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few among them who are not as well ceptions, I must say, that there was acquainted as myself with the circum. not a man present who thought of the stances attending the celebration of former owners of these tail-less shirts that festival in a Roman Catholic coun- without affection, and who would not try. On the present occasion, all things have willingly given the full value of were done with as much pomp and the shirts themselves, could that sum show as the state of the city, filled have redeemed them from the power with hostile battalions, and more than of the grave. This sale, however, acthalf-deserted by its inhabitants and ed as a sort of warning to me. Thougli priesthood, would permit. For my my wardrobe was in as good condition own part, I viewed the whole not with as that of most men, I chose not to levity, certainly, but as certainly with- have it or its owner made the subject out devotion ; the entire scene appear- of a joke, so I inserted among my few ing to me better calculated to amuse memoranda, a request that no article the external senses, and dazzle the ima- of mine should be put up to auction, gination, than to stir up the deeper but that all should be given, in case I and more rational sensations of piety. fell, as expressly appointed. I returned home, nevertheless, well I have said, that the usual means pleased with the mode in which the of defeating ennui, namely, shooting, morning had been spent; and, join- coursing, and fishing, were resorted to ing a party of some ten or twelve by Graham and myself, whilst we inwho had clubbed their rations for the habited these cantonments. Among sake of setting forth a piece of roast- other experiments, we strolled down beef worthy of the occasion, I passed one lovely morning towards the sea, my evening not less agreeably than I with the hope of catching some fish had passed the morning.
for our dinner. In that hope we were Among other events during our so- disappointed, but the exquisite beauty journ at Gauthory, a sale of the ef- of the marine view to which our walk fects of such of our brother-officers as introduced us, amply made amends had fallen in the late battles, took for the absence of sport. It was one of place. On such occasions, the ser- those soft and enervating days which jeant-major generally acts the part of even in England we sometimes meet auctioneer, and a strange compound of with, during the latter weeks of Degood and bad feeling accompanies the cember, and which, in the south of progress of the auction. In every France, are very frequent at that seaparty of men, there will always be son. The sun was shining brightly some whose thoughts, centring en- and warmly, not a breath of air was tirely in self, regard everything as astir, and the only sound distinguishcommendable, or the reverse, solely as able by us, who stood on the summit it increases their enjoyments, or dimi- of the cliff, was the gentle and unceanishes them. Even the sale of the sing murmur of tiny waves, as they clothes and accoutrements of one who threw themselves upon the shingle. but a few weeks or days before was The extent of waters upon which we their living, and perhaps favourite gazed, was bounded on the right by companion, furnishes to such men food the head-lands at the mouth of the for mirth ; and I am sorry to say, that Adour, and on the left by those near during the sale of which I now speak, Passages. Before us the waste seemed more laughter was heard than re- interminable, and I am not sure that dounded to the credit of those who it was the less sublime because not a joined in, or produced it. In passing boat or vessel of any description could this censure upon others, I mean not be descried upon it. At such moto exclude myself—by no means. I ments as these, and when contemplafear that few laughed more heartily ting such a scene, it is hardly possible than I, when shirts with nine tails, or for any man to hinder his thoughts no tails at all, were held up against from wandering away from the objects the sun by the facetious auctioneer; immediately around him, to the land and when sundry pairs of trowsers of his nativity, and the home of his were pressed upon our notice as well fathers. I do not recollect any hour adapted for summer-wear, inasmuch of my life during which the thoŭght of as their numerous apertures promised home came more powerfully across me to admit a free current of air to cool than the present. Perhaps, indeed, the the blood. But, with one or two ex- season of the year had some effect in VOL. XVIII.
producing these thoughts. It was the tive of such events. Thus passed seseason of mirth and festivity of li- veral weeks, the business of one day censed uproar and innocent irregula- resembling, in almost every respect, rity; and cold and heartless must he the business of another. Whenever be who remembers not his home, how the weather would permit, I made a ever far removed from him, when that point of living out of doors ; when the season returns. I confess that the idea contrary was the case, I adopted the of mine brought something like mois- ordinary expedients to kill time with. ture into my eyes, of which I had then Nor were we, all this while, without no cause to be ashamed, and the re- a few occurrences calculated to hinder membrance of which produces in me our forgetting that we really were in no sense of shame even now.
