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Romance of War (or The Highlanders in Spain)
Chapter 16 - A Siege


'They must be somewhere hereabout,' cried Cifuentes, with a horrible oath, speaking at intervals, while he panted with exhaustion and fatigue. 'But where in the name of Beelzebub can they have concealed themselves?

'They crossed the stream, I can swear,' replied one fellow, while he loaded his musket. 'I saw them descend the bank with my own eyes.'

'You could scarcely see them well with another man's, Puerco Vadija; but there is no trace of them on the opposite bank. One of the dogs is missing, too.'

'There it lies, floating among the rocks and foam yonder,' replied a third ruffian.

'Dead?'

'Ay, dead as Judas.'

'DemoniosI How can these cursed fiends have escaped us?'

'Fiends they appear to be, certainly. They were but three in number, and a hundred shots have missed them, while they have slain some of our best men.'

'By all the might of hell'. exclaimed Narvaez, in a voice of bitter rage, 'they shall not escape us, if we once more gain sight of them. To the gay bravo with the large black feathers I bear a hatred that every drop of blood in his coward heart only can quench. To think that they should escape us scatheless, after having slain so many!'

'Poor Julian Diaz!' said Vadija. 'A more jolly monk was not in Estre-madura, where there are well-nigh six thousand of the cord and cowl.'

'Dios! it maddens me!'

'And then the brave Lazarillo de Xeres de los Cavalleros------'

'How, Vadija! what of him?'

'I found him lying dead in the pathway, stabbed twice in the heart:

'Hombres! Close round me, comrades ; we must fall on some plan to seek vengeance. It is evident they have not crossed the stream, we must have seen them had they done so; therefore they must be close at hand, and------' The rest was lost in the clamour of the others, who clustered round Cifuentes, each delivering his opinion, and holding forth obstinately against those of his brother rogues, many more of whom were coming straggling up from the rear, panting and almost breathless with exertion. Meanwhile the three fugitives had thrown themselves, wet as they were, upon the damp floor of the cavern, happy to find rest and time to breathe with some regularity and composure.

From behind their screen of thick foliage, Ronald heard all that passed, and watched with increasing interest the picturesque appearance of the banditti, whom he could plainly discern in the radiant moonlight, that shed its clear cold lustre through the dark blue vault, where myriads of stars were twinkling. Meanwhile Iverach, who had quite recovered from the dismay caused by his recent immersion, was busily employed drying his wetted musket, and preparing for action by fixing a new flint and reloading, rejoicing to find that his thick leather pouch had kept his ball cartridges perfectly dry.

'Thanks to Santa Maria, we are safe, senors,' said Pedro; 'they can never discover this cavern, which is so admirably adapted for concealment. It was in ancient days the retreat of a holy hermit who was drowned one dark night in the river below, but that came of eating flesh upon a Friday, they say.'

'I wish we had gone to Majorga with your brother Lazaro; this cursed adventure would then have been avoided. This hole is very damp, and cold as the grave.'

'But then it is so secure, senor; and we can defend it to the last, and sell our lives dearly should they attack us.' Before Ronald could reply, 'Bah ! Lope Ordonez,' cried Narvaez, ' how should they know of this concealed cavern which you say is up yonder? Are they not British? and two of them belong to those savages that go with their limbs bare.' 'The same guide that led them to the ruins of Santa Lucia, might show them the cavern.'

'Right, Ordonez. I thought not that there was so much wit in that empty calabash of thine.'

'They have a Spaniard with them,' said he whom they named Vadija; 'I saw the moon reflected on his steel helmet.'

'A dragoon! Had he a plume of red horse-hair?' 'He had; but I think he has left the half or whole of it among the bushes in his flight.'

'Caramba! then 'tis either Don Alvaro, or one of his rascally troop! I shall have revenge for the night they made me spend in the Convento de San Juan at Merida. We will search this cavern, and take a true Spanish vengeance on whoever we find there. Look well to your knives and flints, comrades.'

'I perceive,' said Ordonez, 'some alteration has taken place among the vines which conceal the entrance. They are all broken and trodden down: I can swear they were not so this morning.'

