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dressed to myself. It was of a later date, too, than any communication which I had received from home; and beside it were lying about twenty others, directed to different officers in the same division with myself. This let me into a secret. The house in which I now stood had been the official head-quarters of Marshal Soult. A courier, who was bringing letters from Lord Wellington's head-quarters, had been cut off by a patrole of the enemy's cavalry; and hence all our epistles, including sundry billetdoux from fair maidens at home, had been subjected to the scrutiny of the French marshal and his staff.

Leaving other letters to their fate, I put my own in my pocket, and, stuffing my volume of plunder into my bosom, pushed on. About a hundred yards in the rear of the chateau we arrived at the first line of works, consisting of a battery for two guns, with a deep trench in front of it. It was flanked, both on the right and left, by farm-houses, with a good deal of plantation, and a couple of garden walls, and would have cost our people no inconsiderable loss had we been fool-hardy enough to attack it. This battery was erected just upon the commencement of the rising ground. On passing it, we found ourselves on the face of a bare hill, about the length, perhaps, of Shooter's Hill, and not dissimilar in general appearance, the summit of which was covered by three redoubts, connected the one with the other by two open batteries. As we passed these, we could not but remark to ourselves, how painful must have been the feelings of the French general, when he found himself compelled to abandon his works, without an opportunity being given of putting their utility to the proof; and we, of course, paid the compliments, which were his due, to our own leader, who, by his judicious arrangements, had rendered these works perfectly unprofitable.

We had just cleared the entrenchments, when a cry arose from the rear, "make way for the cavalry." Our men accordingly inclined to the right of the road, when the 12th and 16th light dragoons rode past at a quick trot, sending out half a troop before them to feel their way. The object of this movement, as we afterwards found, was to hinder, if possible, the destruc

tion of the bridge at St Jean de Luz. But the attempt succeeded only in part, the enemy having already set fire to their train.

"Push on, push on," was now the word. We accordingly quickened our pace, and reached St Jean de Luz about nine o'clock; but we were too late to secure a passage of the Nivelle, the bridge being completely in ruins. Our cavalry had reached it only in time to see the mine exploded which the French troops had dug in its centre arch; and hence a halt became absolutely necessary, till the chasm thus created should be filled up. The effect was remarkably striking. The whole of the first and fifth divisions, with the King's German legion, several brigades of Portuguese, and two divisions of Spanish troops, came pouring up, till the southern suburb of St Jean de Luz was filled with armed men, to the number of, perhaps, twenty or thirty thousand.

It is, probably, needless for me to say, that we found St Jean de Luz, for the most part, abandoned by its inhabitants. A few indeed remained; and these consulting, as under such circumstances people are justified in consulting, their own safety only, welcomed us by waving their handkerchiefs from the windows, and shouting, Vivent les Anglois. Those who thus met us were, however, of the lowest description, all the gentry and municipality having fled; though they, too, returned after a few days, and placed themselves under our protection. They were faithfully guarded against insult; nor were our soldiers permitted to exact anything from the inhabitants without paying for it whatever was demanded.

Whilst we were waiting till the bridge should be so far repaired as to permit the infantry to cross, I happened stray a little from the main street, and beheld, in a lane which ran parallel with the river, a spectacle exceedingly shocking. I saw no fewer than fifty-three donkeys standing with the sinews of the hinder legs cut through. On inquiring from an inhabitant the cause of this, he told me, that these poor brutes, being overloaded with the baggage of the French army, had knocked up; when the soldiers, rather than suffer them to fall into our hands in a serviceable condition, hamstrung them all. Why

they were not merciful enough to shoot them, I know not; unless, indeed, they were apprehensive of causing an alarm among us by the report; but what their caution hindered we performed. The poor creatures were all shot dead ere we advanced.

