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the tears of heaven – Nature's tear-drop,' as Byron has it, bedew
CHAPTER LVII. ing the unburied dead. A red-faced and irritable-looking
IN THE MONASTERY OF ST. GEORGE. little Deputy Inspector of Hospitals, To be brief, when the effect of in a blue frogged surtout, received the chloroform passed away, I beme, and from him I did not augur came sensible of a strange sensamuch. The patients were pouring tion of numbness about my left in by hundreds, and the medical shoulder. Instinctively and shudstaff had certainly no sinecure there. deringly I turned my eyes towards After I had been stripped and put it, and found that my left arm was to bed, I remember this personage -gone! examining my wound and mutter- Gone, and near me stood Coring,
poral Mulligan coolly wiping the Bad case-very !
fat little surgeon's instruments for ‘Am I in danger, doctor?' I in the next case. Some wine, Crimquired.
skoi, and water was given me, and 'Yes, of course, if it should gan then I closed my eyes and strove, grene,' said he sharply.
but in vain, to sleep and to think 'I don't care much for life, but calmly over my misfortune, which, I should not like to lose my arm. for a time, induced keen misanDo you think that—that
thropy indeed. What?' he asked, opening his Armless ! thought I. 'I was box of tools with sang-froid. pretty tired of life before this, and 'I shall die of this ?'
am utterly useless now. Would ‘Of a smashed bone !'
that the shot had struck me in a “Yes.'
more vital place, and finished me"Well, my dear fellow, not yet, I polished me off at once! That old hope.'
staff sawbones should have left me * Yet?' said I doubtfully.
to my fate; should have let morti“Well, immediately, I mean. fication, gangrene, and all the rest There is already much sign of in of it, do their worst, and I might flammation, and consequent chance have gone quietly to sleep where of fever. The os humerus is, as I so many lay, under the crocuses say, smashed to pieces, and the in- and caper-bushes at Sebastopol.' ternal and external condyles of the “After life's fitful fever,' men elbow are most seriously injured. sleep well ; and so, I hoped, should Corporal Mulligan, a basin and I. sponge, and desire Dr. '(I did. Such reflections were, I own, unnot catch the name) 'to step this grateful and bitter ; but suffering, way.'
disappointment, and more than all, The corporal, a black-bearded the great loss of blood I had exConnaught Ranger, who had lost perienced, had sorely weakened an eye at Alma, brought what the me; and yet, on looking about me, surgeon required; he then placed and seeing the calamities of others, a handkerchief to my nostrils; I felt that the simple loss of an arm there was a bubbling sensation in was indeed but a minor affair. the brain, but momentary, as the Close by me, on the hospital handkerchiefcontained chloroform; pallets, I saw men expiring fast, then something peaceful, soporific, and borne forth to the dead-pits and soothing stole over me, and only to make room for others; I for a time I became oblivious of saw the poor human frame, so deall around me.
licate, so wondrous, and so divine in its organisation, cut, stabbed, stretchers and ambulances could bruised, crushed, and battered, in bring them, I was sent to the every imaginable way, and yet with monastery of St. George, which had life clinging to it, when life had be been turned into a convalescent come worthless. From wounds, hospital. The removal occasioned and operations upon wounds, there fever, and I lay long there hovering was blood-blood everywhere; on between life and death; and I rethe pallets, the straw, the earthen member how, as portions of a seem- · floor, the canvas of the tents, in ing phantasmagoria, the faces of buckets and basins, on sponges and the one-eyed corporal who attendtowels, and on the hands of the at- ed me, and of the staff doctors tendants. Incessantly there were Gage and Jones, became drearily moans and cries of anguish, and, familiar. ever and anon, that terrible sound This monastery is situated about in the throat known as the death- five miles from Balaclava and six rattle.
from Sebastopol, near Cape FioSergeant Rhuddlan, Dicky Roll lente, and consists of two long the drummer (the little keeper of ranges of buildings, two stories in the regimental goat), and many height, with corridors off which the rank and file of the old 23rd- cells of the religious open. The relics of the Redan — were there, chapel, full of hospital pallets, there and some lay near me. The ser- faces the sea, and the view in that geant was mortally wounded, and direction is both charming and picsoon passed away; the poor boy turesque. A zigzag pathway leads was horribly mutilated, a grape down from the rocks of red marble, shot having torn off his lower jaw, past beautiful terraces clothed with and he survived, to have perhaps vines and flowering shrubs, to a a long life of misery and penury be- tiny bay, so sheltered that there the fore him; and will it be believed ocean barely ripples on the snowthat, through red-tapery and wretch white sand. But then the Greek ed Whig parsimony, two hours be- monks, in their dark-brown gowns, fore the attack on the Redan, the their hair plaited in two tails down senior surgeon in the Quarries was their back, their flowing beards, ' run out of lint, plasters, bandages, with rosary and crucifix and square and every other appliance for black cap, had given place to constanching blood ?
