Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

The young

officer who commanded what of confusion; "I always thought the group took a direction exactly the they selected old serjeants en retraite, reverse of the right one; and hasten- worn out veterans, and wounded feling down from the rampart, I at once lows, for riding-school duty." overtook them, and explained the “ Most of ours are such,” said I, my mistake. I offered them my guidance shame increasing at every word—“but to the place, which being willingly somehow they chose me also, and I had acceptel, I walked along at their side. no will in the matter

Chatting as we went, I heard that “No will in the matter, parbleu ! the dragoons were bastily withdrawn and why not? Every man in France from the La Vendée to form part of has a right to meet the enemy in the the force under General Hoche. The field. Thou art a soldier, a hussar young sous-lieutenant, a mere boy of of the 9th, a brave and gallant corps, my own age, had already served in two and art to be told, that thy comrades campaigns in Holland and the south have the road to fame and honour

open of France; had been wounded in the to them; whilst thou art to mope Loire, and received his grade of officer away life like an invalided drummer ? at the hands of Hoche himself on the It is too gross an indignity, my boy, field of battle.

and must not be borne. Away with He could speak of no other name, you to-morrow at day-break to the Hoche was the bero of all his thoughts • Etat Major,' ask to see the Com-his gallantry, his daring, his military mandant. You're in luck, too, for our knowledge, his coolness in danger, his colonel is with him now, and he is impetuosity in attack, his personal sure to back your request. Say that amiability, the mild gentleness of his you served in the school to oblige manner, were themes the young soldier your superiors ; but that you cannot loved to dwell on ; and however pressed see all chances of distinction lost to by me to talk of war and its chances, you for ever, by remaining there. he inevitably came back to the one They've given you no grade yet, I loved theme—bis general.”

see,

continued he, looking at my When the men were safely housed for the night, I invited my new friend “None; I am still a private." to my own quarters, where, having “ And I a sous-lieutenant, just beprovided the best entertainment I cause I have been where powder was could afford, we passed more than half flashing! You can ride well, of course?" the night in chatting. There was “I defy the wildest Limousin to nothing above mediocrity in the look shake me in my saddle." or manner of the youth ; his descrip- “ And, as a swordman, what are tions of what he had seen were unmarked by anything glowing or pic- “ Gros Jean calls me his best pupil.” turesque; his observations did not “ Ab, true! you have Gros Jean evince either a quick or a reflective here; the best • sabreur' in France ! mind, and yet, over this mass of com- And here you are a horseman, and one monplace, enthusiasm for his leader of Gros Jean's 'eléves '-rotting away had shed a rich glow, like a gorgeous life in Nancy! Have you any friends sunlight on a landscape, that made all in the service ?" beneath it seem brilliant and splendid. “ Not one."

“And now,” said he, after an ac- “Not one! Nor relations, nor concount of the last action he had seen, nexions?" " and now, enough of myself; let's “ None. I am Irish by descent. talk of thee. Where hast thou been?” My family are only French by one

“ Here !" said I, with a sigh, and in a generation.". voice that shame had almost made in. “ Irish ? Ah! that's lucky too,” said audible ; “ Here, here, at Nancy." he. “Our colonel is an Irishman. “Not always here?”

His name is Mahon. You're certain of “ Just so. . Always here."

getting your leave now.

I'll present “And what doing, mon cher. Thou you to him to-morrow.

We are to art not one of the Municipal Guard, halt two days here, and before that is surely?"

over, I hope you'll have made your last "No," said I, smiling sadly; “I caracole in the riding-school of Nancy." belong to the Ecole d'Equitation." “ But remember," cried I, “that “Ah, that's it,” said he, in some- although Irish by family, I have never

VOL. XXXVI.-NO. CCXI.

arm.

you?"

D

been there. I know nothing of either This course was now agreed upon, the people or the language; and do and after some further talking, my not present me to the general as his friend, refusing all my offers of a bed, countryman."

coolly wrapped his cloak about him, " I'll call you by your name, as a

and, with his head on the table, fell soldier of the 9th Hussars; and leave fast asleep, long before I had ceased you to make out your claim as coun: thinking over his stories and his ad. trymen, if you please, together. ventures in camp and battle-field.

CHAPTER VIII.

" TRONCHOX."

