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Chapter 18 JUST IN TIME.

  • "I shall go straight back to Vittoria, Sam. By what they say, General Reynie_s in command there, and as it was through his wife that all this terribl_usiness has come about, we have a right to expect him to do his best to ge_s out of it. I will start at once. Now look here, Sam. You must put yoursel_here you can keep watch over the village. If you see any party come in, either to-night or to-morrow, you must try and discover if Peter is amon_hem. If he is, light a fire down in that hollow where it can't be seen fro_bove, but where we can see it on that road. It's twenty miles to Vittoria; i_ can get to see General Reynier to-morrow, I may be back here with cavalry b_ight; if he is out or anything prevents it, I will be here next night, a_oon after dusk as it will be safe. I will dismount the men and take them ove_he hill, so as to avoid the sentinel who is sure to be posted on the roa_hen Nunez arrives. If they come in the afternoon, Sam, and you find tha_nything is going to be done at once, do everything you can to delay matters."
  • "All right, Massa Tom, if, when you come back you find Massa Peter dead, yo_e berry sure you find dis chile gone down too."
  • It was seven o'clock next morning when Tom entered Vittoria, and a fe_autious inquiries proved the fact that General Reynier was really in comman_f the French division there. He at once sought his head-quarters, and afte_ome talk with a woman selling fruit near the house, heard that the genera_nd his staff had started at daybreak, but whither of course she knew not. To_esitated for some time, and then, seeing an officer standing at the door, went up to him and asked if the general would be back soon.
  • "He will be back in an hour or two," the officer replied in Spanish, "but i_s no use your waiting to see him. He has his hands full and can't be bothere_ith petitions as to cattle stolen or orchards robbed. Wait till we hav_riven the English back, and then we shall have time to talk to you."
  • "Your pardon," Tom said humbly. "It is not a complaint that I have to make, i_s something of real importance which I have to communicate to him."
  • "You can tell me, I am Colonel Decamps; it will be all the same thing if you_ews is really important."
  • "Thank you very kindly, señor, it must be the general himself; I will wai_ere." Thereupon Tom sat down with his back to the wall a short distance off, pulled out some bread and fruit he had bought in the town, and began quietl_o eat his breakfast. An hour later a pretty carriage with two fine horse_rew up to the door. It was empty, and was evidently intended for some one i_he house. Suddenly, the thought flashed across his mind, perhaps Madam_eynier and her child were there. It was curious that the thought had no_ccurred to him before, but it had not, and he drew near, when a sentry at th_oor roughly ordered him to stand further back. Presently a lady came to th_oor, accompanied by a little girl. There she stood for a minute talking wit_he officer with whom Tom had spoken. At the moment a young officer passed To_n his way to the house.
  • "Monsieur," Tom said, in French, "do me the favor to place that ring in th_ands of Madame Reynier. It is a matter of life and death. She will recogniz_he ring, it is her own," he added, as the young officer in surpris_esitated. He was a bright handsome young fellow, and after a moment's, pause, he went up to the lady. "My dear aunt," he said, "here is a mystery. An ol_panish beggar speaks French, not very good French, but enough to make out, and he begs me to give you this ring, which he says is yours, and which, b_he way, looks a valuable one." Madame Reynier, in some surprise, held out he_and for the ring. "It is not mine," she began, when a sudden thought struc_er, and turning it round she saw "a Louise Reynier, tumors reconnaissance,"
  • which she had had engraved on it, before giving it to Tom. "Who gave it t_ou, Jules?" she asked eagerly.
  • "That old pedler," Jules said.
  • "Bring him in," Madame Reynier said, "the carriage must wait; I must speak t_im and alone."
  • "My dear aunt," began her nephew.
  • "Don't be afraid, Jules, I am not going to run away with him, and if you are _ood boy you shall know all about it afterwards, wait here, Louise, with you_ousin;" and beckoning to Tom to follow her, she went into the house, the tw_fficers looking astounded at each other as the supposed Spanish pedle_ollowed her into her sitting-room.
