The Great Boer War By Arthur Conan Doyle












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White must have been now uneasy for his position, and it had become
apparent that his only course was to - Page 130
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White Must Have Been Now Uneasy For His Position, And It Had Become Apparent That His Only Course Was To Fall Back And Concentrate Upon The Town.

His left flank was up in the air, and the sound of distant firing, wafted over five miles of broken country, was the only message which arrived from them.

His right had been pushed back, and, most dangerous of all, his centre had ceased to exist, for only the 2nd Rifle Brigade remained there. What would happen if the enemy burst rudely through and pushed straight for the town? It was the more possible, as the Boer artillery had now proved itself to be far heavier than ours. That terrible 96-pounder, serenely safe and out of range, was plumping its great projectiles into the masses of retiring troops. The men had had little sleep and little food, and this unanswerable fire was an ordeal for a force which is retreating. A retirement may very rapidly become a rout under such circumstances. It was with some misgivings that the officers saw their men quicken their pace and glance back over their shoulders at the whine and screech of the shell. They were still some miles from home, and the plain was open. What could be done to give them some relief?

And at that very moment there came the opportune and unexpected answer. That plume of engine smoke which the watcher had observed in the morning had drawn nearer and nearer, as the heavy train came puffing and creaking up the steep inclines.

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