« 上一頁繼續 »
under the fire from the roofs, windows, and doors, there was no faltering. Then the long restrained excitement burst forth in cheer upon
-“ from every fort, trench, and battery--from behind sand-bags piled on shattered houses—from every post still held by a few gallant spirits, rose cheer on cheer.” The thrilling shouts penetrated even to the hospital, and the wounded crawled out into the sun, a ghastly throng, and sent up their feeble voices to swell the glad shout of welcome!
The conversation between Outram and Havelock was long and earnest. The former was at first firm in his opinion that they should remain in the palace-court and other sheltered places till morning, and Havelock as thoroughly determined to push on. He said the garrison miglit even then be exposed to the final assault, and if it were not, the enemy could concentrate such a force around them before morning that it would be almost impossible to advance. At length it was agreed to leave behind the wounded, the heavy guns, and a portion of the army, and with only two regiments, the 78th Highlanders and the Sikhs, attempt to reach the Residency.
Outram bad been wounded by a musket-ball in the arm early in the morning, but though faint with loss of blood, he refused to leave the saddle, and even now would not dismount. Enduring as he was bold and chivalric, he resolved to accompany Havelock, and share with him the danger, and, if need be, death, in this last perilous advance to the relief of the garrison.
Everything being ready, these two gallant commanders put themselves at the head of the slender column, and moved out of the place of shelter. As soon as they entered the street, the houses on either side gaped and shot forth flame; while, to prevent the rapid advance of the troops, and hold them longer under the muzzles of their muskets, the enemy had cut deep trenches across the street, and piled up barricades. Passing under an archway that streamed with fire, the gallant Neill fell from his horse dead. His enraged followers halted a moment to avenge his death, but the stern order of Havelock, “ Forward !" arrested their useless attempt, and the column moved on. Each street as they entered
it became an avenue of flame, through which it seemed impossible for anything living to pass. Every door and window was ablaze, while an incessant sheet of fire ran along the margin of the flat roofs, which were black with men. At each angle batteries were placed, and as soon as the head of the column appeared in view the iron storm came drifting down the street, piling it with the dead. The clattering of grape-shot and musket-balls against the walls and on the pavement was like the pattering of hail on the roof of a house ! From out those deep avenues the smoke arose as from the mouth of a volcano, while shouts and yells rending the air on every side made still more appalling the night, which had now set in. Between these walls of fire, through this blinding rain of death, Havelock walked his horse composedly as if on parade, his calm, peculiar voice, now and then rising over the clangour of battle. That he escaped unhurt seems a miracle, for in the past eleven hours he had lost nearly one-third of his entire force, while of the two other generals one was dead, the other wounded.
At length the gate of the Residency at the Baillie guard was reached. A little time was spent in removing the barricades, during which the bleeding column rested, while the moon looked coldly down on the ruins with which they were surrounded. When the passage was cleared, the soldiers, forgetting their weariness, gave three loud cheers, and rushed forward. Cheers without and cheers within, cheers on every side, betokened the joy and excitement that prevailed, while over all arose the shrill pipes of the Highlanders. The "column of relief” and the garrison rushed into each other's arms, and then the officers passed from house to house to greet the women and children. The stern Highlanders snatched up the children and kissed them, with tears streaming down their faces, thanking God they were in time to save them.
JESSIE OF LUCKNOW.
[The incident on which this spirited piece is founded is said to have occurred while our
countrymen were besieged in Lucknow, during the late Indian mutiny, and when despair was at its height. Jessie Brown, the wife of a corporal, had all through the siege been in a state of high excitement, and was labouring under a constant fever. At last,” says the lady correspondent of a French newspaper,
she lay down on the ground and fell into a profound slumber, her head resting in my lap. I myself could no longer'resist the inclination to sleep, in spite of the continual roar of cannon. Suddenly I was aroused by a wild, unearthly scream, close to my ear: my companion stood upright beside me, her arms raised, and her head bent forward in the attitude of listening. A look of intense delight broke over her countenance: she grasped my hand, drew me towards her, and exclaimed,
Dinna ye hear it? dinna ye hear it? Ay, I'm no dreamin': it is the slogan o' the Highlanders! We're saved! we're saved !'”—It is to be regretted that subsequent information threw discredit on this romantic story.]
In her veins the red river is fast running Was it only an echo borne down on the air? high,
Was it only the hope that is born of despair? The bale-fire of fever is lit in her eye, Was it only the dream that delirium may And by Reason unmastered her truant bring, thoughts roam
When the wild brood of fancy is all on the Roam o'er the ocean-wave back to her home. wing? There, where the gowan-gem spangles the Was it only—'Tis false ! She's awake! lea;
she is sane! There, where the laughing burn flits to the “What! dinna ye hear it! I hear it again ! sea,
'Tis the pibroch Diarmid played ages agoThere is she waiting the set of the sun, 'Tis the slogan Clan Alpine still hurls on For the ploughman's return when the the foe! ploughing is done!