'Then there it is they are concealed. Tie up the dogs ! bind them to the trees; cross the stream. Let whoever thirsts for vengeance, follow me ! let whoever is concealed there tremble, for their hour is come!' said Narvaez, concluding with one of those frightful Spanish maledictions with which their conversation was so freely interspersed. The reader may suppose with what feelings of excitement and desperation the three weary fugitives beheld their remorseless pursuers boldly cross the stream to storm their hiding-place. But perhaps Cifuentes and his followers would have advanced less courageously, had they been perfectly assured that those of whom they were in search were really so close at hand.

'Thank Heaven, and our own caution, the ammunition is dry,' said Ronald; and the sixty rounds we have among us will last until to-morrow, if we are sparing and aim well. Let us fire on them as they cross the stream; 'tis neck or nothing with us now. See that you make sure of your men. I will aim at Cifuentes the scoundrel with the long feather and high-crowned hat.'

The three muskets at once flashed from the dark cavern, the distant recesses of which echoed to the loud report, while the sudden light filled its windings and craggy nooks, illuminating them for an instant as a flash of lightning would have done. Three of the banditti fell splashing in the middle of the stream, which bore them off from the reach of their comrades, whom this unlooked-for volley had stricken with dismay. Ronald missed Narvaez, owing to a sudden motion of the latter; but severely wounded Puerco Vadija, who was behind him. Evan and Pedro had both killed their men.

The wild shrieks and outcries of the drowning robber, re-echoing among the windings of the stream, so greatly appalled and terrified his brother rogues, that, instead of advancing to the assault, they recrossed the stream, fled up the bank, and ensconced themselves behind the rocks and trees, seeking shelter from the deadly aim of their concealed enemies, and abandoning Vadija to his fate; but his last drowning cry, as it came sweeping towards them on the night-wind, found an echo in the heart of his slayer. From behind the covers where they had posted themselves, a sharp fire was maintained on both sides for some hours, without any damage being done. However, the three soldados had the best of it in this bush-fighting sort of warfare, as they could aim steadily at a head, or a leg, or an arm, the moment it appeared in view, without exposing themselves in the slightest degree; while their opponents took for their object of attack the large dark cluster of vines which concealed the cavern's mouth, and leaden bullets innumerable came whistling through the intertwined foliage, and were flattened against the rocks, or sunk with a loud bang into the soft green turf near its entrance. But Ronald and his friends escaped most miraculously, while the shot hissed often within an inch of their ears, causing a peculiarly unpleasant and tingling sensation within them, which must be experienced to be comprehended properly.

'Dios mio, senors; my cartridges are nearly expended. I have but six left,' cried the dragoon, shaking the little cartridge-box which hung at his shoulder-belt.

'Heavens! I have fired my last shot,' exclaimed Stuart, in reply, when, on putting his hand into Lazarillo's canvas pouch, he found it empty. 'We can never hold out till some relief comes. Evan, how stands your pouch?'

'Four charges, sir; deil a ane mair. We maun defend this hole by the cauld airn when a' are gane.'

'Sta cease firing. Reserve the ten rounds, to be used only in case of some pressing extremity,' said Ronald, first in English, and then in Spanish.

'Exactly, senor; ten rounds are the lives of ten men. Should the ladrones advance again, we will not fire until we are well assured our fire will prove effective.'

'They are more numerous now than before,' observed the officer, pushing aside the vines to view their foes. 'There are a dozen more high-crowned sombreros among them; I see them plainly above the rocks.'

'Santos! Oh, senor, allow me to fire?' asked Pedro, slapping impatiently the butt of his carbine. 'See yonder fellow behind the chestnut; his whole body is visible. Do allow me, noble senor? 'tis a fair chance.'

'Hold, my fiery sargento; we must be sparing of what is left us The devil ! Draw back, man, or you will certainly be shot.'

At that moment six muskets flashed from concealed places, and some of the balls grazed the cone of Pedro's steel helmet, which the waning light of the moon had revealed to them.

It soon became apparent to the banditti that the ammunition of their antagonists was expended, and their courage and insolence rose accordingly. They showed their whole figures at times, and fired with greater rapidity than before, shouting:

'Mncran los heregos! Muera, borrachos! fierros! ladrones!' and many a loud and deep carajo, together with innumerable other Spanish epithets and maledictions.

'Thank Heaven, day begins to break,' observed Pedro Gomez, as a pale light in the east began to replace that of the faded moon.

'We shall then get rid of these bawling rascals ; they will scarcely dare to besiege us in open daylight.'

