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Romance of War (or The Highlanders in Spain)
Chapter 17 - A Meeting


Around the ample fire, on which a sucession of billets and crackling branches were continually heaped, were grouped some seventy or eighty soldiers — Gordon Highlanders, as was evident from their yellow facings and the stripes of their tartan. The fairness of their complexions, and the bright colour of their untarnished uniform, served likewise to show that they had but recently arrived from Great Britain. Some lay fast asleep between the piles or bells of arms, while others crowded round the fire, conversing in that low voice, and behaving in that restrained manner, which the presence of an officer always imposes on British soldiers. The officer himself sat close by the watch-fire, which shone brightly on his new epaulettes and other gay appointments. His plumed bonnet lay beside him on the turf, and his fair curly hair glistened in the flame, which revealed the handsome and delicate but rosy features of a very young man — one, perhaps, not much above seventeen years of age. He was laughing and conversing with the soldiers near him, in that easy manner which at once shows the frankness of the gentleman and soldier, and which is duly appreciated by those in the ranks, although it tends in no way to lessen the respect due to the epaulette. A black pig-skin lay near him, from which he was regaling himself, allowing also some of the soldiers to squeeze the liquor into their wooden canteens.

On Ronald Stuart's approach, the sudden apparition of an officer in the uniform of their own regiment, coming they knew not whence, created no small surprise in the little bivouac; and the sudden murmur and commotion which arose among them, caused the young officer to turn his head and look around him.

'Ronald — Ronald Stuart!' he exclaimed, in well-known accents, as he sprang lightly from the green turf, his eyes sparkling with surprise and joy; 'how have you come so unexpectedly upon us?

'Ah, Louis, my old friend! and you have really joined us to follow the pipe and the drum?' replied Stuart, grasping his hand, and longing to embrace him as he would have done a brother; but the presence of so many restrained him, and he contented himself with gazing fondly on the face of his early friend, and tracing in his fine features the resemblance he bore to his sister. The expression was the same, but the eyes and hair of Alice Lisle were dark ; the eyes of Louis were light blue, and his hair was fair — of that soft tint between yellow and auburn. His features, of course, possessed not that exquisite feminine delicacy which appeared in the. fair face of Alice, but yet the family likeness was striking, and pleasing for Ronald Stuart to contemplate and recognise.

'He has her very accent and voice,' thought he. 'Well, Louis ! and how are all at home among the mountains? Does old Benmore keep his head in the mist, as usual?'

'All were well when I left in January last; and I dare say the red deer and muirfowl keep jubilee in our absence, for sad havoc we used to make among them.'

The soldiers, to allow them the freedom of conversation, respectfully fell back, and clustered round Evan Iverach, who, after he had paid his rustic compliments 'to his auld friend Maister Lisle, frae the Inch House,' began to regale his gaping countrymen with an exaggerated narrative of his late adventures in Spain; and many a 'Hoigh! Oich! Eigh!' and other Scottish interjections of wonder, he called forth as he proceeded.

After a hearty draught from the borachio-skin, many were the questions asked and answers given about home and absent friends; and Ronald's account of his rencontres and adventures with Cifuentes, certainly did not impress Louis Lisle with a very high opinion of the state of society and civilization generally in Spain.

'This must be a strange country,' observed he, 'when fellows can rove about plundering and rieving, as Rob Roy and the Sergeant Mhor used to do in our grandfathers' days. And the villains from whom you have suffered so much are still lurking in that dark forest of cork-trees?'

'Yes; their fastness is in the heart of it. If the rules of the service sanctioned such a proceeding, I would with this party of ours surround the wood, hunt out the rascals from their lair, and put every one of them to death.'

'But Lord Wellington——'

'Would make it a general court-martial affair. But there is a time for everything, and this Spanish robber and I may meet again.'

'Spain appears a wretched country to campaign in.'

'Truly it is so.'