The Campbells are coming!-MʻGregor is Wake me,” she said, “when the plough
near! ing is done,
Oh! dinna ye hear it yet? dinna ye hear?” And my father returns at the set of the sun."
They are come, the avengers! Their bayWrapped in her Highland plaid, sunk on onets gleam ! the sod,
It was not delirium, it was not a dream, She's asleep-she is still-Is her spirit They are come! they are come! Of that with God?
Highland array Breathless and motionless, there doth she Is it maid, is it matron, that pointeth the lie,
way? While the boom of the baitle-field hurtles Shamed-outraged-maimed -- murdered on high;
----their Phantoms arise, And still as she lies, round the walls of the But shrink in their shame from their dwelling
countrymen's eyes ! All wildly a host of black demons is yelling. By each warrior's side a child-cherub hath Why springs she from earth as the hind
stood, from her lair?
And it pointeth—“its bright hair" all What meaneth that scream as an eagle's
dabbled wi blood;" in air?
And the bayonet gleams, and with yell of Dinna ye hear it? What! dinna ye hear? despair, O God! we are saved ! for the clansmen At each thrust a swart demon flies back to are near.
THOMAS E. WEBB.
DEATH OF HAVELOCK.
The last few days of toil and excitement had proved too much for the exhausted frame of Havelock, and now that the final deliverance of the women and children was secured, the unbending will that had kept him up seemed no longer to sustain him. He was taken seriously ill the night after they reached Dil Khoosa. He had complained of indigestion before, but at midnight of the 20th October he was taken with dysentery. The next forenoon he was better, but his removal at midnight to Dil Khoosa doubtless aggravated his disease.
From this time he continued to grow rapidly worse till the 23rd, when it became evident that he was fast sinking.
He himself was perfectly aware of his approaching end, yet he met his fate with the same composure with which he had faced death so often on the battle-field. He thought of his wife and children far away on the Rhine, whom he should never see more, and felt it would be a relief to die in their midst; but in this, as in everything else, he cheerfully submitted to the will of God.
He lay on a litter in a common soldier's tent, and would allow no attendance but that of his wounded, gallant boy. On this, the last day of his life, Outram came to see him. The two friends had often faced death together, and passed through trying scenes side by side, and a warm affection had sprung up between them.
Outram approached the side of the dying warrior, and inquired how he was. Havelock replied that he never should be any better; “but,” he added, " for more than forty years I have so ruled my life that when death came I might face it without fear. not in the least afraid,” said he;—“to die is gain! I die happy and contented.”
Havelock, finding himself rapidly sinking, left his last messages for his wife and children, then told his son to come and see how a Christian could die. He continued to fail through the night, saying but little, but now and then low murmurs would reach the
ear, revealing the peace that reigned within, and showing what bright anticipations cheered the passing spirit. The next morning, the 24th, it was evident that before another sun went down Havelock would be no more. Eut while this strangely serene and peaceful scene was passing within that humble tent, without all was bustle and commotion. Though feeling deeply for his dying companion-in-arms, Campbell had no time to lose if he would remove those women and children, and sick and wounded, to a place of safety, and he ordered an immediate march to Alumbagh. The shrill blast of the bugle, and strains of martial music, and the muffled tread of marching thousands filled all the air, but they fell on a dull and listless ear in that soldier's tent. What to him were now the pomp and panoply of war? Fainter and fainter grew the light around him; brighter and brighter broke the dawn of heaven on his spirit, and peacefully, calmly, he sunk to rest.
The news of his death soon spread through the army, and many a moist eye was seen among those grim Highlanders on whom he had so nobly relied in his march of fire. The body was carried with the retreating army to Alumbagh, and once more, and for the last time, Havelock moved with his brave columns; but the eye that was wont to scan their ranks so keenly was now lustreless and dead, and the calm voice that had so often roused them to deeds of daring hushed for ever, for the warrior had gone to that still land where the tread of armies is never heard, and the sound of battle never comes.
They made him a grave in the beautiful ground of the Alumbagh, and next day he was followed to his last resting-place by the commander-in-chief and the staff, and his companions-in-arms. He sleeps on the field of his fame, and his lonely tomb beneath the tropical grove is hung round with unfading laurels; and never will the Christian traveller or soldier pass it without dropping one tear to him who sleeps beneath. His greatness and goodness will always be kept fresh in the memory of man, and the time will never come when the English mother, as she clasps her babe to her bosom and thinks of Lucknow, will not murmur blessings on his