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to fry lean meat without fat, lard, oil, or said the officer, were under water, and butter, you not only burn the meat, but there was no thoroughfare ; nobody, he you burn the frying-pan also.
said, was allowed to go upon it. I repreIn the early days of this campaign, with sented to him that, as I did not belong to MacGaban away with Gourko and Millet the Russian army, it was nothing to him far off in the Dobrutcha with Ziminer- what might happen to me. He laughed, mano, the task was mine of covering Bul- said if I drowned it was no affair of his, garia from the right flank to the left flank and, to quote his own lively expression, of the Russian main advance, and I had to that I might go to the devil if I had a be in the saddle morning, noon, and mind. I found the two pontoons subnight, for I had to try at least to see merged as he said, and a fierce current everything, and I had generally to be my running over them, but the hand-rope was own courier back to the telegraph base at above water. This I clutched, and crossed Bucharest. General Ignatieff, the famous the interval hand over hand along it, sloshdiplomatist, was a good friend in giving ing down with the current as the slack of me timely hints of impending events. the rope gave to my weight. Simnitza When we were parting after my first visit reached somehow, there were still about to him, the General said : “Come to me ninety miles to Bucharest. Off, then, to when you want anything. I like your Giurgevo, fifty miles' night drive in a paper because it is a Christian paper, and country rattletrap drawn by four halfI am a very Christian man, and if I am broken ponies harnessed abreast. I have not mistaken you are so also.” I regarded been upset freely all along that dreary this last observation as strong proof of the plain ; spilt into a river, capsized into a aphorism that discerning penetration is village, overturned by a dead horse into a one of the leading attributes of a great dismal swamp. During the railway jourdiplomatist.
ney from Giurgevo. to Bucharest it was Probably there is no harder toil than possible to begin my round-hand telethat which the earnest war correspondent gram, writing a few words at a time when must undergo in a country destitute of the stoppages occurred. communications and when important Bucharest finally reached, I had to finevents are crowding fast one on the uther. ish my message without delaying even to The telegraph wire is his goal ; for us in wash, that it might be in time for next Bulgaria the nearest available telegraph morning's paper in England. I have office was in Bucharest, scores of long reached Bucharest so smeared with mud, miles away. The supply of trustworthy so blackened with powder, so clotted with couriers was scanty, and the best courier inch-deep dust, so blistered with heat, that will not strain ardently when he is the people of the hotel had difficulty in not working for his own hand. I write recognizing me. The telegram finished in constant consciousness of being over- long or short, there was no respite till egotistic ; but one would like the reader that were done-came a bath and then should know bow he is served with war food (they used to charge me double news. To this day I shudder at the recol- price for those meals, and I rather think lection of those long weary rides on dead- they lost money); and then a few hours' tired horses from the Lom, or the Balkans, sleep till the evening train back to Giurgevo or the Plevna country, through the food- should start. Up and off again by it, and less region down to Sistova on the Danube, so back without a halt to the position where the bridge of boats was. It was which I had quitted to despatch the telemostly night when I reached the Danube. gram. Leaving my horses in Sistova, I would Villiers and myself were the only civiltramp in the darkness across the bridge, ian spectators of the desperate and futile and over the islands and flats, ankle-deep attack which the Russian soldiers, comin sand, the three miles trudge to Sim- manded by Krüdener and Schahoffskoy, nitza, the village on the Roumanian side made on that lovely June day of 1877 of the great river. I have reached Sim- upon the girdle of earthworks with which nitza so beaten that I could scarcely stag- Osman Pasha had surrounded the obscure ger up the slope. Once when I got to the little Bulgarian town of Plevna. Up bridge I found that it was forbidden to among the oak shrubs on the height of cross it. Two pontoons in the centre, Radischevo, while the Russian cannon
thundered over our heads, we watched the The d'ébris straggled sullenly back, comnoble, hopeless assault of the Russian in- panies that had gone down two hundred fantrymen on the Turkish redoubts on the strong returning by fives and tens. For gentle swell of the great central valley. three hours there had been a steady curPlevna lay down yonder to the left front rent of wounded up from out of the battle in its snug hollow among the foliage, to the reverse slope on whose face we quiet and serene like a sleeping babe amid watched, back into comparative safety. a pack of raging wolves, the sun glinting All around us the air was heavy with the on the spires of its minarets. Behind us low moaning of the wounded, who had the Russian cannon belching fire and iron. cast themselves down behind us to gain Close to us the General, with set face and relief from the agony of motion. A terrible eager eyes, the working of his crowd of maimed wretches had gathered lips and fingers belying his forced com- around the fountain at the foot of the posure. And at our feet hell itself, rag- slope, craving with wistful longing for a ing in all its lurid splendor, all its fell few drops of the scanty water. Bad was horior. A chaos of noises comes back to their plight; but one's blood turned at the us on the light summer wind; the crackle thought of the awful fate of the poor