'I liked Lisbon pretty well; and found much amusement in frequenting the assembly-room, the Italian opera-house, the theatre, and circus for the bull-fights.

'Faith! I saw none of these things, Louis; my purse is scarcely so deep as yours. And the public promenades, you visited them, doubtless?

'The trees and shrubbery are beautifully arranged; but I cannot admire the ladies of Lisbon, they are so little, so meagre and tawny.'

'You will like Spain better. Hand me the pig-skin, if you please.'

'I have not been very favourably impressed by what I have seen of it. The roads on our route are all but impassable,—mere sheep-tracks in some places; and the posadas are the most wretched to be imagined.'

'Rather different from the snug Old George at Perth, with its portly landlord, bowing waiters, and smiling hostess.'

'Rather so; and tiresome indeed I found the march thus far,—the towns in ruins, and between them immense desert tracks, where neither a house, a human being, nor a vestige of cultivation was to be seen.'

'But it was a useless order to march your detachment thus far to the westward, when the division is retreating. You could have joined at Portalagre.'

'I am aware of it; but to march and join the regiment without delay were the orders given me by the commandant at Portalagre. By my route, this day's march should have ended at Merida; but a muleteer, to my no small surprise, informed us of its being in possession of the French : and having no one to consult, I felt at a loss how to act, and halted here.'

''Twas rash of the surly old commandant to send so young and inexperienced an officer in charge of a detachment through a foreign country; but those fellows on the staff, who skulk in the rear, have never the true interest of the service at heart.'

'And Sir Rowland Hill is retiring on the Portuguese frontier?'

'En route, I believe, for Ciudad Rodrigo, where Lord Wellington means to give battle to Marmont. The troops are marching from all points to join him, and we may soon have the glory of being actors in a general engagement.'

' Well; and this place, Merida------'

'Is possessed by three or four troops of French lancers: I saw them enter last night. You have acted most prudently in halting here, as a skirmish with so numerous a party was well avoided. But we shall probably have the pleasure of seeing them prisoners of war, when our people come up in the course of to-morrow. I shall make a tour round the sentries in a few minutes, and see that they are on the alert, and then retire to roost under that laurel-bush : I feel quite worn out with my last night's affair.'

'You must act for yourself now, Stuart. Should anything occur, you of course take command of the party,' replied Louis dryly, and in a tone totally different from that of his late observations.

'Ay, Louis; I am a senior sub, you know,' said Ronald, colouring at the other's tone.

'What sort of a man is Cameron of Fassifern? asked Louis abruptly, after a long pause.

'A true soldier every inch ; and a prouder Highlander never drew a sword.'

'Fierce and haughty, is he not?

'Yes, but a perfect gentleman withal. You will find the most of ours very fine fellows—young men of birth and blood, fire and animation; and you will be charmed with the appearance of the regiment. 'Tis indeed a splendid corps.'

Another long and perplexing pause ensued, while an expression of doubt and perturbation began to cloud the faces of both. Need I say that Alice—Alice Lisle, of whom neither had yet spoken, was the cause? Although until now he had disguised it, Lisle's indignation was bitterly aroused to find that Ronald conversed on a variety of topics with an air of lightness, and asked a thousand questions about friends at home in Perthshire, yet that never once had the name of Alice passed his lips. His pride was roused, and consequently he determined not to be the first to speak of his sister, and the anger which was swelling in his heart caused him to assume a distant and haughty behaviour towards his friend, who considered it but a confirmation of the report which he had seen in the Edinburgh Journal; and his mountain pride and indignant feelings were likewise roused, making him, in turn, display a cold distance of manner to one whom he had regarded as his earliest and dearest, almost only friend and companion—as his very brother.

And this was the happy meeting to which both had so ardently looked forward as a source of pleasure for some time past!

*  *  *  *  *  *

'Truly,' thought Ronald, ' my father's old-fashioned prejudices were not without a cause; these Lisles of Inchavon are not endued with either the sentiments of affection or honour.'