valescents of all corps, Guardsmen, I heard some of our wounded, Riflemen, Dragoons, and Linesin their triumph at the general suc men, who cooked and smoked, cess of the past day, attempting laughed and sang, patched their feebly and in quavering tones to clothes and pipe-clayed their belts, sing 'Cheer, boys, cheer;' while where whilom mass was said and others, in the bitterness of their vespers chanted. Others were hophearts, or amid the pain they en- ping about on crutches, or, propped dured, were occasionally consign- by sticks, dozed dreamily in the ing the eyes, limbs, and souls of the sunshine under shelter of the wall Ruskies to a very warm place in- that faced the sparkling sea—the deed.
blessed high road to old England. Estelle's ring, which I had still My room, a monk's cell, was worn, was gone with my unfortu- whitewashed, and on the walls were nate arm, and was now the prize, hung several gaudy prints of Rusno doubt, of some hospital orderly. sian saints and Madonnas with oval
Next day, as the wounded were shining metal halos round their pouring in as fast as the dripping faces; but most of these the sol
diers, with an eye to improvement may seem very cool now; but to in art, had garnished with short us then human life, and human pipes, moustaches, and eyeglasses; suffering too, were but of small acand with scissors and paste-pot count indeed. Corporal Mulligan added other de. One evening the fat little staff corations from the pages of Punch. surgeon came to me with a cheer
Sebastopol had fallen; ‘Redan ful expression on his usually cross Windham,' as we named him, then face, and two packets in his hand. a Brigadier-general, was its gover- 'Well, doctor,' said I with a sicknor; and by the Allies the place ly smile, but unable to lift my head; had been plundered of all the flames "so I didn't die, after all.' had spared (not much certainly), 'No; close shave though. Wish even to the cannon and church- you joy, Captain Hardinge. bells; and now peace was at hand. “Joy-armless ! But many a day I sighed and tossed “Tut; I took the two legs off a wearily on my hard bed, and more rifleman the other day close to the wearily still in the long nights of tibia— ticklish operation, very, but winter, when the bleak wind from beautifully done—and he'll toddle the Euxine howled round the mo- about in a bowl or on a board, and nastery, and the rain lashed its be as jolly as a sandboy. Suppose walls, though Corporal Mulligan your case had been his ? would wink his solitary eye, and “When may I leave this?' seek to console me by saying,
'Can't say yet a while. You don't 'Your honour's in luck — there want to rejoin, I presume?' is no trinch-guard to-night, thank “Would to God that I could ! God!
But the day is past now. When I ‘Nor will there ever be again for do leave, it will be by ship or me, I would reply.
steamer.' The inspector of hospitals had 'Unless you prefer a balloon. informed me that, so soon as I Well, it was of these I came to wish could travel, sick leave would be you joy,' said he, placing before granted me, that I might proceed me, and opening it (for I was unto England ; but I heard him with able to do so, single-handed), the somewhat of indifference.
packet, which contained two meWould Valerie join her brother dals; one for the Crimea, with its Volhonski at Lewes in Sussex, was somewhat unbecoming ribbon, and however, my first thought; she two clasps for "Inkermann' and would be free to do as she pleased Sebastopol.' now that the odious Tolstoff-But “They are deuced like labels for was he killed by Rhuddlan's bul- wine-bottles,' said the little doctor; let, or merely wounded, with the 'but a fine thing for you to have, pleasure of having Valerie, perhaps, and likely to catch the eyes of the for a nurse?
girls in England.' He certainly seemed to fall from 'And this other medal with the the parapet as if he was shot dead. pink ribbon?' Why had I not gone back and in- 'Is the Sardinian one, given by spected the slain in the ditch of Victor Emanuel; and, more wel. the Redan, to see if he lay there? come than these perhaps, here is a But I had other thoughts then, and letter from home - from England so the opportunity - even could I — for you; which, if you wish, I have availed myself of it—was gone shall open' (every moment I was for ever.
some way thus reminded, even These calculations and surmises kindly, of my own helplessness), "and leave you to peruse. Good reason, as he was a pleasant fellow evening ; I've got some prime ci- with a handsome fortune. gars at your service, if you'll send On an evening early in SeptemMulligan to me.'
ber, the very day that a telegram ‘Thanks, doctor.'
announcing the fall of the Redan And he rolled away out of the reached Craigaderyn, they were cell, to visit some other unfortunate dressing for a county ball at Chesfellow.
ter -- a long-looked-for and most The medals were, of course, a brilliant affair — when their sensisource of keen satisfaction to me; bility, and fear that I might have but as I toyed with them, and in- been engaged, made them relinspected them again and again, they quish all ideas of pleasure, and woke an old train of thought ; for countermand the carriage, to the there was one, who had no longer intense chagrin of Sir Watkins and perhaps an interest in me (if a wo- also of the Plunger, who had come man ever ceases to have an interest from town expressly to attend it. in the man who has loved her), and Two days afterwards the lists were who was another's now, in whose published, and the account of the white hands I should once with slaughter of our troops, and the honest pride have laid them. death of so many dear friends, had
Viewed through that medium, made Winifred positively ill, so they seemed almost valueless for a change of air was recommended time; though there was to come a for her, at Ventnor or some such day when I was alike vain of them place.
