I see it before me in letters of fire; the 3d of May! the 3d ofMay!--and he writes tethereum gas fee livehe 15th.""No! no!" cried Camille wildly. "It was long, long after time 3d.""It was the 3d of May," repeated Josephine in a hoarse voice thatnone would have known for hers.
"Yes, love, and frightened us--a little--not much--oh, dear! oh,dear!""Don't be alarmed, sweet one, I am better. And I will never do itagain, since it frightens you." Then Josephine said to her sisterin a low voice, and in the Italian language, "I hoped it was death,my sister; but he comes not to the wretched.""If you hoped that," replied Rose in the same language, "you do notlove your poor sister who so loves you."While the Italian was going on, Jacintha's dark eyes glancedsuspiciously on each speaker in turn. But her suspicions were allwide of the mark.solana beach school district zimbra"Now may I go and tell mamma?" asked Rose.
"No, mademoiselle, you shall not," said Jacintha. "Madame Raynal,do take my side, and forbid her.""Why, what is it to you?" said Rose, haughtily."If it was not something to me, should I thwart my dear young lady?""No. And you shall have your own way, if you will but condescend togive me a reason."This to some of us might appear reasonable, but not to Jacintha: iteven hurt her feelings."Mademoiselle Rose," she said, "when you were little and used to askme for anything, did I ever say to you, 'Give me a REASON first'?""There! she is right," said Josephine. "We should not make termswith tried friends. Come, we will pay her devotion this compliment.It is such a small favor. For my part I feel obliged to her forasking it."Josephine's health improved steadily from that day. Her hollowcheeks recovered their plump smoothness, and her beauty its bloom,and her person grew more noble and statue-like than ever, and withinshe felt a sense of indomitable vitality. Her appetite had for sometime been excessively feeble and uncertain, and her food tasteless;but of late, by what she conceived to be a reaction such as iscommon after youth has shaken off a long sickness, her appetite hadbeen not only healthy but eager. The baroness observed this, and itrelieved her of a large portion of her anxiety. One day at dinnerher maternal heart was so pleased with Josephine's performance thatshe took it as a personal favor, "Well done, Josephine," said she;"that gives your mother pleasure to see you eat again. Soup andbouillon: and now twice you have been to Rose for some of that pate,which does you so much credit, Jacintha."Josephine colored high at this compliment."It is true," said she, "I eat like a pig;" and, with a furtiveglance at the said pate, she laid down her knife and fork, and ateno more of anything. The baroness had now a droll misgiving.
"The doctor will be angry with me," said she: "he will find her aswell as ever.""Madame," said Jacintha hastily, "when does the doctor come, if Imay make so bold, that I may get his room ready, you know?""Well thought of, Jacintha. He comes the day after to-morrow, inthe afternoon."At night when the young ladies went up to bed, what did they findbut a little cloth laid on a little table in Josephine's room, andthe remains of the pate she had liked. Rose burst out laughing."Look at that dear duck of a goose, Jacintha! Our mother's flatterysank deep: she thinks we can eat her pates at all hours of the dayand night. Shall I send it away?""No," said Josephine, "that would hurt her culinary pride, andperhaps her affection: only cover it up, dear, for just now I am notin the humor: it rather turns me."It was covered up. The sisters retired to rest. In the morningRose lifted the cover and found the plate cleared, polished. Shewas astounded."I am the unluckiest fellow in the army," remonstrated Dard: and hestamped in a circle.
"Seems to me you are only the second unluckiest this time," said ayoung soldier with his mouth full; and, with a certain dry humor, hepointed vaguely over his shoulder with the fork towards the corpse.The trenches laughed and assented.This want of sympathy and justice irritated Dard. "You cursedfools!" cried he. "He is gone where we must all go--without anytrouble. But look at me. I am always getting barked. Dogs ofPrussians! they pick me out among a thousand. I shall have aheadache all the afternoon, you see else."Some of our heads would never have ached again: but Dard had a goodthick skull.Dard pulled out his spilikin savagely.
"I'll wrap it up in paper for Jacintha," said he. "Then that willlearn her what a poor soldier has to go through."Even this consolation was denied Private Dard.Corporal Coriolanus Gand, a bit of an infidel from Lyons, whosometimes amused himself with the Breton's superstition, told himwith a grave face, that the splinter belonged not to him, but to thesutler, and, though so small, was doubtless a necessary part of hisframe.
