The blood from a deep wound on his forehead was pouring over his face, and Heideck saw that only by the greatest exertion of will could he keep himself on his legs. He wanted to reply, but the Colonel had already again hurled himself into the tangled throng of fighters, and a few seconds later fell under the butt-end blows and sabres of the Russians.
Then Hermann Heideck turned his horse and galloped off.
IN THE PANIC-STRICKEN CITY
As on his ride to Colonel Baird’s brigade, so also was Heideck on his return threatened by manifold forms of death. Although he successfully and happily avoided all compact bodies of troops on his way across the bloody battlefield, yet single Russian horsemen came up close to him and more than once he heard the shrill whistle of bullets as they whizzed past his head. But in the battle-fever that had seized him he had no thought of danger: all his thoughts were solely occupied with the question as to how he should contrive to arrive at Lahore, in order to fulfil the last request of the Colonel.
Bleeding from several wounds, his brave stallion put forth his utmost efforts to carry his rider safely away from the turmoil of battle. The wounded animal was still able to travel a considerable distance at full gallop. But suddenly he began to slacken his pace and to stumble, and Heideck perceived that his strength was exhausted. He dismounted in order to examine the injuries the horse had sustained, and at once perceived that he could not expect further exertion from the poor brute. In addition to a bayonet-thrust on the neck, it had also a bullet-hole on the left hind flank, and it was from this wound that the blood was principally streaming. In stertorous panting the poor beast laid his head on his master’s shoulder, and Heideck stroked and patted his forehead. “Poor chap—you have done your duty, and I must leave you here behind.” And now, for the first time, the anxious dread overcame him that he, too, would not escape with his life from this battlefield, for he perceived a horseman in Indian uniform approaching him, waving a sword. Heideck drew his revolver from his belt in order to protect himself against his assailant. But he immediately recognised in his supposed enemy his faithful boy, Morar Gopal, who beamed with joy at having by chance again found his master, whom he had believed to be dead. He wanted at once to leave Heideck his horse, and to attempt to make his own way on foot. But the German officer would not accept this unselfish sacrifice on the part of his servant; but he was relieved of the necessity of again separating from his faithful henchman by the fortuitous circumstance that, at that very moment, an English officer’s riderless charger came in sight. The animal, a beautiful chestnut, was uninjured, and allowed itself to be caught without trouble. They were now in a position