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still, however, left him to fight as a soldier. His order of battle was steadily and promptly made. He commanded the centre column in person. His total force engaged was 7520 men, besides Indians. Wolfe showed only a force of 4828 of all ranks; but of these every man was a trained soldier.
7. The French attacked. After a spirited advance made by a swarm of skirmishers, their main body, in long unbroken lines, was seen approaching Wolfe's position. Soon a murderous and incessant fire began. The British troops fell fast. Wolfe, at the head of the 28th, was struck in the wrist, but not disabled. Wrapping a handkerchief round the wound, he hastened from one rank to another, exhorting the men to be steady and to reserve their fire. No English soldier pulled a trigger: with matchless endurance they sustained the trial. Not a company wavered: their arms shouldered as if on parade, and motionless, save when they closed up the ghastly gaps, they waited the word of command.
8. When the head of the French attack had reached within forty yards, Wolfe gave the order to‘fire. At once, the long row of muskets was levelled, and a volley, distinct as a single shot, flashed from the British line. For a moment the advancing columns still pressed on, shivering like pennons in the fatal storm, but a few paces told how terrible had been the force of the long-suspended blow.
9. Montcalm commanded the attack in person. Not fifteen minutes had elapsed since he had first moved on his line of battle, and already all was lost! But the gallant Frenchman, though ruined, was not dismayed; he rode through the broken ranks, cheered them with his voice, encouraged them by his dauntless bearing,
and, aided by a small redoubt, even succeeded in once again presenting a front to his enemy.
10. Meanwhile, Wolfe's troops had reloaded. He seized the opportunity of the hesitation in the hostile ranks, and ordered the whole British line to advance. At first they moved forward in majestic regularity, receiving and paying back with deadly interest the volleys of the French; but soon the ardour of the soldiers broke through the restraints of disciplinethey increased their pace to a run, rushing over the dying and the dead, and sweeping the living enemy off their path. Wolfe was a second time wounded in the body; but he concealed his suffering, for his duty was not yet accomplished: again a ball from a redoubt struck him on the breast; he reeled on one side, but at the moment this was not generally observed. 'Support me,' said he to a grenadier officer who was close at hand, 'that my brave fellows may not see me fall.' In a few seconds, however, he sank, and was borne a little to the rear.
11. The brief struggle fell heavily upon the British, but was ruinous to the French. They wavered under the carnage; the columns which death had disordered were soon broken and scattered. Montcalm, with a courage that rose above the wreck of hope, galloped through the groups of his stubborn veterans, who still made head against the enemy, and strove to show a front of battle. His efforts were vain; the head of every formation was swept away before that terrible musketry; in a few minutes the French gave way in all directions. Just then their gallant general fell with a mortal wound: from that time all was utter rout.
12. While the British troops were carrying all before them, their young general's life was ebbing fast away. From time to time he tried with his faint hand to clear away the death-mist that gathered on his sight; but the efforts seemed vain, for presently he lay back, and gave no signs of life beyond a heavy breathing and an occasional groan. Meantime the French had given way, and were flying in all directions. A grenadier officer seeing this, called out to those around him : See! they run !' The words caught the ear of the ' dying man; he raised himself, like one aroused from sleep, and asked eagerly: 'Who run ?' "The enemy,
sir,' answered the officer; "they give way everywhere.' 'Go, one of you, to Colonel Burton,' said Wolfe; 'tell him to march Webbe's (the 48th) regiment with all speed down to the St Charles's River, to cut off the retreat. His voice grew faint as he spoke, and he turned on his side, as if seeking an easier position. When he had given this last order, his eyes closed in death.
13. One of the greatest questions that have ever yet moved the human race was decided in this struggle. When a few English and French emigrants first landed among the Virginian and Canadian forests, it began; when the British flag was hoisted on the citadel of Quebec, it was decided. From that day the hand of Providence pointed out to the Anglo-Saxon race that to them was henceforth intrusted the destiny of the New World.
Que-bec', an important city in
Canada. em'-in-ence, height. St Law'-rence, a large river of
was the taking of Quebec, as
only thirty-three years of age. ac'-cess, way of coming near;
approach. flo-til'-la, a fleet of small vessels. un-chal'-lenged, not questioned. in-ten'-si-ty, the state of being
strained or stretched. re-cog-nised', knew. un-con'-scious, not knowing. hes-i-ta'-tion, waiting. qui vive ? who goes there? pan'-ic, great fear. in-trenched' post, a place fortified
with trenches. a-lac’-ri-ty, cheerful readiness, lively
speed. dis-pos'-a-ble, subject to disposal,
free to be used.
in-cred'-1-ble, beyond belief.
French in this battle, where,
like Wolfe, he was slain. in-cess'-ant, constant. par-ade', exercise. pen'-nons, flags. en-cour'-age, to cheer, to inspirit. re-doubt', a small fort. ar'-dour, fire. re-straints', bounds. dis'-ci-pline, military rule. gren-a-dier', a member of the first
company of every battalion of infantry; originally a soldier who threw grenades, a small shell filled with powder and
bits of iron. car'-nage, slaughter. vet'-er-ans, old soldiers. mus'-ket-ry, the fire of muskets. St Char'-les's Riv'-er, the St Charles,
a short river of Canada, flowing into the St Lawrence at
Quebec. em'-i-grant, one who leaves his
country to settle in another.
EXERCISES. -1. The Saxon prefix be- has three functions : (1) It makes transitive verbs out of intransitive; as fall, befall ; moan, bemoan ; wail, bewail ; speak, bespeak. (2) It makes verbs out of nouns or adjectives; as dew, bedew; guile, beguile ; friend, befriend ; dim, bedim ; numb, benumbed. (3) When placed before verbs, it strengthens the meaning, and signifies over, about, or for; as spatter, bespatter, to spatter over or about; sprinkle, besprinkle ; smear, besmear; stir, bestir, to stir up vigorously ; speak, bespeak, to speak for.
2. Analyse and parse the following: Support me,” said he to a grenadier officer who was close at hand, “that my brave fellows may not see me fall.” ?
3. Make sentences of your own, and use in each one or more of the following words : Incredible, emigrant, approach, alacrity.
MORNING IN THE COUNTRY. [This extract is from the poem l'Allegro (“the merry man'), by John Milton, author of Paradise Lost. ]
To hear the lark begin his flight,