They went at their work now with a trunnion of one of the guns, it glanced will, encouraged and directed by off and wounded Wrottesley, a lieuCommander Preedy, a man of great tenant of Engineers. Death was energy and great practical skill. Some marked on his face as he was borne times they would progress slowly, step through the camp. He lived only to by step, foot by foot, then with a wild be carried to the sea-beach. Young, dash would burst over a short space, fresh, and full of life, his career had then stick so fast that it was only by scarce begun ere it was ended. He straining every muscle, and taxing was the second victim war had claimed every limb-only by the wild impulse, within a sbort time from the same and with the wild cheer, the difficulty family. was overcome. Thus they went on Every hour the fire of the fort and on, spite of check or obstacle, slackened - every hour the breach patient and enduring with all their gaped wider. Every moment the sigwildness, until the end was accom- nal for assault was expected. Our plished, and the guns were in place. men awaited it sheltered under the 'Twas a strong rough fact, this getting lateral ridge, ready and eager. At up of the guns.

four o'clock the seamen were relieved The afternoon had its incident. We at the guns by marine artillerymen, heard a heavy, rumbling noise-felt and soon afterwards the breach bethe ground shake-saw a mass of dust came practicable. Ere an assault rise into the air, and rushed forth to could be planned, the white flag was see a ruin yawning with many a wide hoisted again, and the fort was ours. fissure, shattered and bent from its Nortike had fallen to the great guns, foundations, in place of the grim as Tsee had to the rifles; it had cost regularity and stately perpendicular fewer men, but suffered greater damof Fort Tsee. Since its surrender, the age. It was night ere our troops enemy had continued to fire into it, marched down to take possession. A and either one of their shell, or a slow wild scene was that night-march-the match left burning, had reached the men scrambling down the rocks and magazine, and so blown up the fort. through the trees-the fort standing

Eagerly on the morning of the 15th dark, gloomy, and silent on its rocky did we wait for some sign from the ledge, with the calm waters on either hill, where our battery, of three 32- side-then the surrender, the musterpounders and four howitzers, wasing of prisoners, the hurrying to and ready, at a range of 750 yards, to fro, the confusion of figures and voices. commence a single-handed contest After the surrender, the prisoners with Fort Nortike. At length a deep were marched out and the fort abanboom, followed by a heavy crash, told doned, as it and its approaches were us that the work was begun. There commanded. A forlorn and melanwas a strength and a power in this choly group stood the 120 prisoners in heavy sound of the gun, which gave our camp, in the grey of the morning; promise of speedy destruction. Every the long grey greatcoats giving admessage from the hill brought tidings ditional sombreness to their grave of success ; every shot was telling; expressionless physiognomies. They the third which was fired had entered seemed apathetic and indifferent, evian embrasure; the stones were falling dencing some little emotion only when and crumbling from the walls already. told that their families would be alThere was no doubt of a breach now. lowed to accompany them. The few The fort replied by a smarter and Fions among them showed, in manner more earnest fire than we had yet and aspect, like beings of a superior experienced ; but from the greater race. elevation of the battery, the shot fell The outworks had fallen, and our chiefly over it, and came plumping strength was to be concentrated on the into our camp. It was now evident citadel. From the battery on the that, had the enemy been more active ridge, a clear survey could be obin trying to ascertain our position, it tained of the scenes of the past might have been made a very uncom- and future attack. There were Tsee fortable one. One shot had told with and Nortike, on either side, in ruins ; fatal effect in the battery. Striking the in front was Presto, engaged in an VOL. LXXVIJ.-30. CCCCLXXVI.