'Poor Alice!' thought Lisle, at the same moment; 'how have her fond and misplaced affections been trifled with ! Scarcely has this heartless Highlander (full of his mountain pride and bombast) parted with her, before she is forgotten as utterly as if she did not exist.'

However, they kept these thoughts to themselves, and continued to nurse their minds into a state of hot indignation against each other, indignation mingled with feelings of disappointment and sorrow, especially on the part of Louis Lisle.

He had produced from his haversack the remains of his last day's rations — a few hard biscuits and some cold meat, on which Ronald, although he had fasted so long, merely made a show of regaling himself, he felt little inclination to eat, but often applied himself to the wine-skin. After a long and confusing sort of pause, during which both had severely taxed their imaginations for somewhat to converse about—

'I have heard,' observed Ronald, ' that your father is again suing for the long-dormant peerage, the title of Lord Lysle.' ' Yes, it is the case. How heard you of it?'

'By a letter from Lochisla. I drink to Sir Allan's health ! I have not seen him since the day I pulled him out of the deep linn at Cor-rieavon. I wish him every chance of success!'

'There is little doubt but we shall carry our point during this session of Parliament: my father's descent in a direct line from the last lord is now clear beyond a doubt or quibble. He is certain to gain the day.'

'I am sure I shall be most happy------'

'The Earl of Hyndford,' continued Louis, in the same cold manner 'is my father's most particular friend, and has some interest with the law lords. He is on the ministerial side, and------ But what is the matter?

'Nothing, nothing. Is there any more wine in the skin? I feel very faint after my late fatigue, surely,' muttered Stuart, making a tremendous mental effort to appear calm. But the name of Hyndford had caused his heart to leap as it were to his very lips, which quivered as a nervous spasm twitched them, while his forehead grew livid and pale.

'Ronald, what on earth is the matter? asked Louis kindly, perceiving the changes of his countenance. 'Are you turning faint or ill?

'Ill,— sick at heart,' replied Stuart, scarcely knowing what he said, while he eagerly longed to ask a question—a single question, which he dreaded to hear answered; but the fierce native pride of his race came to his aid, and the inclination was repressed.

'For what shall I condescend to mention her name? thought he. 'To ask in a trembling tone after one who has forsaken me thus, becomes me not. Faithless Alice! neither farewell word, token, nor letter has she sent me; but—but I will be calm !' and he placed his hand upon the little miniature, which at that moment he imagined was pressing like a load upon his heart.

'Good Heaven, Stuart! you are certainly very unwell,' said Louis anxiously, his indignant feelings giving way to concern. 'What can I do for you?'

'Oh! 'tis nothing. It is past—a spasm—the wound I received at Merida.

'Are you still troubled by it?

'No; that is—I mean------'

He was relieved from his embarrassment by an exclamation of surprise and intense disgust from Lisle, who suddenly leaped up from the green turf on which they were seated.

'It is a skull!' he exclaimed, turning something round and white out of the sod with his foot.

'A skull?'

'Yes; I knew not what it was. I felt something round and smooth lying half sunk in the earth, and my hand rested on it for some time. How does it come to lie here?

'No uncommon affair in Spain. It is the head of one of those poor fellows I told you of. I saw him killed here the day Long's brigade of horse drove the French advanced picket into the cork-wood.'

'What! did you not bury them?'

'No; we had no time. The wolves came at night and saved us the trouble.'

'And this is dying in the bed of glory!'

'So romancers tell us.'

'Ay, Stuart, 'tis all very fine to read of honour and glory. The charge, the encounter, and the victory, in a novel------'

'When seated in a well-curtained and softly-carpeted room, with your feet encased in morocco slippers, and a huge fire roaring up the chimney; but here it is a very different matter.'

'Nevertheless, 'tis a gay thing to be a soldier,' said Louis, eyeing his shining epaulette askance.