"If you keep that, it will be a bone of contention between you two,"said he; "especially at midnight. HE WILL BE ALWAYS COMING BACK TOYOU FOR IT.""There, take it away!" said the Breton hastily, "and bury it withthe poor fellow."Sergeant La Croix presented himself before the colonel with a ruefulface and saluted him and said, "Colonel, I beg a thousand pardons;your dinner has been spilt--a shot from the bastion.""No matter," said the colonel. "Give me a piece of bread instead."La Croix went for it himself, and on his return found Cadel sittingon one side of Death's Alley, and Dard with his head bound up on theother. They had got a bottle which each put up in turn wherever hefancied the next round shot would strike, and they were bettingtheir afternoon rations which would get the Prussians to hit thebottle first.La Croix pulled both their ears playfully."Time is up for playing marbles," said he. "Be off, and play atduty," and he bundled them into the battery.It was an hour past midnight: a cloudy night. The moon was up, butseen only by fitful gleams. A calm, peaceful silence reigned.
Dard was sentinel in the battery.An officer going his rounds found the said sentinel flat instead ofvertical. He stirred him with his scabbard, and up jumped Dard."It's all right, sergeant. O Lord! it's the colonel. I wasn'tasleep, colonel.""I have not accused you. But you will explain what you were doing.""Colonel," said Dard, all in a flutter, "I was taking a squint atthem, because I saw something. The beggars are building a wall,now.""Where?""Between us and the bastion.""Show me.""I can't, colonel; the moon has gone in; but I did see it.""How long was it?""About a hundred yards.""How high?""Colonel, it was ten feet high if it was an inch.""Have you good sight?""La! colonel, wasn't I a bit of a poacher before I took to thebayonet?""Good! Now reflect. If you persist in this statement, I turn outthe brigade on your information.""I'll stand the fire of a corporal's guard at break of day if I makea mistake now," said Dard.The colonel glided away, called his captain and first lieutenants,and said two words in each ear, that made them spring off theirbacks.
Dard, marching to an fro, musket on shoulder, found himself suddenlysurrounded by grim, silent, but deadly eager soldiers, that camepouring like bees into the open space behind the battery. Theofficers came round the colonel."Attend to two things," said he to the captains. "Don't fire tillthey are within ten yards: and don't follow them unless I lead you."The men were then told off by companies, some to the battery, someto the trenches, some were kept on each side Death's Alley, readyfor a rush.
They were not all of them in position, when those behind the parapetsaw, as it were, something deepen the gloom of night, some fourscoreyards to the front: it was like a line of black ink suddenly drawnupon a sheet covered with Indian ink.It seems quite stationary. The novices wondered what it was. Theveterans muttered--"Three deep."Though it looked stationary, it got blacker and blacker. Thesoldiers of the 24th brigade griped their muskets hard, and settheir teeth, and the sergeants had much ado to keep them quiet.
All of a sudden, a loud yell on the right of the brigade, two orthree single shots from the trenches in that direction, followed bya volley, the cries of wounded men, and the fierce hurrahs of anattacking party.Our colonel knew too well those sounds: the next parallel had beensurprised, and the Prussian bayonet was now silently at work.Disguise was now impossible. At the first shot, a guttural voice infront of Dujardin's men was heard to give a word of command. Therewas a sharp rattle and in a moment the thick black line was tippedwith glittering steel.A roar and a rush, and the Prussian line three deep came furiouslylike a huge steel-pointed wave, at the French lines. A tremendouswave of fire rushed out to meet that wave of steel: a crash of twohundred muskets, and all was still. Then you could see through theblack steel-tipped line in a hundred frightful gaps, and the groundsparkled with bayonets and the air rang with the cries of thewounded.A tremendous cheer from the brigade, and the colonel charged at thehead of his column, out by Death's Alley.The broken wall was melting away into the night. The colonelwheeled his men to the right: one company, led by the impetuousyoung Captain Jullien, followed the flying enemy.
The other attack had been only too successful. They shot thesentries, and bayoneted many of the soldiers in their tents: othersescaped by running to the rear, and some into the next parallel.Several, half dressed, snatched up their muskets, killed onePrussian, and fell riddled like sieves.
