« ПредишнаНапред »
who should be earliest up and exchange trough, hooped with iron, and supfirst shot with the enemy.
Some ported by two heavy chains that passed dashed forward over the open field in over a windlass, about ten feet above front; others skulked along by dykes and ditches; some, again, dodged “ I was safe enough for the matter of here and there, as cover offered its that; at least none were likely to disshelter : but about a dozen, of whom cover me, as I could easily see by the I was one, kept the track of a little rust of the chain and the grass-grown cart-road, which, half-concealed by edges, that the well had been long dishigh banks and furze, ran in a zig-zag used. Now the position was far from line towards the village. I was always being pleasant. There stood the farmsinart of foot; and now, having newly house, full of soldiers, the muskets joined the “voltigeurs," was naturally ranging over every approach to where eager to show myself not unworthy I lay. Of my comrades, there was of my new associates. I went on at nothing to be seen, they had either my best pace; and being lightly missed the way or retreated ; and so equipped — neither musket nor ball-time crept on, and I pondered on what cartridge to carry-I soon outstripped might be going forward elsewhere, and them all; and, after about twenty whether it would ever be my own forminutes' brisk running, saw in front of tune to see my comrades again. ine a long, low farm-house, the walls “ It might be an hour-it seemed all pierced for musketry, and two three or four to me-after this, as I small eight-pounders in battery at looked over the plain, I saw the caps the gate. I looked back for my com- of our infantry just issuing over the panions, but they were not up-not a brushwood, and a glancing lustre of man of them to be seen. No mat- their bayonets, as the sun tipped ter,' thought I, they'll be here soon ; them. They were advancing, but as meanwhile I'll make for that little it seemed, slowly-halting at times, and copse of brush-wood;" for a small then moving forward again—just like clamp of low furze and broom was a force waiting for others to come up. standing at a little distance in front of At last they debouched into the plain; the farm. All this time, I ought to but, my surprise, they wheeled about say, not a man of the enemy was to be to the right, leaving the farm-house on seen, although I, from where I stood, their flank, as if to march beyond it. could see the crenelated walls, and This was to lose their way totally ; the guns, as they were pointed—at a nothing would be easier than to carry distance all would seem like an ordi- the position of the farm, for the Gernary peasant house.
were evidently few, had no “ As I crossed the open space to gain videttes, and thought themselves in the copse, piff! came a bullet, whiz- perfect security. I crept out from my zing past me; and just as I reached ambush, and holding my cap on a stick the cover, piff! came another. I tried to attract notice from our fel. dacked my head and made for the lows, but none saw me. I ventured at thicket; but just as I did so, my foot last to shout aloud, but with no better caught in a branch. I stumbled and success; so that, driven to the end of pitched forward; and trying to save my resources, I set to and beat a myself, I grasped a bow above me. It roulade' on the drum, thundering smashed suddenly, and down I went. away with all my might, and not caring Ay! down sure enough--for I went right what might come of it for I was half through the furze, and into a well — mad with vexation as well as despair. one of those old, walled wells, they They heard me now; I saw a staff bave in these countries, with a huge officer gallop up to the head of the bucket that fills up the whole space, leading division and halt them; a and is worked by a chain. Luckily the volley came peppering from behind bucket was linked up near the top, me, but without doing me any injury, and caught me, or I should have gone for I was safe once more in my bucket. where there would have been no more Then came another pause, and again heard of Pierre Canot; as it was, I I repeated my maneuvre, and to my was sorely bruised by the fall, and delight perceived that our fellows were did'nt recover myself for fall ten advancing at quick march. I beat minutes after. Then I discovered harder, and the drums of the grenadiers that I was sitting in a large wooden answered me. All right now, thought I, as springing forward, I called out- “Parblen!" said the cannonier, coolly, * This way, boys, the wall of the or. " there would be little glory in cutting chard has scarcely a man to defend it;' you down, and even less in being and I rattled out the pas-de-charge,' wounded by you; but if you will have with all my force. One crashing fire of it so, it's not an old soldier of the guns and small arms answered me artillery will baulk your humour.” from the farm-house; and then away As he spoke, he slowly arose from the went the Germans as hard as they ground, and tightening his waist-belt, could I—such running never was seen! seemed prepared to follow the other. One of the guns they carried off with The rest sprung to their feet at the them, the tackle of the other broke, same time, but not, as I anticipated, to and the drivers, jumping off their sad- offer a friendly mediation between the dles, took to their legs at once. Our angry parties, but in full approval of lads were over the walls, through the their readiness to decide by the sword windows, between the stockades, every- a matter too trivial to be called a where in fact, in a minute, and once quarrel. inside, they carried all before them. In the midst of the whispering conThe village was taken at the point of ferences as to place and weapons for the bayonet, and in less than an hour the short, straight sword of the artillery the whole force of the brigade was was very unlike the curved sabre of advancing in full march on the enemy's the hussar—the quick tramp of horses flank. There was little resistance was heard, and suddenly the head of made after that, and Kaunitz only a squadron was seen, as, with glancing saved his artillery by leaving his rere helmets and glittering equipments, guard to be cut to pieces.”
