Page images


SURE, maybe ye've heard the storm-thrush
Whistlin' bould in March,

Before there a primrose peepin' out,

Or a wee red cone on the larch: Whistlin' the sun to come out o' the cloud,

An' the wind to come over the sea,-
But for all he can whistle so clear an' loud,
He's never the bird for me.

Sure, maybe ye've seen the song-thrush
After an April rain,

Slip from in-undher the drippin' leaves,
Wishful to sing again;

Och, low wid love when he's near the nest,
An' loud from the top o' the tree,-

But for all he can flutter the heart in your breast,
He's never the bird for me.

Sure, maybe ye've heard the cushadoo

Callin' his mate in May,

When one sweet thought is the whole of his life,

An' he tells it the one sweet way.

But my heart is sore at the cushadoo

Filled wid his own soft glee, Over an' over his "me an' you!". He's never the bird for me.

Sure, maybe ye've heard the red-breast
Singin' his lone on a thorn,
Mindin' himself o' the dear days lost,
Brave wid his heart forlorn:

The time is in dark November,

An' no spring hopes has he:

"Remember," he sings, "remember!"— Ay, thon's the wee bird for me.


[blocks in formation]

THE battle of Leipsic was fought on the 18th and 19th of October 1813, and from the numbers engaged was termed by the Germans the Völkerschlacht. The combined Russian, Prussian, and Austrian forces, to the number of nearly a quarter of a million, encountered Napoleon's army of 160,000 men, and inflicted upon it one of the most crushing and terrible defeats on record. It is said that over 80,000 men fell, of whom about half were French, and Napoleon was forced to recross the Rhine with hardly onequarter of his troops, the rearguard of his flying army being captured by the Allies.

The following account of the Retreat from Leipsic, lately found among some family papers, and never before published, was taken down from the lips of a survivor, a young French officer, by his cousin, an English lady, Miss G., not long after the event, and is here translated into English.

It was there that French bravery shone in its brightest colours. You should have seen these youths advancing with cheers on the enemy's batteries repulsed, almost overwhelmed, by the heavy fire, then dashing forward once more with levelled bayonets and carrying them! Or, again, the formidable squares of infantry, posted before the village, awaiting motionless the charge of the masses of cavalry hurled upon them, the front rank forming a bristling rampart of steel, from behind which the others poured in a hail of balls which drove back their assailants in the most hopeless disorder. Nothing seemed to shake these stalwart masses. We watched them literally melting under the enemy's fire, dropping by files at a time, then-as coolly as if on parade-they dressed up, though they had lost quite half their number; and this, too, without a man leaving the ranks, or the line breaking.

No! it is impossible to deny that the French soldier is a chef-d'œuvre of the art of war. What precision and rapidity in drill, and what dexterity and skill in each man as a unit! What fire and enthusiasm in assault, yet what coolness in defence!1

A most terrible sight it was to see the artillery fire in the streets, the hand-to-hand fighting, and the cavalry charges, made for the most part over the still breathing bodies of our unfortunate wounded, who strewed the pavements of the town and its suburbs to the number of 10,000 men, the hospitals having hardly sufficed for the wounded of the battle of the 16th. Add to this the villainous joy of the canaille of Leipsic, who, barricaded in in their houses, filled the windows and roofs, and howled curses and taunting adieux to the flying French, and even fired upon them. Lucky was it for them that there was

1 Ye larger portion of ye French army retreated on ye night of 18th October. A. C., having had nothing to eat all day, went out at night to try and find some potatoes, and, losing his regiment, was thus left in ye town.-Note by Miss G.

no time to put a worthy end to this terrible engagement by exterminating this den of ruffians.

But these moments which we longed to devote to vengeance we had to give up to flight, and we fled from the town in a state of disorder impossible to describe-cavalry, infantry, baggage, artillery, huddled together pell-mell. But at the instant that we got free of the town and gained the road in all haste, thinking ourselves at last safe, a terrific explosion was heard the bridge was blown up!! A cry of fear and horror broke from every lip at this dreadful blow. A shout immediately arose that the enemy was upon our rear, and in a moment every man, leaving the ranks, rushed forward to escape. The enemy, observing this disorder, brought their artillery to the front in haste, and placed their guns, loaded with grape, to enfilade us, at the same time charging us in flank with their light cavalry.

