Rudolf Erich Raspe: Gulliver revived, London 1786 (R3)

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We had very hot work once in the van of the army, when we drove the Turks into Oczackow. My spirited Lithuanian had almost brought me into a scrape. I had an advanced forepost, and saw the enemy coming against me in a cloud of dust, which left me rather uncertain about their actual numbers and real intentions. To wrap myself up in a similar cloud of dust was common prudence, but would not have much advanced my knowledge, or answered the end for which I had been sent out. Therefore I let my flankers on both wings spread to the right and left, and make what dust they could, and I myself led on straight upon the enemy, to have a nearer sight of them; in this I was gratified for they stood and fought, till for fear of my flankers, they began to move off rather disorderly. This was the moment to fall upon them with spirit—We broke them entirely, made a terrible havock amongst them—and drove them not only back to a walled town in their rear, but even through it, contrary to our most sanguine expectation.

By reason of the swiftness of my Lithuanian I had been foremost in the pursuit, and seeing the enemy fairly flying through the opposite gate, I thought it would be prudent to stop in the market-place to order the trumpet to rendezvous. I stopt, gentlemen, but judge of my astonishment, when in this market-place I saw neither trumpet nor any living body of my huzars about me. Are they scouring the other streets? or what is became of them? they could not be far off, and must, at all events, soon join me. In that expectation I walked my panting Lithuanian to a spring in the market-place, and let him drink. He drunk uncommonly—with an eagerness not to be satisfied, but natural enough, for when I looked round for my men, what should I see, gentlemen? the hind part of the poor creature, croup and legs were missing, as if he had been cut in two, and the water run out as it came in, without either refreshing him or doing him any good. How it could have happened was quite a mystery to me, till I returned with him to the town gate. There I saw that when I rushed in pell-mell with the flying enemy, they had dropt the port-cullis*, and unperceived by me, which haad totally cut off his hind part, that lay still quivering on the outside of the gate. It would have been an irreparable loss, had not our farrier contrived to bring both parts together while hot. He sewed them up with sprigs and young shoots of laurels that were just at hand—the wound healed and what could not have happened but to so glorious a horse, the sprigs took root in his body, grew up, and formed a bower over me, so that afterwards I could go upon many other expeditions in the shade of my own and my horseʼs laurels.

*A heavy falling door with sharp spikes at the bottom, let down suddenly to prevent the entrance of an enemy into a fortified town.

R3, S. 36-41



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