-ay, and of my empty sleeve—as A postscript to this, in Dora's became one who had been at the rapid hand, and written evidently sall of Sebastopol, the queen of the surreptitiously (perhaps while Sir Euxine.
Madoc had left his desk for a mo'I fear I am a very discontented ment), added the somewhat signitidog,' thought I, while turning to cant intelligence, that “Winny had the letter, which proved to be from wept very much indeed on reading kind old Sir Madoc Lloyd.
the account of that horrible ReFor months no letters had reach- dan' (for Phil's death, thought I; ed me, and for the same period I if so, she mourns him too late !), had been unable to write home; so and now declares that she will die in all that time I had heard nothing an old maid.' (It is so !) “When of my friends in England — who that interesting period of a lady's were dead, who alive; who marry- life begins,' continued Dora, I ing, or being given in marriage. know not; if unmarried, before
Sir Madoc's missive was full of thirty, I suppose; thus I am eleven kind thoughts and expressions, of years off that awful period yet, and warm wishes and offers of service, have a decidedly vulgar prejudice that came to me as balm, espe- against ever permitting myself to cially at such a time and in such become one. Papa writes that Sir a place. Poor Phil Caradoc, and Watkins is undecided; but I may many others, were sorrowfully and add that I, for one, know that he enthusiastically referred to. Sir is not. Our best love to you, dear Watkins Vaughan was still hover- old Harry; but O, I can't fancy ing about the girls, but with re- you without an arm !! markable indecision apparently. I was in a fair way of recovery The tall Plunger with the parted now. hair had proposed to Dora, and The state I had been in so long, been declined; for no very visible within the four walls of that quaint
little chamber — a state that ho- the blue Cyanean rocks, where Javered between sense and insensi. son steered the Argonauts—we had bility, between sleeping and wak- to deposit many a poor fellow in ing, time and eternity—had passed the deep; for we had four hundred away; and, after all I had under- convalescent and helpless men on gone, it had seemed as if
board, and only one surgeon, with • Thrice the double twilight rose and fell,
scarcely any medicines or comforts About a land where nothing seemed the for them, as John Bull, if he likes
glory, likes to obtain it cheap. It At morn or eve, as in the days gone by.'
was another case of Whig parsiThis had all passed and gone; but mony; so every other hour an I was as weak as a child, and worn emaciated corpse, rolled in a mudto a shadow; and by neglect had stained greatcoat or well-worn blanbecome invested with hirsute ap- ket, without prayer or ceremony of pendages of the most ample pro- any kind, was quietly dropped to portions.
leeward, the 32-pound shot at its And so, without the then hack- heels making a dull plunge in that neyed excuse of 'urgent private huge grave, the world of water, affairs,' on an evening in summer, which leaves no mark behind. when the last rays of the sun shone I gladly left the Kangaroo at redly on the marble bluffs and cop- Pera, and, establishing myself at the per-coloured rocks of Cape Kher- Hôtel d'Angleterre, wrote thence sonese—the last point of that fatal to Sir Madoc that I should take peninsula towards the distant Bos- one of the London liners at Malta phorus — and when the hills that for England, and to write me to look down on the lovely Pass of the Army and Navy Club in LonBaidar and the grave-studded val- , don; that all my plans for the fuley of Inkermann were growing ture were vague and quite undeciddim and blue, I found myself again ed; but I was not without hope of at sea, on board the Kangaroo getting some military employment a crowded transport (or rather a at home. floating hospital)-speeding home- The Frankish hotel was crowded ward, and bidding 'a long good by wounded officers, also en route night to the Crimea,' to the land of for England or France, all in sorelyglory and endurance.
faded uniforms, on which the new Sebastopol seemed a dream now, Crimean medals glittered brightly. but a memory of the past; and a As all the world travels nowadream too seemed my new life days, I am not going to 'talk guidewhen I lay on my couch at the book,' or break into ecstasies about open port, and saw the crested the glories of Stamboul as viewed waves flying past, as we sped through from a distance, and not when them under sail and steam.
floundering midleg deep in the mud Onward, onward, three hundred of its picturesque but rickety old miles and more across the Euxine, thoroughfares; yet certainly the to where the green range of the daily scene before the hotel winBalkan looks down upon its wa- dows was a singular one; for there ters, and where the lighthouses of were stalwart Turkish porters, veAnatolia on one side, and those of ritable sons of Anak; stagey-lookRoumelia on the other, guide to ing dragomen, with brass pistols the long narrow channel of Stam- and enormous sabres in wooden boul; but ere the latter was reach- sheaths; the Turk of the old ed—and on our starboard bow we school in turban, beard, slippers, saw the white waves curling over and flowing garments; the Turk of