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A. You are merry. For my part, I confess I felt the deepest sorrow in our change.
B. For the matter of that, I think we were both equally moved on the occasion; and, however dissimilar our sentiments might have been, we were both-carried away with our feelings.
A. Ah! you may jeer, but I was filled with grief,
B. And I with water, as the man can testify who lifted me; for he had just raised me with an exclamation that “ he would have a lark," — when the poor fellow unexpectedly got a – duck !—which he acknowledged with a grimace, declaring he found the water foul! You may call our new master a fool if you will ; but he has at least discernment; for did he not bring a couple of his friends to look at us this morning, and finish our praises by singing,
“Sure such a pair were never seen ? " A. How lightly you talk! Cease this shallow discourse, I pray.
B. Shallow, forsooth! At any rate I am as deep as you. The fact is, you are out of spirits, and I am elevated. I am on a tripod, and you at present on the Turkey-carpet. Stop till your three-legged stand comes home, and then we'll run on together. At all events let us be friends, though all the world besides should go together by the ears ; for I sincerely believe we shall not long enjoy the elegancies we see around us; and (not being a horse-shoe) I really feel some apprehensions in going to the hammer again.
A. Very true. But my self-love tells me we are of too much importance to be lightly cared for. Didn't they write on our packingcases,“ Keep this side uppermost ?”
B. Don't mention it! I was pitched on my neck during the whole journey, and by the jerking and jolting was obliged to play a rubber with the deal partition. I don't know
which suffered most on the occasion ; for I' was much troubled, and my partner
a great deal board!
A. Well, I was better off; for they placed me upright, and filled me with rich tumblers, --some dozen at least.
B. Fie !-what would the Temperance Society say to the friend of my youth, who can talk seriously of taking a dozen glasses upon such a short journey?
A. You know my habits better. I have indeed the greatest contempt
B. Of course!—for all those that possessed the advantages of a clear vision could have discovered at a glance, that the company so impertinently intruded upon you was-cut ! But then only think of my dear chum and crony going through the streets with a company of strolling tumblers !
A. You go on at a pretty rate.
B. Don't grumble; for at whatever rate I go on, you will certainly be
up with me when you come to a stand. And though I am merry at your expense, the most our enemies can say is, that I am above laughing at you. I wish those flowers would come ; for here we stand with our mouths wide open, like a couple of rustics at a village fair wondering at the tricks of a conjuror.-Hark !-there's a knock!
DUMALTON, THE CHELSEA VETERAN.
BY THE REV. G. R. GLEIG, AUTHOR OF
THE CAMPAIGN OF 1793, UNDER THE DUKE OF YORK. We marched into Valenciennes the same day that the French marched out of it, and during four days more continued in occupation of the place. It was in this interval that Cogle, the wretched deserter, was brought to trial, when, the evidence being decisive against him, he was condemned to suffer. I do not know that any good purpose would be served were I to describe the particulars of the execution at length; I therefore content myself with stating that the whole of the British force paraded to see him die ; that he was hanged to one of the branches of a tree which stood in front of the centre of our encampment; and that the tree received in consequence a designation which, if it survive, associates it to this hour with the name of the late excellent commander-in-chief of the British army. We called that living gallows The Duke of York's Tree, and the country people catching the sound, translated it into their own language, and retained it.
Our next move was upon Cambray, before which the allied army made preparations to sit down ; but whatever might be the nature of its operations, we took no part in them. On the 14th of August we got the route for Dunkirk ; and, accompanied by a corps of Hessians, some Prussians, Austrians, and Hanoverians, proceeded by Tournay, Lannay, and Ghelins, towards the proposed field of action. The 18th saw us pass through Menin, and encamp about ten in the morning in the fields beyond, where preparations were made to spend the remainder of the day, so as in some measure to recruit after four days' severe travel. But they who anticipated rest were quite in fault. The tents were just pitched, the fires lighted, the kettles put on, with a good stock of vegetables prepared ; a bullock was just killed, and the raw meat served out, when suddenly the drums beat to arms. There was much hurry and bustle everywhere, as may be imagined.
Of the officers very many had returned to the town, where they were refreshing themselves in the different hotels, while the men were all stripped of their accoutrements, and not a few engaged in fatigue duties. But the drum and the bugle has each a voice which nobody thinks of misunderstanding; and in two minutes we were accoutred, and in our ranks, waiting for orders. They soon came. Two men from each company were directed to remain as guards of the camp, and the wounded and the weak were, of course, selected for that duty; after which the rest of us, leaving the tents pitched, and all things in the same order as if we had gone out for an ordinary parade, formed the line of march right in front, and moved forward.