The town of St Jean de Luz covers about as much ground, and, I should guess, contains about as many inhabitants, as Carlisle or Canterbury. It is divided into two parts by the river Nivelle, which falls into the sea about a couple or three miles below, at a village, or rather port, called Lecoa. Like other French towns of its size, St Jean de Luz is not remarkable for its air of neatness; but there is a good market-place in it, two or three churches, and a theatre. The Nivelle, where it flows through the city, may be about the width of the Eden, or the Isis; it is rendered passable, and the two quarters of the city are connected, by a stone bridge of three arches ; besides which, the stream itself is fordable, both for cavalry and infantry, at low water. When we came in this morning the tide was up, but it had been for some time on the turn; and hence, in about a couple of hours, we were perfectly independent of the repairs. By this time, however, the broken arch had been united by means of planks and beams of wood; but as the junction was none of the most firm, it was deemed prudent to send the troopers through the water, whilst the infantry only should cross by the bridge. Along with the cavalry was sent the artillery also; and thus, by noon, on the 11th of November, the whole of the left column had passed the Nivelle.

sun having set, and twilight coming on, it was not judged expedient to dislodge the enemy till morning; in conse→ quence of which our troops were commanded to halt. There was, however, no cover for them. Only a few cottages stood near the road, and the tents were at least fourteen miles in the rear; this night was accordingly spent by most of us on the wet ground.

From the moment that the rain began to fall, we remarked that the Spanish, and in some instances the Portuguese troops, setting the commands of their officers at defiance, left their ranks and scattered themselves over the face of the country. Whilst this was going on, I have good reason to believe that several horrible crimes were perpetrated. Of the French peasants, many, trusting to our proclamations, remained quietly in their houses; these were in too many instances plundered and cruelly treated by the marauders, who were, I suspect, urged on to the commnission of numerous atrocities, by a feeling far more powerful than the desire of plunder-revengea strong and overwhelming thirst of vengeance, drew, I am convinced, many to the perpetration of the most terrible deeds; indeed, one case of the kind came under my own immediate notice, which I shall here relate.

About three o'clock this afternoon, a temporary check took place in the line of march, when the corps to which I belonged was about two miles distant from Bedart. A brigade of cavalry alone was in front of us; a Portuguese brigade, including one regiment of caçadores, was in our rear. Whilst we were standing still in our places, the caçadore regiment, breaking its ranks, rushed in a tumultuous manner towards two or three cottages on the left of the road. The officers with the utmost difficulty recalled them, but a few individuals, as the event proved, succeeded in their effort of insubordination. These, however, were not noticed at the time, and it was thought that all were where they ought to be.

A little way, perhaps a couple of hundred yards in front, stood another French cottage, surrounded by a garden, and perfectly detached from all others. In about five minutes after order had been restored, we heard a female shriek come from that cottage. It was followed by the report of a

We had hardly quitted St Jean de Luz, when the weather, which during the entire morning had looked suspicious, broke; and a cold heavy rain began to fall. This lasted without any intermission till dark; by which means our march became the reverse of agreeable, and we felt as if we would have given the enemy a safeconduct as far as Bayonne, in return for a permission to halt, and dry ourselves before a fire. But of halting no hint was dropped, nor was it till our advanced-guard came up with the rear of the French army, posted in the village of Bedart, and the heights adjoining, that any check was given to our progress. As it was now late, the

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musket, and ere we had time to reach the spot, another shot was fired. We ran up, and found a poor old French peasant lying dead at the bottom of the garden. A bullet had passed through his head, and his thin grey bairs were dyed with his own blood. We hastened towards the house, and just as we neared the door, a caçadore rushed out, and attempted to elude us. But he was hotly pursued and taken. When he was brought back, we entered the cottage, and to our horror, we saw an old woman, in all probability the wife of the aged peasant, lying dead in the kitchen.

The desperate Portuguese pretended not to deny having perpetrated these murders. He seemed, on the contrary, wound up to a pitch of frenzy. "They murdered my father, they cut my mother's throat, and they ravished my sister," said he, " and I vowed at the time, that I would put to death the first French family that fell into my hands. You may hang me, if you will, but I have kept my oath, and I care not for dying." It is unnecessary to add that the man was hanged;

CHAPTER X.

WHEN I awoke next morning, I found myself lying in a perfect puddle, beside the decaying embers of a fire. The rain had come down so incessantly, and with such violence during the night, that my cloak, though excellent of its kind, stood not out against it; and I was now as thoroughly saturated with water as if I had been dragged through the Nivelle. Of course, my sensations were not of a very pleasant nature; but I considered that I was far from singular in my condition, and, like my comrades, I laughed at an evil for which there was no remedy.

indeed, no fewer than eighteen Spanish and Portuguese soldiers were tucked up, in the course of this and the following days, to the branches of trees. But I could not at the time avoid thinking, that if any shadow of excuse for murder can be framed, the unfortunate Portuguese who butchered this French family, deserves the benefit of it.

