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Unformatted text preview: Officer. And there was the Black Officer kneeling to him! "Well, what they said, Shamus could not hear, and presently they walked away, and the Black Officer came back alone. "He took them to England, but never to London, and they never saw the King. He took them to Portsmouth, and they were embarked for India, where we were fighting the French. There was a town we couldn't get into" (Seringapatam?), "and the Black Officer volunteered to make a tunnel under the walls. Now they worked three days, and whether it was
23 ANGLING SKETCHES the French heard them and let them dig on, or not, any way, on the third day the French broke in on them. They kept sending men into the tunnel, and more men, and still they wondered who was fighting within, and how we could have so large a party in the tunnel; so at last they brought torches, and there was no man alive on our side but the Black Officer, and he had a wall of corpses built up in front of him, and was fighting across it. He had more light to see by than the French had, for it was dark behind him, and there would be some light on their side. So at last they brought some combustibles and blew it all up. Three days after that we took the town. Some of our soldiers were sent to dig out the tunnel, and with them was Shamus Mackenzie." "And they never found the Black Officer," I said, thinking of young Campbell in Sekukoeni's fighting koppie. "Oh, yes," said the boatman, "Shamus found the body of the Black Officer, all black with smoke, and he laid him down on a green knoll, and was standing over the dead man, and was thinking of how many places they had been in together, and of his own country, and how he wished he was there again. Then the dead man's face moved. "Shamus turned and ran for his life, and he was running till he met some officers, and he told them that the Black Officer's body had stirred. They thought he was lying, but they went off to the place, and one of them had the thought to take a flask of brandy in his po...
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