'It is, indeed ! I have felt some delicious moments of gratified pride since I first donned the red coat,—moments in which I would scarcely have exchanged my claymore for a crown. But this ghastly death's head had better be removed. Probably the poor boy it belonged to, for he was scarcely anything else, had his own bright dreams of glory and military renown, and left his sunny vineyards with hopes that one day he should exchange the goatskin pack for the baton of a marshal of France. If he had such visions, where are they all now? But let it be taken away. Evan, dig a hole with your bayonet, and bury it deep under the turf.'

This temporary excitement over, the two friends again relapsed into their dry and unfriendly distance of manner.

'Give me another cup from the borachio skin; I will drink to Sir Allan's health before I compose myself to rest for the night,' said Ronald, anxious to put an end to it by retiring.

'Drink, and replenish again,—you are most welcome; but you will excuse me, Stuart, if I reply somewhat coldly to your many expressions of regard for my family,' replied Louis, assuming a haughtiness of manner which it was impossible to pass over.

'How so? What mean you? asked Ronald hurriedly, his blood mounting to his very temples while he tossed the wine-horn from him.

'To me it appears very singular,' began the other in a determined tone, 'indeed most unaccountable, that you have never yet inquired for or mentioned one, whom I had every reason, until to-night, to believe to be very dear to you, and ever uppermost in your thoughts.'

'You mean------' faltered Ronald.

'My sister, Alice,—Miss Lisle,' said Louis, giving vent to his long-concealed passion and spleen. 'What am I to understand by this singularity of conduct, at once so cruel, so dishonourable, and------'

'Halt, sir! Stay,—beware what you utter!' replied Ronald fiercely, in turn.

'As her brother, I demand an immediate explanation!' cried the other, starting from the ground, while he grew pale with anger.

'By heavens! you shall have none.'

'None! Do you then------'

'Speak lower, sir. I am not accustomed to be addressed in this imperious way. Fassifern himself would not dare to speak to me thus. Restrain your manner, or the soldiers will observe it.'

'By the gods!' said the other, in a tone of fierce irony, 'I little thought to find that one of the Stuarts of Lochisla,—a family, a house, that have ever prided themselves on their notions of honour and noble feeling,— would behave thus to a gentle and too-confiding girl. But I will arrange this matter at another time.'

'And Lord Hyndford?'

Louis changed colour evidently.

'How, Mr. Lisle,—how can you thus get into heroics with me,' said Ronald, observing it, 'and in so bad a cause?'

'Cause, sir! Your conduct is at once unbecoming either a soldier or a gentleman,' exclaimed the bold boy stoutly, 'and a stern reckoning-must be rendered at another time!'

Ronald smiled scornfully, while his eyes flashed, and his trembling fingers involuntarily sought the basket-hilt of his sword; but he passed his hand over his hot throbbing forehead, and subduing his emotions, turned haughtily upon his heel and withdrew.

And thus ended his first interview with the brother of Alice after their long separation.

*  *  *  *  *  *

Seeking a solitary part of the bivouac, he laid himself under the shelter of a bush, and yielding to the excessive fatigue that oppressed him, fell into a deep sleep, which was destined to be of very short duration. Meanwhile Louis Lisle, unable to enjoy the slumber which sealed the eyelids of the surrounding soldiers, sat listlessly, by the flaring fire, watching its red crackling embers for hours, while his young heart was so filled with sorrow, indignation, and disappointment at what he considered the altered behaviour of Ronald Stuart, that he could have wept like a child but for very shame. At last, overcome by the wine, of which he had drunk deeply to drown thought, and by the heat of the blazing fagots, he stretched himself upon the turf and dropped asleep, to dream of his happy home and the fair sister he loved so dearly.

About an hour before daybreak, a time when the chill feeling of the atmosphere increases in Spain, Ronald was roused from his heavy slumber by some one shaking his arm.