'I have my doubts as to what course they may pursue, senor.'

'How, Pedro?

'Indeed, senor, in the present disorganized state of the country, our Spanish robbers are bold enough to do anything. Throughout the whole land they are numerous as the leaves of the forest, and keep up lines of regular communication between one place and another. We may thank the French invasion for such a state of things.'

'Why are such bands permitted to exist?.

'Exist, senor! Can shaven monks or lazy alcaldes subdue them?'

'No; but armed soldiers may.'

'Lord Wellington does not meddle with them, as they never assault his troops; and old Murillo's soldiers have always work enough on hand without making war on the banditti.'

'But how do these fellows come to be so numerous? Ah, curse that ball! a narrow escape.'

'Senor, war compels our peasantry to become fierce and roving guerillas: from the guerilla to the bandit is an easy transition.'

'I may rejoice that at home, in my own country, we have nothing of that kind to experience. 'Tis perfect daylight now: the thieves are still on the watch. I would they had retired, as I feel very much exhausted by fatigue and want of sleep.'

The two soldiers felt in the same predicament, and the reader may imagine the comfort of being drenched by fording the deep stream, and then being obliged to pass the night in a damp cavern without sleep or rest, after the stirring events, exhaustion, and fatigue of the day, and the exposure to the bullets of some twenty desperadoes for an entire night. Evan was seized with a cold shivering, like a fit of the ague, and began to drop asleep in spite of his strenuous efforts to keep himself awake.

Pedro produced his crucifix, and began to mutter his morning orisons, mingling with them sundry invectives against ladrones, and wishes for a cup of aguardiente to stimulate him to fresh exertion. The fire of the besiegers had now ceased, and they contented themselves with watching the spot as they sat among the rocks smoking paper cigars, and fixing new flints to their pieces ; while coarse jokes were mingled with the growls and curses of three or four that lay bleeding under the shelter of a large block of granite rock, but untended and uncared for by their comrades.

'The sun has risen,' said Ronald, as its bright beams darted through openings in the vines. 'I will reconnoitre round about, and perhaps I may discover some signs of our troops, if I can see the road which leads to Merida.' He received no answer. The mumble-jumble of Pedro's paternoster, and a prolonged snore from Iverach, informed him that his companions in peril were not inclined for conversation. Laying aside his bonnet, he crept close to the mouth of the cave, and putting back the foliage softly, cast a careful and keen glance around him. Their besiegers on the opposite bank of the stream were still stationed as I have described them, and appeared evidently determined to revenge the fall of their comrades by starving their slayers into a capitulation. Behind them, and to the right rose the umbrageous foliage of the cork-wood, intermingled with lofty chestnuts, stretching away in long vistas until lost in gloom and obscurity. On the left the trees were more scattered, and between the trunks he beheld the wide plain extending away in the direction of Merida, its broad and level extent bounded by a blue undulating ridge of far-off mountains, the line of which lay low down in the distance, and formed the boundary of the horizon. The warm lustre of the morning sun was shed joyously on the wide expanse, calling into life a thousand birds and insects, and causing the wild flowers to raise their dewy heads, and shake the moisture from their opening petals.

But throughout all the wide prospect which the lofty situation of their retreat enabled him to command, not one human being appeared no succour was in sight. Oh, how he longed to behold the glitter of arms, the flash of burnished steel, through the dusty cloud which announces afar off the march of armed men! And his heart beat with redoubled velocity while he gazed upon the band of contemptible yet dreaded ruffians, whom they had kept at bay the livelong night.

The report of a musket, the whiz and crack of a ball, as it was flattened against the hard granite walls of the cavern, made him suddenly withdraw his head ; and the loud shout of savage derision and laughter which arose from those below caused his blood to boil tumultuously, and his heart to swell with anger and impatience. He soon found himself becoming a prey to weariness and exhaustion, owing to the fatigue, excitement, and want of sleep which he had endured during the last twenty-four hours, and it was with the utmost difficulty he refrained from following Evan's example, and falling asleep. Often did Pedro Gomez recommend him earnestly to do so, reminding him how much might yet have to be endured, and promising to keep faithful watch and ward ; but Ronald dared not trust him, fearing that he too might be overcome with drowsiness, and leave them at the mercy of the banditti. Towards noon, to their inexpressible satisfaction, the besiegers began to draw off by degrees, as if wearied of the affair, and retired into the wood, leaving the ford of the river free.