they turned off the high-road and enThe cannonier nodded, as if in full tered the wood. assent, and Pierre looked around him “ Here they come!-here come the with the air of a man who has vindi- troops!" was now heard on every side; cated his claim to greatness.
and all question of the duel was forgot“ Of course," said he, “the despatch ten in the greater interest inspired by said little about Pierre Canot, but a the arrival of the others. The sight was great deal about Moreau, and Kleber, strikingly picturesque; for, as they and the rest of them.”
rode up, the order to dismount was While some were well satisfied that given, and in an instant the whole Pièrre had well-established his merits, squadron was at work picqueting and as the conqueror of “Grandrengs," unsaddling their horses; forage was others quizzed him about the heroism shaken out before the weary and of lying hid in a well, and owing all hungry beasts; kits were unpacked, his glory to a skin of parchment.
cooking utensils produced, and every "An' thou went with the army of one busy in preparing for the bivouac. Italy, Pierre," said the hussar, “ thou'd An infantry column followed close upon have seen men march boldly to victory, the others, which was again succeeded and not skulk under ground like a by two batteries of field-artillery, and mole."
some squadrons of heavy dragoons; and “ I am tired of your song about this now the whole wood, far and near, army of Italy," broke in the cannonier; was crammed with soldiers, wagons, “ we who have served in La Vendee caissons, and camp equipage. To me and the North know what fighting the interest of the scene was nevermeans, as well, mayhap, as men whose ending — life, bustle, and gaiety on boldest feats are scaling rocks and every side. The reckless pleasantry of clambering up precipices. Your Bona- the camp, too, seemed elevated by the parte is more like one of these Guerilla warlike accompaniments of the picchiefs they have in the Basque,' ture the caparisoned horses. the than the general of a French army.' brass guns blackened on many a battle.
« The man who insults the army of field--the weather-seamed faces of the Italy, or its chief, insults me !" said hardy soldiers themselves--all conspirthe corporal, springing up, and cast. ing to excite a high enthusiasm for ing a sort of haughty defiance around
the career. hiin.
Most of the equipments were new " And then?"- asked the other. and strange to my eyes. I had never
" And then if he be a French sol. before seen the grenadiers of the dier, he knows what should follow." Republican Guard, with their enormous
shakos, and their long-tlapped vests, “ Didn't I tell you so?" said she, descending to the middle of the thigh; refilling the glass ; “ but, holloa, there neither had I seen the “ Hussars de la goes Gregoire at full speed. Ah, mort," in their richly-braided uniform scoundrels that ye are, I see what ye've of black, and their long hair curled in done." And so was it; some of the wild ringlets at either side of the face. The young voltigeur fellows had fastened cuirassiers, too, with their low cocked a lighted furze-bush to the beast's tail, hats, and straight black feather and had set him at a gallop through well as the “ Portes Drapeaux," whose the very middle of the encampment, brilliant uniforms, all slashed with upsetting tents, scattering cookinggold, seemed scarcely in keeping with pans, and tumbling the groups, as they yellow-topped boots : all were sat, in every direction. seen by me for the first time. But The confusion was tremendous, for of all the figures, which amused me the picqueted horses jumped about, most by its singularity, was that of and some breaking loose, galloped a woman, who, in a short frock-coat here and there, while others set ofl' and a low-crowned hat, carried a little with half-unpacked wagons, scattering barrel at her side, and led an ass their loading as they went. loaded with two similar, but rather It was only when the blazing furze larger casks. Her air and gait were had dropped off that the cause of the perfectly soldier-like; and as she passed whole mischance would suffer himself the different posts and sentries, she to be captured, and led quietly back saluted them in true military fashion. to his mistress. Half-crying with I was not long to remain in ignorance joy, and still wild with anger, she of her vocation nor her name ; for kissed the beast, and abused her torscarcely did she pass a group without mentors by turns. stopping to dispense a wonderful cor- • Cannoniers that ye are," she dial that she carried; and then I heard eried, “ma foi! you'll have little the familiar title of “La Mére Madou," taste for fire when the day comes uttered in every form of panegyric. that ye should face it! Pauvre Gre
She was a short, stoutly-built figure, goire, they've left thee a tail like a somewhat past the middle of life, tirailleur's feather! Plagues light on but without any impairment of activity the thieves that did it! Come here, in her movements. A pleasing coun- boy," said she, addressing me," hold tenance, with good teeth and black the bridle; what's thy corps, lad ?" eyes, a merry voice, and a ready “ I have none now; I only followed tongue, were qualities more than sufli- the soldiers from Paris." cient to make her a favourite with the “ Away with thee, street runner ; soldiers, whom I found she had followed away with thee, then," said she, conto more than one battie field.