'Another shot ! Keep up your fire, Pedro !' he muttered, not knowing where he was. 'Holloa ! what is the matter?' he cried, as the glare of the fire, flashing on the epaulettes of Louis, recalled his wandering ideas.

'Mr. Stuart, troops are in motion on the plain to the eastward. I considered it my duty to acquaint you,' replied the other, and withdrew.

'They are either our own people, or some French party thrown forward from Merida. Stand to your arms, there. Men, rouse, rouse! Piper, blow the gathering. Mr. Lisle, get the men under arms—let them fix bayonets and load: I will be with you immediately.'

Moving in the direction of the advanced sentry who had given the alarm, he distinctly heard the rapid tramp of horse approaching towards them along the beaten track—it deserved not the name of road—from Merida.

'Cavalry!' thought he, drawing his sword. 'Now then for a solid square: I will not surrender to Dombrouski, without a show of fight, even should he come with all his lancers at his back, in their panoply of brass and steel.' At that instant the cavalry halted; but the darkness was so great, that he could not discern any trace of them save their sabres, which glittered in the light of the watch-fire.

'Teevils and glaumories!' shouted the advanced sentinel, a bluff Gael from the forest of Athole, as he 'ported' his musket. ' Wha's tat?—wha gaes there?'

'What the devil does he say? The challenge was German, Wyndham,' said a distant voice.

'Low Dutch, decidedly,' replied another, with a reckless laugh. ' Perhaps they are some of the chasseurs Britanniques?

'What would bring them here? Some of the cacjadores, probably.'

'Who goes there? What troops are these?' cried Ronald.

'Holloa! all right. A reconnoitring party thrown out from the advanced guard of the second division. What are you?

'A detachment for the first brigade?'

'Scots?'

'Gordon Highlanders.'

'Captain Wyndham took you for the drowsy Germans,' said the officer, riding forward. 'All is right, then; we belong to the 9th Light Dragoons, and General Long sent us forward to discover what the fire on the plain meant. We took you for some of the enemy, a party of whom we captured at Merida a few hours ago. Lord knows how they came there ! I am sure old Sir Rowland does not.'

'Then it seems the division is on a forced march.'

'Ay, the devil take it ! It knocks up our cattle confoundedly,' answered Wyndham. 'The whole column will be here in an hour; but I must retire, and report to Long. Adieu. Party! threes about; forward—trot!' and away they went.

Scarcely had five minutes elapsed, when the advanced guard, consisting of part of the 9th and 13th Light Dragoons, with the 2nd Hussars of the King's German Legion, came up at an easy trot. Fierce-looking fellows were these last—wearing blue uniforms, large heavy cocked-hats, leather jack-boots, and enormous moustaches. The appearance of the brigade of horse, as they passed, was at once striking, martial, and picturesque. The red glow of the blazing fire glittered on the polished harness of man and horse, and the bright blades of the crooked sabres.

They certainly had not the showy and ball-room appearance of cavalry on home service, yet they were the more military and soldierlike. Continual exposure to all weathers had bronzed their cheeks, and turned the once gay scarlet coat from its original hue to purple or black, and the bright epaulettes to little more than dusky wire. The canvas haversack and round wooden canteen hung at their backs; and the coarse yellow blanket, strapped behind the saddle of officer and private, did not diminish the effect of the scene. When the morning was further advanced, and the banks of rolling vapour, which for some time rested on the face of the plain, rose into the air, Ronald found the baggage of the division close upon the spot occupied by the detachment which he now commanded. A strange medley the train presented. Horses, mules, and asses, laden with trunks, portmanteaus, bags, soldiers' wives and children, tents and tent-poles, bedding, and camp utensils ; and here and there rode a few officers' wives on horseback, attired in close warm riding-habits. The whole of the long straggling array was surrounded by a guard with fixed bayonets, under the command of a field-officer, who spurred his horse at a gallop towards the party of Highlanders.