'Hio! our Lady del Pilar!' cried Pedro exultingly. Viva/ senor; they have abandoned their post. Should we get off scatheless, I vow most solemnly to visit the shrine of our Lady of Majorga, and present her with three days' pay, and a new hat of the best kind that Badajoz or Zafra can produce.'

'And should we not get off scatheless, Pedro? said Ronald merrily, as he rose from the ground and stretched his limbs.

'Then not a maravedi shall she get from Sargento Gomez, no, diavolo!'

Ronald laughed aloud at the Spaniard's ideas of religious gratitude, and aroused his servant, who started up with agility, grasping his musket, all alive in an instant to the recollection of their situation.

'Gracious me, sir! I daur say I have slept. On sic an occasion as this to tempt Providence wi'------'

'Never mind, Evan, my honest man ; all is right now.'

'But the reiving loons------'

'Have abandoned their post and fled. We have nothing to do now but to march off, and make the best of our way to some safe place. Had we accepted the offer of the honest muleteer, we should have escaped a most disagreeable night; but as the play says, "All is well that ends well.'"

'But dinna be ower rash, sir,' said Evan cautiously, as he looked through the screen of vines, and surveyed the ground with a sharp glance. 'Be weel assured that the caterans are gane for guide and a',' he added, grasping his master's belt as he was about to descend.

'Gone? I tell you they are so undoubtedly,' replied Ronald testily. 'You see there is no trace of them now, and we had better depart from our uncomfortable billet without further delay.'

'I beg your pardon, sir; but just bide a wee bide a wee. What ca' ye that?'

While he spoke, the head of a man rose slowly above one of the masses of granite overhanging the forest river, evidently watching their place of concealment. The instant it appeared, Evan levelled and fired his musket, and the black scowling visage of Narvaez Cifuentes withdrew immediately.

'The scoundrels are only in ambush,' said Ronald, in a fierce tone of disappointment. 'They are watching us still!'

'I do not believe, senor,' replied Pedro, 'that they would dare to hem us in thus, if the French were not in Merida. The corregidor and alguazils of the city would have been upon them long ere this time.'

'I do not think so. Few pass this deserted place; and unless some of our troops, when crossing the plain, are attracted towards us by the sound of our arms, we have no other chance of friendly succour.'

'And if not, senor?'

'Then nothing is left us but to make one bold dash for our liberty, or sell our lives as dearly as possible. Their design is evidently to starve us out, the revengeful dogs!'

'The whole band are rising from their cover. Santos ! had we left this cavern, what a fate would have been ours! Cuidado, senor! Carajo! keep back.'

Scarcely had Pedro spoken, when the report of twenty muskets awoke the echoes of the place, and enveloped the bank, the stream, and the wood, in white volumes of curling smoke; and many of the shots whistled into the cave, but luckily fell on the rocks, against which they were flattened as broad as crown-pieces, leaving, wherever they struck, a white round star marked upon the stone. Shot after shot was fired at the place, but without better success. A sort of natural breast-work of turf, running across the mouth of the den, completely shielded the three fugitives from the dangerous and well-directed fire of the outlaws, who continued this system of distant warfare for several hours, until towards evening they again ceased entirely, but continued to watch, although they did not dare to come to closer combat with their opponents, the deadly accuracy of whose aim was a sufficient cause to deter them from attempting to carry the cavern by storm.

'The rogues are indeed very determined, senor,' said Pedro. 'I hope we shall not have to spend another night in this dismal place, cowering and shivering like rats concealed in a drain.'

'I trust not; but when it grows darker, we must make one desperate attempt to cut a way through them, or perish. I trust to a running fight for setting us free of them.'

'Our Lady of Succour! would that the hour was come! The holy father that dwelt here must have liked a damp couch better than I do, demonio!'

'Doubtless he cheered himself with many a long horn of aguardiente, if they had it in those days.'

'Ay, senor, and the place was often enlivened by the presence of the peasant-girls of La Nava, who came hither for confession. They are droll dogs, these solitary monks. Many a strange story is current of the white-bearded Padre of San Bartolomi.'

'What, he who shows the sulphurous spring of Alange?'

'Ay; he is as arrant a knave as we have on this side the pass of Roncesvalles. But the sun is setting now, senor caballero: I see the trees are casting long shadows across the plain towards the eastward.'