  • "What is your message?" she asked.
  • Tom's answer was to remove his wide hat, wig, and beard.
  • "Himself!" Madame Reynier exclaimed, "my preserver," and she held out both he_ands to him. "How glad I am, but oh! how foolish to come here again, and—and"—she hesitated at the thought that he, an English spy, ought not t_ome to her, the wife of a French general.
  • Tom guessed her thought. "Even General Reynier might succor us withou_etraying the interests of his country. Read that, madame; it is an ope_etter," and he handed her Lord Wellington's letter.
  • She glanced through it and turned pale. "Your brother! is he in the hands o_he guerillas? Where? How?"
  • "He is in the hands of that scoundrel Nunez; he swore he would be revenged fo_hat day's work, and he has had Peter carried off. No doubt to kill him wit_orture."
  • "Oh! and it is through me," Madame Reynier exclaimed, greatly distressed.
  • "What can we do! Please let me consult with my friends, every soldier shall b_t your service," and she opened the door. "Colonel Deschamps, Jules, com_ere directly, and bring Louise with you." These officers, on entering, wer_truck dumb with astonishment on finding a young peasant instead of an ol_edler, and at seeing tears standing in Madame Reynier's eyes. "Louise," sh_aid to her daughter, "look at this gentleman, who is he?"
  • The child looked hard at Tom; he was dressed nearly as when she first sa_im—and as he smiled she recognized him. "Oh, it is the good boy!" she cried, and leaped into Tom's arms, and kissed him heartily.
  • "Do you think we have gone mad, Jules, Louise and I? This is one of the youn_nglish officers who saved our lives, as you have often heard me tell you."
  • Jules stepped forward, and shook Tom's hand heartily, but Colonel Deschamp_ooked very serious. "But, madame," he began, "you are wrong to tell me this."
  • "No, Colonel;" Madame Reynier said, "here is a letter, of which this gentlema_s the bearer, from Lord Wellington himself, vouching for him, and asking fo_he help of every Frenchman."
  • Colonel Deschamps read it, and his brow cleared, and he held out his hand t_om. "Pardon my hesitation, sir," he said in Spanish; "but I feared that I wa_laced in a painful position, between what I owe to my country, and what al_rench soldiers owe to you, for what you did for Madame Reynier. I am, indeed, glad to find that this letter absolves me from the former duty, and leaves m_ree to do all I can to discharge the latter debt. Where is your brother, an_hy has he been carried off? I have known hundreds of our officer_ssassinated by these Spanish wolves, but never one carried away. An Englis_fficer, too, it makes it the more strange!"
  • Tom now related the story of Peter's abduction; the previous attempts o_embers of Nunez's band to assassinate them, and the reasons he had fo_elieving that Peter was close to, if not already at, the headquarters of tha_esperado.
  • "Is he still there?" Jules asked. "We routed him out directly the general cam_p here. My aunt declared herself bound by a promise, and would give us n_lue as to the position of the village, but he had made himself such _courge, that there were plenty of others ready to tell; if we had known th_oads, we would have killed the whole band, but unfortunately they took th_larm and made off. So he has gone back there again. Ah! there is th_eneral."
  • Madame Reynier went out to meet her husband, and drawing him aside int_nother room, explained the whole circumstance to him, with difficult_etaining him long enough to tell her story, as the moment he found that hi_ife and child's deliverer was in the next room, he desired to rush off to se_im. The story over, he rushed impetuously into the room, where Tom wa_xplaining his plans to his French friends, seized him in his arms, and kisse_im on both cheeks, as if he had been his son.
  • "I have longed for this day!" he said, wiping his eyes. "I have prayed that _ight some day meet you, to thank you for my wife and child, who would hav_een lost to me, but for you. And now I hear your gallant brother is payin_ith his life for that good deed. Tell me what to do, and if necessary I wil_ut the whole division at your orders."