2 v

encounter-apparently a very equal given a fiendish look to their broad, one-with the Leopard, Hecla, and a heavy-browed, Tartar faces. Some French steamer; and there were the passed by, sullen, indifferent, and ships in their old places. Every day, apathetic; others openly rejoiced in especially since the fall of Fort Tsee, the captivity-none showed the dejection story had been, “ the block-sbips are and mortification of defeat. One man coming in," and the cry was still they alone bore himself worthily. He was come;" but there they remained at a Pole, and wore a cross of honour on their old anchorage, pleasantly and his breast. Seeming to disdain comleisurely making a target of the fort at panionship with the rest, he strode on a range of 3000 yards. Creeping on alone, with martial step and air, as to Telegraph Hill, a high mound in though he wished to show us there advance of the ridge, and mingling was at least one soldier in the gariwith the French riflemen, we look son. It was an ignoble spectacle down on the citadel. Its walls were ignoble as to crush any feeling of dotted with marks of shot, and some triumph, such as men might feel from stones had been loosened from the a victory over " foemen worthy of embrasures by the fire of the ships and their steel." the ten-inch gun, the performances of It was a great relief when the thing which were afterwards so loudly trum- was over-when the last man bad peted. The French mortars, too, had passed onwards to the boats; a great inflicted much injury; but the fort relief to renew one's ideas of soldier was still strong and intact enough to ship, by turning to the bronzed face offer a long and obstinate defence. and flowing beard of a vieux moustache Within, however, were drooping in the ranks opposite. hearts and unwilling spirits-within Presto surrendered at once, and su were men who cared not to prolong the forts, finished and unfinished, an unavailing defence for the sake of were afterwards undermined and making it heroic ; so once more, and blown up. for the last time, the white flag was Our work was now over, the cam. hoisted. The ships had missed their paign was ended. It had been illes opportunity, and the programme was trated by no brilliant adventure, thus shorn of its catastrophe.

startling incident, or hard privation, Now came the closing scene. still less by blood and slaughter ; bu Ranged beneath the walls of the cita- it was marked by few mishaps .. del stood the soldiers of France and errors, if any, and was complete England, face to face - face to face results, military and political.. in amity for the first time during long chain of formidable fortresses had be long years. Thus they stood to re- first cut off from outward succour, at ceive as prisoners a common foe, con- then utterly destroyed; every quered by their united arms. Curi- within them had been killed or ce ously did they gaze at each other, and tured, all the guns and stores 1 strange was the contrast betwixt the come our spoil. strong, burly men, with their calm im- Politically, too, the event bad. passive faces, on the one side, and the significance. A gigantic plan on small wiry forms and sharp visages, gression had been baulked; the e electrical, as it were, with excitability, tion of a second Sebastopol i on the other. Near the gate of the Baltic had been frustrated ; and fort were Baraguay d'Hilliers, with a Northern Powers saw themselves brilliant staff, the Admirals, and Bri- for many years, perhaps for ever gadier Jones. Trooping forth came the presence of a stronghold, mig? the prisoners--a pitiful spectacle-80 for offence and defence. Eng pitiful as to check, almost, any feeling however, would not accept the es of generous respect for a conquered The country was in a sullen mood foe. Trooping forth they came : the had expected greater things, greater number, drunken and disor- would not accept a comprom derly, danced, capered, shouted, sung, had looked for a large mouthfal and exhibited frantic gestures and would not receive this little sop. contortions, which would have been French army, too, had taken the ludicrous, had not drunken frenzy éclat, and it was not content to

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

er things, and it a compromise. It

le sop. The aken the chief

knowledge a second share of honour individuality, which makes the youngor credit; and thus, in its indignation, est, meanest soldier, as susceptible as it denied all thanks, praise, rewards, the general of the national glory and even the lawful share of the spoil they national discipline, as insensible to the had won, to the men who, irresponsible rigid means by which they are obfor the design of the campaign, had tained. Impetuous, restless, and vesimply done their work in it faithfully hement, they yet are apt to eschew and well. The campaign had another naturalness, by throwing an artififault, it was too bloodless. No people ciality over the strong reality of their are so chary of life as ourselves, none deeds, and giving a stage effect to are so agitated by a wasteful expendi- their most earnest work. They are ture of it, and yet no people so exult conscious of the effect of pomp in war, over a bloody victory, or are so fond and surround themselves with it. of measuring success by the bill of Ever and anon Baraguay d'Hilliers killed and wounded. No bulletin is would dash through our camp with a ever favourably received in England staff as well mounted and as brilliantly unless it be well steeped in blood. equipped as they would have been in

It is not, however, the part of good the Champ de Mars. The chiefs were men and true to murmur at a tem- types of French soldiership. Baraguay porary non-appreciation, but to wait d'Hilliers, with his grey hairs, marked patiently the turn of the tide, and the war-worn features, and springy frame return of justice or favour. It is an - quick andimpulsivein word, thought, evil sign for the times-an evil sign and act, looked the ideal of the old for the profession of arms, when the soldier. General Niel, the engineer, members of it are too obtrusive in large-framed and handsome, had the praising their own services or trumpet calm, grave, resolute deportment ing their own wrongs.