[ocr errors]

My duties in the riding-school were out bread; and here comest thou, always over before mid-day, and as whining because thou hasn't a beard." noon was the hour appointed by the “ If I were not a hussar". young lieutenant to present me to his “Bah!” said he, interrupting, “what colonel, I was ready by that time, and of that? Where should'st thou have had anxiously awaiting his arrival. I had thy baptism of blood, boy? Art a child, done my best to smarten up my uni- nothing more.” form, and make all my accoutrements “I shared my quarters last night bright and glistening. My scabbard with one, not older, Tronchon, and he was polished like silver, the steel front was an officer, and had seen many a of my shako shone like a mirror, and battle-field.” the tinsel lace of my jacket had under- “I know that, too,” said the vete. gone a process of scrubbing and clean- ran, with an expression of impatience ing that threatened its very existence. - that General Bonaparte will give My smooth chin and beardless upper every boy his epaulettes, before an old lip, however, gave me a degree of dis- and tried soldier." tress, that all other deficiencies failed “It was not Bonaparte. It was”. to inflict : I can dare to say, that no “I care not who promoted the lad; mediæval gentleman's bald spot ever the system is just the same with them cost him one-half the misery, as did all. It is no longer, “Where have you my lack of moustache occasion me: served ?-what have you seen?' but,

A hussar without beard, as well with- • Can you read glibly?-can you write out spurs or sabretasche;" a tambour faster than speak ?-have you learned major without his staff, a cavalry to take towns upon paper, and attack charger without a tail, couldn't be more a breast-work with a rule and a pair ridiculous : and there was that old ser- of compasses !' This is what they called jeant of the riding-school, “ Tron. la génie'la génie!'_ha! ha! ha!” cried chon," with a beard that might have he, laughing heartily; “ that's the name made a mattrass! How the goods of old women used to give the devil when this world are unequally distributed ! I was a boy." thought I; still why might he not spare It was with the greatest difficulty I me a little-a very little would suffice- could get him back from these disagrecjust enough to give the “air hussar” to able reminiscences to the object of my my countenance. He's an excellent visit, and, even then, I could hardly percreature; the kindest old fellow in the suade him that I was serious in asking world. I'm certain he'd not refuse the loan of a beard. The prayer of me; to be sure the beard is a red one, my petition being once understood, he and pretty much like bell-wire in con- discussed the project gravely enough ; sistence ; no matter, better that than

but to my surprise he was far more this girlish smooth chin I now wear. struck by the absurd figure he should

Tronchon was spelling out the Moni- cut with his diminished mane, than I teur's account of the Italian campaign with my mock moustache. as I entered his room, and found it ex- “ There's not a child in Nancy won't cessively difficult to get back from the laugh at me—they'll cry, • There goes Alps and Appenines to the humble re- old Tronchon_he's like Kleber's charquest I preferred.

ger, which the German cut the tail off “ Poor fellows," muttered he, “ four to make a shako plume!'” battles in seven days, without stores I assured him that he might as well of any kind, or rations—almost with- pretend to miss one tree in the forest gave in.

of “ Fontainebleu"_that after fir- years myself in the ranks before they nishing a squadron like myself, his gave me the stripe on my arm. Parwould be still the first beard in the bleu! the Germans had given me some Republic; and at last he yielded, and three or four with the sabre before that

time." Never did a little damsel of the “Do

you

think they'll refuse me, nursery array her doll with more de- Tronchon?" lighted looks, and gaze upon her han- “ Not if thou go the right way about dywork with more self-satisfaction, than it, lad. Thou mustn't fancy it's like askdid old Tronchon survey me, as, with ing leave from the captain to spend the the aid of a little gum, he decorated evening in a Guinguette, or to go to the my lip with a stiff line of his iron red play with thy sweetheart. No, no, boy. beard.

It inust be done 'en regle.' Thou'lt “ Diantre!" cried he, in ecstacy, have to wait on the general at his “if thou ben't something like a man quarters at four o'clock, when he reafter all. Who would have thought ceives,' as they call it. Thou'lt be it would have made such a change? there, mayhap, an hour, ay, two or Thou might pass for one that saw real

three belike, and after all, perhaps, smoke and real fire, any day, lad. won't see him that day at all! I was a Ay! thou hast another look in thine week trying to catch Kellerman, and, eye, and another way to carry thy head, at last, he only spoke to me going now! Trust me, thou'lt look a different down stairs with his staff. fellow on the left of the squadron.” "Eh, Tronchon, another bullet in

