Their actions were also paralyzed by divided counsels: their commander, an old general named Danican, moved his men hesitatingly; he wasted precious minutes in parleying, and thus gave time to Barras' small but compact force to fight them in detail. Buonaparte had skilfully disposed his cannon to bear on the royalist columns that threatened the streets north of the Tuileries.
They saw to their right the vast volume of fire and smoke, while the roaring of the cannon and rifles was like the continued sweep of a storm. The youthful soldier may be nervous and excited, or he may be calm. This was one of Dick's calm moments, and, while he watched and listened and tried to measure all that he saw and heard, he noted that the crash of the battle was moving slowly backward.
According to Moslem chroniclers the valour of Kheyr-ed-Din was only equalled by his piety; consequently he murmured a prayer into that famous beard of his, which was now so much nearer to white than red, and gave orders that the cannon shall be immediately disembarked.
With a few cannon, he knew that he could sweep all the approaches to the palace; and, on Barras' orders, he despatched a dashing cavalry officer, Murat a name destined to become famous from Madrid to Moscow to bring the artillery from the neighbouring camp of Sablons.
A spectator, who was on board a vessel at a distance, describes the scene: "The two fleets were now enveloped in a cloud of smoke so dense that it was impossible to form a judgment of the fierceness of the battle otherwise than by the horrible noise of the cannon with which the air resounded, and by the mountains of fire which every now and then were seen rising out of the smoke, with a crash that gave sufficient notice that whole ships were blowing up.
But it never came to that. On returning to the place of combat Fatia Negra found his horsemen still searching in the mud and darkness for the lost ducats, and made an attempt to reorganize his band, which did, indeed, do a little maurauding on its own account; but when the news reached him, through one of his paid spies, that four hundred infantry with a cannon had reached Szászvár from Szeb the very word "a connon" had such an effect upon the robbers that they scattered in every direction as if a tempest had dispersed them.
He discovered that a permanent settlement was contemplated by the French within the British territory, and notwithstanding the vigilance of the garrison, he contrived to bring back with him a plan of their fort on a branch of French Creek, fifteen miles south of Lake Erie, and an accurate description of its form, size, construction, cannon, and barracks.
Old Malcolm Fraser sent the sad news to Tom's friends in Scotland. "I am not fit to write much," he said, but he found comfort in the thought that the young Captain died gallantly and that the enemy "must have suffered great loss of men, as they were entirely drove off the Field and they lost a piece of cannon. But, alas! all this can afford little consolation to his good and afflicted mother."
The spectators had hardly recovered from the astonishment which this display caused, when the train suddenly entered a Chinese village, which proved to be but the portal to the imperial palace of Tzarkoselo. The palace was lighted with an infinite number of wax candles. For two hours the guests amused themselves with dancing. Suddenly there was a grand discharge of cannon.
Around this space were planted cannon; the most violent of the Federalists were stationed about the scaffold; and the vile rabble, always ready to insult genius, virtue, and misfortune, when a signal is given it to do so, crowded behind the ranks of the Federalists, and alone manifested some outward tokens of satisfaction. At ten minutes past ten the carriage stopped.