which we associate with the soldiers Though the campaign was not rich of the Empire. in reward or glory, it was rich in ex The brilliant pictures, striking taperiences-in experiences of the men bleaux, and rapid movements with with whom and against whom we which they illustrated their exploits were to fight—who were to be our of war, showed in strange contrast comrades and our foes for many years with the sullen rigour of the Russian perhaps.

discipline. In all martial systems there An experience of our allies under is some leading principle-enthusiasm, their war aspect was in itself a great order, or courage—in all somewhat boon - a great lesson. They are of chivalry, somewhat of generosity. certainly heart and soul soldiers. Here was an exception--all was neThey have not only a genius for gative. Not a glimpse of chivalry war, but delight in it. They not shone forth from the Russian ranks only accept it as a necessity, but a throughout the campaign ; the only natural vocation. All the details of recognisable principle was the satisfyit seem a habit-the hardships and ing or evading the requirements of dangers of it a pleasure. War makes power. The national individuality little difference in the demeanour of and sensitiveness of the French had our soldiership, except in the hour of no counterpart here. The Russian battle or the excitement of the fight; soldiers fight not as men, but as they assume a war aspect and a war masses, impelled by the iron will of character. They breathe war-think despotism. War seemed to have with war-talk war-act and dramatise it. them no romance-no glory; it was a " When the blast of war blows in dull, heartless, mechanical discharge your ear, then imitate the action of of the compulsory service enforced by the tiger.” Such is their idea, and fear and law. The sight of the forts, they war accordingly, vigorously and they had occupied gave us a pitiable remorselessly. Success is the first idea of the lot of the common soldiers. object-the item of human life a thing Filthy, and reeking with stench, the of secondary account. This feeling is barracks seemed more like the sties of common to those who lead and those animals. Loaves of hard, sour, black who suffer. The most striking part of bread-their only food-lay strewn their character is, perhaps, the strong about the floors, and there was every

other evidence of hard treatment and pieces of mechanism, but can never a degrading system. “No wonder," expect soldiers. said one of our old soldiers, kicking a Was it not good also to have seen loaf, " that men couldn't fight who the poor Alanders—to have looked on were fed on such stuff as that." Hard their primitive simplicity and peaceas the system is under all circumstan- fulness-good in this age of bastle, ces, it is worse when worked at a dis- ambition, and aggrandisement-this tance from the supervision of authority. time of strife and action, to have The men bere-so we were told-were turned this calm, pleasant page of often mulcted of their paltry wages, pastoral life? The last Baltic cruise and almost starved. What wonder, produced only one exploit. Another then, that such men should rebel, when expedition has now set forth for the death came flying around them, and same waters, followed by large exseek the opportunity of indulging in pectations and great hopes. It may the only pleasure they knew-intoxi- achieve more brilliant and daring cation. A system which deadens the things, but it will be well also it soul in a man, reduces him to an they have the completeness and sucanimal, and then robs him of animal cess of la petite affaire at Bomarnecessities, may produce military sund.




It was not the touch of Love-no, the way. Her former terror of meetanother spell had broken the charmed ing some one who knew her, deserted sleep of Zaidee Vivian- the thrill of her to-night. They walked at a good yonng awaking life. Kindness had pace, but not because Zaidee was in taken her hand again-love was as haste,-she enjoyed looking into the far from her as ever; but the warm glow of light and depth of darkness, rejoicing youth within her, and all the watching all those figures cross and half-developed powers which would recross the illuminated pavement, and have scope, awakened Zaidee. She was sorry when they came to the dark shook her torpor off from her, and re- sombre squares, with their silent enceived a world of storied scenes into closures and spectral trees, which surher heart instead. She was of the rounded Bedford Place, and when her age when the simplest tale or legend escort knocked the knock wbich bepopulates with charmed figures the longed to his lady's dignity rather common earth. “Abroad" was a than to hers, at Mrs Disbrowe's door. vast world of romance and adventure The mistress of the house herself came to her fancy-a world in which she out to the hall when she heard it was could lose herself-in which no one Miss Francis, and with much astonishfrom home could ever find her again. ment received the message with whiclı “It will be as good as if I died," said Mrs Lancaster's factotum was chargZaidee to herself as she prepared to ed. His mistress would wait upon her go home to Mrs Disbrowe's again. next day concerning the young lady,