I have said that the greater part of the left column spent this night in no very comfortable plight, upon the wet ground. For ourselves, we were moved into what had once been a grass field, just at the base of the hill of Bedart; but which, with the tread of men's feet, and horses' hoofs, was now battered into mud. Here, with the utmost difficulty, we succeeded in lighting fires, round which we crowded as we best might. But the rain still came down in torrents, and though our lad arrived shortly after with the cloaks, and rations of beef, and biscuit, and rum, were issued out to us, I cannot enumerate this among the nights of pure enjoyment, which my life, as a soldier, has frequently brought in my way.

Having remained under arms till day had fully dawned, we began to make ready for a farther advance. When we lay down on the preceding evening, several brigades of French troops were in possession of the village of Bedart. These, of course, we laid our account with attacking; but on sending forward a patrol, it was found that the village had been abandoned, and that Soult had fallen back to his entrenched camp, in front of

Bayonne. Our parade was accordingly dismissed, and we remained in the same situation for about four hours; when the arrival of the tents and baggage invited us to make ourselves somewhat more comfortable. For this purpose the brigade was moved about a quarter of a mile to the left of the main road; and there, on a skirt of turf comparatively sound and unbroken, the camp was pitched.

In the immediate vicinity of the tents, stood a small farm-house, or rather a large cottage, containing three rooms and a kitchen. Hither a good many of the officers, and myself among the number, removed their canteens and portmanteaus; till no fewer than forty-five individuals, including servants as well as masters, found a temporary shelter under its roof. I am sure, after all, that I was not more comfortable here than I should have been in my tent; but I fancied that to sleep upon a bed once more, even though that bed was a French one, would prove a luxury; and I made the experiment. It is needless to add,

that the bed contained whole hordes of living occupants besides myself; and that I presumed not again to dispute with them the possession of their ancient domain.

From the 12th to the 17th of Nov. nothing occurred to myself, nor were any movements made by the left of the British army worthy of being repeated. The rain continued with hardly any interruption during the whole of this time, rendering the cross roads utterly impassable for artillery, and holding out no prospect of fresh battle, or fresh adventures. It was, indeed, manifest, that the troops could not be kept much longer in the field, without material injury to their health, which began already to be threatened with dysentery and ague. Nor is it surprising, that the case should be so; for the tents were not proof against showers so heavy and so incessant as those which fell; and canvass, when once completely soaked, admits water to pass through like a sieve. The consequence was, that our men were never dry, and many began to exhibit symptoms of the complaints above alluded

to.

Under these circumstances we received, with sincere rejoicing, an order in the evening of the 17th, to strike our tents at dawn next morning, and to march into winter-quarters. The rain descended, however, in such torrents, that though a temporary in convenience promised to lead to permanent comfort, it was deemed prudent to delay fulfilling that order, for at least some hours. We accordingly remained quiet till about one o'clock in the afternoon of the 18th, when the weather breaking up, and the sun shining out, our camp was struck, and we turned our faces towards the cantonments which had been allotted to

us.

Having cleared the few fields which intervened between the situation of the camp and the high road, we left Bedart behind, and took a retrograde direction towards St Jean de Luz. We had not, however, proceeded above five or six miles, and were still a full league distant from the town, when we filed off by a narrow cross road towards the left, and made for a piece of elevated country, over which about half a dozen farm-houses were scattered. These were assigned to the corps

to which I belonged. We accordingly halted on a sort of common, near the centre of them, and having cast lots as to which house should fall to the share of the different companies, Graham, myself, and two others, with about one hundred men, took possession of one, with which we were perfectly satis

fied.

