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been exposed to three enemies at once. But, whether a solitary Hulan, or the whole cavalry of Austria, were behind the hedge, was now a matter unknown to the robbers. Carlo now fired again, and with the good luck of perforating the boot of the rider nearest to him, and lodging the ball in his calf. A thousand sacres followed the shot, and made the wood resound. Only one antagonist now remained, and him Carlo resolved to sacrifice in the presence of the lady, who stood in evident horror leaning against a tree. By trying a circuitous path, he at length found his way, within sabre's length of the remaining plunderer. The affair was brief. The first scratch of the sabre sent the Frenchman to the right about; and the field, with all its prizes—the britchska, the trunks, the waiting-maids, and the lovely Carolina Cobentzel herself, were his by right of victory; to say nothing of the two ruffians who lay alternately groaning and swearing on the ground.
The gratitude of the fair captive was indescribable, and her request, nay, her entreaties, that Carlo would accept some acknowledgment-purse, jewels, even a ring, were all but resistless, yet he resisted them. His dejection returned heavier still; nay, when the first anxiety of the crisis was over, he evidently would have thanked her for hanging him on the spot.
But those were not times for travellers to stand talking sentiment in a forest at twelve at night. The britchska was reloaded, the fugitives were handed in, and the postilions remounted. Carlo saw the proceeding, as if his eyes looked their last of this world; but the lovely Carolina did not choose to part with him quite so silently.
"If you will accept nothing else," said she, in a silvery tone, "accept my address. General Count Cobentzel will be happy to see you, and serve you at Vienna."
Carlo's pale lips then burst their silence. "Is it true that you are-affianced?"
Carolina grew pale in her turn, and said nothing.
"But one word-if you would not see me the most miserable of human beings," exclaimed the impassioned soldier.
"How can it interest you?" timidly said the lady. "We have seen cach
other for the first time, let it not be the last. You have rendered me a great service"-she paused-" my family will be happy to receive you," sighed, rather than said, the halffainting beauty.
"But are you about to be married?" wildly exclaimed the enthusiast, with every fibre convulsed with despair.
Carolina clasped her hands, and sank back on the seat of the carriage. In another moment it was gone.
In two hours after, a wandering woodcutter found Sebastiani lying on the ground, on the same spot, in a pa roxysm of fever, raving against kings, queens, and beautiful women; outrageous against nature, for not bring ing him into the world a field-marshal; and giving orders to an army of a hundred thousand Hulans, to ride over Europe, storm Constantinople, take the Grand Signior by the beard; and make a present of the East to the most brilliant pair of black eyes, and most exquisite pair of coral lips, among all the Carolinas or Cleopatras that ever existed.
On his recovery from this delirium, he found himself lying in the woodcutter's hovel, feeble, emaciated, and sick of every thing human—war, woman, and the world. He made the further discoveries, that three weeks had elapsed in this condition, and that he had lost his time, his horse, and his honour.
But the war still raged: the wretched wounded and fugitives who passed daily through the forest, making the best of their way home, spread rumours enough to have filled the Allgemeine Zeitung with wonders, and all of them probably as faithful as the usual contents of that inventive journal. The army of the Archduke was to-day annihilated, and to-morrow in the act of annihilating the French. The Archduke's dead body was to-day found on the field of battle, carried to Vienna, and buried with imperial honours; and the day after, the Archduke was wreaking vengeance on Moreau or Jourdan, driving every thing before him, and marching over the bodies of the French demi-brigades straight to the Rhine. Carlo felt the spirit of his profession revive within him, and was no sooner able to set his foot on the ground, than he resolved to join the army. Guided by the honest woodcutter, he wound his way through the obliquities
of the forest, and at length reached the open country, where his conductor, fearful of falling into the hands of some of the straggling troops, left him, and he must make his march alone, like a knight of the days of chivalry. Let what will be said of heroism, it is a mixed sensation; and the epaulet, embroidery, and plume, make a part of it. There is a prodigious difference between the feeling of caracolling on a bounding charger, all clinquant with housings, shell bridles, and Hungarian nets; and trudging over the ground alone and on foot. There is no less difference between the showy uniform, the clanking sabre, and the dashing shako, and the peasant cloak, the stick, and the hat of a woodcutter; for to his entertainer the unlucky Carlo was indebted for his present wardrobe. The French hussars, whom he had placed hors de combat, not having been placed beyond the faculty, or still less the inclination for pillage, had evidently availed themselves of their opportunity; and when they found him, like Don Quixote in the desert, performing his evolutions of despair, they had speedily reduced the romancer to the condition of romance.
