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The young officer who commanded the group took a direction exactly the reverse of the right one; and hastening down from the rampart, I at once overtook them, and explained the mistake. I offered them my guidance to the place, which being willingly accepted, I walked along at their side.
Chatting as we went, I heard that the dragoons were hastily withdrawn from the La Vendée to form part of the force under General Hoche. The young sous-lieutenant, a mere boy of my own age, had already served in two campaigns in Holland and the south of France; had been wounded in the Loire, and received his grade of officer at the hands of Hoche himself on the field of battle.
He could speak of no other nameHoche was the hero of all his thoughts -his gallantry, his daring, his military knowledge, his coolness in danger, his impetuosity in attack, his personal amiability, the mild gentleness of his manner, were themes the young soldier loved to dwell on; and however pressed by me to talk of war and its chances, he inevitably came back to the one loved theme-his general."
When the men were safely housed for the night, I invited my new friend to my own quarters, where, having provided the best entertainment I could afford, we passed more than half the night in chatting. There was nothing above mediocrity in the look or manner of the youth; his descriptions of what he had seen were unmarked by anything glowing or picturesque; his observations did not evince either a quick or a reflective mind, and yet, over this mass of commonplace, enthusiasm for his leader had shed a rich glow, like a gorgeous sunlight on a landscape, that made all beneath it seem brilliant and splendid.
"And now," said he, after an account of the last action he had seen, "and now, enough of myself; let's talk of thee. Where hast thou been?"
"Here!" said I, with a sigh, and in a voice that shame had almost made inaudible; " Here, here, at Nancy."
what of confusion; "I always thought they selected old serjeants en retraite, worn out veterans, and wounded fellows, for riding-school duty."
"Most of ours are such," said I, my shame increasing at every word" but somehow they chose me also, and I had no will in the matter
"No will in the matter, parbleu ! and why not? Every man in France has a right to meet the enemy in the field. Thou art a soldier, a hussar of the 9th, a brave and gallant corps, and art to be told, that thy comrades have the road to fame and honour open to them; whilst thou art to mope away life like an invalided drummer? It is too gross an indignity, my boy, and must not be borne. Away with you to-morrow at day-break to the 'Etat Major,' ask to see the Commandant. You're in luck, too, for our colonel is with him now, and he is sure to back your request. Say that you served in the school to oblige your superiors; but that you cannot see all chances of distinction lost to you for ever, by remaining there. They've given you no grade yet, I see, continued he, looking at my
"None; I am still a private." "And I a sous-lieutenant, just because I have been where powder was flashing! You can ride well, of course?"
"I defy the wildest Limousin to shake me in my saddle."
"And, as a swordman, what are you ?"
"Gros Jean calls me his best pupil." "Ah, true! you have Gros Jean here; the best sabreur' in France! And here you are—a horseman, and one of Gros Jean's eléves '-rotting away life in Nancy! Have you any friends in the service?"
"Not one! Nor relations, nor connexions?"
"None. I am Irish by descent. My family are only French by one generation."
"Irish? Ah! that's lucky too," said he. "Our colonel is an Irishman. His name is Mahon. You're certain of
getting your leave now. I'll present you to him to-morrow. We are to halt two days here, and before that is over, I hope you'll have made your last caracole in the riding-school of Nancy."
"But remember," cried I, "that although Irish by family, I have never
been there. I know nothing of either the people or the language; and do not present me to the general as his countryman."
"I'll call you by your name, as a soldier of the 9th Hussars; and leave you to make out your claim as coun. trymen, if you please, together.
This course was now agreed upon, and after some further talking, my friend, refusing all my offers of a bed, coolly wrapped his cloak about him, and, with his head on the table, fell fast asleep, long before I had ceased thinking over his stories and his adventures in camp and battle-field.