The town or village of Lincelles is situated upon a plain, with some rising ground a mile or two in rear of it. Generally speaking, the country round is open,—that is to say, it is not wooded, except on the side which looks towards Menin, but is a good deal intersected with marshes, canals, and sheets of water, which afford great facilities to those who, in a military point of view, may desire to render it secure. The French, having driven a corps of Dutch troops from the place, took possession, and intrenched themselves in it. 'They erected bat
teries at every point, which seemed to be peculiarly assailable. These they connected one with another by means of breast-works, and leaving in the place a garrison of five thousand men, believed that it was secure. We learned while on the march that to our three weak battalions the business was committed of recovering that post; for the Dutch, we found, had retreated by a different road, and were not within reach, had we been directed to communicate with them. But the flight of our allies, whatever effect it might have on the officers in command, was treated by us in the ranks as a mere subject of raillery. What did we care for the Meinheers? We would show them that the English Guards were able to retrieve even their blunders; and I am bound to add, that we kept our word. Yet we had a sharp brush for it too; and ought not, had the French done their duty, to have made any progress.
The drums beat, and we fell in, and were in line of march, all within the space of five minutes. Many officers, therefore, and several sergeants' parties, who had gone to town on business, public or private, were left behind ; that is to say, they continued to overtake us singly or in groups during the whole of the first two or three miles which we accomplished. Among the officers, Colonel Bosville, a remarkably fine fellow, an especial favourite with the troops, and a man of great stature, came up; and such had been his haste, that he appeared at the head of his company with a sword on to be sure, but having no sash. One of the sergeants, noticing the circumstance, pointed it out, on which Colonel Bosville looked down, and exclaimed, “ Ah! so I have. But I can do without that. It is better to leave a sash behind than a sword.” Now there was nothing in all this, I freely grant, which seems to deserve that it should be noticed ; yet I well remember that we remarked upon the circumstance at the moment as prognosticating no good to the colonel ; and when we saw him fall within an hour afterwards, it seemed to us as if our foreboding had been just.
In this manner we pushed on, till between twelve and one o'clock in the afternoon, when the enemy's batteries suddenly opened upon us, and we were saluted with some round shot. They did us little damage, and we never called a halt; but, throwing out a company to clear the wood, the column held its course as heretofore. Thus it was till the thickets were cleared, and then section after section, as we gained the open space, ran up into line, and delivered its fire in return for that which the French gave from behind the shelter of their breastworks. A battle of volleys is not, however, suited to the temper of British troops under any circumstances, and, with men circumstanced as we were at that moment, it would have been ruinous. « Give them the steel, my lads," was Colonel Pennington's short address, to which we made answer with a hearty cheer; and one more fire having been thrown in, away we went against the intrenchments at double-quick. A round or two of grape, with a single discharge of musketry, thinned our ranks a little, but did not arrest the progress of the survivors one moment. We sprang into the ditch, scrambled up the face of the parapet, leaped into the batteries, and chased the enemy, with considerable loss to them, fairly out of the cover, Never, surely, was success more complete, or more rapidly achieved; for I do not believe that between the firing of the first shot and our unceremonious entrance into the French lines more than an hour, if indeed so much, could have possibly elapsed.
It was evident from everything that we saw around us that we had come upon the French by surprise. No preparations whatever were made for a retreat. The horses belonging to the artillery were not harnessed, -the guns were in battery, but the limbers were out of their places, and on numerous fires which had been lighted beneath the parapet, camp-kettles filled with provisions were boiling. Of these we, as was natural, took possession ; and it consoled us for the loss of our own breakfasts, when we found that we had been able to scare the enemy from their dinners. But the work of the day was not yet over. The French fled with precipitation through the town, our people hotly pursuing; but, when they got to the heights a strong support met them, and they rallied, and again showed a front. Three companies from the Coldstreams were immediately detached for the purpose of turning them on the right; while the remainder of the battalion, leaving the 3rd regiment in reserve, should assail their front: yet we could not, in spite of our best exertions, carry the plan into effect. After making a wide détour, so as to throw a farm-house with its offices between us and the enemy, we found that their flank was secured by a large sheet of water; and that any attempt on our part to pass round it must be made in the face of all their fire. Accordingly, after one or two feints, which cost some valuable lives, Colonel Pennington saw that the thing was not to be done ; and the detached companies were directed, in consequence, to rejoin the main body. We did so without delay, and the brigade having once more re-assembled, halted among some orchards till dark, and then marched back to a position just outside the intrenchments.