'Haud ye awee, Pedro. As sure as I live, I hear I hear the skirlin o' a bagpipe.'

'A pipe, Evan?' exclaimed Stuart, 'a pipe? I trust it is not imagination! By all that's sacred I hear it too,' he added, stooping his ear anxiously to listen. ''Tis playing what is the air ?'

'The "Haughs of Cromdale."Oh, sir, I ken it weel,' replied the Highlander in a thick voice, while his eyes began to glisten.

'Senor officiate,' said Pedro, who had been reconnoitring through the vine-bushes, 'there are British troops moving on the plain red uniforms at least'

'Highlanders! Highlanders!' replied Ronald, exultingly, as he beheld a long way off a party of kilted soldiers marching across the dusty plain. The setting sun was shining on the polished barrels of their sloped arms, which flashed and gleamed between the trunks of the trees at every step; even the ribands fluttering from the drones on the piper's shoulder could be discerned, and the heart-stirring strain he was blowing came floating towards them on the fitful wind.

'What troops are these? and where can they have come from? They march towards Merida, and the French are there.'

'What regiment they belang to, sir, I dinna care; let that flea stick to the wa'. But they are some o' oor ain folk, that's certain. I see the braw feathered bonnet, the filledh-beg, and the gartered hose. Oh, Maister Stuart! can we no fa' on some plan to win their attention? They are fast leaving us behind; and it's an awfu' thocht to be here. hunted in a hole like a yirded tod lowrie, and yet to see the tartan waving

in the sun, and hear the wild skirl of the piob mhor. O'd, sir! my birse is getting up; I feel myself turning wild.'

'Stay, Evan. Unless you want a bullet to make a button-hole in your skin, keep back! A man on horseback has met them: they have halted.'

''Tis a pity the knaves cannot see them, senor. By the elevation of this place, we command a farther view than the post which these rascals occupy by the river-side.'

'They must have heard the sound of the pipe to which they marched.' 'I do not think so; they would have fled had they heard it. Sound is said to ascend, senor.'

' True------'

'O'd, sir,' interrupted Evan, who continued to look through the vines, in spite of one or two shots which were fired at him, 'I would fain ken if thae chields are Gordon Highlanders or no. I think they belang to the old forty-twa: they have some red feathers in their bonnets.'

'Red feathers? Not one; they are all black and white: I see them distinctly; but whether they are the Ross-shire Buffs or any of ours, I know not. They are certainly not 42nd men; their long feathers are all white.'

'The gloaming's sae mirk and sae far advanced, that I canna see very weel; and my een are sair wi' being in the gloom o' this dismal den sae lang.'

'They are British troops; to what corps they belong we need not care, as all are friends alike. They have piled their arms. Surely they mean to bivouac there for the night. I pray to Heaven they may!'

'Oh, sir! let us do something to let them ken o' their friends that are here in tribulation and jeopardy. Fire twa or three shots, just to draw them towards us.'

'Not one. We have but nine rounds left three each; and as our lives depend upon them, they must be reserved for a grand attempt as soon as it is dark. Besides, from the way the wind blows, they would never hear the reports at such a distance. The clouds are fast gathering, and I see with pleasure we shall have a very black night. We shall certainly escape them, if we are courageous and discreet. What think you, Pedro Gomez?' he asked in Spanish.

'Of course, senor caballero. And as you will scarcely know the way after it is dark, if I have the honour to be again your guide, I will get you off securely. Should I be shot a fate which our Lady of Succour avert! you will find an easy ford some hundred yards down the stream. You may cross it fearlessly, and gain safely the place where our friends are bivouacked so quietly on the plain.'

'We shall scarcely find the spot in the dark, even with your aid, Pedro. What marks the ford?'

'A stone cross, erected by the monks of San Juan to guide travellers. During a storm, one of the brotherhood perished when crossing the stream just below us here, and they marked the shallow part by a stone, to avoid such accidents in future.'

'But think o' the sleuth-hounds, Maister Ronald,' said Evan, who had been listening attentively to Pedro, and endeavouring to comprehend his Spanish. 'I scunner at the very thocht of them, after the douking that ane gied me in the burn below.'

'We must take our chance of these infernals. But be cool and firm; the time is coming when we must have all our wits about us.'

