"Please, your honour," said he, saluting his captain, "the answer is 'All right.'"
"All right!" exclaimed Holroyd, his face darkening; "is that all Colonel Macleod said to you?"
"That is all, sir," was the reply. "I gave the colonel your message, just as your honour gave it to me, neither more nor less. ' ell Capt'n Holroyd it's all right,' says he. I saluted, and waited a moment, thinkin' as how he'd say something more, or may-be ask me some questions; but the colonel just waves me away, and says, ' D'ye hear me, corp'ril?—tell your orficer it's all right.' So I comes back as quick as I could, sir."
Holroyd and I stared at one another in astonishment. That Corporal Jones had delivered the report and brought back the reply correctly we did not for a moment doubt; for Jones was a steady, intelligent man, and thoroughly trustworthy, or he would not have been a light company corporal.
"What shall you do, Charlie?" I asked in an undertone. "There must be some mistake."
"A very serious mistake, I should say," he rejoined. Then turning to the corporal, he inquired if Colonel Macleod was in the village.
"No, sir," answered Jones; "the colonel's over yonder—away to our right rear. There's a young orficer with a few men of Rolle's in the village," he added.
Holroyd thought for a few minutes, and then taking me aside, said, "I must let them know in El Hamet the state of affairs, so that they may be prepared in the event of a sudden attack. Do you, Tom, hurry back to the village and warn the senior officer. Tell him that the enemy evidently mean mischief, and that I advise him to look out for squalls. On your way you can inform Cantillon of the situation, and say that he must be ready to support us the moment he hears a shot fired."
I started off on my errand, and warned both Paddy