Monday, 2 July 2012

Mealie-bag ramparts

      That, briefly, is how I came to join the garrison at Rorke’s Drift — and all the world knows what happened there. A hundred Warwickshire Welshmen and a handful of invalids stopped four thousand Udloko and Tulwana Zulus in bloody shambles at the mealie-bag ramparts, hammer and tongs and no quarter through that ghastly night with the burning hospital turning the wreckage of the little outpost into a fair semblance of Hell, and Flashy seeking in vain for a quiet corner — which I thought I’d found, once, on the thatch of the commissariat store, and damned if they didn’t set fire to that, too. Eleven Victoria Crosses they won, Chard with his beard scorched, Bromhead stone-deaf, and those ragged Taffies half-dead on their feet, but not too done to fight — oh, and talk.

Flashman and the Tiger, pp.287-8, Harper Collins, paperback edition 2000.

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