an enemy's country, and at the seat of The walk towards the sea became war. The bloody flag was more than from this time my favourite, but it once hoisted on the tower of the church was not my only one. Attended by of Arcanques, as a signal that the my faithful spaniel, (a little animal, French troops were in motion, and by the way, which never deserted me we, in our turn, stood to arms. But even in battle,) I wandered with a gun of such alarms almost all proved to be across my shoulder over a great extent groundless, and those which were not of country, and in all directions. I intendedly so, might as well have been found the scenery rcautiful, but far omitted. The fact was that Soult, haless beautiful that I had expected to ving been called upon at this time to find it in the south of France. There detach some divisions of his veteran was no want of wood, it is true; and soldiers to the assistance of Napoleon, some fields, or rather fields lying fal- already hard pressed by the allies in low, were intermixed, in fair propor- the north, was under the necessity of tion, with green meadows, and sloping impressing into his service every male downs. Bilt there was nothing stri- capable of bearing arms, who was not king or roj aantic anywhere, except in absolutely required to cultivate the the bold boundary of the Pyrenees, soil. The entire winter was accordnow twesty miles distant. I observed, ingly spent by him in training the however, that there was no want of conscripts to the use of arms. He chateau < and gentlemen's seats. These marched and countermarched them were scattered about in considerable from place to place, that they might numbers, as if this had been a favou learn to move with celerity and in orrite resort of those few among the der. He set up targets for them to French gentry who prefer the quiet of fire at, and caused frequent alarms to the cíuntry to the bustle and hurry of our picquets when teaching his recruits Paris Some of these chateaux were, to take a correct aim; he was, in short,
; moreover, exceedingly elegant in their now, as he always was, indefatigable appearance, and indicated from that, in providing for the defence of the as well as from their extent, that they country committed to his care, and in belonged to men of higher rank than his endeavours to make the most of a the Mayor of Biaritz; but the gene- force assuredly not adequate for the rality were of a description which be- purpose. But we were not doomed spoke their owners as belonging to the to be continually the dupes of false class of wealthy merchants who sup- alarms, nor to be amused for ever with ported their town-houses and ware- the issuing of orders, which were rooms in Bayonne, or perhaps in Bour- scarcely issued when they were again deaux. But all were thoroughly ran- retracted. A necessity for a real movesacked. Over them, as well as over the ment occurred at last, and we bade houses in our rear, the storm of rapine adieu for ever to the cottage at Gauhad passed, leaving its usual traces of thory, which we first entered with redilapidation and ruin behind.
gret, and finally quitted without reIt is needless to continue a narra. luctance.
It might be about six or seven o'clock burst into our chamber, and desired in the morning of the 3d of Janua- us to get the men under arms without ry, 1814, when an orderly serjeant delay, for that the enemy were in mo
tion. In an instant we sprang from however, was given for the enjoyment our beds, dressed and accoutred forth- of social intercourse or bodily rest; with, ordered the trumpeter to sound for we had hardly swallowed å hasty the assembly, and our servants to pre- meal, when the better half of the pare breakfast. The last of these in- corps was sent forward to occupy a junctions was obeyed in an incredibly few cottages in front of the village; short space of time, insomuch, that and the remainder of the night was whilst the troops were hurrying to spent in that state of excitement and their stations, we were devouring our anxiety, which necessarily waits upon morning's repast; and, in little more such as form the outposts or advanced than a quarter of an hour from the guard of an army. first signal of alarm, the regiment was My own station this night was not formed in marching-order upon the exactly at one of the most forward high road. Nor were many moments posts, but in a ruinous building at wasted in that situation. The word - the outskirts of the village, where I was given to advance, and we again was placed, with a body of men, to pressed forward towards the mayor's support the picquets. The thing into house.
