Perhaps it was because Henry wore armor in one act and Fussie may have barked his shins against it. Perhaps it was the firing off of the guns; but more probably it was because the play once got him into trouble. As a rule Fussie had the most wonderful sense of the stage, and at rehearsal would skirt the edge of it, but never cross it.
To the girl's manifest relief there was no more firing, and Mir Jan announced that a number of sailors were actually on shore. Then her thoughts turned to a matter of concern to the feminine mind even in the gravest moments of existence. She laved her face with water and sought her discarded skirt!
His health has been against him: his heart and his lungs have not given him the support he needs for his adventurous and stormy career. At times, when every man's hand has seemed to be against him, he has had to fight desperately with both body and mind to keep his place in the firing line.
At first we had taken it for the smoke which had been produced by the firing of the rifle and which had hung for some time about the tree. Now we knew it could not be that, for it was growing thicker and thicker, and we noticed that it had a smell very different from that of burnt powder. Moreover, it produced a stifling, choking sensation, causing us to cough, and rub our eyes with the pain.
The doctor, contrary to his expectation, finding that he had not flinched from the spot, though he had now performed one half of his career, put in practice his last effort, by firing his pistol, the noise of which no sooner reached the ears of the affrighted painter, than he recommended his soul to God, and roared for mercy with great vociferation.
The enemy were encamped but a few miles away, and that most dastardly part of warfare, the firing upon pickets from ambush, was of nightly occurrence. Manson's beat that night was over a low hill covered with scrub oak, and across part of a narrow valley, through which wound a small, marsh-bordered stream.
Two of the men were dropping before the others could reach for their own weapons, and while the rat-faced man was just turning. The third dropped without firing, and the fourth's shot went wild. Gordon was firing rapidly, but not with such a stupid attempt at speed that he couldn't aim each shot. And at that distance, it was hard to miss.
Those from the two other forts at the same time could be heard firing away. Cries and shrieks rose from wounded men, and a loud explosion, as if a gun had burst, rent the air. "The vessel attacking is a corvette," cried Rayner. "She must have run close in for her shot to strike in the way they are doing. It is a bold enterprise, and I pray she may be successful for her sake as well as ours."
Behind him sprang up the Tartar and the Kalmuck. I had already drawn my rifle on the Soyot but, as soon as I saw the Tartar and Kalmuck on their lovely horses behind him, I dropped my gun and knew all was well. The Reds let off a volley at the trio but they made good their escape behind the rocks and disappeared. The firing continued more and more lively and I did not know what to do.
The chain was frail and the links were not all carefully joined, but each particular link was good metal, and the Boer impact came upon one of the best. This was the 7th New Zealand Contingent, who proved themselves to be worthy comrades to their six gallant predecessors. Their patrols were broken by the rush of wild, yelling, firing horsemen, but the troopers made a most gallant resistance.