felof the riile fire, the ping of bullets, the lows who, too severely wounded to move crash of near exploding shells, loud shouts to the rear, lay on the maize-slopes down of reckless men bent on death or victory, there, waiting for inevitable cruel death shrieks and yells of anguish-aye, 'even at the hands of an enemy who not only groans, so near are Look at that gave no quarter but savagely mutilated swift rush ; see the upheaval of the flash- before be slew. ing bayonets ; listen to the roar of tri The Turks spread over the battle-field umph, sharpened by the clash of steel slaughtering as they advanced, and were against steel! There is an answering hur- threatening to carry the ridge, when the rah from the gunners above us, for the wounded who lay behind it would have Russian infantrymen have carried at the been at their cruel mercy. Few troops bayonet point the first Turkish position. were available to hold it ; what was left
But they get no further. There are not of the force was mainly dispersed. “Genmen enough for the further enterprise. tlemen,” said Schahoffskoy to his staff, See the stubborn gallant fellows, standing “we and the escort must give our aid to leaderless—for nearly all the officers are hold the front ; these poor wounded must down-sternly waiting death there for not be abandoned !” We extended along want of leaders either to cheer them for that grim ridge, each man moving to and ward or to march them back ! Noble fro on a little beat of his own, to show a heroism or sheer stolidity, which ? For semblance of force against the BashiGod and the Czar !" is the shout of an- Bazouks. Through the growing darkness swer that comes back on the wind, as the one could watch the streaks of flame foregaps torn by the Turkish shell fire are re shortened close below us ; and nerves stored and the ranks knit themselves closer tried by a long day of foodlessness, exand closer. The utter pity of it! A citement, fatigue, and constant exposure craving that is almost irresistible comes to danger, quivered under the prolonged over one to abandon inaction, and to do tension of endurance as the throbbing something--something, no matter what, hum of the bullets sped through or over in this acme, this climax, of concentrated the straggling line. At length dragoons strife. The mad excitement of the battle from the reserve relieved us, and so, folsurges up into the brain like strong drink. lowing the general who had lost an army O reader, calmly perusing these cold lines, going in search of an army which had you cannot realize how hard it is, in such lost its general, we turned the heads of our à convulsion of emotion, to bide at rest jaded horses, and, threading our way and write out a telegram in pencil with through the wounded, rode slowly away industrious accuracy; how difficult to from the blood-stained ridge. It was only compose coherently when the brain is on
to spend a night of wretchedness. No fire and the pulses are bounding as if they sooner bad we established a bivouac, and would burst!
general and aide-de-camp, Cossack and The sun sank in a glow of, lurid crim- correspondent, had thrown themselves on son. The Russian defeat was assured. the dewy ground and fallen into slumber,
than the alarm arose that the Bashi-Ba- his residence at Gorni Studen, when the zouks were surrounding us. Again and evil days of misfortune weighed him down, again the little band wearily arose and he suffered from low fever, rheumatism, struggled its way through the loose envi- and asthma. He lived in discomfort there ronment of the Turkish marauders. At in a dismantled Turkish house, in the bal. length daylight came, and I rode away on cony of which I had an interview with the journey to Bucharest, the bearer to him late in August, on my return journey the world of the details of the catas- from the Shipka with the tidings that trophe. Mile after mile of that dreary Radetski was holding his own there against road my good horse covered loyally, weary the furious assaults of Mehemet Ali. I and foodless as he was ; but I felt him had a difficulty in recognizing his Majesty, gradually dying away under me. The so changed was he from the early days at stride shortened, and the flanks began to Simnitza and Sistova. He had shrunken heave ominously ; I had to spur him visibly, he stooped, his head had sunk besharply, although I felt every stab as if it tween his shoulders, and his voice was had pierced myself. If he could only broken and tremulous. He was gaunt, hold on to Sistova, rest and food awaited worn, and haggard ; his nervous system him there. But some three miles short seemed quite shattered.
