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No Quarter!
written by "Reid, Mayne, 1818-1883"
... be, as told by the pattering of their horses’ hoofs on the firm causeway. Kyrle’s scouting party had gone out not half this number, yet there was Kyrle himself, talking and laughing the loudest. Many of the guard—officers and soldiers—knew his voice well, and could not be mistaken about it. What then meant the sooner return of the cornet, without his standard, and with a tale of disaster? Had he retreated from a conflict still undecided, afterwards ending in favour of the Royalist forces? It might be so. By this the approaching party had got nearly up to the gate, in front of which the causeway showed a wide gap, and through it, far below, the flooded river surging angrily on. The officer in command of the guard was about to call out, “Who comes?” when anticipated by a hail from the opposite side, pronounced in tone of demand,—“Hoi over there! Let the drawbridge down!” “For whom?” “Kyrle and party. We’ve taken prisoners threescore Roundheads, and sent as many more to kingdom come. Be quick, and let us in. We’re soaking wet, and hungry as wolves!” “But, Colonel Kyrle,” doubtingly objected the officer, “your cornet has just passed in, with the report that you and your party were made prisoners! How is it—” “Oh, he’s got back, has he?” interrupted the ready Kyrle, though for an instant non-plussed. “The coward! And double scoundrel, telling such a tale to screen himself! Why, he dropped his standard at sight of the enemy, and skulked off before we had come to blows! Ah! I’ll make short work of it with him.” While he was speaking there came a flash of lightning more vivid than any that had late preceded, bright enough and sufficiently prolonged for the soldiers on guard to see those on the other side of the chasm throughout the whole extended line. In front some half-score files of Kyrle’s Light Horse, w...

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