A gallant officer got a company together into the place of arms andformed in line.Half the Prussian force went at them, the rest swept the trenches:
the French company delivered a deadly volley, and the next momentclash the two forces crossed bayonets, and a silent deadly stabbingmatch was played: the final result of which was inevitable. ThePrussians were five to one. The gallant officer and the poorfellows who did their duty so stoutly, had no thought left but todie hard, when suddenly a roaring cheer seemed to come from the rearrank of the enemy. "France! France!" Half the 24th brigade cameleaping and swarming over the trenches in the Prussian rear. ThePrussians wavered. "France!" cried the little party that were beingoverpowered, and charged in their turn with such fury that in twoseconds the two French corps went through the enemy's centre likepaper, and their very bayonets clashed together in more than onePrussian body.Broken thus in two fragments the Prussian corps ceased to exist as amilitary force. The men fled each his own way back to the fort, andmany flung away their muskets, for French soldiers were swarming infrom all quarters. At this moment, bang! bang! bang! from thebastion.
"They are firing on my brigade," said our colonel. "Who has led hiscompany there against my orders? Captain Neville, into the battery,and fire twenty rounds at the bastion! Aim at the flashes fromtheir middle tier.""Yes, colonel."The battery opened with all its guns on the bastion. The rightattack followed suit. The town answered, and a furious cannonaderoared and blazed all down both lines till daybreak. Hell seemedbroken loose.Captain Jullien had followed the flying foe: but could not come upwith them: and, as the enemy had prepared for every contingency, thefatal bastion, after first throwing a rocket or two to discovertheir position, poured showers of grape into them, killed many, andwould have killed more but that Captain Neville and his gunnershappened by mere accident to dismount one gun and to kill a coupleof gunners at the others. This gave the remains of the company timeto disperse and run back. When the men were mustered, CaptainJullien and twenty-five of his company did not answer to theirnames. At daybreak they were visible from the trenches lying all bythemselves within eighty yards of the bastion.A flag of truce came from the fort: the dead were removed on bothsides and buried. Some Prussian officers strolled into the Frenchlines. Civilities and cigars exchanged: "Bon jour," "Gooten daeg:"then at it again, ding dong all down the line blazing and roaring.At twelve o'clock the besieged had got a man on horseback, on top ofa hill, with colored flags in his hand, making signals.
"What are you up to now?" inquired Dard."You will see," said La Croix, affecting mystery; he knew no morethan the other.
Presently off went Long Tom on the top of the bastion, and the shotcame roaring over the heads of the speakers.The flags were changed, and off went Long Tom again at an elevation.
Ten seconds had scarcely elapsed when a tremendous explosion tookplace on the French right. Long Tom was throwing red-hot shot; onehad fallen on a powder wagon, and blown it to pieces, and killed twopoor fellows and a horse, and turned an artillery man at somedistance into a seeming nigger, but did him no great harm; only tookhim three days to get the powder out of his clothes with pipe clay,and off his face with raw potato-peel.When the tumbril exploded, the Prussians could be heard to cheer,and they turned to and fired every iron spout they owned. Long Tomworked all day.
They got into a corner where the guns of the battery could not hitthem or him, and there was his long muzzle looking towards the sky,and sending half a hundredweight of iron up into the clouds, andplunging down a mile off into the French lines.And, at every shot, the man on horseback made signals to let thegunners know where the shot fell.At last, about four in the afternoon, they threw a forty-eight-poundshot slap into the commander-in-chief's tent, a mile and a halfbehind trenches.Down comes a glittering aide-de-camp as hard as he can gallop.
"Colonel Dujardin, what are you about, sir? YOUR BASTION has throwna round shot into the commander-in-chief's tent."The colonel did not appear so staggered as the aide-de-campexpected."Ah, indeed!" said he quietly. "I observed they were tryingdistances.""Must not happen again, colonel. You must drive them from the gun.""How?""Why, where is the difficulty?""If you will do me the honor to step into the battery, I will showyou," said the colonel.
"If you please," said the aide-de-camp stiffly.Colonel Dujardin took him to the parapet, and began, in a calm,painstaking way, to show him how and why none of his guns could bebrought to bear upon Long Tom.
In the middle of the explanation a melodious sound was heard in theair above them, like a swarm of Brobdingnag bees."What is that?" inquired the aide-de-camp.