Stuart advanced to meet him. It was impossible to mistake the gigantic figure which bestrode the panting horse, the forest of ostrich plumes waving in his bonnet, or the stout oak staff which he flourished about.

'Egypt for ever!' cried the major, reining in his horse, which shook the sod beneath its hoofs. 'Holloa, Stuart, my boy, is it really you? Glad to see you sound in wind and limb again. We thought the French had carried you off. Who are these with you?

'The draft just come up from Lisbon. Allow me to introduce Mr. Lisle, of ours. Major Campbell,' said Ronald, presenting Louis, with a stiff formality which stung the younger ensign to the heart.

'Lisle? Ah! glad to see you. Welcome to this diabolical country! We had a capital fellow of your name with us in Egypt. Many strange adventures he and I had at Grand Cairo. He left us after our return home: some relation of yours, perhaps?'

'My uncle; he is a younger brother of my father's,' answered Louis, colouring slightly with pleasure.

'Ah, indeed! a devilish fine fellow he was; but perhaps he is changed by matrimony, which always spoils a true soldier, and cuts up the esprit de corps which we Highland troops have imbibed so strongly. I heard that he had married an English heiress, and now commands some foreign battalion in our service up the Mediterranean.'

'The Greek Light Infantry.'

'A splendid climate, their station. Little drill and duty—wine to be had like water; and then the white-bosomed Grecian girls, with their bare ankles and black eyes ! Ah ! it beats Egypt, which is a very good place to live in, if one is a sheikh or pasha. And so you are really a nephew of my old crony and bottle-companion, Lodowick Lisle? I remember his first joining us at Aberdeen, when we were embodied, in 1794. A handsome fellow he was ; standing six feet three in his shoes ; but I overtopped him by four inches.'

'I have often heard him mention your name—Colin Campbell, at Inchavon—with terms of singular affection and respect.'

'Have you, really? Honest Lodowick,' •replied the major, his eyes glistening. 'Would that I had something in my canteen to drink his health with ! Did he ever tell you of our march to Grand Cairo, when we were in Egypt with Sir Ralph?

'I do not remember.'

''Twas a most harassing affair, I assure you.'

'Now for an Egyptian story,' thought Ronald, observing the major composing his vast bulk more easily in his saddle.

'It was sad work, Mr. Lisle, marching over dusty plains of burning sand,—the scorching sun glaring fiercely above us in a cloudless sky, blistering and stripping the skin from our bare legs and faces, while our parched throats were dry and cracked, but not a drop of water could be found to moisten them with in the accursed desert through which we marched. Our shoes were worn out completely, and the hot rough sand burned our feet to the bone; and I assure you we were in a most miserable state when we halted among the mosques and spires, the gaudy kiosks and flowery gardens of Crand Cairo,—a place which at a distance appears like a city of candlesticks and inverted punch-bowls. Old Wallace, the quartermaster (a queer old carle he was), was sent about to provide shoes for the corps, who, by his exertions, were in a short time all supplied with elegant pairs of Turkish slippers, embroidered and laced, and turned up at the toes. Droll-looking brogues they were, certainly, for the Gordon Highlanders, in their gartered hose and filleadh-begs; yet, certes, they were better than nothing. But I was not so lucky as the rest. In all Grand Cairo there was not a pair of their canoe-looking slippers to be found which would suit me,—my foot, you see, is a size above a young lady's. And so I might have marched the next day in my tartan hose, had not Osmin Djihoun, a shoemaker, whose shop occupied the very site of the great temple of Serapis, which was destroyed by Theophilus the patriarch (as you, having just come from school, will remember), undertaken to produce me a pair of shoes by next morning, under terror of the bastinado and bowstring, which the Sheikh-e!-Beled, or governor of the city, threatened duly to administer if he failed to do.'

'Well, major; and your next day's march passed over in comfort ?' asked Ronald, who had listened with impatience to this story.

