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only been two grand halts. "Patience; we
shall soon come to a stop," grumbles a
rifleman.—"Ah, yes, stop, indeed!" replies
his comrade. "Just look there, at the
general. You see the two gipsies who are
come to speak to him, and you know very
well that whenever he listens to the dirty
fellows' humbug, we have to suffer for it."

Meanwhile a halt is ordered; some wells
have been found, and a meal must be
prepared. ''This is a good one!" they shout
in all directions. "Every well is salt; not a
single one contains good water." Still they
refresh themselves a little with a wash, and
they hope that the water will lose its taste
by boiling. The hope is vain; the coffee and
the rice are obliged to be thrown away; it is
impossible to swallow them. They munch
a little biscuit, and set off again; the rifleman's
prophecy having come to pass. Soon
after starting, the excess of the fatigue begins
to declare itself; press forward they must
notwithstanding. Messages from the general
are constantly repeated that the enemy is
there, close by, and that they may capture
his camp. Once in sight of the deïra, one
battalion will proceed to the right, another
to the left, while the third will rush down
upon him; the cavalry will cut off the
enemy's retreat.

All this causes great excitement, and gives
a little patience for a while; but by two or
three o'clock in the afternoon of the second
day, they have been more than six-and-thirty
hours on foot, and there is not a word about
encamping yet. "Decidedly, this is too much
of a good thing," is remarked in the ranks.
"We are going further than the South; we
have left the famous South behind us.
They are abusing and overworking our
legs. A few days more like this, and we
shall get back to France by the overland
route."

Then begins a veritable march of suffering.
The men unable to stand steadily on their
crippled feet, limp onwards, supporting
themselves mainly on the tips of their toes. It is
difficult to describe the movements by which
men, overwhelmed with fatigue, contrive to
drag their aching limbs along, by the power
of their energetic will. It is at once the gait
of an idiot, of a paralytic, and of a drunken
man. At every instant the general is obliged
to stop the vanguard, to allow the body of
the column to join them. It takes a long
time to make a little way.

Still, examples of courage abound. A
rifleman showed symptoms of great weakness.
Several times he was near falling; he
was advised to ask for the use of a pannier.
"Not I," he answered, "I have never yet
mounted the mules, and I hope I shall not
have to make their acquaintance." And he
continued to drag himself along. At last he
sunk, and fainted; he was carried to the
hospital department. A few minutes
afterwards, he was dead. The heroism of this
simple rifleman, with no other motive than
his soldierly reputation in the eyes of his
comrades, made him struggle with fatigue
to the death.

And thus the end of the day is reached,
and the position approached which was
indicated to the general as the site of the enemy's
camp. At a final halt, the column is rallied
as much as possible; every man prepares to
make a supreme effort. They advance in
silence; being at the foot of the rising
ground which hides the deïra from view;
they mount it, and beholdnothing. The
vigilant and indefatigable Arabs have raised
their camp, at the very first signal of their
outpost. Only an hour ago they were here;
witness the fires not yet extinguished, the
skins of fresh-slain beasts, and numerous
other recent traces. With what, and how, is
it possible to pursue them? They are all in
high vigour, and have already made a good
start in advance. Their opponents, certainly,
would sustain a conflict, and do honour to
their flag; but another forced march, under
present circumstances, is an utter impossibility.

The general decides to bivouac, after having
kept his column on the march for two-and-
forty hours. The excursion continues
several days longer, in the same style, and
then they return to the Tell, either re-entering
Tlemcen itself; or, merely revictualling,
to perform new peregrinations.

These sallies into the Desert are always paid
for, after the return, by a great deal of sickness
amongst the troops, mostly acute dysenteries
or intractable fevers.

MR. CHARLES DICKENS'S
READINGS.

MR. CHARLES DICKENS will read at HUDDERSFIELD on
the 8th; at WAKEFIELD on the 9th; at YORK on the 10th;
at HARROWGATE on the 11th; at SCARBOROUGH on the
13th; at HULL on the 14th; at LEEDS on the 15th; at
HALIFAX on the 16th; at SHEFFIELD on the 17th; at
MANCHESTER on the 18th; at DARLINGTON on the 21st; at
DURHAM on the 22nd; at SUNDERLAND on the 23rd; at
NEWCASTLE on the 24th and 25th; at EDINBURGH on the
27th, 28th, 29th, and 30th of September.

Now ready, price Five Shillings and Sixpence,
bound in cloth,

THE SEVENTEENTH VOLUME
OF
HOUSEHOLD WORDS.

Containing the Numbers issued between the Nineteenth
of December last year, and the Twelfth of June in
the present year.

To be had of all Booksellers.

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