He at length reached the eastern side of the Black Forest, once the dread of Roman and the fortress of Teutonic valour in those days a mighty mass of primeval wood, covering the map of Germany, either by itself or its offshoots, and memorable for being a nine-days' journey. In later times, the axe has made terrible havoc, and republicanized the monarchs of the forest; exercising the levelling principle on the largest scale, and in some huge places converting that into corn land, hutted by thousands of strong-limbed and broad-faced hewers of wood and drawers of water, which once supplied its feast of acorns to those free rangers of the wild, by which man was made to be eaten-the bear, the wolf, and the wild hound. The forest is now still more cruelly curtailed to the range of low, yet difficult and rocky, hills which spread between the Rhine and the Neckar, and form the first line of natural fortifications between the fiery restlessness of the Frenchman and the sturdy resistance of the solid serf of old Teutchsland. On emerging from those fresh and dewy though sullen shades, the aspect of the country, before and beneath him, struck his eye as one of
the most cheerless that man or nature could have joined to form ;-all was lifeless as far as the glance could sweep, the only mark of man being in the ruins of some hamlet, the cutting down of some grove, or the fragments of some village mill, on its little elevation, hanging in the wind, and in various in. stances still smoking. Large heaps of ashes were in general the only traces of where human habitations had stood; and gleams of bones in heaps, just touched by the light of morning, showed where its masters had mingled their remains with those of the soldiery on both sides. It was evident, that this plain had been the site of a series of long and hardly contested struggles between the French and German armies. And where were they now? What had been the use of those struggles? What was left of tens of thousands of gallant lives, but the scene of early and promiscuous mortality— the desert plain, the ruined village, and the voice and labours of man equally extinguished; and all for the mere purpose of giving a general, loaded with stars and strings, more stars and strings; and filling a gazette with bombast to amuse the mob of Parisian idlers, as they sipped their coffee in the Palais Royal.
A few days more brought him within reach of the armies, and he was mak ing the attempt to pass round the flank of the French, and thus reach the Archduke; when, to his infinite joy, he saw some troopers of his own regiment taking up a position. It was in a little grove, within a few hundred yards of the spot where he stood. He ran to them, was received with great acclamations, and felt the hero flaming in him again. Intelligence of all kinds now flowed in upon him.-There had been a great deal of desperate fighting; which the gallant Hulans asserted, however, to be all in favour of the Archduke. After having retired a little before Moreau, which, they declared, was merely to lay a trap for the Frenchman's vanity, and crush him in the heart of the mountains, he had turned upon Jourdan, and was now beating the boaster league by league back to the Rhine. When he had finished him and his, as a bonne bouche he was to turn back and swal low Moreau and his braggadocios for dinner. On what the Archduke was to sup, after those abundant
meals, the Hulans could only conjecture, but the future was large.
Towards evening a distant and broken cannonade showed that an affair was taking place, and that movements were making by the armies. The night was moonless but clear, and the height on which the Hulans were posted, gave them an uninterrupted view across a plain of several leagues' breadth to a chain of gentle acclivities in front. By degrees those hills began to be dotted with fires, and it was evident that a strong body of troops were preparing to bivouac. With every hour there were new arrivals of columns; and in the stillness of the night, the sounds of the waggons, the rattling of the guns over the rocky ground, and even the clamours of the troops, were distinctly audible. Still, the question, to which army they belonged, was unanswered; and Carlo, eager as usual for distinction, claimed, on the ground of his being an aid-de-camp, the right to take out a few cavalry to reconnoitre. The captain, an honest soldier, but who loved his pipe at least as well as his spur, was not unwilling to settle his doubts upon the easiest terms; and Sebastiani galloped off with half-a-dozen of his comrades, loaded with "most particular orders" not to commit themselves, not tomake any false step by getting too near, and, above all, to come back with their intelligence as speedily as possible.