which we were ushered, had, no doubt, When we reached the post of Am- once upon a time been a habitable mon, of which so much notice has al- mansion ; at present it consisted of ready been taken, we found, indeed, little else than the shell, and a very that the whole of the left column was wretched shell, of a farm-house. Not moving, but that the old battle-ground only were the doors and windows around the chateau, and in the woods gone, but the ceilings and partitions, and inclosures near it, was left entire- which were wont to divide one apart. ly to the protection of the ordinary ment from another, were all broken picquets. Of the enemy's forces not down; whilst the roof was in a great a single battalion showed itself here; measure stripped off, and the fragwhilst our own were all filing towards ments which remained of it were perthe right; a rout into which we also forated in all directions. I well requickly struck, as if following the na- collect that the night was piercingly tural current of the stream of war. cold. The frost had, of late, set in In this journey we passed over a good with renewed severity ; and a sharp deal of ground which was already fa- northerly wind blowing, sw
with a miliar to us, skirting the brow of the melancholy sound through our dilapiravine which had separated the hos- dated mansion. But we were on littile armies during the pauses in their tle ceremony here. Large fires were late contest, till, having reached the lighted in different places upon the meadow where our camp had former- earthen floor, round which we gladly ly been pitched, we were turned into crept; whilst an allowance of grog be a new direction; and led upwards till ing brought up, and pipes and segars we gained the top of the hill on which lighted, we were soon as merry and the church of Arcanques stands, and as light-hearted as men could desire round the base of which the village to be. It is true, that ever and anon of Arcanques is scattered. In the every half hour, for example-a maintenance of this post we relieved party of six or eight of us sallied forth, a section of the light division, which to patrole from picquet to picquet, immediately took a rightward course; and to see that all was right between; thus indicating that the whole strength but we returned from such excursions of the army would be mustered at one with increased predilection for our extremity, and other points of the line fire-side; and the events of the ramleft to the protection of a few scattered ble, be they what they might, furnishbrigades.
ed food for conversation till another It was evening before we reached was deemed necessary. our ground, and as yet no provisions So passed the night of the third ; had been issued out to us. Of course, and on the morning of the fourth Í our appetites were excellent, indeed expected, as an ordinary matter, to be the appetites of men who have no- relieved, and to be withdrawn to the thing to eat are seldom sickly; and rear; but it was not so. Men, it apthis we amply demonstrated, as soon peared, were scarce at this point of as an opportunity of demonstrating the line; and hence those who formed the fact was offered. Little time, it were called upon to perform double
duty. Instead of being removed to I, " otherwise so much ammunition some place where a sound night's rest would not be wasted.” might be enjoyed, I and my party I had hardly said so, when I obfound ourselves, on the morning of served a mounted officer advancing the fourth, ordered to advance, and from the enemy's camp toward the to occupy the foremost chain; from base of the hill which my party held. which we had the satisfaction of be. He was followed by a cloud of people, holding the enemy, in very consider- in apparent confusion, it is true, but able force, at the distance of little not more confused than French skirmore than a quarter of a mile from mishers generally appear to be; who our sentries. This sight, however, lay down behind the hedges in the only gave a spur to our exertions, and immediate front of my sentinels, as if hindered us from repining at what we waiting for an order to fire and to might have been otherwise tempted to rush on. I had just ordered my peoconsider as an undue exercise of our ple under arms, and was proceeding powers of watchfulness.
towards the sentries for the purpose The particular picquet of which I of giving a few necessary orders, when was placed in command happened to the French officer halted; and a trumbe detached from all others, and to be peter, who accompanied him, sounded nearly half a mile in front of the rest. a parley. Of course I descended the It was stationed on a sort of sugar-loaf hill, and causing my trumpeter to anhill, separated from our own regular swer the signal, the Frenchman advanchain of posts by a deep and rugged ced. He was the bearer of letters glen, and kept apart from the French from such British officers and sollines only by an imaginary boundary diers as had been taken in the late of hedges and paling. So exposed, in- actions; and he likewise handed over deed, was the spot, that I received po- to me several sums of money and sitive orders to abandon it as soon as changes of clothing for some of his darkness should set in, and to retire countrymen who had fallen into our across the hollow to the high grounds hands. opposite. The reader will easily be- This being done, we naturally enlieve, that, in such a situation, little tered into conversation touching the leisure was given for relaxation either state of Europe, and the events of the of body or mind. During the entire war. My new acquaintance utterly day, indeed, my occupation consisted denied the truth of Napoleon's rein prying closely, with the aid of a verses, and seemed to doubt the idea telescope, into the enemy's lines; in of an invasion of France by the arconsidering how I could best main, mies of the North. He assured me tain myself in case of an attack, and that the whole country was in arms; retreat most securely in case I should that every peasant had become a sol be overpowered.
