THE REPULSE AT THE REDAN
The first impulse of Jack, after having stowed his traps in the tent and introduced himself to his new mess-mates, was to make his way to the lines of the 33d. Here he found that Harry had been sent home sick in January, but that he had sailed from England again with a draft, and was expected to arrive in the course of a few days. Jack found but few of the officers still there whom he had before known. Several, however, were expected shortly back either from England or from the hospitals at Scutari.
Greatly relieved to find that his brother was alive and well, Jack returned to the naval camp, where he speedily made himself at home. When he first mentioned to his messmates, two lads about his own age, that he had been a prisoner in Russia, the statement was received with incredulity, and when, at their request, he proceeded to tell some of his adventures, they regarded him with admiration as the most stupendous liar they had ever met. It was long indeed before his statements were in any way believed, and it was only when, upon the occasion of one day dining with the officer in command of the brigade, Jack, at his request, related in the presence of several officers his adventures in Russia, that his statements were really accepted as facts; for it was agreed that whatever yarns a fellow might invent to astonish his comrades, he would not venture upon relating them as facts to a post-captain. This, however, was later on.
On the morning after his arrival all was expectation, for it was known that the bombardment was about to recommence. At half-past two o’clock the roar of 157 guns and mortars in the British batteries, and over 800 in those of the French, broke the silence, answered a minute or two later by that of the Russian guns along their whole line of batteries. The day was hot and almost without a breeze, and the smoke from so vast a number of guns hung heavily on the hill-side, and nothing could be seen as to the effect which the cannonade was producing. It was not until next morning that the effect of the fire was visible. The faces of the Russian batteries were pitted and scarred, but no injury of importance had been inflicted upon them. All day the fire continued with unabated fury on the side of the allies, the Russians replying intermittently. Presently the news circulated through the camp that an assault would be made at six o’clock, and all officers and men of duty thronged the brow of the plateau, looking down upon the town.