My duties in the riding-school were always over before mid-day, and as noon was the hour appointed by the young lieutenant to present me to his colonel, I was ready by that time, and anxiously awaiting his arrival. I had done my best to smarten up my uniform, and make all my accoutrements bright and glistening. My scabbard' was polished like silver, the steel front of my shako shone like a mirror, and the tinsel lace of my jacket had undergone a process of scrubbing and cleaning that threatened its very existence. My smooth chin and beardless upper lip, however, gave me a degree of distress, that all other deficiencies failed to inflict I can dare to say, that no mediæval gentleman's bald spot ever cost him one-half the misery, as did my lack of moustache occasion me: "A hussar without beard, as well without spurs or sabretasche;" a tambour major without his staff, a cavalry charger without a tail, couldn't be more ridiculous and there was that old serjeant of the riding-school, "Tronchon," with a beard that might have made a mattrass! How the goods of this world are unequally distributed! thought I; still why might he not spare me a little-a very little would sufficejust enough to give the "air hussar" to my countenance. He's an excellent creature; the kindest old fellow in the world. I'm certain he'd not refuse me; to be sure the beard is a red one, and pretty much like bell-wire in consistence; no matter, better that than this girlish smooth chin I now wear.
Tronchon was spelling out the Moniteur's account of the Italian campaign as I entered his room, and found it excessively difficult to get back from the Alps and Appenines to the humble request I preferred.
"Poor fellows," muttered he, "four battles in seven days, without stores of any kind, or rations-almost with
out bread; and here comest thou, whining because thou hasn't a beard." "If I were not a hussar".
“Bah!" said he, interrupting, "what of that? Where should'st thou have had thy baptism of blood, boy? Art a child, nothing more."
"I shared my quarters last night with one, not older, Tronchon, and he was an officer, and had seen many a battle-field."
"I know that, too," said the veteran, with an expression of impatience -"that General Bonaparte will give every boy his epaulettes, before an old and tried soldier."
"It was not Bonaparte. It was ""I care not who promoted the lad; the system is just the same with them all. It is no longer, 'Where have you served?—what have you seen?' but,
Can you read glibly?-can you write faster than speak?-have you learned to take towns upon paper, and attack a breast-work with a rule and a pair of compasses! This is what they called 'lagénie' la génie!'-ha! ha! ha!" cried he, laughing heartily; "that's the name old women used to give the devil when I was a boy."
It was with the greatest difficulty I could get him back from these disagreeable reminiscences to the object of my visit, and, even then, I could hardly persuade him that I was serious in asking the loan of a beard. The prayer of my petition being once understood, he discussed the project gravely enough; but to my surprise he was far more struck by the absurd figure he should cut with his diminished mane, than I with my mock moustache.
"There's not a child in Nancy won't laugh at me they'll cry, There goes old Tronchon-he's like Kleber's charger, which the German cut the tail off to make a shako plume!'"
I assured him that he might as well pretend to miss one tree in the forest
"Diantre!" cried he, in ecstacy, "if thou ben't something like a man after all. Who would have thought it would have made such a change? Thou might pass for one that saw real smoke and real fire, any day, lad. Ay! thou hast another look in thine eye, and another way to carry thy head, now! Trust me, thou'lt look a different fellow on the left of the squadron."
I began to think so too, as I looked at myself in the small triangle of a looking-glass, which decorated Tronchon's wall, under a picture of Kellerman, his first captain. I fancied that the improvement was most decided. I thought that, bating a little over ferocity, a something verging upon the cruel, I was about as perfect a type of the hussar as need be. My jacket seemed to fit tighter-my pelisse hung more jauntily-my shako sat more saucily on one side of my head-my sabre banged more proudly against my boot-my very spurs jangled with a pleasanter music-and all because a little hair bristled over my lip, and curled in two spiral flourishes across my cheek! I longed to see the effect of my changed appearance, as I walked down the Place Carrière," or sauntered into the café where my comrades used to assemble. What will Madamoiselle Josephine say, thought I, as I ask for my "petit vèrre," caressing my moustache thus! Not a doubt of it, what a fan is to a woman, a beard is to a soldier!—a something to fill up the pauses in conversation, by blandly smoothing with the finger, or fiercely curling at the point!
"And so thou art going to ask for thy grade, Maurice?" broke in Tronchon, after a long silence.
years myself in the ranks before they gave me the stripe on my arm. Parbleu! the Germans had given me some three or four with the sabre before that time."
"Not at all. I am about to petition for employment upon active service. I don't seek promotion till I have deserved it."
"Better still, lad. I was eight
"Do you think they'll refuse me, Tronchon?"
