William's advance-guards drove the Irish outposts before them; the pioneers cutting down the hedges and filling up the ditches, until they came to a narrow pass between two bogs, where a considerable body of Irish horse and foot were assembled to dispute the pass. Two field-pieces were brought up, which played with such effect upon the Irish horse that they soon quitted their post.
While we are on the subject, let me tell you about another of these advance-guards of civilization who, single-handed, transformed a worthless island in the Sulu Sea into a veritable Garden of the Lord and its inhabitants from warlike savages into peaceful and prosperous farmers.
The French and Prussian advance-guards met eventually, at Schleitz: where there took place, in view of the Emperor, a minor action in which the enemy were defeated; it was for them an ill-omened beginning. That same day, Prince Louis, with a body of ten thousand men, found himself stationed in Saalfeld.
These advance-guards were, however, pushed back by the Turks, whose leader and evil genius, the half-Polish and German-educated adventurer, Enver, had conceived an ambitious design of encircling the Russian armies between Sarikamysh and Ardahan. In December the Turks succeeded in making their arduous way across the snow-clad mountains, and on 1 January they were in Ardahan.
I kept my advance-guards constantly feeling of both, and got through the period till Rosecrans joined me with nothing more serious than some sharp affairs of detachments. I was not without anxiety, however, and was constantly kept on the alert.
We have been worked desperately hard for more than four months; we are grunting doggedly away at our job, not because we like it, but because we know it is the only thing to do. To march, to dig, to extend, to close; to practise advance-guards and rear-guards, and pickets, in fair weather or foul, often with empty stomachs that is our daily and sometimes our nightly programme.
After dining, Lawrence returned to the baggage-mules with an unaccountable depression of spirits upon him, and deeply absorbed with the question whether rear-guards ever overtook advance-guards, and what, if they did, usually became of intervening main bodies.
In fact, his movements were so hurried that the advance-guards of both armies met by accident at Fombio on May eighth, where a sharp engagement resulted in a victory for the French. Laharpe, who had shown his usual courage in this fight, was killed a few hours later, through a mistake of his own soldiers, in a night mêlée with the pickets of a second Austrian corps.
As for the fish, the boats had made small catches dips among the straggling advance-guards of the great armies of pilchards surely drawing in from the Atlantic. "'Tis early days yet, hows'ever time enough, my sons plenty time!" promised Un' Benny Rowett, patriarch of the fishing-fleet and local preacher on Sundays.
"Alphonse Karr said a capital thing before the war with Prussia: 'You consider war to be inevitable? Very good. Let everyone who advocates war be enrolled in a special regiment of advance-guards, for the front of every storm, of every attack, to lead them all!" "A nice lot the editors would make!" said Katavasov, with a loud roar, as he pictured the editors he knew in this picked legion.