  • "I do not think that he will have above fifty men with him, general; sa_ighty, at the outside. Two squadrons of cavalry will be sufficient. They mus_ismount at the bottom of the hill, and I will lead them up. We must not ge_ithin sight of the hill till it is too dark for their look-out to see us, o_he alarm would be given, and we should catch no one. We shall know if the_ave arrived, by a fire my man is to light. If they have not come, then _ould put sentries on guard upon every road leading there, and search ever_art that comes up; they are sure to have got him hid under some hay, o_omething of that sort, and there are not likely to be more than two or thre_en actually with it, so as not to attract attention. It will be all right i_hey do not arrive there to-day."
  • "It is about five hours' ride for cavalry," the general said, "that is at a_asy pace; it will not be dark enough to approach the hill without being see_ill eight o'clock. Two squadrons shall be paraded here at three o'clock. _ill go with you myself; yes, and you shall go too, Jules," he said, in answe_o an anxious look from his nephew. "In the mean time you can lend our frien_ome clothes; you are about the same size."
  • "Come along," Jules said laughing; "I think we can improve your appearance,"
  • and, indeed, he did so, for in half an hour Tom returned looking all over _ashing young French hussar, and little Louise clapped her hands and said—
  • "He does look nice, mamma, don't he? Why can't he stay with us always, an_ress like that? and we know he's brave, and he would help papa and Jules t_ill the wicked English."
  • There was a hearty laugh, and Jules was about to tell her that Tom was himsel_ne of the wicked English, but Madame Reynier shook her head, for, as she tol_im afterwards, it was as well not to tell her, for little mouths would talk, and there was no occasion to set everyone wondering and talking about th_isit of an English officer to General Reynier. "There is no treason in it, Jules, still one does not want to be suspected of treason, even by fools."
  • Sam watched all night, without hearing any sound of vehicles, but in th_orning he saw that several more guerillas had come in during the night. I_he morning parties of twos and threes began to come in from the direction o_ittoria, and it was evident from the shouting and noise in the village tha_hese brought satisfactory news of some kind. In the afternoon most of the_ent out again in a body to the wood at the foot of the hill, and soo_fterwards Sam saw a cart coming along across the plain. Two men walked besid_t, and Sam could see one, if not two more perched upon the top of the load.
  • Three others walked along at a distance of some fifty yards ahead, and as man_ore at about the same distance behind. He could see others making their wa_hrough the fields. "Dis berry bad job," Sam said to himself; "me berry muc_fraid dat Massa Tom he not get back in time. Der's too many for Sam to figh_ll by himself, but he must do someting." Whereupon Sam set to to think wit_ll his might, and presently burst into a broad grin. "Sure enough dat do," h_aid; "now let me arrange all about what dey call de pamerphernalia." First, he emptied out the contents of a couple of dozen pistol cartridges; he wette_he powder and rolled it up in six cartridges, like squibs, three short one_nd three much longer. Then he opened Tom's kit, and took out a small box o_aints, which Tom had carried with him for making dark lines on his face, an_n other ways to assist his disguise. Taking some white paint, Sam painted hi_yelids up to his eyebrows, and a circle on his cheeks, giving the eyes at _hort distance the appearance of ghastly saucers.
  • "Dat will do for de present," he said; "now for business. If dey wait till i_et dark, all right; if not, Sam do for Nunez and two or three more, and de_o down with Massa Peter!"
  • Then carefully examining the priming of the pair of pistols, which h_arried—the very pistols given to Peter by the passengers of the Marlboroug_oach—he prepared to set out.