Mrs Lancaster's coachman, a use- the man said. Mrs Disbrowe could ful man-of-all-work, trudged by Zai- not imagine what concern Mrs Landee's side through those lighted streets, caster had with the young lady, and the aspect of wbich filled her with was disposed to be offended-as, inunusual interest. Secure in the dark- deed, if she had but known, she had ness, in her new prospects, and lastly, good cause. in this protector, she went along, feel- Zaidee stood in the ball with her ing vaguely exhilarated, she could not bonnet loosed, her little brown cloak tell why, by the bright lights, the cold hanging from her shoulders, and a fresh air, the little crowd of people in colour on her brown cheek such as Mrs Disbrowe has scarcely seen there must write and tell your friends. before. But the temper of mamma Now, good-night." was ruffled. Perhaps this girl, who The eyes were moist which met her had caused her so much perplexity, shining eyes as she turned to go uphad been complaining to Mrs Lan. stairs. The voice was kind that said caster - perhaps indignant Benevo- that good-night to ber; and another lence was coming in the brougham world was before Zaidee. “ It will be to-morrow, to upbraid her for not almost as good as to die," she rebeing sufficiently tender to Miss Fran- peated to herself as she lay down on cis-Miss Francis, who had subjected her little bed. That was a dreary her to so many discomforts, the re. consolation ; but her sleep was rich proach of her own conscience, the with the dreams of youth, and her impertinencies of Minnie and Leo, fancy had already gono forth and posthe dread of inoffensive Mr Disbrowe, sessed the new land. who respected her like the Constitu. Next day, accordingly, Mrs Lantion. This was too much for Mrs caster's brougham drew up at Mrs Disbrowe; she went forward impa. Disbrowe's door. It was in some sort tiently to Zaidee, and reproved her indignant Benevolence in deep crape for being so long away." My own and expensive furs which issued from children would ask leave first before the luxurious little carriage. Mrs they went with any one, Miss Fran- Disbrowe had found Zaidee very usecis," said Mrs Disbrowe with indig. ful, Mrs Lancaster did not doubt, nation; while Minnie, within cover of and the elder lady, who was of the the dining-room door, for malicious class somewhat contemptuously called satisfaction and good pleasure, had “good” by Mrs Disbrowe's “set," almost laughed aloud.

and by whom, in her turn, Mrs Dis“The lady did not ask me to go- browe and her set were emphatically she asked Mrs Edward Lancaster, and condemned as “ worldly," would not So I went," said Zaidee. “She is believe in the tender charity which coming to-morrow, because she has a lay, often dormant, but always within friend who wants some one to go reach, at the bottom of Mrs Disabroad. It is not to teach," said browe's heart. The one of these good Zaidee hurriedly, and with a blush, women could not, and would not, do " or I should not be able ; but the justice to the other; and they met lady comes to ask you if I am to go." under circumstances which confirmed

“Should you like to go ?” asked their natural opposition. Mrs Diabrowe, from whose mind Zai. “No; she was quite right; she dee's words had lifted a mountain of could not teach the children ; she is annoyance and discomfort-since a herself not much more than a child," way in which this unnecessary inmate said Mrs Disbrowe; "they wanted could be removed from her house, some one to be firm with them, as without positive injury to the friend their sister was. I find it difficult to less child, was a good for which Mrs get any one who can manage the Disbrowe scarcely ventured to hope. children as Charlotte used to do."

“Yes-to go far away," said Zai Mrs Lancaster slightly elevated her dee, and her eyes repeated the “far eyebrows, and said, “Edward's wife!" away" with the long wistful look they in her own mind, with the conviction gave. "It will be almost as good as that these two words conveyed all the to die."

contempt that it was possible to exThese words reached Mrs Dis- press in words; but Mrs Lancaster browe's ear, low though they were politely inclined her head, and kept spoken. Her heart smote her for her silence in presence of mamma. harshness, and even for her satisfac “But there is no harm in her," tion in hearing that Zaidee was to go said Mrs Disbrowe warmly. “These away. She laid her hand kindly upon may seem strange words, but I mean the girl's shoulder. “I hope some she is an innocent child-I believe as one will go with you who can take truthful and simple-hearted as ever care of you, my dear," said Mrs Dis- girl was; and that is almost all I know browe. "I shall be very glad of any- of Miss Francis. She was sent to us thing that is for your good; and you by a clergyman's wife, a schoolfellow

« VorigeDoorgaan »