« AnteriorContinuar »
heaven not to visit thy face too roughly, thy foot to light on softness, thy eye on splendour; and then of thy death, or hundred deaths, to which the guillotine and Fouquier Tinville’s judgment-bar were but the merciful end! Look there, O man born of woman! The bloom of that fair face is wasted, the hair is grey with care; the brightness of those eyes is quenched, their lids hang drooping; the face is stony pale, as of one living in death. Mean weeds, which her own hand has mended, attire the queen of the world. The deathhurdle where thou sittest pale, motionless, which only curses environ, has to stop; a people, drunk with vengeance, will drink it again in full draught, looking at thee there. Far as the eye reaches, a multitudinous sea of maniac heads, the air deaf with their triumph-yell. The living-dead must shudder with yet one other pang; her startled blood yet again suffuses with the hue of agony that pale face, which she hides with her hands. There is there no hea pity thee! O think not of these; think of Him whom thou worshippest, the Crucified-who also treading the wine-press alone, fronted sorrow still deeper, and triumphed over it and made it holy, and built of it a “sanctuary of sorrow,” for thee and all the wretched. Thy path of thorns is nigh ended; one long last look at the Tuileries, where thy step was once so light-where thy children shall not dwell. The head is on the block; the axe rushes-dumb lies the world; that wild-yelling world, with all its madness, is behind thee.
to say, God
VI.-THE CAVE OF DAHRA.
(DOUGLAS JERROLD.) Douglas Jerrold, dramatist, satirist, and humorist, was born in London in 1803,
and died in 1857. He contributed to Punch several of the best series of papers
which have appeared in that witty periodical. During the war in Algeria the French found it impossible to subdue some of
the Arab tribes by open fighting, as they retired to immense caverns (their usual residence), into which the regular soldiers could not follow them. Burning fagots were accordingly flung into the caves, and the heat rendered intense. The Arabs were suffocated by hundreds, and the conquest of the mountain tribes was thus completed. Marshal Pelissier, now Duke of Malakoff, was the officer by whom this barbarous deed was committed. The year was 1845.
THERE is a càve in the world with a dread legend ; travellers, in future times, will toil up the hot ridges of the Atlas Mountains to see the Cavern of Dahra, where a whole tribe of Arabs were foully murdered—and how? Were they half-naked savages in deadly feud with another tribe as barbarous as themselves? Were the murderers some nameless African clan, obscure in the world's history as those they put to death? Was the whole catastrophe one of those which inevitably must occur when savage wars against savage ? No; it occurred in a struggle between civilized man and semi-savage man; and, foul disgrace! the civilized were the murderers—the savage the victims. It occurred in a war between the invaders of a country, and the inhabitants, who fought for their old possessions—their property, and their rights; and, foul blot! the assailants piled up the fagots, and the defenders perished! It occurred in a war waged by the French nation, which arrogates to itself the position of leader of European civilization-which claims the title of the most civilized, the most enlightened, the most polished people of the earth. The Arabs pretend to no such distinction; they form roving clans of uncivilized men, living a primitive pastoral life in caverns and tents; yet it was the enlightened, the polished, the humane aggressors, who roasted some eight hundred of the savages, for the crime of defending their own country,-of daring, in legitimate warfare, to resist the legions which would have wrested it from them.
The murder was no deed of a few minutes, no sudden outbreak of wrath, no massacre prompted by fiery longings for revenge. The cavern, into which the Arabs retreated, was a vast one; it had many chinks and crannies, and it was long ere the stifling smoke and baking fire did their work.
The Frenchmen heard the moans and shrieks, and the tumult of despair, as dying men and women turned furiously on each other, and sought to free themselves from lingering agony by more sudden death: they heard the strokes of the yatagan and the pistol-shots, which told that suicide, or mutual destruction, was going on in the darkness of the cavern: they heard all this renewed at intervals, and continued hour after hour; but still they coolly heaped straw upon the blaze, tranquilly fed the fire, until all was silent but its own roaring; and burnt, maimed, and convulsed corpses, blackened, some of them calcined, by the fire, remained
piled in mouldering, rotting masses in the cave, to tell that a few hours before a tribe of men, women, and children had entered its dreary portals.
And now, great nation, what think ye Europe says of you? You plume yourselves on being the most mighty, the most advanced people of the earth, the very focus of light, intelligence, and humanity. The false glare of military glory which continually bedazzles you, shows massacre and rapine decked in the colours of good deeds. The itch of conquest seems to make you confound good and evil. If fight you will--fight like civilized soldiers, not like lurking savages. Mow down your enemies—if you must have war–in the fair field. Face them foot to foot, and hand to hand; but, for the sake of your fame--for the sake of the civilization you have attained, stifle not defenceless wretches in caverns,
-massacre not women and children by the horrible agency of slow fire.