In moving to our ground we passed for the second time through the town, and not having our thoughts engrossed now, as they were when we first entered it, with other matters, we found leisure to look about us. There was not a house in the place of which the doors and windows were not carefully closed. Some of the inhabitants appeared to have deserted it, the remainder kept close within their dwellings, and to the applications of us, their deliverers, for food, they paid no attention. It seemed, however, as if they had not adhered to this plan of seclusion all day long, for the dead which lay in the streets were plundered, and in several instances stripped naked. One fair, delicate-looking youth, an officer, as I understood, of artillery, with light-brown hair, and a skin as white as alabaster, had been thus served ; and a more piteous spectacle than he presented it would be difficult to conceive. Poor boy! a musket-shot had passed quite through his head, and there he lay, his smooth and pure cheek stained with his own blood, instead of resting, as it ought to have done, on his mother's bosom. War is a fearful calamity at the best, which we cease to regard, except with horror, when we look upon its effects as they show themselves on the mangled remains of full-grown men; but when such a child as this has become its victim, our horror deepens well nigh into agony. I declare that the vision of that slight fair corpse haunted me for many a day after; and that not unfrequently I have started from my sleep, so vivid was the impression of its very presence near me. We marched through the town in good order, and halting just outside the works, made arrangements to spend the night in the
open air. Piquets were stationed, and guards planted, as well to observe the motions of the enemy, as to hinder our own people from returning after dark, into the place; for General Lake was most com
mendably resolute that the inhabitants should not be molested, nor we tarnish our laurels with the crime of pillage. In the latter of these righteous determinations he entirely succeeded; in reference to the former he was not quite so fortunate. We got no booty, it is true; but about eleven o'clock there arrived a brigade of Austrians, whom General Clairfait had sent to relieve us, and they, as we afterwards ascertained, were not quite so fastidious. The town was sacked ere dawn of next day as thoroughly as if it had been carried by assault. Meanwhile we were on our march back to the encampment near Menin, where we arrived about two in the morning; and in the tents which we had left standing previous to the advance, we slept for some hours very soundly.
Our loss in the affair of Lincelles had been considerable ; out of a battalion which took into the field little more than three hundred men, nine, including Colonel Bosville, were killed, and forty-five wounded. Among the latter was my comrade, who had given me his watch when he received his hurt; and to visit him I got a pass, and proceeded into Menin. I believe that in what were called the general hospitals the sick and wounded of the army received every attention ; neither had they a right to complain, even in such a situation as this, of any neglect on the part of the medical attendants : but the comforts provided for them were very meagre, and their sufferings, in consequence, appeared to be great. I found my comrade lying, with many others, in a barn, along the floor of which some straw had been spread; but without a mattress, or a blanket, or a sheet, or any other covering, except the soiled and bloody clothes in which he had fought. Like all the rest, however, he seemed resolved not to complain: and to my inquiries as to how he felt, he answered cheerfully. Poor fellow! he had already suffered amputation of his right arm, and looked pale and feeble, as was to be expected ; but he soon recovered, and went home to England, where he was discharged, of course, upon a pension. I returned him his watch ere he departed, but have not since heard what ultimately became of him.
The dead that die in battle are, as everybody knows, dealt with summarily, and with very little parade. A few trenches, not over deep, for the most part, contain them all ; nor is much distinction made between the corpse of an officer and that of a private : but if there chance to have fallen one of superior rank, or an individual who may have won in a marked degree the respect and affection of his brother soldiers, then it is customary to honour his insensible remains with the distinction, if such it deserve to be accounted, of a separate funeral. The body of Colonel Bosville, for example, we carried back with us from Lincelles to the camp in front of Menin, and we dug his grave in the very centre of the line, near the spot on which the colours were planted.
This was in the morning; and about three in the afternoon the whole battalion stood to its arms to witness the interment of one whom we greatly esteemed when living, and now sincerely mourned when dead. They wrapped him in his cloak, and laid him to rest—a noble specimen of manhood — for he did not measure less than six feet four inches in height; and the adjutant, laving read the burial service with great solemnity, the firing party were ordered to salute him where he lay. Fifty men, of whom I was one, discharged their pieces into his grave, and the parade broke up.