Page images

whom the fall of Caillemot had dismayed. "Come on," he cried in French, pointing to the Popish squadrons; "Come on, gentlemen: there are your persecutors." Those were his last words. As he spoke, a band of Irish horsemen rushed upon him and encircled him for a moment. When they retired, he was on the ground. His friends raised him; but he was already a corpse. Two sabre wounds were on his head; and a bullet from a carbine was lodged in his neck. Almost at the same moment Walker, while exhorting the colonists of Ulster to play the men, was shot dead. During near half an hour the battle continued to rage along the southern shore of the river. All was smoke, dust, and din. Old soldiers were heard to say that they had seldom seen sharper work in the Low Countries. But, just at this conjuncture, William came up with the left wing. He had found much difficulty in crossing. The tide was running fast. His charger had been forced to swim, and had been almost lost in the mud. As soon as the King was on firm ground he took his sword in his left hand,- for his right arm was stiff with his wound and his bandage, and led his men to the place where the fight was the hottest. His arrival decided the fate of the day. Yet the Irish horse retired fighting obstinately. It was long remembered among the Protestants of Ulster that, in the midst of the tumult, William rode to the head of the Enniskilleners.

"What will you do for me?" he cried. He was not immediately recognized; and one trooper, taking


him for an enemy, was about to fire. William gently put aside the carbine. What," said he, "do you not know your friends?" "It is His Majesty;" said the Colonel. The ranks of sturdy Protestant yeomen set up a shout of joy. "Gentlemen," said William, "you shall be my guards to-day. I have heard much of you. Let me see something of you." One of the most remarkable peculiarities of this man, ordinarily so saturnine and reserved, was that danger acted on him like wine, opened his heart, loosened his tongue, and took away all appearance of constraint from his manner. On this memorable day he was seen wherever the peril was greatest. One ball struck the cap of his pistol: another carried off the heel of his jackboot: but his lieutenants in vain implored him to retire to some station from which he could give his orders without exposing a life so valuable to Europe. His troops, animated by his example, gained ground fast. The Irish cavalry made their last stand at a house called Plottin Castle, about a mile and a half south of Oldbridge. There the Enniskilleners were repelled with the loss of fifty men, and were hotly pursued, till William rallied them and turned the chase back. In this encounter Richard Hamilton, who had done all that could be done by valour to retrieve a reputation forfeited by perfidy,1 was severely wounded, taken prisoner, and instantly brought, through the smoke and over the

16 26'

1 Lauzun wrote to Seignelay, July 1690, "Richard Amilton a

été fait prisonnier, faisant fort bien son devoir."


carnage, before the Prince, whom he had foully wronged. On no occasion did the character of William show itself in a more striking manner. "Is this business over?" he said; "or will your horse make more fight?" "On my honour, Sir," answered Hamilton, "I believe that they will." "Your honour!" muttered William ; your honour!" That half suppressed exclamation was the only revenge which he condescended to take for an injury for which many sovereigns, far more affable and gracious in their ordinary deportment, would have exacted a terrible retribution. Then, restraining himself, he ordered his own surgeon to look to the hurts of the captive.1

And now the battle was over. Hamilton was mistaken in thinking that his horse would continue to

1 My chief materials for the history of this battle are Story's Impartial Account and Continuation; the History of the War in Ireland by an Officer of the Royal Army; the despatches in the French War Office; the Life of James, Orig. Mem.; Burnet, ií. 50, 60; Narcissus Luttrell's Diary; the London Gazette of July 10, 1690; the despatches of Hop and Baden; a narrative probably drawn up by Portland, which William sent to the States General; Portland's private letter to Melville; Captain Richardson's Narrative and map of the battle; the Dumont MS., and the Bellingham MS. I have also seen an account of the battle in a Diary kept in bad Latin and in an almost undecipherable hand by one of the beaten army who seems to have been a hedge schoolmaster turned Captain. This Diary was kindly lent to me by Mr. Walker, to whom it belongs. The writer relates the misfortunes of his country in a style of which a short specimen may suffice: "1 July, 1690. O diem illum infandum, cum inimici potiti sunt pass apud Oldbridge et nos circumdederent et fregerunt prope Plottin. Hinc omnes fugimus Dublin versus. Ego mecum tuli Cap Moore et Georgium Ogle, et venimus hac nocte Dub."

fight. Whole troops had been cut to pieces. One fine regiment had only thirty unwounded men left. It was enough that these gallant soldiers had disputed the field till they were left without support, or hope, or guidance, till their bravest leader was a captive, and till their King had fled.


From "Two Years Before the Mast," Boston, 1869, pp. 344.

This short extract from a famous book shows how interesting a perfectly unadorned and unpretending story may be, if only it seem real. The whole book, which is merely a journal, is full of the atmosphere of the sea and the feeling of adventure. It is crammed with sea terms which you do not understand, and which you do not need to understand: they serve their purpose in giving you the sense of the strangeness of things which is the charm of the life which Dana describes.

THERE began now to be a decided change in the appearance of things. The days became shorter and shorter; the sun running lower in its course each day, and giving less and less heat, and the night so cold as to prevent our sleeping on deck; the Magellan Clouds in sight, of a clear, moonless night; the skies looking cold and angry; and, at times, a long, heavy, ugly sea, setting in from the southward, told us what we were coming to. Still, however, we had a fine, strong breeze, and kept on our way under as much sail as our ship would bear. Toward the middle of the week, the wind hauled to the southward, which brought us upon a taut bowline, made the ship meet, nearly head-on, the heavy swell which rolled from that quarter; and there was something

« PreviousContinue »