temptuously; “ there are no pockets 5. Peste!" cried an old grenadier, as to pick here; and if there were, thou'd he spat out the liquor on the ground. lose thy ears for the doing it. Be off, “ This is one of those sweet things they then ; back with thee to Paris and all make in Holland; it smacks of treacle its villanies. There are twenty thouand bad lemons."
sand of thy trade there, but there's “Ah, Grogoard !" said she, laughing, work for ye all !" “thou art more used to corn-brandy, "Nay, Mére, don't be harsh with with a clove of garlic in't, than to good the boy,” said a soldier ; "you can sec caraçoa."
by his coat that his heart is with us." “What, curaçoa! Mére Madou, " And he stole that, I'll be sworn," hast got curoçoa there?" cried a grey- said she, pulling me round by the whiskered captain, as he turned on his arı, full in front of her.
“ Answer saddle at the word.
me, Gamin,' where did'st find that “Yes, Mon. Capitaine, and such as old tawdry jacket?" no bourgomaster ever drank better;" “I got it in a place where, if they and she filled out a little glass, and had hold of thee and thy bad tongue, presented it gracefully to him.
it would fare worse with thee than thou “ Encore, ma bonne Mére," said he, thinkest,” said I, maddened by the as he wiped his thick moustache; imputed theft and insolence together. " that liquor is another reason for . And where may that be, young extending the blessings of liberty to slip of the galleys?" cried she, angrily. the brave Dutch."
*** In the Prison du Temple.'
“Is that their livery, then?" said bridle at once; but just as I had done she, laughing, and pointing at me with
so, the escort galloped forward, and the ridicule, “or is it a family dress made dragoons coming on the fank of the after thy father's?"
miserable beast, over he went, barrels “My father wore a soldier's coat, an all, crushing me beneath him as he and bravely, too,” said I, with diffi- fell. culty restraining the tears that rose - Is the bov hurt?” were the last to my eyes.
words I heard, for I fainted ; but a few “In what regiment, boy?" asked minutes after I found myself seated on the soldier who spoke before.
the grass, while a soldier was staunch“In one that exists no longer," said ing the blood that ran freely from a cut I, sadly, and not wishing to allude to in my forehead, a service that would find but slight It is a trifle, General—a mere favour in republican ears.
officer to an old « That must be the 24th of the Line; man on horseback beside him, " and they were cut to pieces at • Tongres.' the leg is not broken.”
-No-no, he's thinking of the 9th, “Glad of it," said the old officer ; that got so roughly handled at Fonte- “ casualties are insufferable, except noy,” said another.
before an enemy. Send the lad to his « Of neither," said I ; “I am speak- regiment.” ing of those who have left nothing but " He's only a camp-follower, Genea name behind them, the Garde du ral. He does not belong to us." Corps' of the king."
“There, my lad, take this, then, and “Voila!” cried Madou, clapping make thy way back to Paris,” said the her hands in astonishment at my im- old general, as he threw me a small pertinence; "there's an aristocrat for piece of money. you! Look at him, mes braves! it's not I looked up, and there, straight be. every day we have the grand seigneurs fore me, saw the same officer who had condescending to come amongst us! given me the assignat the night before. You can learn something of courtly “ General La Coste !" cried I, in manners from the polished descend. delight, for I thought him already a ant of our nobility. Say, boy, art a friend. count, or a baron, or perhaps a duke." “How is this-have I an acquaint
“Make way there--out of the road, ance here ?" said he, smiling; “on Mére Madou,” cried a dragoon, cur- my life! it's the young rogue I met this veting his horse in such a fashion as morning. Eh! art not thou the artilalmost to upset ass and "cantiniére" lery-driver I spoke to at the barrack?" together, “the staff is coming."
