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was not a single place safe from the shot and shell. On the 2d of August, a hospital caught fire, and the courage of the women was again shown by their exertions in carrying out the sick and wounded from the flames in spite of the continued shot from the enemy's batteries ; indeed, throughout the siege the number of women and boys who were killed was quite as great in proportion as that of men; the only difficulty was to keep them from running needlessly into danger.
On the 4th of August, the French opened a battery within pistol-shot of the gate called after the great Convent of St. Engracia. The mud walls were levelled at the first discharge, and after a deadly struggle the besiegers forced their way into the convent, and before the end of the day had gained all that side of the city, up to the main central street, the Cozo. General Lefebvre thought all was now over with his enemies, and summoned Palafox to surrender, in a note containing only these words :
Head-quarters, St. Engracia. Capitulation.” The answer he received was equally brief: “Head-quarters, Zaragoza. War to the knife.”
There they were. A street about as wide as PallMall was all that lay between besiegers and besieged, to whom every frail brick house had become a fortress, while the openings of the narrow cross streets were piled up with sand-bags to form batteries. Soon the space was heaped with dead bodies, either killed on the spot or thrown from the windows, and this was enough to breed a pestilence among the survivors. The French let them lie, knowing that such a disease would be the surest destruction to the garrison, and they fired on the Spaniards whenever they ventured out to bury them. Upon this Palafox devised tying ropes to his French prisoners, and driving them out to bring in the corpses for burial. The enemy would not fire on their own countrymen, and thus this danger was lessened, although not entirely removed, and sickness as well as famine was added to the misery of the brave Aragonese. The manufactory of powder, too, could no longer be carried on, but happily Don Francisco, the brother of Palafox, was able to make his way into the city with 3,000 men, and a convoy of arms and ammunition. Padre Santiago Sass, the curate of one of the parishes of Zaragoza, showed himself one of the bravest of all the brave, fighting at every hazardous point, and at other times moving about among the sick and dying to give them the last rites of the Church. No one's heart failed in that eleven days of one continual battle from house to house, from room to room, when the nights were times of more dreadful conflict than the days. Often, under cover of the darkness, a party would rush across to seize a battery; and once a Spaniard made his way under cover of the corpses, which filled the whole space between the combatants, and fastened a rope to one of the French guns. It had almost been dragged across the street, and was only lost by the breaking of the rope.
On the 8th of August, the Spaniards agreed that if they could not hold their ground in the city, they must retire across the Ebro, break down the bridge, and defend the suburbs as they had defended the streets. Only an eighth part of their city now remained to them; and on the night of the 13th the enemy's fire_was more destructive and constant than ever.
The great Convent of St. Engracia was blown up, the whole of the French part of the city glared with flaming houses, the climax of the horrors of the siege seemed to be come! But the reports of the batteries gradually ceased, and, with the early morning light, the garrison beheld the road to Pamplona filled with French troops in full retreat.
In effect, intelligence had been received of reverses to the invaders, and of extended movements among the Spaniards, which had led the French to decide on quitting Zaragoza ere these desperate defenders should be reinforced by the army which was collecting to relieve them.
Their fortitude had won the day. The carnage had ended, and it remained for them to clear their streets from the remains of the deadly strife, and to give thanks for their deliverance. Agostina, in testimony of her courage, was to receive for life the pay of an artilleryman, and to wear a little shield of honor embroidered on her sleeve.
So ended the wonderful siege of Zaragoza. It is sad to know that when the French forces came in full numbers into Spain, the brave town shared the fate of the rest of the country. But the resistance had not been in vain ; it had raised a feeling for the gallant Spaniards throughout Europe, and inspired a trust in their constancy which contributed to bring them that aid from England by which their country was, after six years, finally freed from the French usurpation.
THI "HERE is something exceedingly interesting in
knowing what a brave and generous man, who had never finched from any danger, looked back upon in his last days as the one Golden Deed of his life; and therefore among the many noble and spirited actions during the war by which the British arms chased the usurping French out of the Peninsula, that one is selected of which the doer spoke thus, forty-seven years later, when he thought himself upon his deathbed :
“As I lie here and think of my past life,” said Sir William Napier, “ I feel small,
very small indeed. I try to remember if I have done any good, but the evil far overbalances it. We shall all be weighed in the balance, and found wanting. In the eye of the great good God, earthly goodness can have no positive existence, yet he sees and makes allowances for us all, giving more credit for good and less blame for evil than our fellow-creatures' harsh judging would have done. Men should strive after those priceless virtues of patience, wisdom, charity, selfsacrifice. In looking back on my life, it would be a comfort to me now if I could remember to have done a perfectly self-sacrificing act; if I could think I had been ready and willing at any moment to lay down my life for another person's good. I try to remember, but I can't remember that I ever did. I have often run into danger, and exposed myself to pain sometimes, to save others. Yes, I have done that ! but there was always a springing hope, a sort of conviction that I should escape ; and that being so, away flies the merit. The nearest thing I ever did to absolute self-sacrifice was at Casal Novo, when I received in my back the ball that lies there still."
The old soldier's deliberate judgment of all the noblest deeds of a long life was the realizing of tlie truth that “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags,” and no eye but his own would have looked at them so critically. But let us see the manner of the one thing that “ came nearest to self-sacrifice.”
It was in the year 1811, when Wellington had entrenched his army on the slopes of Torres Vedras, in Portugal, and there, by his patience and sagacity, had repulsed the French army under Marshal Massena, and was following up retreat out of the kingdom of Portugal. The English and Portuguese troops used to rise at three in the morning, and march at four ; and on the 14th of March, when the army was setting out in the morning twilight, there was a heavy fog covering all the valley in front. Sir William Erskine, the general in command of the Light Division, consisting of the 520 and 43d Regiments and the Rifles, all the very flower of the army, was an incompetent man, and fancying the French were in full retreat, ordered his troops to move forward on their march. Some of the officers objected to the rashness of plunging into the mist without precaution ; but they were not heeded, and the order to advance was given.
The 52d moved forward first, in a column of sections, and were to be followed by the Rifles. Down the hillside they went, then across a narrow ravine at the bottom, and were mounting the steep road on the other side, when there was a sudden hail of