VII.-BATTLE OF BALACLAVA-CAVALRY CHARGE.
(w. H. RUSSELL, LL.D.) William Howard Russell, LL.D., The Times Correspondent, was born in Dublin
in 1816, and was educated at Trinity College. The battle of Balaclava, one of the most spirited and exciting contests of the
Crimean war, was fought on 25th October 1854.
The cavalry who have been pursuing the Turks on the right are coming up to the ridge beneath us, which conceals our cavalry from view. The heavy brigade in advance is drawn up in two lines. The first line consists of the Scots Greys, and of their old companions in glory, the Enniskillens ; the second of the 4th Royal Irish, of the 5th Dragoon Guards, and of the 1st Royal Dragoons. The Light Cavalry Brigade is on their left, in two lines also. The silence is oppressive; between the cannon bursts one can hear the champing of bits and the clink of sabres in the valley below. The Russians on their left drew breath for a moment, and then in one grand line dashed at the Highlanders. The ground flies beneath their horses' feet; gathering speed at every stride, they dash on towards that thin red streak topped with a line of steel. The Turks fire a volley at eight hundred yards, and
As the Russians come within six hundred yards, down goes that line of steel in front, and out rings a rolling volley of Minié musketry. The distance is too great; the Russians are not checked, but still sweep onward through the smoke, with the whole force of horse and man, here and there knocked over by the shot of our batteries above. With breathless suspense every one awaits the bursting of the wave upon the line of Gaelic rock; but ere they come within a hundred and fifty yards, another deadly volley flashes from the levelled rifle, and carries death and terror into the Russians. They wheel about, open files right and left, and fly back faster than they came. "Bravo, Highlanders! well done !" shout the excited spectators; but events thicken. The Highlanders and their splendid front are soon forgotten; men scarcely have a moment to think of this fact, that the 93d never altered their formation to receive that tide of horsemen. “No,” said Sir Colin Campbell, “I did not think it worth while to form them even four deep!” The ordinary British line, two deep, was quite sufficient to repel the attack of these Muscovite cavaliers. Our eyes were, however, turned in a moment on our own cavalry. We saw Brigadier-General Scarlett ride along in front of his massive squadrons. The Russians-evidently corps d'élitetheir light blue jackets embroidered with silver lace, were advancing on their left, at an easy gallop, towards the brow of the hill. A forest of lances glistened in their rcar, and several squadrons of grey-coated dragoons moved up quickly to support them as they reached the summit. The instant they came in sight the trumpets of our cavalry gave out the warning blast which told us all that in another moment we should see the shock of battle beneath our very eyes. Lord Raglan, all his staff and escort, and groups of officers, the Zouaves, French generals and officers, and bodies of French infantry on the height, were spectators of the scene, as though they were looking on the stage from the boxes of a theatre. Nearly every one dismounted and sat down, and not a word was said. The Russians advanced down the hill at a slow canter, which they changed to a trot, and at last nearly halted. Their first line was at least double the length of ours—it was three times as deep. Behind them
was a similar line, equally strong and compact. They evidently despised their insignificant-looking enemy;--but their time was come. The trumpets rang out again through the valley, and the Greys and Enniskilleners went right at the centre of the Russian cavalry. The space between them was only a few hundred yards; it was scarce enough to let the horses “gather way,” nor had the men quite space sufficient for the full play of their sword arms. The Russian line brings forward each wing as our cavalry advance, and threatens to annihilate them as they pass on. Turning a little to their left so as to meet the Russian right, the Greys rush on with a cheer that thrills to every heart--the wild shout of the Enniskilleners rises through the air at the same instant. As lightning flashes through a cloud, the Greys and Enniskilleners pierced through the dark masses of Russians. The shock was but for a moment. There was a clash of steel and a light play of sword-blades in the air, and then the Greys and the redcoats disappear in the midst of the shaken and quivering columns. In another moment we see them emerging and dashing on with diminished numbers and in broken order against the second line, which is advancing against them as fast as it can, to retrieve the fortune of the charge. It was a terrible moment. God help them ! they are lost !" was the exclamation of more than one man, and the thought of many. With unabated fire the noble hearts dashed at their enemy. It was a fight of heroes. The first line of Russians—which had been smashed utterly by our charge, and had fled off at one flank and towards the centre-were coming back to swallow up our handful of men. By sheer steel and sheer courage, Enniskillener and Scot were winning their desperate way right through the enemy's squadrons, and already grey horses and red coats had appeared right at the rear of the second mass, when, with irresistible force, like one bolt from a bow, the 1st Royals, the 4th Dragoon Guards, and the 5th Dragoon Guards rushed at the remnants of the first line of the enemy, went through it as though it were made of pasteboard, and, dashing on the second body of Russians as they were still disordered by the terrible assault of the Greys and their companions, put them to utter rout.