The General lowered his glasses. Covered with dust, and breathless, Weldon was before him.
"Mount every available man, and gallop to the scene of action!"
Orderlies carried the command to the different regiments. Before the mounted men could start, the infantry were half-way to the guns. But already shells were falling into the camp, telling every man that the guns were in the hands of the Boers.
In the forefront of the remainder of his squadron, Weldon found himself borne onward in the rush, straight from the camp to the right flank of the guns. The broncho's swinging trot had long since changed to a gallop, and her eyes were flashing with the wicked light of her old, unbroken days, as she went tearing across the sun- baked veldt, up and down over the rises and through the rare bits of thicket at a pace which Weldon would have been powerless to check. He had no mind to check it. The crisp air, full of ozone and warmed by the sun, set his cheeks to tingling with its impact. A true rider, he let his mood follow the temper of his horse and, like a pair of wild things, they went bolting away far towards the head of the squadrons.
And always the firing of the guns grew nearer and faster and more murderous.
He took no note of passing moments, none of the miles he had ridden during the past days. These counted for naught, while, with photographic distinctness, the picture before him fixed itself sharply in his mind: the dust-colored troops on the dusty veldt, the brown-painted guns, the distant line of the enemy's fire and, far to the eastward, the wall of smoke which was fast sweeping towards them from the acres of burning veldt.
"Captain Frazer, the General orders you to take up your position in the kraal on the extreme right, and to hold it at any cost."
From his place at the Captain's side, Weldon glanced at the orderly, then, turning, looked across the veldt to the four gray walls surrounding the clump of trees a mile away. His hand tightened on the curb, and he straightened in the saddle, as the Captain led the way into the purgatory beyond, an orderly purgatory, but crossed with leaden lines of shot and shell.