgusting to be dwelt on.

The storming of Badajoz caused a severe loss to the British army. The
3rd and 5th Divisions, who successfully escaladed the walls, lost
either in killed or wounded six hundred men each; and the casualties
suffered by the 4th and light Divisions amounted to upwards of five
hundred more than the loss of the successful escalading divisions.

The great loss caused in the ranks of those who attacked the breaches
was due to their having been erroneously led on to an unfinished
ravelin, constructed in front of the centre breach, that of Trinidad.
This work had been a good deal raised during the siege, and being
mistaken for a breach, which in its unfinished state it much resembled,
the 4th Division gallantly mounted and soon reached the top. Here
they were severely galled by a destructive fire from the whole front;
a deep precipice and wet ditch intervened between the ravelin and
the breaches. Astonished and dismayed the men began to return the
enemy’s fire. At this critical moment the light division, who had
been led as much too far to their right as the 4th Division had been
to their left, came up; and unfortunately they also mounted the fatal
deceptive ravelin. All was now confusion and dreadful carnage was
passively suffered by those devoted troops. The officers, having at
length discovered the mistake, hurried down the ravelin and gallantly
showed the example of mounting the Trinidad and Santa Maria breaches,
followed by the bravest of the men; but the formation as an organised
body being broken, only the excessively brave followed the officers. On
arriving at the top of the breaches, which were stoutly defended, so
weak a force were consequently hurled down to destruction. The utmost
disorder followed. Thus the attacks on the three breaches, where alone
Badajoz was considered vulnerable, all failed of success; while those
defences which both by the besiegers and besieged were deemed almost
impregnable, were gallantly forced. Such are the vicissitudes of war,
especially in night attacks. At dawn on the 7th there was no dead body
near the last made and most vulnerable breach–a proof that by error it
was never attacked.

Immediately after the fall of Badajoz the chief part of the army
moved towards the north of Portugal, where Marmont had collected his
corps. However, all his exploits consisted in a distant blockade of
Ciudad Rodrigo and some romantic attempts against the fortress of
Almeida. Failing in his attempts against those two places, he marched
upon Castello Branco, threatening to destroy the Bridge of Boats at
Villavelha; but on the advance of Lord Wellington to attack him he
retired out of Portugal and thus terminated his inglorious incursion.

Fortunately for the operations carried on against Badajoz, Marmont’s
jealousy of Soult was such that he ignored all his remonstrances and
did not unite with him; he continued obstinate and Badajoz fell.

Marshal Soult arrived with his army at Llerena on April 3rd, and on
the 4th Lord Wellington made arrangements to receive him. His plan was
to leave ten thousand men in the trenches and fight the marshal with
the remainder of his army; but Soult, either feeling diffident of
his strength or still in the hope that Marmont would bend his course
southerly, arrived at Villa Franca, but thirty miles from Llerena and
the same distance from Badajoz, only on the 7th, thus taking four days
to march thirty miles in haste to relieve a beleaguered fortress. On
his arrival at Villa Franca on the 7th, he was informed that Badajoz
had fallen that morning, or rather the night before, and that Phillipon
had surrendered at discretion. He then, like Marmont, retired and moved
into Andalusia.

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