"Not if thou go the right way about it, lad. Thou mustn't fancy it's like asking leave from the captain to spend the evening in a Guinguette, or to go to the play with thy sweetheart. No, no, boy. It must be done 'en regle.' Thou'lt have to wait on the general at his quarters at four o'clock, when he receives,' as they call it. Thou'lt be there, mayhap, an hour, ay, two or three belike, and after all, perhaps, won't see him that day at all! I was a week trying to catch Kellerman, and, at last, he only spoke to me going down stairs with his staff.
"Eh, Tronchon, another bullet in thy old carcass; want a furlough to get strong again, eh?'
'No, colonel; all sound this time. I want to be a serjeant-I'm twelve years and four months corporal.'
"Slow work, too,' said he, laughing, 'ain't it, Charles?' and he pinched one of his young officers by the cheek. 'Let old Tronchon have his grade; and I say, my good fellow,' said he to me, 'don't come plaguing me any more about promotion, till I'm General of Division. You hear that?'
"Well, he's got his step since; but I never teased him after."
"And why so, Tronchon?" said I. "I'll tell thee, lad," whispered he, in a low, confidential tone, as if imparting a secret well worth the hearing. "They can find fellows every day fit for lieutenants and chefs d'escadron. Parbleu! they meet with them in every café, in every billiard' you enter; but a Serjeant! Maurice, one that drills his men on parade-can dress them like a wall-see that every kit is well packed, and every cartouch well filled-who knows every soul in his company as he knows the buckles of his own swordbelt-that's what one should not chance upon, in haste. It's easy enough to manœuvre the men, Maurice; but to make them, boy, to fashion the fellows so that they be like the pieces of a great machine, that's the real labourthat's soldiering, indeed."
"And you say I must write a petition, Tronchon?" said I, more anxious to bring him back to my own
affairs, than listen to these speculations of Lis. How shall I do it?"
"Sit down there, lad, and I'll tell thee. I've done the thing some scores of times, and know the words as well as I once knew my Pater.' Parbleu, I often wish I could remember that now, just to keep me from gloomy thoughts when I sit alone of an evening.'
It was not a little to his astonishment, but still more to his delight, that I told the poor fellow I could help to refresh his memory, knowing, as I did, every word of the litanies by heart; and, accordingly, it was agreed on that I should impart religious instruction, in exchange for the secular knowledge he was conferring upon me.
"As for the petition," said Tronchon, seating himself opposite to me at the table, "it is soon done; for mark me, lad, these things must always be short; if thou be long-winded, they put thee away, and tell some of the clerks to look after thee-and there's an end of it. "Be brief, therefore, and next be legible write in a good, large round hand; just as, if thou wert speaking, thou wouldst talk with a fine, clear, distinct voice. Well then, begin thus:Republic of France, one and invincible!' Make a flourish round that, lad, as if it came freely from the pen, When a man writes-FRANCE!' he should do it as he whirls his sabre round his head in a charge! Ay, just so.' "I'm ready, Tronchon, go on.' "Mon General!' Này, nay General mustn't be as large as France -yes, that's better. The undersigned, whose certificates of service and conduct are herewith enclosed.' Stay, stop a moment, Tronchon; don't forget that I have got neither one or t'other. No matter; Ill make thee out both. Where was I?-Ay, 'herewith enclosed; and whose wounds, as the accompanying report will show—” "Wounds! I never received one." "No matter, I'll-eh-what? Feu d'enfer! how stupid I am! What have I been thinking of? Why, boy, it was a sick-furlough I was about to ask for; the only kind of petition I have ever had to write in a life long."
"And I am asking for active service."
"Ha! That came without asking for in my case.'
"Then what's to be done, Tronchon? -clearly this wont do!"
He nodded sententiously an assent, and, after a moment's rumination, said
"It strikes me, lad, there can be no need of begging for that which usually comes unlooked for; but if thou don't choose to wait for thy billet for t'other world, but must go and seek it, the best way will be to up and tell the general as much."
