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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER III. THE SKIRMISH. A Hurried consultation soon followed, Captain Isabey calling his subalterns around him. They now knew that a strong force lay before them, and that Malegnano was held by the Austrian rear guard. From their prisoner they could extract nothing. On his becoming again conscious?he had been gagged, for fear his voice should reach the ears of the Austrian vidette, known to be within a quarter of a mile of them; but Captain Isabey, placing two of his troopers beside the Austrian as he lay on the ground, with orders to discharge their pistols into his head if he attempted to shout, had questioned him. Whether it was that the French officer's German was none of the purest, or that the Austrian's hot blood had not been sufficiently cooled by his bath, matters not. Sullen and obstinate, his black glittering eye rolled from side to side as he looked at first one, then another of the pistol barrels, the cold iron almost touching his wet, dirt-begrimed forehead. At one time his chest filled, and his mouth opened as though, in defiance of death, he had determined to alarm his men; but Captain Isabey'sLand was over his mouth, and the gag was instantly replaced, not, however, before a sullen and disdainful smile had passed over the face of the fallen officer. Again Isabey and his officers assembled, and it was finally arranged that the Austrian outpost should be attacked before sunrise, and that performed, the little troop were to fall back on the French advance as rapidly as possible. The men were soon at work with their swords on the long maize, the bundles of forage each trooper carried, were thrown to the horses, provisions were taken from the haversacks, and though they dared not water their horses, or light a fire, neither the one nor the other seemed to be c...
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