The fire was destructive, and many of the Scots were killed, Hepburn and Munro having a narrow escape, a cannonball passing just over their heads as they were sitting together by a fire.
Munro's soldiers had had but little of that hand to hand fighting in which men's blood becomes heated and all thought of danger is lost in the fierce desire to kill. Their losses had been caused by the storm of cannonball and bullet which had swept through them, as, panting and breathless, they struggled up the steep slopes, incapable of answering the fire of the enemy.
One of these fellows, after being separated from his corps, had been struck by a cannonball which had cut off both his legs and killed his horse. A French officer on a reconnoitering tour on the bank of the river where this Russian had fallen, perceived at some distance an object which appeared to be a dead horse, and yet he could see that it moved.
If that man is a republican, it is the Bastile that has made him one; and if he ever shall have a fair opportunity of displaying his genius, unless a cannonball stops his career I should conceive him capable of producing a powerful impression on Europe." The conversation might again have become stormy but for the entrance of a patrol, for whom a vacant space at the table had been left.
To this David used to reply, with a sigh, "Ah, hinny, thou kenn'st little o't; but that saam John Scrimgeour, that blew open the gates of heaven as an it had been wi' a sax-pund cannonball, used devoutly to wish that most part of books were burnt, except the Bible.
"My sister marries your father, and, in consequence well! a muffin now and then ain't so very much. We'll forget it, though it is a breach, mind, in counting up afterwards, and two-pences every day's equal to a good big cannonball in the castle-wall at the end of the year. Have you written home?" Dahlia's face showed the bright anguish of unshed tears. "Uncle-oh! speak low. I have been near death.
So with this highly figurative view of the situation from the lips of the governor of the place and the commander-in-chief of the English as well as the Dutch garrison, they were fain to go home and bury their dead, finding when they returned that another cannonball had carried away poor Bartholomew's coffin-lid.
Ludwig declared that each bore the name of the person buried beneath, and Carl insisted that they had no names but only the heraldic arms of the deceased painted on a black ground, with the date of the death in gilt letters. "I ought to know," said Carl, "for I walked across to the east side, to look for the cannonball Mother told me was embedded there.
She leaps on courageously; now she reaches the house, she disappears through the door, and no sooner has she entered than a cannonball strikes the wall right above the door. After a very brief space of time, Eliza Wallner reappears in the door. On her head she carries a keg, which she supports with both her uplifted arms.
It angled off to one side and back, and suddenly dropped again and plunged crazily through the maze of ships from one end to the other, no more than fifty feet above the water and with geysers of up-flung sea all about it from the shells that missed. Then it sped away with a velocity which simply was not conceivable. It was the speed of a cannonball.