All this was prudent in the captain. But prudent maxims ought to be put into prudent hands, and not into the keeping of warriors of eighteen, full of fire and full of contempt for all precaution, eager to see whatever was going on, and disposed to forget captains and commands, and all the earth beside, the moment they heard the first cannon-shot. Within the half-hour, Carlo had completed all the original objects of his mission-had reached the verge of the bivouac-had rode between a couple of its advanced posts-had heard with his own ears the troops conversing in French; and, that his captain might have similar evidence, had dispatched a stray suttler, a drunken grenadier, and a sleeping sentinel, musket and all, and severally bound hand and foot on the croups of three Hulan horses, to his officer. But with three capitally mounted comrades, all eager for ad
venture; with the battalions and squadrons of a brilliant French army coming up successively into the sunshine, and glittering like phalanxes of fire; and, above all, with the strongest possible chance of seeing a pitched battle for the first time in his life-to ride back as he came seemed the most provoking course imaginable. Sitting on his charger, he held a council of war like a field-marshal; and the unanimous opinion being that to return was absurd, without having something to tell, they resolved to see whatever was to be seen.
They were not kept long in suspense. The army, on whose skirts they now hung, was in the act of ef fecting its retreat from the Archduke; who, by a series of brilliant manoeuvres, had repelled its invasion, forced it to throw itself into the difficult mountains which border the river Maine, and was now pressing forward to destroy or drive it into France.
All the world knows, that the two things in the world least like each other, are a battle and a review; and Carlo, who had hitherto witnessed nothing more substantial than the parades of the garrison of Ratisbon, with the exception of his single night's experience at the passage of the Rhine, was all astonishment at the raggedness, the rushing, and the desperate disorder of the fifty thousand gallant republicans who were pouring back through the defiles of this singularly broken and now wasted country. Yet, when the French began to take up their position, nothing could be more magnificent to the eye of the young soldier. The individual destitution of the troops ceased to be visible, when they were once more massed in their columns ; and he longed for the first sound of the cannon which was to put them in action, with a feeling which he could compare to nothing but the eagerness to see the curtain rise on some great theatric spectacle. The features of the moment aided the conception. From the summit of the mountain range to the plain, all was open to the blaze of a summer sun, and every spot which was not covered with forest was covered with human beings.
The French had no sooner taken up their ground than they had begun to prepare their meal, in which the genius of the nation of cooks makes them more expert than any other campaign
ers on the globe. Clouds of smoke rose in all quarters; the noise and laughter of busy multitudes filled the air; and, but when a change of position threw their helmets and muskets into the flash of the sunshine, or the galloping of a park of artillery thundered among the precipitous roads, all looked like an immense fair.
It was now noon, and still no symptom of battle appeared. Carlo alighted, to lead his horse deeper into the forest, and, with some displeasure at the tardiness of war, prepared to return to his captain. But a sound of hoofs suddenly struck his ear. He threw his men into the copse, and awaited the event. A small party of French dragoons, with an officer, forcing their way through the thicket, soon showed them selves. Carlo fired his carbine at them; his example was followed by his men; the officer's horse was wounded, and brought him to the ground; the dragoons, probably thinking that they had fallen into the hands of some strong patrol, wheeled about, and the officer remained, unable to rise, and a prisoner. Carlo's refusing to take his watch and purse, a remarkably un usual instance in campaigning, put the Frenchman into good spirits again; and in five minutes after his capture, he talked away, as if the Hulans and he had been friends for the last half century.
"Who commands?" was the first question of the captors.
"Oh! Jourdan of course. been looking for the Archduke as far as the Danube, and, not finding him there, has brought back the army, in order to see whether he will fight on any terms. Pray, gentlemen," added the prisoner, with the true smile of a Frenchman, "can any of you tell me where the Archduke is? If you wish to earn fifty louis, you will have only to ride to the fieldmarshal with the intelligence, and say that Colonel Vancourt sent you."
"No, colonel, we should rather take care of you, and have to bring back the news of your field-marshal's being soundly beaten; as he will be, if he waits where he is till nightfall."
"Soundly beaten! Ha, ha, ha! Why, he has twelve demi-brigades that would walk over Germany.'
"Ay, if they were let alone. why are they retreating now?"
"Merely to draw on your gene. ral. If he fights, he must be annihi lated; if he does not, he must be disgraced. In either case, France triumphs; we shall have a general peace, and the Republic will be the mistress of Europe!— ça ira!""
The Frenchman, in the exhilaration of the prospect, gave them a stanza of the air, as if he were sitting in a café, or a club of the sons of liberty in the metropolis of the graces.