No one who had not witnessed it could form any conception of this scene of horror. Imagine 20,000 men, stampeded, entrapped; having in front of them a wide and deep river without a bridge, and at their backs a horde of barbarians, who charged upon and slaughtered them, while to right and left a hail of bullets mowed them down. The younger men, in terror, half mad, threw themselves upon each other, screaming in their despair; the older ones awaited death in silence, or poured forth a stream of curses on their chief, whom they

imagined to have betrayed them. Brave officers ran hither and thither to cheer their men and rally some battalions while they sought to contrive a

bridge, but they soon saw that their efforts were in vain. The baggage and artillery, thrown into disorder, blocked the road, while the horses, wounded and masterless, plunged about in all directions, knocking down the terrified crowd. Those who dared not jump into the stream watched in gloomy silence from the banks those who chose this desperate alternative, and saw with dread how little trust was to be placed in it. Almost all the foot soldiers, indeed, encumbered without exception by their knapsack and accoutrements, were carried away, or stuck fast in the mud and perished there, uttering heartrending cries. The mounted men

for the most part got across, but many sank or were struck down in the water by the fatal hail of grape-shot. For officers and men alike discipline no longer existed. Orders, prayers, or threats to obtain a horse, or to avoid being crushed beneath the feet of those riding, were alike in vain. Generosity and pity were no more, and self-interest cried aloud to each man to save himself.

As for me, in the midst of this scene of horror, rage, terror, and hope mingled in my breast. But retaining my presence of mind, my state of uncertainty soon vanished, and I pushed into the river with my horse without further hesitation. A few steps and he was swim

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]



ALL this hilarity does not imply the total absence of sadness in those bright days. I had lived and suffered too long in solitude not to have reserved a private corner for unuttered griefs, into which no regard of sister or stranger could ever penetrate. It is extraordinary the art with which a circle of children can make one chosen by mutual consent feel in all things, at every moment of the day, an intruder. The two elder than I were sworn friends, the three younger likewise; both groups united as allies. I stood between them, an outsider. I shared their games, it is true, as I shared their meals; but when they had any secrets to impart, I was left out in the cold. I daresay now, on looking back, that had my sullen pride permitted a frank and genial effort, I might easily enough have broken down this barrier. But I was morbidly sensitive, and these young barbarians were very rough and hard. Not ill-natured, but most untender.

I wonder if any other child has been so ruthlessly stabbed by home glances as I.


tale of the Ugly Duckling is, I believe, as common as all the essential legends of human grief and human joy. My dislike of large families is born of the conviction that every large family

holds a victim. Amid so many, there is always one isolated creature who weeps in frozen secrecy, while the others shout with laughter. The unshared gaiety of the group is a fresh provocation of repulsion on both sides, and not all the goodwill of maturity can serve to bridge that first sharp division of infancy. The heart that has been broken with pain in childhood is never sound again, whatever the sequel the years may offer. To escape the blighting influence of cynicism and harshness is as much as one may hope for; but the muffled apprehension of ache, the rooted mistrust bred by early injustice, can never be effaced.

I cannot now remember the cause of all those dreadful hours, of all those bitter, bitter tears, nor do I desire to recall them. But I still see myself many and many a day creeping under the bed that none might see me cry, and there sobbing as if the veins of my throat should burst. Always, I have no doubt, for some foolish or inadequate cause: a hostile look in response to some spontaneous offer of affection, a disagreeable word when a tender one trembled on my lips, some fresh proof of my isolation, a rough gesture that thrust me out of the home circle as an intruder, and a scornful laugh in front of me as the merry band

1 Copyright, 1898, by Dodd, Mead & Co. in the United States of America.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »