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HORATIO.---O, day and night, but this is wondrous strange!




HOMER has not disdained to sing of "The Battle of the Frogs and Mice," and the following incident makes the latter, to some extent, an historical character. It occurred during the lengthened contest known in history as "the war of the Spanish succession," which commenced in May, 1702, and was terminated by the Treaty of Utrecht, in April, 1713. Towards the termination of the war the siege of Aire was undertaken. A gallant defence was made; but in vain, for the remark applied by Justin to the successes of Alexander the Great-" Alexander cum nullo hostium unquam congressus est, quem non vicerit: nullam urbem obsedit, quam non expugnaverit "—is equally true of Marlborough," who never fought a battle which he did not win, nor besieged a town which he did not take." This Aire was a small but strong town of the French Netherlands, on the river Lys, and the surrounding marshes were considered to render the place almost impregnable. After several breaches had been made, and great loss sustained on both sides, the garrison surrendered on the 9th of November, 1710. Whilst the siege was being prosecuted, provisions became very scarce, and the soldiers were indebted to the labours of mice, which had accumulated hoards of corn. Strange as

the circumstance may appear, it is recorded by General Stearne, in his manuscript journal; and Captain Parker, of the Royal Regiment of Foot in Ireland, now the Eighteenth (Royal Irish) Regiment, also relates the event as follows:-" While we lay at this siege provisions happened to fall short, for a party from Ypres had destroyed our boats, laden with provisions and stores, as they were coming to us up the Lys. The country about Aire, indeed, is noted for its great produce of all sorts of grain; but the enemy had removed it out of our reach. However, we met with a considerable supply by means which, I fear, will scarcely be believed by any but those that saw it; but fact it is, that the soldiers found concealments under ground which the mice had laid up for their winter store, and that in such abundance that it was a great relief to us towards the end of the siege. These hoards were from four to six feet under ground, and in many of them our men found some pecks of corn." The work from which this extract is taken is entitled "Memoirs of the most Remarkable Transactions from the year 1683 to 1718, in Ireland and Flanders, by Captain Robert Parker, late of the Royal Regiment of Foot in Ireland, who was an eye-witness to most of them."

The mouse does not always thus act the part of a provident commissariat, for during the "Seven Years' War," memorable for the battle of Minden, and the popular Marquis of Granby, whose visage has furnished a sign for many a place of entertainment, independent of that at Dorking, described in Pickwick,* the fol

* On the opposite side of the road, was a large sign-board on a high post, representing the head and shoulders of a gentle

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lowing announcement appeared in the London Gazette of the 17th November, 1761 :

"The French have demanded from the country of Eischsfeld and Hohenstein four hundred cats; one hundred had been already delivered to them. The motive for the demand is, that the mice eat up their magazines."

After this, who shall cast a doubt on Whittington, whose feline favourite must indeed have been a veritable tortoiseshell ?

Elephants have been used in war by the moderns as well as the ancients; they were employed by Tippoo Saib, and were armed with prodigious chains, with which, when wounded before Seringapatam in 1799, they killed several of their friends.

In Hyder Ali's attack at Perambaukum, on the 6th of September, 1780, of the troops under LieutenantColonel Baillie, these sagacious animals played an important part, as shown in the following graphic description of the conflict by Captain Innes Munro, of the Seventy-third (now Seventy-first) Regiment, in his "Narrative of the Military Operations on the Coromandel Coast, from 1780 to 1784” :

"Lieutenant-Colonel Baillie could but make a feeble resistance against so superior a force; but his little band yet gallantly supported a very unequal fire, until their whole ammunition had either been

man with an apoplectic countenance, in a red coat, with deep
blue facings, and a touch of the same blue over his three-cornered
hat for a sky. Over that again were a pair of flags; beneath
the last button of his coat were a couple of cannon; and the
whole formed an expressive and undoubted likeness of the Mar-
quis of Granby, of glorious memory."-PICKWICK.


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