Carlo felt the honour of his country getting the better of his politeness, and was about to make an angry an swer, when a roar of cannon pealed round the mountain. The battle had evidently begun, and the party hastened to a height from which the whole scene of commotion lay beneath the eye. The French stood in order of battle on the ridge of the hills, with cavalry posted in the intervals of the columns, and their artillery thrown in front of the line, to pour down a plunging fire on the Austrians as they ascended the gorges. The fog, which had hitherto covered all the lower declivities and the plain stretching to the river, was now gradually clearing off, and at every movement the Archduke's force was developing itself on a larger scale through the cloud. It actually looked as if the battalions and squadrons were starting up from the soil. The colonel's spirits palpably sank with every new develop
What! more battalions, more masses!" he continually exclaimed. "Jourdan ought to have known the force against him, before he halted to fight. More troops still! he will have the whole German army upon his hands. Look there-that sacre movement will bring the enemy on his flank, and he does not see it, or if he did, he has not a single soldier to spare. The Colonel now attempted the gentler arts, and tried the offer of a large sum, to purchase the power carrying his knowledge of this important manœuvre to his general. But the attempt only increased Carlo's vi gilance, and produced a search of the unlucky colonel's person in return, which elicited a small case of despatches. The battle now raged; the Archduke, apparently to mask the flank attack, moved several strong columns directly to the front, and the firing grew tremendous. The colonel's emotions had all the characteristic
vivacity of his nation. He writhed, exclaimed, sacre-d, and danced, with every change of the fight. "There," he cried, "go the thirty-fifth, the finest demi-brigade in France. The Austrians might as well shake a rock. There go Lemoine's six-pounders: capital! -they have broken up the column. But who are those forming to charge? Aye: Milhaud's dragoons! Nothing can withstand them. Bravo! They are in the midst of the Austrians: all I is a mêlée. Grenier follows them with the light infantry-the enemy are _turning already—Jourdan will march to the Danube." A Frenchman's ideas always break out in words, and the colonel's interest in this great and formidable scene let loose all his volubility. But a roar now rose on the flank, and the heads of the Austrian columns were seen rapidly forcing their way down the defiles on the left of the French. The flow of his ideas now ran just as rapidly in the opposite direction. He was au désespoir. "All is lost!" exclaimed the colonel; "Jourdan is a madman. This is only a new specimen of the folly which precipitated him into Germany, and drove him back, with the loss of half his army, through the worst roads and worst country that ever broke up an army. Sacre! where is Ney now?-he saved us already, and it cost him a week's desperate work to do it. But there he is advancing at the head of the cuirassiers; Grand Sabreur! the enemy wavers - he pursues them off the field. Diable! where did that mass of cavalry come from? Ney is enveloped again -his squadrons are broken to fragments. Nothing can save him-no. thing can save the army. Unless Jourdan is killed in the field, he will fall by the guillotine. France is undone !"
The aspect of the fieldby this time fully accounted for the colonel's despair. The Archduke had completely turned the French army; and while a succession of vigorous attacks in front,
by Starray and Wertensleben, mowed down the battalions at the foot of the hills, Kray, at the head of the Hungarian grenadiers, continued to press on, pouring showers of musketry and grape on the shattered line. Evening was not far off; and the only hope of escape lay in their being able to resist until nightfall. They might then continue their march, and, by fortifying the passes of the last hills bordering on the Rhine, accomplish the object of stopping the pursuit for a while. The French brigades now concentrated themselves round their general; the plain and the river being wholly abandoned, with vast quantities of ammunition, and nearly all their guns and baggage. On the summit of the range they still kept up a determined resistance; but all the purposes of the gallant Archduke being completed for the time, the firing at length died away on all sides.
Carlo now thought of his captain. But where was he to find him? Every thing had been changed by the event of the day. Besides, he now had the charge of an important prisoner. The conclusion was, that the Archduke's headquarters must now be his only point of direction. He set out at full speed; by making a detour of some distance, passed beyond the reach of the patrols of both armies, and at midnight reached the village where the Archduke and his staff had taken their rest for the night. On making his report, his prisoner was ordered to attend the general. A croix or a commission was in Carlo's thoughts, while he awaited the end of the examination. At length an Imperial aid-de-camp made his appearance. Carlo's heart beat quick: the aid-de-camp simply delivered a paper to the officer of the guard, and returned. It was an order for Carlo's arrest; and within the hour he was on his way to one of the forest fortresses, the condemned cells of the Imperial dominions.
[To be continued.]
NO. CCXCIV. VOL. XLVII.