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By George Manville Fenn
Peninsular War, 1807-1814 – Juvenile fiction
A Story of Boy-Life during the Peninsular War
George Manville Fenn
A young private, Penton Gray, known as Pen, is injured during an engagement in the Peninsular War. When he comes to he finds that the boy bugler, Punch, from his regiment, is lying injured close by. The British troops are near, but the area where the boys are is occupied by the French, who are the enemy. The boys need to recover from their wounds, and then to get back to their regiment. They have numerous adventures, and meet several people who help them, including the deposed Spanish King.
Eventually they reach their regiment where they are interviewed by the commanding officer, who realises that the young private has actually had the education normally needed for an officer, and that he has the knowledge needful to lead the troops through the mountains to take the French in the rear. This engagement is very successful, leading to the routing of the French. As a result Private Gray is made up to officer rank.
The book is well written, and is an enjoyable read or listen.
!TENTION, A STORY OF BOY—LIFE DURING THE PENINSULAR WAR, BY GEORGE MANVILLE FENN.
TO SAVE A COMRADE.
A sharp volley, which ran echoing along the ravine, then another, just as the faint bluish smoke from some hundred or two muskets floated up into the bright sunshine from amidst the scattered chestnuts and cork—trees that filled the lower part of the beautiful gorge, where, now hidden, now flashing out and scattering the rays of the sun, a torrent roared and foamed along its rocky course onward towards its junction with the great Spanish river whose destination was the sea.
Again another ragged volley; and this was followed by a few dull, heavy—sounding single shots, which came evidently from a skirmishing party which was working its way along the steep slope across the river.
There was no responsive platoon reply to the volley, but the skirmishing shots were answered directly by crack! crack! crack! the reports that sounded strangely different to those heavy, dull musket—shots which came from near at hand, and hardly needed glimpses of dark—green uniforms that dotted the hither slope of the mountain—side to proclaim that they were delivered by riflemen who a few minutes before were, almost in single line, making their way along a rugged mountain—path.
A second glance showed that they formed the rear—guard of a body of sharpshooters, beyond whom in the distance could be made out now and then glints of bright scarlet, which at times looked almost orange in the brilliant sunshine–orange flashed with silver, as the sun played upon musket—barrel and fixed bayonet more than shoulder—high.
The country Spain, amidst the towering Pyrenees; the scarlet that of a British column making its way along a rugged mule—path, from which those that traversed it looked down upon a scene of earthly beauty, and upwards at the celestial blue, beyond which towered the rugged peaks where here and there patches of the past winter’s snow gleamed and sparkled in the sun.
Strategy had indicated retreat; and the black—green, tipped at collar and cuff with scarlet, of England’s rifle—regiment was covering the retiring line, when the blue—coated columns of the French General’s division had pressed on and delivered the wild volleys and scattered shots of the skirmishers which drew forth the sharp, vicious, snapping reply of the retreating rear—guard.
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