i. Yes, General, the same.” The mere mention of the word sent “ Diantre! It seems fated, then, that numbers off in full speed to their quart- we are not to part company so easily; ers; and now, all was baste and bustle for hailst thou remained in Paris, lad, to prepare for the coming inspection. we had most probably never met The Nere's endeavours to drag her again.” beast along were not very successful; “ Ainsi je suis bien tombé,” General, for, with the peculiar instinct of his said I, punning upon my accident. species, the more necessity there was He laughed heartily, less I supof speed, the lazier he became; and as pose at the jest, which was a poor every one had his own concerns to look one, than at the cool impudence with after, she was left to her own unaided which I uttered it; and then turning to efforts to drive him forward.
one of the staff, said « Thou'lt have a day in prison if “I spoke to Berthollet about this boy thou'rt found here, Mère Madou," said already -sce that they take him in the a dragoon, as he struck the ass with 9th. I say, my lad, what's thy name?" the flat of his sabre.
« Tiernay, sir." " I know it well," cried she, pas- “ Ay, to be sure, Tiernay. Well, sionately; "but I have none to help me. Tiernay, thou shalt be a hussar, my Come here, lad; be good-natured, and See that I get no disgrace by forget what passed. Take his bridle the appointment." while I whip him on.”
I kissed his hand fervently, and the I was at first disposed to refuse, but staff rode forward, leaving me the hapher pitiful face and sad plight made me piest heart that beat in all that crowdthink better of it; and I seized the ed host.
A PASSING ACQUAINTANCE.
Ir the guide, who is to lead us on a one topic only were all agreed ; and long and devious track, stops at every
there, indeed, our unanimity repaid by-way, following out each path that all previous discordance. We deemed seems to invite à ramble or suggest a France the only civilised nation of the halt, we naturally might feel distrust- globe, and reckoned that people thrice ful of his safe conduct, and uneasy at happy who, by any contingency of for. the prospect of the road before us. In tune, engaged our sympathy, or prothe same way may the reader be dis- cured the distinction of our presence posed to fear that he who descends to in arms. We were the heaven-born slight and trivial circumstances, will disseminators of freedom throughout scarcely have time for events which Europe; the sworn enemies of kingly ought to occupy a wider space in his doinination ; and the missionaries of reminiscences; and for this reason I a political creed, which was not alone am bound to apologise for the seeming to ennoble mankind, but to render its transgression of my last chapter. Most condition eminently happy and prostrue it is, that were I to relate the en
perous. tire of my life with a similar diffuse- There could not be an easier lesson ness, my memoir would extend to a to learn than this, and particularly length far beyond what I intend it when dinned into your ears all day, to occupy:
Such, however, is very and from every rank and grade around remote from my thoughts. I have you. It was the programme of every dwelt with, perhaps, something of message from the Directory; it was prolixity upon the soldier-life and cha
the opening of every general order racteristics of a past day, because I from the General; it was the tableshall yet have to speak of changes, talk at your mess. The burthen of without which the contrast would be every song, the title of every mili. inappreciable; but I have also laid
tary march performed by the regimen. stress upon an incident trivial in itself, tal band, recalled it, even the ridingbecause it formed an event in my own master, as he followed the recruit fortunes. It was thus, in fact, that around the weary circle, whip in hand, I became a soldier.
mingled the orders he uttered with Now, the man who carries a musket apposite axioms upon Republican in the ranks, may very reasonably be grandeur. How I think I hear it still, deemed but a small ingredient of the as the grim old quartermaster-sermass that forms an army ; and in our jeant, with his Alsatian accent and day his thoughts, hopes, fears, and deep-toned voice, would call outambitions are probably as unknown “Elbows back!-wrist lower and free and uncared for, as the precise spot of from the side--free, I say, as every earth that yielded the ore from which citizen of agreat Republic!--headerect, his own weapon was smelted. This is as a Frenchman has a right to carry not only reasonable, but it is right. In it !-chest full out, like one who can the time of which I am now speaking breathe the air of Heaven, and ask no it was far otherwise. The Republic, in leave from king or despot!-down with extinguishing a class had elevated the your heel, sir; think that you crush individual; and now each, in what- a tyrant beneath it!" ever station he occupied, felt himself Such and such like were the runqualified to entertain opinions and ning commentaries on equitation, express sentiments, which, because till often I forgot whether the lesthey were his own, he presumed them son had more concern with a seat to be national. The idlers of the on horseback or the great cause of streets discussed the deepest questions monarchy throughout Europe. I supof politics ; the soldiers talked of war pose, to use a popular phrase of our with all the presumption of consummate own day, “ the system worked well;" generalship. The great operations of a certainly the spirit of the army was campaign, and the various qualities of unquestionable. From the grim old different commanders, were the daily veteran, with snow-white moustache, subjects of dispute in the camp. Upon to the beardless boy, there was but one