That was exactly my intention." "If he asks thee Cans't ride?' just say, 'Old Tronchon taught me;' he'll be one of the young hands, indeed, if he don't know that name! And mind, lad, have no whims or caprices about whatever service he names thee for, even were't the infantry itself! It's a hard word, that! I know it well! but a man must make up his mind for anything and everything. Wear any coat, go anywhere, face any enemy thou'rt ordered, and have none of those new-fangled notions about this general, or that army. Be a good soldier, and a good comrade. Share thy kit and thy purse to the last sous, for it will not only be generous in thee, but that so long as thou hoardest not, thou'lt never be over eager for pillage. Mind these things, and with a stout heart and a sharp sabre, Maurice, 'tu ira loin.' Yes, I tell thee again, lad, tu ira loin.""
I give these three words as he said them, for they have rung in my ears throughout all my life long. In moments of gratified ambition, in the glorious triumph of success, they have sounded to me like the confirmed predictions of one who foresaw my elevation, in less prosperous hours. When fortune has looked dark and louring, they have been my comforter and support, telling me not to be downcast or depressed, that the season of sadness would soon pass away, and the road to fame and honour again open before me.
MODERN STATE TRIALS."
Tins is one of those books which it puzzles a reviewer to deal with. It contains a number of trials connected with state offences, or which, on one account or other, occupied a large share of public attention at the time of their occurrence. It is not very easy to give a definition of the word state trials; at least the editors of the collections published under that name have included in their books numerous cases unconnected with political of fences; we might find among them judicial investigations of private murders, of violence to females, of witchcraft, of perjury, brought together on no very intelligible principle. There seems no reason why the Recorder of Macclesfield should not follow the example set him by Emlyn and Hargrave; and he has accordingly not hesitated to introduce in the same volume, which contains the trials of Frost and O'Brien for high treason, and of O'Connell for conspiracy, reports of proceedings against Lord Cardigan for a duel, and Lord Stirling for forgery. We quarrel not with the title of the book, as it might not be easy to suggest one with any nearer approach to accuracy. Indeed, there seems little object in affecting any precision in such a matter; and Mr. Townsend ought, perhaps, to have been satisfied to give his book some such title as "Criminal Trials." The trials, of which reports are given in these volumes, are those of Frost, Oxford, and O'Brien, for high treason; of O'Connell for conspiracy; of Hunter and others for murder and conspiracy; of Stuart, Courvoisier, and M Naughten for murder; of Lord Cardigan for shooting in a duel; of Alexander Alexander, titular Earl of Stirling, for forgery; of Lord Cochrane for conspiracy; of Wakefield for conspiracy and abduction; of Williams for a libel on the Durham clergy; of Pinney, mayor of Bristol, for neglect of duty; and of Moxon for blasphemy; fifteen trials in all, every
one of which has some such peculiar feature of interest as well deserves preservation. "In making a selection," Mr. Townsend says, he "has endeavoured to preserve a faithful, but abridged report of such legal proceedings as would be most likely to command the attention of all members of the community, and to be read by them with pleasure and profit." The difficulty, however, of such a work is not the selection of the particular trials, but, as some process of abridgment is necessary, to determine on what principle that abridgment is to be made. The topics of most interest to a professional student are not those which engage public attention most. And again, those which engage public attention most at the time of the occurrence, are often those which have little bearing on the real question of the guilt or innocence of the party. Frost's trial, for instance, was of more value in a professional man's estimate, for the questions connected with the Crown's right of challenge, and the grounds on which it was argued, and the decision of the judges upon the time at which it was necessary to furnish the prisoner with a list of the witnesses, than for any of the after incidents of the trial. Yet these afterincidents are presented in full detail, especially when any personal repartee occurs between counsel. The play of words, uttered and forgotten, and deserving of nothing but instant oblivion, is thus sought to be given permanence and importance, while all that requires more severe attention of mind is passed over, as not of a sufficiently popular character. We fear that Mr. Townsend has attempted things incompatible-a book useful, really useful to the student, and a book pleasant to glance over, the ornament for a few days or weeks of the drawing room or library-table, till some newer book occupy its place. In one respect, however, the book asserts a claim to high
* "Modern State Trials." By William C. Townsend, Esq., M.A. Q.C., Recorder of Macclesfield. London: Longman, Brown, Greene, and Longmans. 1850.