The Lost Heir
by G A Henty
"What is the report, McManus?" one of them asked, as he approached. "There is no change since I sent off my report last night," he said. "The General ... Show synopsis "What is the report, McManus?" one of them asked, as he approached. "There is no change since I sent off my report last night," he said. "The General is very badly hurt; I certainly should not like to give an opinion at present whether he will get over it or not. If he does it will be a very narrow shave. He was insensible till we lifted him into the doolie at eight o'clock yesterday evening, when the motion seemed to rouse him a little, and he just opened his eyes; and each time we changed bearers he has had a little ice between his lips, and a drink of lime juice and water with a dash of brandy in it. He has known me each time, and whispered a word or two, asking after the other." "And how is he?" "I have no doubt that he will do; that is, of course, if fever does not set in badly. His wounds are not so severe as the General's, and he is a much younger man, and, as I should say, with a good constitution. If there is no complication he ought to be about again in a month's time. He is perfectly sensible. Let him lie quiet for a day or two; after that it would be as well if some of you who have met him at the General's would drop in occasionally for a short chat with him; but of course we must wait to see if there is going to be much fever." "And did it happen as they say, doctor? The dispatch told us very little beyond the fact that the General was thrown from his elephant, just as the tiger sprang, and that it seized him and carried him into the jungle; that Simcoe slipped off his pad and ran in and attacked the tiger; that he saved the General's life and killed the animal, but is sadly hurt himself." "That is about it, except that he did not kill the tiger. Metcalf, Colvin, and Smith all ran in, and firing together knocked it over stone dead. It was an extraordinarily plucky action of Simcoe, for he had emptied his rifle, and had nothing but it and a knife when he ran in." "You don't say so! By Jove! that was an extraordinary act of pluck; one would almost say of madness, if he hadn't succeeded in drawing the brute off Mathieson, and so gaining time for the others to come up. It was a miracle that he wasn't killed. Well, we shall not have quite so easy a time of it for a bit. Of course Murdock, as senior officer, will take command of the brigade, but he won't be half as considerate for our comfort as Mathieson has been. He is rather a scoffer at what he calls new-fangled ways, and he will be as likely to march the men out in the heat of the day as at five in the morning." The two sergeants who had been talking walked back together to their quarters. Both of them were on the brigade staff. Sanderson was the Paymaster's clerk, Nichol worked in the orderly-room. At the sergeants' mess the conversation naturally turned on the tiger hunt and its consequences. "I have been in some tough fights," one of the older men said, "and I don't know that I ever felt badly scared-one hasn't time to think of that when one is at work-but to rush in against a wounded tiger with nothing but an empty gun and a hunting-knife is not the sort of job that I should like to tackle. It makes one's blood run cold to think of it. I consider that everyone in the brigade ought to subscribe a day's pay to get something to give that man, as a token of our admiration for his pluck and of our gratitude for his having saved General Mathieson's life." There was a general expression of approval at the idea. Then Sanderson said: "I think it is a thing that ought to be done, but it is not for us to begin it. If we hear of anything of that sort done by the officers, two or three of us might go up and say that it was the general wish among the non-coms. and men to take a share in it; but it would never do for us to begin." "That is right enough; the officers certainly would not like such a thing to begin from below. We had better wait and see whether there is any movement that way.