  • It was now six o'clock, and he calculated that the waggon would by this tim_ave mounted the hill, and reached the village; he had already collected _arge heap of dry sticks and some logs, at the point Tom had pointed out, these he now lit, and then started for the top of the hill. Looking back, jus_s he reached the crest, he could see, knowing where it was, a very ligh_moke curling up over a clump of trees which intervened between him and th_ire, but it was so slight that he was convinced that it would not be notice_y an ordinary observer. Sam saw at once, on reaching the top of the hill, that the guerillas were crowded round the waggon, which stood at the edge of _mall clump of trees in the middle of the village. The moment was favourable, and he at once started forward, sometimes making a detour, so as to have th_helter of a tree, sometimes stooping behind a low stone wall, until h_eached the first house in the village. It was now comparatively easy work, for there were enclosures and walls, the patches of garden-ground were breast- high with weeds, and, stooping and crawling, Sam soon reached a house close t_he waggon. It was a mere hut, and had not been repaired. The roof was gone, but the charred shutters and doors still hung on their hinges. It was the ver_lace from which to see without being seen. Sam entered by a door from behind, and found that, through a slight opening in the window-shutter, he could se_ll that was going on. Some fifty guerillas were standing or sitting in group_t a distance of twenty yards.
  • In the centre of the groups, lying on the ground, was a figure which he a_nce recognized as Peter. It was wound round and round with ropes; beside i_tood, or rather danced, Nunez pouring forth strings of abuse, of threats, an_f curses, and enforcing them with repeated kicks at the motionless figure.
  • "De debil!" muttered Sam, "me neber able to stand dis. If you not stop dat, Massa Nunez, me put a bullet through dat ugly head of yours, as sure as yo_tand dere. But me mustn't do it till last ting; for, whether I kill him o_ot, it's all up with Massa Peter and me if I once fire."
  • Fortunately Nunez was tired, and in a short time he desisted, and thre_imself down on the ground. "Take off his ropes, one of you," he said: "ther_ould be no fear of his running away had he three or four days to live, instead of as many hours. Take the gag out of his mouth, throw some water ove_im to bring him round, and pour some wine down his throat. I want him to b_resh, so as to be able to enjoy the pleasure we have in store for him. An_ow let's have dinner."
  • Sam felt that for another hour at least Peter was safe, and therefore, wit_he same precaution as before, he crept away from his hiding-place, throug_he village, and over the hill-crest, to the place where he had made his fire.
  • The logs were burning well, but gave out but little smoke. Sam looked at th_ky. "Dusk cum on berry fast," he said; "another hour Massa Tom come on wit_oldiers. If he see fire, he hurry up sharp." So saying, Sam heaped on a pil_f wood, and then made his way back. He knew that Tom would not approach unti_t was too dark for the movements of the troops to be seen by the look-outs, and that he could not be expected to reach the village until fully an hou_fter dark. "Just another hour and a half," he said to himself; "ebery thin_epend upon what happen before dat time." It was quite dusk before he regaine_he shelter of the cottage. He had gone round by the wagon, and had taken fro_t a large stable-fork, muttering as he did so. "Golly! dis de berry ting."
  • Close by he saw the carcase of a bullock which the guerillas had jus_laughtered, and from this he cut off the horns and tail.
  • When Sam peeped out through the shutter he saw that something was going to b_one. Nunez was sitting smoking a cigarette, with a look of savage pleasure i_is face, while the men heaped up a large fire in front of the trees.
  • "I don't like dat gentleman's look," Sam said to himself. "It's time dis chil_egin to dress for de pantomime, dat quite plain. Massa Tom get here to_ate." Thus saying, Sam began to deliberately undress.
  • Peter, his arms and feet still bound, was sitting with his back against _ree, watching what were, he was convinced, the preparations for his death.
  • For the last ten days he had lived in a sort of confused and painful dream.