There was of that place he staggered and went down. hunted expression in his eye, and he I had to leave the pour gallant brute gasped for breath in the spasms of the where he fell, and tramp on into Sistova asthma that afflicted bim. I left him with with my saddle on my head.
the vivid apprehension that he was not to The personal aspect and bearing of the break the spell which was said to conRussian Emperor were for me always of demn every Romanoff to the grave
before the deepest interest. No inan was so en the age of sixty. grossed and centred in the varying phases He was in the field during the six days' of the cainpaign as was this puissant mon- struggle around Plevna, in the September arch, whose bodily and inental health vi- of the war. The sappers had constructed brated to every success and to every re for him, on a little eminence, a look-out verse, On the day he crossed the Danube, place, from which was visible a great of which I have already spoken, he was a sweep of the scene of action. Behind it singularly imposing figure. Anxiety and was a marquee, in which was a long table ill-health had not then broken him down, continually spread with food and wine, and the most indifferent spectator could where the suite supported nature jovially not but be impressed by the commanding while men in their thousands were dying nobility of his presence as he returned the hard by. As for Alexander himself, after greeting of his victorious soldiers. A the first two days no man saw him either man not far off sixty, he then looked ex eat or drink. Anxiety visibly devoured ceptionally young for his age; the long him. Ile could not be restrained from dark mustache showed scarcely a streak leaving the observatory and going about of gray, the majestic figure was as straight among the gunners. I watched him in as a pine, and he looked a very king of his strained solitude on the little balcony men, The late Colonel Charles Bracken- of the look-out place, late in the afternoon bury it was who first wrote of him as of the fifth day of the fighting—it was his “The Divine Figure from the North," fête day, save the mark !-as he stood but he did not invent the title. It was there in the sullen autumn weather, gazing the exact translation of the phrase in out with haggard eager eyes at the efforts which the Bulgarians of Sistova hailed the to storm the great Grevitza redoubt. Asmighty potentate who on that afternoon, sault after assault had been delivered ; aswhen first his foot touched their soil, sault after assault had failed: now the shone before their eyes as the more than final desperate struggle was being made, mortal being who was to be their saviour, the forlorn hope of the day. As the their redeemer from their bondage to the Turkish fire crushed down his Russians heathen. The glamour of the hour stirred battling their way up the slope slippery to idealization the stolid Bulgars ; at that already with Roumanian blood, the pale moment they would have worshipped the face on the balcony quivered, and the tall Great White Czar. His health suffered figure winced and cowered. As he stood later from the squalor of Bjela, and during there, bearing his cross in lorely anguish,
the Great White Czar was a spectacle of whole huge inert mass of immemorial rotmajestic misery that could never be for- tenness and obstructive officialisın lay doggotten.
gedly ath wart the hard path of reform. The Emperor returned to St. Petersburg Alexander's aspirations were powerless to in December. The fall of Plevna and the pierce the dense, solid obstacle ; and the enthusiastic welcome of his capital bad re consciousness of his impotency, with the stored him, spite of his chronic hypochon- no less disquieting consciousness that it dria, to apparent health and spirits. I behooved him to cleanse the Augean stable watched him as he moved round the great of the State, embittered his whole later salon of his palace, greeting his guests at life. the home-coming reception. He strode One of poor MacGahan's most sanguine the inlaid floor a very emperor, upright of beliefs was, that a time would come, if figure, proud of gait, arrayed in a brill- the millennium did not intervene, when iant uniform, and covered with decora- the war correspondent shonld overhang tions. A glittering Court and suite the battle-field in a captive balloon, gazing thronged around the stately man with en down on the scene through a big telethusiastically respectful hon:age ; the daz- scope, and telegraphing a narrative of the zling splendor of the Winter Palace formed combat it progressed along a wire with the setting of the sumptuous picture ; one end in the balloon and the other in and as I gazed on the magnificent scene, the nearest telegraph office. I don't proI could hardly realize that the central fig- fess to be very sanguine myself that this ure of it in the pomp of his Imperial State elaboration of system will ever be carried was of a verity the self-same man in whose into effect, and I am sure that I should presence I had stood in the squalid Bul- prefer, were it attempted, that some one garian hovel—the same worn, anxious, else than myself should make the aërial shabby, wistful man who, with spasmodic experiment.' But I remember once beatutterance, and the expression in his eyeing time, or at least apparent time, ;in as of a hunted deer, had asked me breath- rather a remarkable fashion, in the transless questions as to the episodes and issue mission of war news across the world by of the fighting
means of the telegraph wire. In the early In many respects the monarch whom morning of the 22nd of November, 1878, the Nihilists slew was a grand man. He a British division under General Sir Samwas absolutely free from that corruption uel Browne occupied the Afghan fortress which is the blackest curse of Russia, and of Ali Musjid, up in the Khyber Pass. whose taint is still among the nearest rela- I rode back ten miles to Jumrood, where tives of the Sovereign. He had the purest the field telegraph was, and sent the news aspirations to do his loyal duty toward to England in a short message, bearing the huge empire over which he ruled, and date 10 A.M. There is five hours' differnever did he spare himself in toilsome ence of time between India and England work. IIe took few pleasures ; the mel- in favor of the latter ; and the Daily ancholy of his position made sombre his News containing this telegram dated 10 countenance, and darkened for him all the A.M. was selling in Fleet Street at 9 A.M. brightness of life. For he had the bitter -one hour of apparent time before it was est consciousness of the abuses that were despatched. Its anticipation of time did alienating the subjects who had been wont not end here. Owing to the five hours' in their hearts, as on their lips, to couple difference of time between London and the names of " God and the Czar." He New York, the message was in time for knew how the great nation writhed and the regular editions of the New York pagroaned ; and he, absolute despot though pers the same morning. It was immedihe was, writhed and groaned no less in ately wired across the American continent; the realization of his impotency to ameli- and, owing to the difference in time beorate the evils. For although honest and tween the Atlantic coast and the Pacific sincerely well-intentioned, there was a slope, the early-rising citizen of San Franfatal weakness in the nature of Alexander cisco, purchasing his morning paper at the Second. True, he began his reign 6 A.m, was able to read the announcewith an assertion of masterfulness ; but ment of an event which actually occurred then unworthy favorites gained his ear, over two hours later in apparent time some his family compassed him about, the 13,000 miles away on the other side of
the globe from the fair city inside the Nothing of all that makes the scene of a Golden Gate. Puck professed himself yesterday's battle so sickeningly ghastly able to put a girdle round the earth in shocked the senses. A strange dead calm forty minutes, but this telegram sped half reigned in this solitude of nature. Grain round the globe in two hours less than no had grown luxuriantly, sprouting from time at all!