It would be difficult for an ordinary reader to form any adequate notion of the extreme satisfaction which soldiers experience, when first they establish themselves in winter-quarters. As long as the weather continues fine, and summer suns shed their influence over it, there are, indeed, few places more agreeable than a camp. But it is not so after the summer has departed. I have already hinted, that against heavy and continued rains, a tent supplies but a very inadequate shelter. A tent is, moreover, but a narrow chamber, in which it is not easy so much as to stand upright, excepting in one spot; and where all opportunity of locomotion is denied. Then it furnishes little protection against cold, to light a fire within being impossible, on account of the smoke; and hence the only means of keeping yourself warm is, to wrap your cloak or a blanket about you, and to lie down. Occasionally, indeed, I have seen redhot shot employed as heaters; but the kind of warmth which arises from heated iron is, at least to me, hardly more agreeable than that which is produced by charcoal. In a word, however enthusiastic a man may be in his profession, he begins, about the end of October or the beginning of November, to grow heartily tired of campaigning; and looks forward to a few weeks' rest, and a substantial protection against cold and damps, with almost as much pleasure as he experiences when the return of spring calls him once more into the field.

The farm-houses in the south of France, like those in the neighbouring country of Spain, are rarely provided with fire-places in any other apartment besides the kitchen. It is, indeed, customary for families to live, during the winter months, entirely with their servants; and hence the want of a fire-place in the parlour is not felt any more than in the bedrooms. I observed, likewise, that hardly any maison of the kind was fur

nished with glazed windows; wooden lattices being almost universally substituted. These, during the summer months, are kept open all day, and closed only at night; and I believe that the extreme mildness of the climate renders an open window, at such seasons, very agreeable. On the present occasion, however, we anticipated no slight annoyance from the absence of these two essential matters, a chimney and a window, in our room; and we immediately set our wits to work for the removal of both causes of complaint.

Both Graham's servant and my own chanced to be exceedingly ingenious fellows; the former, in particular, could, to use a vulgar phrase, turn his hand to anything. Under his directions we set a party of men to work, and knocking a hole through one corner of our room, we speedily converted it into a fire-place. To give vent to the smoke, we took the trouble to build an external chimney, carrying it up as high as the roof of the house; and our pride and satisfaction were neither of them trifling, when we found that it drew to admiration. I mean not to commend the masonry for its elegance, nor to assert that the sort of buttress now produced, added, in any degree, to the general appearance of the house; but it had the effect of rendering our apartment exceedingly comfortable, and that was the sole object which we had in view.

Having thus provided for our warmth, the next thing to be done was to manufacture such a window as might supply us with light, and, at the same time, resist the weather. For this purpose we lifted a couple of lattices from their hinges; and having cut out four pannels in each, we covered the spaces with white paper soaked in oil. The light thus admitted was not, indeed, very brilliant, but it was sufficient for all our purposes; and we found, when the storm again returned, that our oil-paper stood out against it stoutly. Then, having swept our floor, unpacked and arranged the contents of our canteen, and provided good dry hay-sacks for our couches, we felt as if the whole world could have supplied no better or more desirable habitation.

To build the chimney, and construct the window, furnished occupation enough for one day; the next VOL. XVII.

was spent in cutting wood, and laying in a store of fuel against the winter. In effecting this, it must be confessed, that we were not over fastidious as to the source from which it was derived; and hence a greater number of fruit trees were felled and cut to pieces, than, perhaps, there was any positive necessity to destroy. But it is impossible to guard against every little excess, when troops have established themselves in an enemy's country; and the French have just cause of thankfulness, that so little comparative devastation marked the progress of our armies. Their own, it is well known, were not remarkable for their orderly conduct in such countries as they overran.

I have dwelt upon these little circumstances longer, perhaps, than their insignificance in the eyes of my reader may warrant; but I could not help it. There is no period of my life on which I look back with more unmixed pleasure, than that which saw me, for the first time, set down in winter quarters. And hence every trifling event connected with it, however unimportant to others, appears the reverse of unimportant to me. And such, I believe, is universally the case, when a man undertakes to be his own biographer. Things and occurrences which, to the world at large, seem wholly undeserving of record, his own feelings prompt him to detail with unusual minuteness, even though he may be conscious all the while that he is entering upon details which his readers will scarcely take the trouble to follow.

Having thus rendered our quarters as snug as they were capable of being made, my friend and myself proceeded daily into the adjoining woods in search of game; and as the frost set in, we found them amply stored, not only with hares and rabbits, but with cocks, snipes, and other birds of passage. We were not, however, so fortunate as to fall in with any of the wild boars which are said to frequent these thickets, though we devoted more than one morning to the search; but we managed to supply our own table, and the table of several of our comrades, with a very agreeable addition to the lean beef which was issued out to us. Nor were other luxuries wanting. The peasantry, having recovered their confidence, returned in

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