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nevertheless made. We scrambled across the brushwood that had been heaped on the road, and to the top of the stockade, about six feet high, that it masked, and presently found ourselves in the presence of thirty determined fellows, who were working like fiends in the endeavour to slue round seven eighteen-pound carronades, that had been mounted on a stage of loose planks, and pointed towards the river. Apparently they had been unable to accomplish this with more than one, the gun that had just been fired, which in the recoil had slid off the platform, and was now useless, from sinking in the semi-solid black soil, two of the others having already, in the attempt to train them round on us, capsized and sunk right out of sight in it. So aid from the cannon they now had none; but never did men show a more daring front, as they stood their ground, exchanging blow for blow most manfully.

The fort, or battery, was a stockade enclosure, about fifty yards square. Towards the river face, before we attempted to turn it, the guns had been mounted on a stage of loose planks—a most unstable foundation, from resting on running mud. The brushwood between them and the river grew thick and close, and opposite the muzzle of each cannon the leaves were scorched and blackened. The wooden platform extended about twelve feet in breadth landward, but beyond it the whole inside of the fort was soft black mud, through which, on the side farthest from the river, protruded the stumps of the haggled brushwood, where it had been cleared by the hatchet; while branches were thickly strewed on the surface nearer the guns, to afford a footing across it. These branches, however, had been removed for a space of ten feet, at the spot we boarded at, where the slimy ground appeared poached into a soft paste, so that no footing might be afforded to an attacking force.

The desperadoes already mentioned were all armed with boarding-pikes, or cutlasses, while several had large brass bell-mouthed trabucos, or blunderbusses, which threw five or six musket-balls at a discharge. Most of them were naked to their trousers, and they all wore a blue, yellow, or red sash, drawn tight round the waist, through which several had pistols stuck; while their heads were covered, in general, by a blue or red cloth cap, like a long stocking, to the end of which was fastened a thick silk or woollen tassel, either hanging down the back, or falling over the side of the head. Some wore shirts of a striped woollen stuff, common amongst the Biscayan boatmen. One elderly man, a large athletic Hercules of a fellow, bareheaded, and very bald; with his trousers rolled up to his knees, displaying his dark brawny legs and naked feet, dressed in one of the aforesaid striped shirts, and wearing a broad-brimmed, narrow, conical-crowned hat, with a flaming red riband tied round it close to the spreading brim, stood in advance of the others, with a trabuco in his hand, the piece held in a way that it might be instantly levelled at us.

These ferocious-looking rascals had most formidable auxiliaries in three Spanish bloodhounds, as yet held in leather leashes; but who were jumping and struggling, open-mouthed, and barking and panting to get at us, until they were most strangled; their eyes straining in their heads, or rather starting from their sockets, as they champed and dashed the foam right and left from their coal-black muzzles. They were indeed superb creatures, all three of a bright bay colour, and about the height of a tall English staghound; but much stronger, as if there had been a cross of the bull-dog in their blood. The moment Lieutenant Sprawl stuck his very remarkable snout over the stockade, several of us having scrambled up abreast of him, the man already mentioned, as apparently the leader of the party, hailed:

"Que quieren ustedes, somos Espanoles; y unde esta la guerra entre ustedes i nostoros."

He was answered by a volley from all our pieces, and simultaneously, in the struggle to get over, half-a-dozen of us tumbled down, right into the soft mud; those who had the luck to fall on their feet sank to their knees in an instant, whilst several who fell head foremost left a beautiful cast of their phrenological developments in the mire. We fought with all our might, you may

imagine, to extricate ourselves, but two out of the group were instantly pinned in their clay moulds, by the boarding-pikes of the slaver's crew, and died miserably where they fell, while several others were wounded by shot; but more of our fellows continued to pour in after us, and there we soon were, thirty men at the fewest, struggling and shouting, and blazing away, using the dead bodies of our fallen comrades as stepping-stones to advance over; while about fifteen more, as a reserve under little Binnacle, had perched themselves on the top of the stockade in our rear, and kept pouring in a most destructive fire over our heads. The yells of the men, and the barking and worrying of the dogs, who had now been let loose, and who were indiscriminately attacking whoever was next them, were appalling in the highest degree.

The bipeds who so manfully opposed us, it was our duty and our glory to encounter; but the dogs were the very devil-altogether out of our reckoning. It was curious to see those who feared not the face of man hanging back, and looking behind them to see if the coast were clear for a bolt, when attacked by one of the bloodhounds. So our antagonists, although so largely overmatched in numbers, had, from the ferocity of their allies and the soundness of their footing, the advantage over us, and made good their position on the wooden stage, notwithstanding all our attempts to dislodge them; and they were in the act of getting another of the carronades, no doubt loaded with grape, slued round and pointed at us, when five marines, who had scrambled through the brake, took them in flank, and attacked them from the sea face, with unexampled fury. The sergeant of the party instantly shot the leader of the Spanish crew in the back between the shoulders, when he made a staggering rush, and to my utter consternation bore me to the ground, and then fell forward right on top

“Oh for the mahogany desk jammed into the pit of my stomach !" thought I; "all your accounts are closed, Master Benjie." Still in my dreams I often fancy that I feel the convulsive clutches of the dying man, and the hot blood gurgling from his mouth down my neck, and the choking gasp, and the death-quiver.

I was not stunned however, although I must have been overlaid some time, for when I wriggled myself clear of the horrible load, our fellows had already gained the platform, led by old Davie Doublepipe, who was laying about him with his rusty weapon like a paladin of old; at one moment shredding away showers of twigs from the branches that overhung us; at another inflicting deep and deadly gashes on his antagonists; his sword raining blood as he whirled it round his head flashing like light

of me.

ning; while his loud growl, like the roaring of the surf after a gale, alternated rapidly with his tootletoo, that gushed shrill and sharp from out the infernal noise and smoke and blaze of the tumult. The Gazelles and Midges had now closed hand to hand with their antagonists, and the next minute the survivors of the latter fairly turned tail, and Aed along a narrow path, equally muddy as the one we had entered by; where many of them stuck up to the knees, and were there shot down by our people; but no attempt was made to follow them. Several men had been terribly torn by the bloodhounds, who, when their masters had Aed, noble brutes as they were, stood gasping and barking and "hanching" at us, at the entrance of the opening, thus covering their retreat; spouting out in a bound or two towards us every now and then, and immediately retiring, and yelling and barking at the top of their pipes. I was going to fire at one of them, when the Scotch corporal of marines, already introduced on the scene, took the liberty of putting in his oar. “Beg pardon, Mr. Brail, but let abee for let abee with mad dogs and daft folk, is an auld but a very true adage." I looked with an inquiring eye at the poor fellow, who appeared worn to the bone with illness, so that I was puzzled to understand how Sprawl had brought him with him; but I took his hint, and presently the canine rear-guard beat a retreat, and all was quiet for a time.

We now spiked the cannon and capsized them into the mud, where they instantly sank, and I had time to look around on the scene of the conflict. There lay two of our people stark and stiff, countersunk into the soft soil, which was gradually settling over the bodies in a bloody mire; while four wounded men were struggling

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