seed scattered from the wagon-loads, and The Zulu war was my last campaign, falling on soil fertilized by the life-blood and during it the cost of necessarily co- of the brave men whose poor remains were pious telegraphing bore hard on news- visible in the intervals of the maize-stems. papers. Writhing under the expenditure, As one strayed aimlessly about, one stumnewspaper managers of reactionary ten- bled in the long grass over skeletons that dency were heard to bewail that Benjamin rattled to the touch. It was the miserFranklin had ever been invented ; a regret ablest work wandering about the desolate which most of their correspondents have, camp, amid the sour odor of stale death, I am sure, over and over again shared in. and gathering mournful relics—letters I had not reached South Africa when from home, photographs of loved ones, there occurred that ghastly misfortune, blood-stained books, and other sad souvethe massacre of Isandlwana. But I was nirs. of the first party which visited that fatal The poor Prince Imperial I had met field, and the spectacle which it presented occasionally at home, but came to know I can never forget. A thousand corpses him with some degree of intimacy in the had been lying there in rain and sun for early days of the Zululand campaign. He four long months. In the precipitous was a young man of great brightness and ravine at the base of the slope stretching active sympathy, full of aptitude for milidown from the crest on which stood the tary study, and with a keen sense of duty abandoned wagons dead men lay thick, and discipline. He was fond, in the inmere bones, with toughened, discolored tervals of work, of gossiping with me skin like leather covering the skeletons about the events of the Franco-German and clinging tight to them, the flesh all war, and he told me some very interesting wasted away. Some were almost wholly stories regarding the early days of that dismembered, mere heaps of clamıny yel- struggle, which had so changed the future low bones. I forbear to describe the of his young life. On the voyage to faces, with their blackened features and South Africa, as I have heard, he had exbeards blanched by rain and sun. The pressed the wish that he might be woundclothes had lasted better than the poored by an assegai stab at close quarters bodies they covered, and helped to keep with a Zulu. Poor fellow, he was covthe skeletons together. All the way up ered with assegai stabs from head to foot the slope I traced, by the ghastly token when I saw him lying, stone dead, on the of dead men, the fitful line of flight. It blood-stained sward by the Ityotyosi was like a long string with knots in it: river. We found him lying on his back, the string formed of single corpses, the stripped, bis head so bent to the right knots of clusters of dead, where, as it that the cheek touched the sward, the seemed, little groups had gathered to make right arm stretched out, the left bent ina hopeless, gallant stand, and so die fight- ward toward the thigh. The face, whose ing.
features were nowise distorted, but wore Still following the trail of
the trail of bodies a faint smile that somewhat parted the through long rauk grass and among stones, lips, was stained with blood from a cut on I approached the crest. Here the slaugh- the chin. On the trunk were a score and tered dead lay very thick, so that the more of assegai wounds ; most were sustring became a broad belt. On the bare perficial stabs, but there were two deep ground on the crest itself, among the wounds on the side, one in the throat, and wagons, the dead were less thick ; but on one destroying an eye and penetrating the the slope beyond, on which from the head. His wounds bled afresh as we crest we looked down, the scene was the moved him. His slayers had left a little saddest, and more full of weird desolation gold chain which was clasped round his than anything I had ever gazed upon. neck, and on which were strung a locket There was nothing of the stark blood- containing a miniature of his mother and curdling horror of a fresh battle-field. another enclosing a relic. The relic was