  • From the moment, when, upon entering his room two hands suddenly gripped hi_hroat, others thrust a gag in the mouth, and then blindfolded him, while som_ne from behind lashed his arms to his side, and then altogether, lifting hi_ike a log, carried him downstairs and threw him into a cart, he had not til_ow seen anything. The bandage had never been removed from his eyes, or th_ords from his limbs. Sometimes he had been made to sit up, and soup and win_ad been poured down his throat, or a piece of bread thrust into his mouth; then he had been again gagged and thrown into a cart. Over him brushwood an_agots had been piled, and there he had lain, until at night a stop was made, when he was taken out, fed, and then thrust back again and covered over.
  • From the first he had never doubted who were his captors, or what was hi_estination, and he therefore experienced no surprise whatever, when, on hi_rrival at the village, on the bandage being taken off his eyes, he saw wher_e was. That it was useless to beg for mercy of the savages into whose powe_e had fallen he knew well enough, and he looked as calm and indifferent, a_f he did not hear a word of the threats and imprecations which Nunez wa_eaping on him.
  • "You see that fire," the enraged guerilla said, "there you shall be roasted!
  • English pig that you are! But not yet. That were too quick a death! Here," h_aid to his followers, "make a little fire by the side of the big one—ther_nder the arm of that tree; and put on plenty of green leaves: we will smok_ur pig a bit before we roast him!"
  • Peter still eyed him unflinchingly. He was determined that no pain shoul_ring a complaint or prayer for mercy. Even now he did not quite despair, fo_e thought that he had just one chance of life. He was sure that Tom woul_ove heaven and earth to save him. He reckoned that he would at once guess wh_ad carried him off, and with what object; and he felt that Tom would b_ertain to set off to his rescue. All this he had reflected over in his lon_ays of weary suffering, and from the moment that he was unbandaged, an_ropped against the tree, he had listened attentively for any unusual sound.
  • How Tom could rescue him he did not see. He was so utterly crippled, from hi_ong confinement, that he knew that it would be hours, perhaps days, before h_ould walk a step; yet, still he thought it possible that Tom might try; an_e feared more than he hoped, for he trembled lest, if Tom were really there, that he would do some rash thing, which would involve him in his fate.
  • "Whether Tom is here or not," Peter thought as he looked unflinchingly a_unez, "one thing is certain, if I know my brother, you will not have man_ays to live after me, for Tom will follow you all over Spain, but he wil_venge me at last!" Such were Peter's thoughts, and so likely did he think i_hat Tom was present, that he was scarcely surprised when he heard, as fro_he ground behind him, a well-known voice.
  • "Massa Peter, you keep up your heart. Sam here, Massa Tom he be here i_nother half hour with French soldiers. If dey go to kill you before dat, Sa_lay dem trick. Can you run, Massa Peter, if I cut de cord?"
  • "No, Sam."
  • "Dat bad job. Neber mind, Massa Peter, you keep up your heart. Sam keep quie_s long as he can, but when de worst come Sam do de trick all right."
  • "Don't show yourself, Sam. It would only cost you your life, and couldn't hel_e; besides, it would put them on their guard. They won't kill me yet. The_ill smoke me, and so on, but they will make it last as long as they can."
  • Peter was able to say this, for at the moment Nunez was occupied in rollin_nd lighting a second cigarette. Peter received no answer, for Sam, seein_ome guerillas bringing sticks and leaves to make a fire, as Nunez, ha_rdered, crept back again into the deep shadow behind. The fire was now givin_ut volumes of smoke, a guerilla climbed up the tree and slung a rope over it, and three others approached Peter. His heart beat rapidly; but it was wit_ope, not fear. He knew, from the words of Nunez, that at present he was no_oing to be burned, but, as he guessed, to be hung over the smoke until he wa_nsensible, and then brought to life again with buckets of water, only to hav_he suffocation repeated, until it pleased Nunez to try some fresh mode o_orture.
  • It was as he imagined. The rope was attached to his legs, and amid the cheer_f the guerillas, two men hauled upon the other end until Peter swung, hea_ownwards, over the fire. There was no flame, but dense volumes of pungen_moke rose in his face. For a moment his eyes smarted with agony, then _hoking sensation seized him, his blood seemed to rush into his head, and hi_eins to be bursting: and there was a confused din in his ears and a las_hrob of pain, and then he was insensible.
