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ing before them, I saluted his ears as he came running towards me with “ Branco ! Branco !" The joy manifested by the animal, great as it had been before, now surpassed all former bounds, and it was in vain that either mistress or maid used their entreaties to recall him to his obedience. Upon this, putting off my hat, and walking towards the young lady, I apologized, for the intrusion and for the liberty I had taken, -but I was anxious to ask, “if the dog, who from the first day of my seeing him had taken such marked notice of me, had ever belonged to an officer of the 48th regiment ?” She replied in the affirmative. — " Whether he had been with him on the Continent ?” Upon this question she manifested great earnestness, and bowed as*sent. 66 Whether his master had not died after the battle of Albuera ?” Tears stood ready to start from her
6. Whether his name was not Richards?” The cloud now burst, and the showers hanging upon her eyelids fell copiously, and she sobbed out, “ It was, oh! it was.”
After giving way to her distress a little time, she addressed me, by saying, “ The unfortunate person, Sir, you mention, was one very
dear to me; and in his death I lost every relative but a mother; she alone excepted, he was all to me; and our widowed mother has never looked up from the time of his death. Excuse my feelings, and permit me, Sir, to ask, in return, if we have been rightly informed that he died in the battle of Albuera ; for we have never been able to gain satisfactory information on that head?”
“ We were both of us,” I replied, “wounded in that action; myself severely, but he very dangerously. After the battle we contrived to interest some stragglers to take us to a neighbouring village, where they left us in the hands of the peasantry, and we were soon after joined by a detachment of Portuguese, who were stationed here upon the out-post. On the following day my friend died, and he died in my embrace. He was the only man to whom I ever was really attached, and there is nothing on earth that I would not give, could we here meet again. I remember this dog to have been his constant companion; and when I took his body to inter it at a little distance from the village, on a sequestered spot chosen by himself, at the hour of sun-set, this faithful animal accompa
nied it. After having performed the last duties of friendship, as I retired I missed him ; but in the morning, just as the order came upon us, that the detachment was to advance quickly towards the main body of the army, I learnt that the animal was seen at the grave, where he must have passed the night. But not a moment was left us, and I was compelled to abandon him to his fate, and it was not until yesterday, when I recognised him, that I heard any thing more respecting him.”
During this recital my fair auditor evinced the deepest concern.
She told me that the other friends of the departed had never been able to communicate to herself and mother
any tidings after the first onset at Albuera; but that one of them, knowing the dog, had purchased it some months afterwards of a French prisoner, into whose possession it had fallen, and having taken it with him to England upon his promo- tion, had sent it down to them, accompanied by the kindest letter that a manly heart could indite, “ in which,” she said, “ he told us that his attachment to the animal was so great that no consideration short of that of restoring it to the family of a deceased friend, its former master, could have prerailed upon him to part from it, and it was not long after this that he, kind man, himself fell in another action.”
There was so much of interest in these circumstances, and such sincere manifestation of affection and feeling in the manners of this most interesting young woman, that I longed to have more conversation with her; but as I well knew that it could not be agreeable for her to be thus accompanied by a stranger, I checked the inclination, and was about to take my leave, when she stopped me, by adding, “ You have said, Sir, that you were the friend of our dear lost one; and, indeed, your actions have shown that you were so. May I beg to know to whom it is that our mother and myself must ever feel the weightiest obligations ?"
“ My name," I replied, " is Mordaunt." 66 Mordaunt! - The name occurs," said she, repeatedly in Frederick's letters, and I have seen it since in the Army List. Often have we thought, that had our dear Frederick fallen any where but in the field of battle, the friends and companions around him would have made some communication to his family; but as we never received any tidings but such as the public
papers afforded, we concluded that he had died with his brave comrades in the field.”
“ Under other circumstances,” said I, “I should have taken the rebuke which this just observation unintentionally conveys directly to myself; but it is a singular fact, that Richards, during the time we were together, never communicated to me any thing respecting his family at all; indeed, I conceived (and it gave me a greater interest in him) that he, like myself, had been an orphan, without friends, and a mere soldier of fortune. I had seen him occasionally make a trifling purehase of some female ornament in the country as we passed through it, but as I supposed it might be intended for some one who either was, or might be, the chosen of his heart, I took no further notice of it.”
The latter remark drew another tear down the cheek of my fair auditor, and as persons were coming in the direction in which we were, I begged permission to call on the following day upon her and her mother, and this being granted with the evident desire that it should be accepted, we separated. I afterwards, in turning back to look after her, saw the favourite Branco taken in her arms, and warmly caressed,