Their conversation had often been interrupted by a stray bullet from the besiegers, who lounged lazily on the opposite bank, smoking then-cigars, tearing hard American bacallao with their teeth, and sucking the purple wine from a huge pig-skin, which they had pierced in several places with their knives, allowing it to stream on the greensward with a heedless prodigality which showed how easily it had been come by. This employment they varied by venting curses at each other, and at their obstinate opponents, at whom they now and then sent a random shot : and on one occasion a complete volley at Evan's bonnet, which, by way of bravado, he had elevated to their view on the point of his bayonet. A storm of balls whistled about it, and the young Gael laughed heartily at the joke.

'Your bonnet is riddled,' said Ronald, on seeing the feathers nearly all shot away.

'Deil may care, sir! the king has mair bonnets than this ane; and there's plenty ostrich feathers whar thae cam frae,' replied he, hoisting it again through the vines; but the Spaniards did not waste their ammunition upon it a second time.

The bivouac of their comrades, which they watched with untiring eyes, and other distant objects, faded gradually from their view as the increasing darkness of night deepened around them. The sky grew black, as masses of dense and heavy clouds drifted slowly across it; and the cold Spanish dews began to descend noiselessly on the leaves, which, as the wind died away, hung motionless and still; and, save the muttering voices of the outlaws, not a sound broke the stillness of the lonely place but the hoarse brawl of the mountain torrent as it rushed over its stony bed, from which the white foam glimmered through the darkness.

'Senor,' whispered Pedro, 'the night is perfectly dark just such as one would wish for on such an occasion.'

'Then now is our time to sally,' was Ronald's reply, as he grasped his musket, and slung his claymore on the brass hook of his shoulder-belt, that it might not impede him. 'Now or never; follow me!'

He pushed softly aside the foliage, and issued from the cavern. They were enabled to see objects with greater distinctness, owing to the pitchy darkness they had endured in their retreat, where it was so dense that one could not discern the face of the other. Enabled thus to see his way with greater accuracy, Ronald descended the bank of the river in the direction of the stone cross. The others followed with hasty and stealthy footsteps, and in a few minutes they gained the rude column which marked the ford.

'We are safe, senor caballero!' exclaimed Pedro, when they stood on the opposite side. 'Our Lady of Majorga shall get the three days' pay, a hat of the best Zafra felt, and a pound of wax candles to boot.'

'You are liberal to her ladyship. When are your presents to be given?

'The first time I pass her shrine,' laughed the other, 'which may not be during he term of my natural life.'

'Yonder is the bivouac,' said Ronald, as they scrambled hurriedly up the embankment; 'they have lit a fire. How very close upon us it appears!'

'The plain is so level, that distance deceives; but they are fully a quarter of a mile from us yet.'

'Hurrah!' cried Evan, overjoyed to find himself safe. 'Tak' that, ye ill-faured loons! firing his musket in the direction of their foes.

'Fool!' exclaimed Ronald angrily; 'how have you dared to fire without my desiring you?

Evan's deprecating reply was cut short by a shout from their baffled enemies, who, firing their pieces at random, rushed hurriedly towards the ford, mingling their outcries with the yells of their dogs. But the unexpected appearance of the large watch-fire blazing on the plain, and the dusky forms of the soldiery crowding around it, served completely to check their pursuit; and with many a hoarse malediction and threat, after firing a volley in the direction where they supposed the fugitives to be, they retired with precipitation into the fastnesses of the cork-wood.

'What a cursed adventure we have had!' exclaimed the officer, throwing away the pouch and musket of Lazarillo de Zeres de los Cavalleros, when they halted to draw breath for a few seconds. 'Evan Iverach, you are a rash fellow; by firing that useless shot, we might all have lost our lives. It may also have alarmed the troops yonder, and caused them to get under arms.'

'O'd sir, never mind; there's nae folk like our ain folk,' replied his follower, capering gaily when the figures of their countrymen, clad in the martial Scottish garb, became more distinct. 'Oh, how my heart loups at sicht o' the belted plaid, the braw filledh-beg, and the bare legs o' our ain douce chields.'

'Wha gangs there?' shouted, close by, the voice of an advanced sentry, the black outline of whose bonnet and gray great-coat they saw looming through the gloom. 'Wha gangs there?'

'Friend,' replied Ronald.

'Friends, friends, hurrah!' cried his follower, rushing upon the astonished sentry, and grasping him by the hand.


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