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In the meantime, General Lake had made a march on Delhi, continuing, as he went, his correspondence with M. Perron. As General Lake approached the fortress of Allyghur, the stronghold of Perron, the Frenchman came out with fifteen thousand men, but again retreated into the fortress. This was on the 29th of August. Perron made a strong resistance, and held out till the 4th of September, when the place was stormed by a party headed by Colonel Monson and Major Macleod. The success was somewhat clouded by the surprise and surrender of five companies of General Lake's sepoys, who had been left behind to guard an important position, but with only one gun. This accident, however, was far more than counterbalanced by the withdrawal of Perron from the service of the Mahrattas. He had found so much insubordination amongst his French officers, and saw so clearly that there was no chance of competing with the British, that he had at length closed with General Lake's offers, and, abandoning his command, had obtained a passport for himself, family, suite, and effects, and retired to Lucknow. This being accomplished, General Lake continued his march on Delhi, in order to release Shah Allum, the Mogul, and drew near it on the 11th of September. He there found that the army previously commanded by Perron, but now by Louis Bourquien, nineteen thousand strong, had crossed the Jumna and was posted between him and the city. Bourquien had posted his army on a rising ground, flanked on both sides by swamps, and defended in front by strong entrenchments and about seventy pieces of cannon. As Lake had only four thousand five hundred men, to attack them in that position appeared madness. The British were briskly assailed before they could pitch their tents, and General Lake, feigning a retreat, succeeded in drawing the enemy down from their commanding situation and out of their entrenchments; he then suddenly wheeled, fired a destructive volley into the incautious foe, and followed this rapidly by a charge with the bayonet. The enemy fled, and endeavoured to regain their guns and entrenchments; but Lake did not leave them timeanother volley and another bayonet charge completely disorganised them, and they fled for the Jumna and the road by which they had come. The troops of Scindiah, which had held the Mogul prisoner, evacuated the city, and on the 16th General Lake made a visit of state to the aged Shah Allum, who expressed himself as delighted at being delivered from his oppressors and received under the protection of the British.
Nelson, having blockaded the port of Alexandria, sailed to Naples to repair. There he received the news of the intense rejoicing his victory had spread through England, and that he was raised to the peerage by the title of Baron Nelson of the Nile. He found Ferdinand of Naples already collecting an army to drive the French from Rome and Tuscany. Austria, Switzerland, and other countries were again in arms. The Treaty of Campo Formio was at an end by the French violation of it everywhere, and as it was supposed that Buonaparte would never be allowed to get back again, the spirit of Europe had revived. Nelson, allowing himself as little repose as possible, in November had made himself master of the Island of Gozo, separated only by a narrow channel from Malta. He had blockaded Malta itself, and it must soon surrender. Pitt, elated by Nelson's success, and in consequence of the death of the old czarina, Catherine, some two years earlier, now entered into a treaty with her successor, Paul, who was subsidised by a hundred and twelve thousand pounds a month, and great expectations were raised of the effect of his victorious general, Suvaroff, leading an army into Italy. The other members of the second grand coalition were Austria, the Princes of Germany, and the Ottoman Empire. Prussia weakly held aloof. When the British Parliament met on the 20th of November, the late victory and this new alliance with Russia were the themes of congratulation from the throne. Twenty-nine million two hundred and seventy-two thousand pounds were granted with alacrity for the ensuing year, and the nation willingly submitted to the imposition of a new impostthe income tax.