'Comparatively so. Another affair I could tell you of, in which Lodowick Lisle bore a part. It happened at the Diamond Isle. The Diamond Isle, you must know, is a place at the mouth of the new port of Iskandrieh, as the Arabs call the city of Alexander the Great. Old Lodowick and I------'

'The baggage has all passed, major. You will scarcely overtake your command by sunset, if you wait to tell us that story ; it is very long, but, nevertheless, very interesting. I have heard it some dozen times.'

'A good story,' replied Campbell composedly, 'cannot be told too often. Therefore, the Diamond Isle------' but I will not insert here the worthy major's story, which he obstinately related, and with all the tedious prolixity and feeling of entire self-satisfaction that every old soldier displays in the narration of some personal adventure.

'By-the-bye, Stuart,' said he, as he concluded, 'have you anything in the pig-skin I see lying near the fire yonder?'

'Not a drop; otherwise it should have been offered long ago. I am sorry 'tis empty; but not expecting visitors, the last drain was squeezed out last night.'

'Carajo! Well, Lisle, and how are all the depot? How's old In-verugie, and Rosse of Beinderig,—the Barba-Roxo, as the dons used to call him?'

'All well when I left.'

'Glad to hear so,—jovial old Egyptians they are ; many a cask of Islay and true Ferintosh we have drunk together, and, through God's help, many more I hope to drink with them. The very idea of the smoking toddy—the lemons and nutmeg, makes me confoundedly thirsty.'

'Doubtless, major, you had a morning draught at Merida?'

'The devil the drop, Stuart; but very nearly a wame full of cold pewter,—and ounce balls are hard to digest.'

'How! What occurred?'

'It was unluckily my turn to be field officer of the guard over this infernal baggage, which, as we are retreating, moves of course in front of the column. We advanced as fast as possible to get into Merida, hoping to halt there and refresh. As we approached the bridge, I was drawing pleasant visions of the dark purple wine in the borachio skins at the wine-seller's in the Plaza, and was thinking of the long gulping draught of the cool Malmsey liquor I would enjoy there; when bang, whizz, came a bullet from the carbine of a French vidette, who appeared suddenly before us at the bridge-end. My belt-plate turned the shot, or else there would be a majority vacant at this hour in the Gordon Highlanders. The same thing happened to me once in Egypt, when I was there with Sir Ralph. I will tell you how it was.

'I would rather hear it at the halt, major, if it be all the same to you,' said Ronald, interrupting the prosy field-officer without ceremony. 'Well, and this vidette? His shot------'

'Caused a devil of a commotion among my motley command. The ladies shrieked and galloped off, the children cried in concert, the donkeys and mules kicked and plunged, the drivers lashed, and swore, and prayed, while the guard began to fire. I knew not what to do, when up came the 9th and Germans, sword in hand, sweeping on like wildfire; and entering the city, after a little fighting and a great deal of shouting and swearing, captured a hundred and fifty French lancers, all in their shirts. Their quarter-guard alone escaped by swimming the Guadiana; but their chef descadre, a French colonel, the Baron Clappourknuis, was taken in his saddle. You will see him when Sir Rowland comes up. But I must ride hard now, and regain my straggling command, which has left me far in the rear. Adieu, lads, adieu!' and away he went at a hand gallop. In a short time, the long line of dust which appeared in sight announced the approach of the division; and the bright steel points of standard-poles, of pikes and bayonets, glanced momentarily to the sun' as they advanced across the level plain. About a quarter of a mile off, moving forward on the right and left, appeared two other masses of armed horse—Colonel Campbell's brigade of Portuguese cavalry, covering the flanks of the infantry. Eagerly did Stuart watch the dark forest of waving feathers which distinguished his own regiment, while he awaited their arrival standing apart from Louis Lisle, who eyed him with an expression of anger and disquiet. Since the departure of Campbell, neither had addressed a word to the other, and both felt how exceedingly irksome and disagreeable was this assumed indifference, this appearance of hauteur and coldness.


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