  • "That's enough for the present," Nunez said; "cut him down."
  • The men advanced to do so, but paused, with astonishment, for from behind th_reat fire was a loud yell—"Yah, yah, yah!"—each louder than the last, an_hen, leaping through the flames appeared, as they supposed, the devil. Sam'_ppearance was indeed amply sufficient to strike horror in the minds of a ban_f intensely superstitious men. He had entirely stripped himself, with th_xception of his sandals, which he had retained in order to be able to ru_reely; on his head were two great horns; in one hand he held a fork, and i_he other what appeared to be his tail, but which really belonged to th_laughtered bullock. From his month, his horns, and the end of his tail poure_olumes of fire, arising, it needs not to say, from the squibs he ha_repared. The great white circles round the eyes added to the ghastliness o_is appearance, and seeing the terrible figure leap apparently from th_lames, it is no wonder that a scream of terror rose from the guerillas.
  • Whatever a Spanish peasant may believe about saints and angels, he believe_et more implicitly in a devil. Black, with horns, and a tail—and here h_as—with these appendages tipped with fire! Those who were able turned an_led in terror, those who were too frightened to run fell on their knees an_creamed for mercy, while one or two fell insensible from fear. Taking th_quibs from his mouth, and giving one more startling yell, to quicken th_ugitives, Sam made two strides to where Peter was hanging, cut the rope, an_owered him down.
  • Nunez had at first joined in the flight, but looking over his shoulder he sa_hat Sam was doing. His rage and frenzy, at the thought of being cheated o_is victim, even by the evil one himself, overcame his fear, and he rushe_ack, shouting, "He is mine! He is mine! I won't give him to you!" and fired _istol almost in Sam's face. The ball carried away a portion of one of Sam'_ars, and with a yell, even more thrilling than those he had given before, h_lunged his pitchfork into the body of the guerilla, then, exerting all hi_mmense strength, he lifted him upon it, as if he had been a truss of straw, took three steps to the great bonfire and cast the brigand into it.
  • There was a volume of sparks, a tumbling together of big logs, and the mos_ruel of the Spanish guerillas had ceased to exist.
  • This awful sight completed the discomfiture of the guerillas—some hearin_heir chief's shouts and the sound o his pistol had looked round, but th_ight of the gigantic fiend casting him into the fire was too much for them.
  • With cries of horror and fear they continued their flight; a few of them, wh_ad fallen on their knees, gained strength enough, from fear, to rise and fly; the rest lay on their faces. Sam saw that for the present all was clear, an_ifting up Peter's still insensible body, as if it had no weight whatever, h_urned and went at a brisk trot out of the village, then over the crest an_own towards the fire.
  • Then he heard a ring of metal in front of him, and a voice said, " _Qu_ive_!" while another voice said, "Is that you, Sam?"
  • "Bress de Lord! Massa Tom, dis is me sure enough: and what is much better, here is Massa Peter."
  • "Thank God!" Tom said fervently. "Is he hurt? Why don't you speak, Peter?"
  • "He all right, Massa Tom. He talk in a minute or two. Now smoke choke him, h_etter presently. Here, massa, you take him down to fire, pour a little brand_own his throat. Now, massa officer, I lead de way back to village."
  • As Tom took Peter in his arms a sudden fire of musketry was heard down on th_oad.
  • "Our fellows have got them," Jules said. "I don't know what has alarmed them, but they are running away!"
  • "Push forward," General Reynier said, "and give no quarter! Jules, keep by th_egro, and see that he comes to no harm. The men might mistake him for _uerilla."
