페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

TWO INCIDENTS OF THE BATTLE

OF WATERLOO.

1. THE history of England is full of wars with France, for hardly a century has passed, since the English became a nation, without some quarrel between us and our neighbours on the opposite side of the Channel.

2. The two nations have now been good friends (as they ought always to have been) for about sixty years, and they in the Crimea fought side by side against the Russians. The last time England and France met in anger was at the Battle of Waterloo, in Belgium-when the Duke of Wellington defeated Napoleon Bonaparte on Sunday evening, June 18, 1815.

3. The story goes that the great Duke was once asked, who was in his opinion the bravest man at Waterloo. “I can't tell you that,' he said, 'but I can tell you of one than whom I am sure there was no braver : he was only a private in the Artillery, but had he survived the day he would have been an officer.'

4. The incident on which the Duke founded his opinion was as follows. There was a farmhouse with an orchard surrounded by a thick hedge, forming a most important point in the British position, and which was ordered to be held against the enemy at any hazard and at any sacrifice. The hottest of the battle raged round this point, but our fellows behaved well, and beat back the French, though they attacked the place again and again with great fury, and once even gained a footing inside.

5. At last the powder and ball were found to be running short, and at the same time the timber in the hedges and the rubbish piled about it took fire, and the orchard was soon surrounded with a ring of flame. A messenger had, however, been sent to the rear for more powder and ball, and in a very short time two loaded waggons came galloping down to the farmhouse, the gallant defenders of which were keeping up a thin and scanty fire through the flames which surrounded their post.

6. The driver of the first waggon, with the reckless daring of an English boy, spurred his struggling and terrified horses through the burning heap ; but the flames rose fiercely round and caught the powder, which exploded in an instant, sending waggon, horses, and rider in fragments into the air.

7. For one instant the driver of the second waggon paused, appalled by his comrade's fate ; the next observing that the flames, beaten back for the moment by the explosion, afforded him one desperate chance, he sent his horses at the smouldering breach, and, amid the deafening cheers of the garrison, landed his terrible cargo safe within ; while behind him the flames closed up and raged more fiercely than before,

8. At the same battle the Duke had an aide-decamp, or attendant officer, of the name of Harvey Bathurst. The officer had had his right arm cut off, and wore an empty sleeve looped to the breast of his military jacket. Having an urgent message to send to a distant part of the field, the Duke ordered his aide-de-camp to carry it the shortest way, which lay across an open space very close to a regiment of the enemy's cavalry.

9. He instantly obeyed, and putting spurs to his horse galloped off to fulfil his errand, but before he had got two-thirds of the way he had to go, a French horseman dashed out of the ranks and rode straight at Bathurst, his drawn sabre flashing above his head, to cut down the daring messenger.

10. Bathurst's sword was in its scabbard by his side, but the arm that used to wield it was gone. And now the enemy was within a stride of his victim, and rising in his stirrups to deal the fatal blow, when, suddenly becoming aware of the officer's defenceless condition, the

condition, the gallant Frenchman dropped his uplifted weapon, and lowering it to a military salute as he swept by, wheeled round and rejoined his regiment.

THE GANGES.

1. IN Madras, small as are the houses, poor as are the shops, every one looks well-to-do, and everybody happy, from the cooks at the clubs to the catamaran' men on the shore. Increased trade and good government have of late done much for Madras.

2. The surf consists of two lines of rollers, and is altogether inferior to the fine-weather swell on the west coast of New Zealand, and only to be dignified and promoted into surfship by men of very fine imagination. The row through the first roller in the lumbering Massullah boat, manned by half a dozen sinewy blacks, the waiting for a chance between the first and second lines of spray, and then the dash for shore, the helmsman all the time shrieking with excitement, is a performance which is not so difficult as it looks. Neither is it by any means so dangerous a passage as many others which are performed with far less ceremony.

3. The Massullah boats are like empty haybarges on the Thames, but built without nails, so that they give' instead of breaking up when battered by the sand on one side and the seas upon the other. This is a very wise precaution in the case of boats which are always made to take the shore broadside

1 A catamaran is a boat used for landing on the surf-beaten shores.

[graphic]

[CROSSING THE SURF.]

« 이전계속 »