dier; that bands of partizans were The view from my picquet-house forming on all sides of us; and that was, however, extremely animating. it was vain to hope that we should Beneath me, at the distance of only ever pass the Adour, or proceed fartwo fields, lay the French outposts; ther within the sacred territory than about a quarter of a mile or half a we had already proceeded. He spoke mile in rear of which, were encamped of the desertion of the German corps several large bodies both of infantry with a degree of bitter contempt, and cavalry. Of these, it was evident which proved the very reverse of what that vast numbers were raw recruits. he was desirous of proving, that the They were at drill, marching and event had greatly shaken the conficountermarching, and performing va- dence of Soult in his auxiliaries ; rious evolutions during the greater and, above all, he affected to regard part of the day: a circumstance which, the whole of the recent operations as at first, excited no little uneasiness on mere affairs, or trifling contests of demy part, inasmuch as I expected, eve- tachments, in no way capable of inry moment, that my post would be fluencing the final issues of the war. assaulted; but as soon as I saw a tar- Yet he was not displeased when I et erected, and the troops practising laughed at his style of oratory; and, ith ball, I become easy. “ There after gasconading a good deal, both ll be no attack to-day,” thought the one and the other, we shook hands,
and parted the best friends imagina. I state to him the reason. A field-ofble.
ficer, I shall not say in what part of I had hardly quitted him, at least the line, in going his rounds one night, I had not reached my station on the found that the whole of the serjeant's top of the hill, when I heard myself picquet-guard had disappeared. He called by one of the sentinels, and was, of course, both alarmed and sur. turned round. I saw the individual prised at the occurrence; but his alarm with whom I had been conversing gave place to absolute astonishment, sitting in the midst of a little group when, on stretching forward to ob of French officers, and watching the serve whether there was any moveprogress of an old woman who was ment in the enemy's lines, he peeped coming towards our lines. She held into a cottage from which a noise of a large bottle in her hand, which she revelry was proceeding, and beheld lifted up to attract my notice, and the party sitting in the most sociable continued to move forward, gabbling manner with a similar party of Frenchloudly all the while. Obeying her men, and carousing jovially. As soon signal, I returned, and met her a few as he showed himself, his own men yards in front of the sentries, when rose, and wishing their companions a she delivered to me about a couple of good night, returned with the greatquarts of brandy as a present from the est sang-froid to their post. It is, French officers; who had desired her however, but justice to add, that the to say, that if I could spare them a sentinels on both sides faithfully kept little tea in exchange, they would feel their ground, and that no intention of obliged. It so happened that I had deserting existed on either part. In brought no such luxury as tea to my fact, it was a sort of custom, the post. Of this I informed the female French and English guards visiting Mercury, but I desired her to offer each other by turns. my best acknowledgments to her em- At the period of which I have spoployers, and to add, that I had sent ken above, however, no such extraor. to the rear in order to procure it. dinary intimacy had begun. As yet With this message she accordingly de- we were merely civil towards one anparted, having promised to keep in other; and even that degree of civility sight for at least half an hour, and to was for a while interrupted, by the return as soon as I should make a sign surprisal of a French post by a detachthat the tea had arrived.
ment from General Beresford's diviMy bugler made good haste, and sion, on the river Nive. Not that the soon returned with about a quarter of picquet was wantonly cut off, or that a pound of black tea, the half of the any blame could possibly attach to stock which remained in my canteen. the general who ordered its surprisal. In the meanwhile the French officers The fact was, that the outpost in quescontinued sitting together, and all tion occupied a hill upon the allied rose when I waved my cap to their bank of the stream. It was completecarrier. The old lady was not remiss ly insulated and detached from all in taking the hint. Í handed over to other French posts, and appeared to her the little parcel, with numerous
be held as much out of perverseness, apologies for its tenuity; and I had as because it commanded a view of the satisfaction to perceive, that, tri- the British lines to a great extent. fling as it was, it proved acceptable. Lord Beresford had repeatedly disThe party pulled off their hats as an patched flags of truce, to request that acknowledgment-I did the same; and it might be withdrawn, expressing we each departed to our respective great unwillingness to violate the sastations.
cred character which had been tacitly There is something extremely agree- conferred upon the picquets ; but able in carrying on hostilities after Soult was deaf to his entreaties, and this fashion ; yet the matter may be replied to his threats, only by daring pushed too far. Towards the close of him to carry them into execution. the war, indeed, so good an under- A party was accordingly ordered out, standing prevailed between the out- one stormy night, to cut off the guard; posts of the two armies, that Lord and so successful was the attempt, Wellington found it necessary to for- that an officer and thirty soldiers, with bid all communication whatever; nor a midshipman and a few seamen, who will the reader wonder at this, when had charge of the boat by which the