Page:Yule Logs.djvu/118

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102
"A FRENCHMAN'S GRATITUDE"

undulating mounds, not one of which was so sufficiently elevated as to afford a commanding view from its summit over the rest.

In a short time the firing in the direction of the spot where we knew Vogelsang's covering party was battling against terrible odds, began to slacken, then it suddenly ceased. We looked at one another in horror, for no one could doubt that our gallant comrades of De Rolle's must have been overwhelmed.

"My poor fellows!" groaned Major Vogelsang, the tears streaming down his rugged cheeks; "they must have perished to a man. Would that the Highland colonel had permitted me to remain with them!"

Our attention was now attracted by a triumphant shout, and another body of the enemy appeared in sight, racing to join their comrades," as if Ould Nick were at their heels," as Paddy Cantillon observed.

"Steady, flankers of the 35th!" cried Holroyd;" it's our turn now! Meet them firmly, and, if needs must, let us die like British soldiers for the honour of the old regiment!"

"Faith, an' we're ready to do that, your honour!" answered Sergeant Finnigan. "Shure, divil a one of thim howlin' haythins shall—" The gallant old fellow never finished the sentence, for at that moment a score of the bolder horsemen charged up to within pistol-shot of the square, and discharged their carbines at us.

They, I have no doubt, fired at random, but chance shots often do most harm one "bullet found its billet," and lodged in the brain of poor Michael Finnigan.

A cry of rage burst from our men, for the sergeant was a general favourite in the light company, and several of the younger hands returned the fire without orders, emptying half-a-dozen saddles, and sending the bold Turks scampering back.

"Steady, light company!" cried Holroyd angrily.

"What are those men thinking about? Our chance is a