I began to think so too, as I looked thy old carcass; want a furlough to at myself in the small triangle of a get strong again, eh ?' looking-glass, which decorated Tron. No, colonel; all sound this time. chon's wall, under a picture of Keller- I want to be a serjeant-I'm twelve man, his first captain. I fancied that years and four months corporal.' the improvement was most decided. "Slow work, too,' said he, laughing, I thought that, bating a little over ain't it, Charles?" and he pinched one ferocity, a something verging upon of his young officers by the cheek. Let the cruel, I was about as perfect a old Tronchon have his grade; and I type of the hussar as need be. My say, my good fellow,' said he to me, jacket seemed to fit tighter—my pe- • don't come plaguing me any more lisse hung more jauntily—my shako about promotion, till I'm General of sat more saucily on one side of my Division. You hear that?' head-my sabre banged more proudly Well, he's got his step since; but against my boot-my very spurs jangled I never teased him after." with a pleasanter music-andall because “And why so, Tronchon ?" said I. a little hair bristled over my lip, and “I'll tell thee, lad," whispered he, in curled in two spiral flourishes across a low, confidential tone, as if imparting my cheek! I longed to see the effect a secret well worth the hearing. “They of my changed appearance, as I walked can find fellows every day fit for lieudown the - Place Carrière," or saun- tenants and chefs d'escadron. Parbleu ! tered into the café where my comrades they meet with them in every café, in used to assemble. What will Mada- every • billiard' you enter; but a Sermoiselle Josephine say, thought I, as I jeant! Maurice, one that drills his ask for my “petit verre," caressing my men on parade-can dress them like a moustache thus! Not a doubt of it, wall-see that every kit is well packed, what a fan is to a woman, a beard is to and every cartouch well filled—who a soldier !—a something to fill up

the knows every soul in his company as pauses in conversation, by blandly he knows the buckles of his own swordsmoothing with the finger, or fiercely belt-that's what one should not chance curling at the point!

upon, in haste. It's easy enough to “And so thou art going to ask for thy manæuvre the

men, Maurice; but to grade, Maurice?" broke in Tronchon, make them, boy, to fashion the fellows after a long silence.

so that they be like the pieces of a “Not at all. I am about to petition great machine, that's the real labourfor employment upon active service. I that's soldiering, indeed." don't seek promotion till I have de- “ And you say I must write a peserved it.”

tition, Tronchon?" said I, more anx56 Better still, lad. I was eight ious to bring him back to my own

as I

once

knew my

affairs, than listen to these pecu- “Then what's to be done, Tronchon? lations of Lis. Ilow shall I do it?" -clearly this wont do!"

“Sit down there, lad, and I'll tell Ile nodded sententiously an assent, thee. I've done the thing some scores and, after a moment's rumination, of times, and know the words as well said

• Pater.' Parbleu, " It strikes me, lad, there can be no I often wish I could remember that need of begging for that which usually now, just to keep me from gloomy comes unlooked for; but if thou don't thoughts when I sit alone of an ever- choose to wait for thy billet för t'other ing.”

world, but must go and seek it, the It was not a little to his astonish

best way will be to up and tell the ment, but still more to his delight,

general as much." that I told the poor fellow I could “ That was exactly my intention." help to refresh his memory, knowing, “If he asks thee Cans't ride?' as I did, every word of the litanies by just say, “O! Tronchon taught me; heart; and, accordingly, it was agreed he'll be one of the young hands, indeel, on that I should impart religious in- if he don't know that naine! And struction, in exchange for the secular mind, lad, have no whims or caprices knowledge he was conferring upon me. about whatever service he names theo

“As for the petition,” said Tron- for, even were't the infantry itself! It's chon, seating himself opposite to me a hard word, that! I know it well! at the table, “it is soon done; for but a man must make up his mind for mark me, lad, these things must always anything and everything. Wear any be short; if thou be long-winded, coat, go anywhere, face any enemy they put thee away, and tell some of the thou'rt ordered, and have none of those clerks to look after thee--and there's new-fangled notions about this general, an end of it. “Be brief, therefore, or that army. Be a good soldier, and and next be legible write in a a good comrade. Share thy kit and good, large round hand; just as, thy purse to the last sous, for it will not if thou wert speaking, thou wouldst only be generous in thee, but that so talk with fine, clear, distinct long as thou hoardest not, thou'lt never voice. Well then, begin thus:- be over eager for pillage. Mind these • Republic of France, one and in- things, and with a stout heart and vincible !' Make a flourish round tbat, a sharp sabre, Maurice, 'tu ira loin..' lad, as if it came freely from the pen, Yes, I tell thee again, lad, 'tu ira When a man writes-FRANCE !' he loin.'' should do it as he whirls his sabre I give these three words as he said round his head in a charge! Ay, just so. them, for they have rung in my ears

“ I'm ready, Tronchon, go on.” throughout all my life long. In mo« « Mon General !

Nay, nay

ments of gratified ambition, in the General mustn't be as large as France glorious triumph of success, they have -yes, that's better.

The under- sounded to me like the confirmed presigned, whose certificates of service dictions of one who foresaw my elevaand conduct are herewith enclosed.' tion, in less prosperous hours. When Stay, stop a moment, Tronchon; don't fortune has looked dark and louring, forget that I have got neither one or they have been my comforter and supt'other. No matter; Ill make thee

port, telling me not to be downcast out both. Where was I ?--Ay, 'here- or depressed, that the season of sadwith enclosed ; and whose wounds, as ness would soon pass away, and the the accompanying report will show—" road to fame and honour again open

“ Wounds ! I never received one.” before me.

“No matter, I'll-eh-what? Feu You really think so, Tronchon? d'enfer! how stupid I am! What have You think that I shall be something I been thinking of? Why, boy, it was

yet?" a sick-furlough I was about to ask for; "Tu ira loin,' I say,' repeated he the only kind of petition I have ever emphatically, and with the air of an had to write in a life long."

oracle who would not susler further “And I am asking for active ser- interrogation. I therefore shook his vice."

hand cordially, and set out to pay my “ Ha! That came without asking visit to the general. fur in my case."

a

[ocr errors]

MODERN STATE TRIALS."

Tils is one of those books which it one of which has some such peculiar puzzles a reviewer to deal with. It feature of interest as well deserves contains a number of trials connected

preservation.

“In making a selecwith state ofiences, or which, on one tion,” Mr. Townsend says, he “ has account or other, occupied a large endeavoured to preserve a faithful, share of public attention at the time of but abridged report of such legal protheir occurrence. It is not very easy

ceedings as would be most likely to to give a definition of the word state command the attention of all members trials; at least the editors of the col- of the community, and to be read by lections published under that name them with pleasure and profit.” The have included in their books numerous difficulty, however, of such a work is cases unconnected withi political of- not the selection of the particular fences; we might find among them ju- trials, but, as some process of abridgdicial investigations of private murders, ment is necessary, to determine on of violence to females, of witchcraft, of what principle that abridgment is to perjury, brought together on no very be made. The topics of most interest intelligible principle. There seems no to a professional student are not those reason why the Recorder of Macclesfield which engage public attention most. should not follow the example set him And again, those which engige public by Eunlyn and Hargrave; and he has attention inost at the time of the ocaccordingly not hesitated to introduce currence, are often those which have in the same volume, which contains the little bearing on the real question of trials of Frost and O'Brien for high the guilt or innocence of the party. treason, and of O'Connell for conspi. Frosi's trial, for instance, was of more racy, reports of proceedings against value in a professional man's estimate, Lord Cardigan for a duel, and Lord for the questions connected with the Stirling for forgery. We quarrel not Crown's right of challenge, and the with the title of the book, as it might grounds on which it was argued, not be easy to suggest one with any and the decision of the judges upon nearer approach to accuracy. Indeed, the time at which it was necessary to there seems little object in affecting furnish the prisoner with a list of the any precision in such a matter; and witnesses, than for any of the after inciMi. Townsend ought, perhaps, to have dents of the trial. Yet these afterbeen satisfied to give his book some incidents are presented in full detail, such title as - Criminal Trials." The especially when any personal repartee trials, of which reports are given in occurs between counsel. The play of these volumes, are those of Frost, Ox- words, uttered and forgotten, and deford, and O'Brien, for high treason ; serving of nothing but instant oblivion, of O'Connell for conspiracy; of Hun- is thus sought to be given permater and others for murder and con- nence and importance, while all that spiracy; of Stuart, Courvoisier, and

requires more severe attention of mind N Naughten for murder; of Lord is passed over, as not of a sufficiently Cardigan for shooting in a duel; of popular character. We fear that Mr. Alexander Alexander, titular Earl of Townsend has attempted things in. Stirling, for forgery; of Lord Coch- compatible—a book useful, really userane for conspiracy; of Wakefield for ful to the student, and a book pleasant conspiracy and abduction; of Wil- to glance over, the ornament for a few liams for a libel on the Durham days or weeks of the drawing room clergy; of Pinney, mayor of Bristol, or library-table, till some newer book for neglect of duty; and of Moxon for occupy its place. In one respect, howblasphemy; fifteen trials in all, every ever, the book asserts a claim to high

** Modern State Trials." By William C. Townsenil, Esq., M.A. Q.C., Recorder of Maccludivid. London: Longman, Brown, Greene, and Longmans. 1850.

« PredošláPokračovať »