[See larger version]For the reasons here stated, early in the summer a powerful fleet was fitted out with the utmost dispatch and secrecy by the new Ministry, and sent to the Baltic. The fleet consisted of twenty-five sail of the line, more than forty frigates, sloops, bomb-vessels, and gun-brigs, with three hundred and seventy-seven transports to convey over twenty-seven thousand troops from Stralsund, a great part of which were Germans in British pay. Admiral Gambier commanded the fleet, and Lord Cathcart the army, having second in command Sir Arthur Wellesley. On the 1st of August the British fleet was off the entrance of Gothenburg, and Admiral Gambier sent Commodore Keats into the Great Belt to cut off any passage from Holstein for the defence of Copenhagen. Admiral Gambier himself entered the Sound, passed the castles without any attack from them, and anchored in Elsinore Roads. By the 9th of August the whole fleet and the transports were collected there, and Mr. Jackson, who had been many years British envoy in the north of Germany, and knew most of the Danish Ministers, was dispatched to Kiel, in Holstein, where the Crown Prince lay with an army of from twenty thousand to thirty thousand men, to endeavour to induce him to enter into an alliance with Great Britain, and to deliver the fleet to its keeping till the peace, stating the necessity that the British commanders would otherwise be under of taking possession of it by force. The Crown Prince, though the British had made it impossible to cross over and defend the fleet, received the overture with the utmost indignation. Mr. Jackson returned to Admiral Gambier, and the Crown Prince sent a messenger to order Copenhagen to be put into a state of defence. But there was scarcely a gun upon the walls, and the population only numbered, excluding the sailors, some thirteen thousand men, inclusive of five thousand five hundred volunteers and militia. On the 17th several Danish gunboats came out of the harbour, fired at some of our transports coming from Stralsund, burnt an English vessel, and attacked the pickets of Lord Cathcart's army. These vessels were driven back again by bombshells, and that evening Admiral Gambier took up a nearer station north-east of the Crown battery, the Trekroner. He then proceeded to surround the whole of the island of Zealand, on which Copenhagen stands, with our vessels. The division of the army landed at Wedbeck having now marched up, was joined by other divisions, and proceeded to entrench themselves in the suburbs of Copenhagen. They were attacked by the gunboats, but, on the 27th, they had covered themselves by a good battery, and they then turned their cannon on the gunboats, and soon compelled them to draw off. On the 29th Sir Arthur Wellesley marched to Ki?ge, against a body of Danish troops that had strongly fortified themselves there in order to assail the besiegers, and he quickly routed them. The Danish troops then made several dashing sorties from Copenhagen, while their gunboats and floating batteries attacked our advanced vessels, and managed, by a ball from the Trekroner, to blow up one of our transports. The French had now arrived at Stralsund, and Keats was sent to blockade that port, to hinder them from crossing over into Zealand; nothing but the extreme rapidity of the movements of the British prevented a powerful army of French from being already in Copenhagen for its defence.
From the 24th of September till the commencement of October Buonaparte continued to maintain himself at Dresden, though the Allies were fast gathering round him. Occasionally he made a rush from the city, and on one occasion pursued Blucher as far as Nollendorf, beyond Kulm; but these expeditions only served to exhaust his troops, without producing any effect on the enemy. As he chased one body on one side, others were closing up on other sides. Seeing that he could not remain long at Dresden, and that Bernadotte and Bülow had quitted the neighbourhood of Berlin, he suddenly conceived the design of marching rapidly on that city, and taking up his headquarters there; but this scheme met with universal disapprobation from his officers, and he was compelled to abandon it. He then continued for days, and even weeks, in a state of listless apathy, for hours together mechanically making large letters on sheets of paper, or debating some new schemes with his generals; but the only scheme to which they would listen was that of retreating to the left bank of the Rhine. In fact, they and the army were completely worn out and dispirited."And your wife?"
"I have been lied to," came the muttering voice from the folds of the red I. D. blanket, which almost met the red flannel band binding down his coarse and dirty black hair. It was early dawn and cold. Cairness himself was close to the brush fire.If Cairness had not slipped and gone sprawling down[Pg 232] at that moment, the fourth bullet would have brought him up short. It sung over him, instead, and splashed against a stone, and when he got to his feet again the eyes had come out from their hiding-place. They were in the head of a very young buck. He had sprung to the top of his rock and was dancing about with defiant hilarity, waving his hands and the Winchester, and grimacing tantalizingly. "Yaw! ya!" he screeched. Cairness discharged his revolver, but the boy whooped once more and was down, dodging around the stone. Cairness dodged after him, wrath in his heart and also a vow to switch the little devil when he should get him. But he did not seem to be getting him.