“Cornet Carlton, Light Dragoons, your Excellency; the same officer who saved your Excellency’s despatch and my life, that I mentioned to you some half hour since,” was the earnest reply, of one of the aides. “Gallant fellow, bravely done, only a Cornet, must have his Lieutenancy, Hargraves, see that I do not forget this in my despatches to the Government to-morrow.” Then, turning to his Chief of Staff, said, “Give orders for the Dragoons and Light Artillery to pursue for half an hour. The enemy is beaten at all points, and get the Infantry under canvass with as little delay as possible.” “The action is over,” said the Commander-in-chief, closing his field glass, and with his staff left the ground. And thus, after two days hard fighting, the name of Chillianwalla was added to the list of victories that has been emblazoned on the page of history, showing the prowess and valour of British troops in India, and the name of Arthur Carlton was added to the list of Lieutenants borne on the muster roll of the Light Dragoons.
It is not our intention to take the reader over the battle fields of Peshawa, suffice it to say that our Dragoon, with his regiment, scoured the plains of the Punjaub up to the very mouth of the Iron Kybre itself, which had proved fatal to so many of our gallant countrymen.
A group of officers had assembled around the withered and charred stump of a large tree, chatting and smoking, the ruddy glare of the neighboring camp fire throwing its fitful light upon the uniform and accoutrements of the little party, showing them to be no other than our old friends of H.M. Light Dragoons, waiting for the order to commence their morning’s march.
“Why are we not on the move?” enquired Major Hackett, as he joined them.
“Something gone wrong with the baggage, I suppose,” responded one of the party, “but here comes old Rations, (for it was by this name that the Quartermaster was usually styled by the men of his Regiment) he, perhaps, can tell us something about it.”
“Well, Quartermaster, can you explain the cause of the delay. Have you seen the Colonel, or are we to be kept here all day?” and the Major flung away the end of his cigar with an air of annoyance. The good-humored Quartermaster explained, in somewhat of a round-about way, that everything would be all right in a few minutes.
“Out with it, Davison, tell us what is the row. You don’t laugh all over your face and half way down your back for nothing, I know,” said Arthur, reining up his horse alongside that of the Quartermaster, who, by the way, was a special friend of our young Lieutenant. “Just illuminate and turn on the gas a little, as it were.”