  • The night was pitch dark, and the extraordinary appearance of Sam could not b_erceived until after scouring the village and shooting the few wretches who_hey found there, they gathered round the fire. Before reaching it, however, Sam had slipped away for a moment into the hut where he had stripped; here h_uickly dressed himself, removed the paint from his face, and rejoined th_roup, who were not a little surprised at seeing his black face.
  • In a short time the parties who had been posted on all the various roads cam_n, and it was found that they had between them killed some thirty or forty o_he brigands, and had brought in two or three prisoners.
  • "Have you killed or taken Nunez?" General Reynier asked. "Our work is onl_alf done if that scoundrel has escaped."
  • "I have asked the prisoners," one of the officers said, "and they tell a_xtraordinary story, that the devil has just thrown him into the fire!"
  • "What do they mean by such folly as that," the general asked angrily.
  • "Were they making fun of you?"
  • "No, sir, they were certainly serious enough over it, and they were al_unning for their lives when they fell into our hands; they had been horribl_rightened at something."
  • "Ask that fellow there," the general said, pointing to a prisoner who had bee_rought in by another detachment, "he cannot have spoken to the others."
  • The man was brought forward, and then Jules asked him in Spanish:
  • "What were you all running away for?"
  • The man gave a glance of horror at the fire. "The devil came with hi_itchfork, fire came out of his mouth, his tail and his horns were tipped wit_parks, the captain fired at him, of course the bullet did no good, and th_evil put his fork into him, carried him to the fire, and threw him in."
  • Jules and some of the other young officers burst out laughing, but the genera_aid:—
  • "Humph! We can easily prove a portion of the story. See if there are any huma_emains in that fire."
  • The wind was blowing the other way, but as a sergeant went up to the fire i_bedience to the general's order, he said:—
  • "There is a great smell of burnt flesh here, and, sapristi, yes," as he tosse_ver the logs with his foot "there is a body here, sir, pretty well burnt up."
  • "It's a curious story," the general said. "Where is that negro, perhaps he ca_nlighten us?"
  • But Sam had already left to look after Peter.
  • "Jules, put these fellows against that wall and give them a volley, then marc_he men down to the wood where their horses are. We will bivouac here for th_ight."
  • A party now brought up Peter, who had quite come round, but was unable t_tand, or indeed to move his arms, so injured was he by the ropes, which ha_ompletely cut their way into his flesh. However, he was cheerful and bright, and able really to enjoy the supper which was soon prepared. That done, General Reynier said:—
  • "Captain Scudamore, will you call your black man when he has finished hi_upper, which, no doubt, he needs? I want him to tell me what took plac_efore we arrived. The prisoners were full of some cock-and-bull story, tha_he devil had stuck his fork into their captain and pitched him into the fire, and the story is corroborated, at least to the extent of the fact that, o_urning the fire over, we found a body there."
  • Sam, called and questioned, told the whole story, which Tom translated as h_ent on to the French officers, and it was received with a chorus of laughte_t the thought of the oddity of Sam's appearance, and of the brigands' terror, and with warm admiration for the able stratagem and courage shown by th_lack.
  • Tom was delighted, and Peter, who had until now been entirely ignorant of th_anner in which he had been saved, feebly pressed Sam's hand and said a fe_ords of gratitude and thanks, which so delighted Sam that he retired to cr_uietly.
  • The next day they moved down to Vittoria, where Peter was tenderly nursed b_adame Reynier. A week later he was fit to sit on horseback, and the next day, after a hearty and affectionate parting, they started to rejoin their ow_rmy. Both were now dressed as Spanish gentlemen, and Jules, with fou_roopers accompanied them as an escort.
  • They made a long detour to avoid the French army in the field under Clausel, and at last came within sight of the British outposts. Here Jules and hi_scort halted, and after a warm embrace with the merry young Frenchman, the_ode forward, and, after the usual parleying with the pickets, were passe_orward to the officer commanding the post. He happened to be well known t_hem, and after the first surprise, and a few words of explanation, they rod_n towards the head-quarters of the army besieging Burgos.