Ten days later Lord Raglan died. He was a brave soldier, an honorable man, a most courteous and perfect English gentleman, but he was most certainly not a great general. He was succeeded by General Simpson, who appears to have been chosen solely because he had, as a lad, served in the Peninsula; the authorities seeming to forget that for the work upon which the army was engaged, no school of war could compare with that of the Crimea itself, and that generals who had received their training there were incomparably fitter for the task than any others could be.
Two days after the repulse at the Redan, Jack was delighted by the entry of his brother into his tent. Harry had of course left England before the receipt of Jack’s letter written when he had crossed the frontier, and was overwhelmed with delight at the news which he had received ten minutes before, on arriving at the camp, that his brother was alive, and was again with the naval brigade close by. Jack’s tent-mates were fortunately absent, and the brothers were therefore able to enjoy the delight of their meeting alone, and, when the first rapture was over, to sit down for a long talk. Jack was eager to learn what had happened at home, of which he had heard nothing for six months, and which Harry had so lately left. He was delighted to hear that all were well; that his elder sister was engaged to be married; and that although the shock of the news of his death had greatly affected his mother she had regained her strength, and would, Harry was sure, be as bright and cheerful as ever when she heard of his safety. Not till he had received answers to every question about home would Jack satisfy his brother’s curiosity as to his own adventures, and then he astonished him indeed with an account of what he had gone through.
“Well, Jack, you are a lucky fellow!” Harry said, when he had finished. “To think of your having gone through all those adventures and living to tell of them. Why, it will be something to talk about all your life.”
“And you, Harry, are you quite recovered?”
“I am as well as ever,” Harry said. “It was a case of typhus and frost-bite mixed. I lost two of my toes, and they were afraid that I should be lame in consequence. However, I can march well enough for all practical purposes, though I do limp a little. As to the typhus, it left me very weak; but I soon picked up when the wind from England was blowing in my face. Only to think that all the time I was grieving for you as dead and buried by the Russians among the hills over there that you were larking about with those jolly Russian girls.”
“Oh, yes, that’s all very well,” Jack said. “But you must remember that all that pretty nearly led to my being hung or shot; and it was a hot time among those Poles, too, I can tell you.”
The next few days passed quietly. On the 12th of July Jack rode out with his commanding officer, who, with many others, accompanied the reconnaissance made by the Turks and French, on a foraging and reconnoitring party, towards Baidar, but they did not come in contact with the Russians.