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HOW DAI ST. JOHN DIED. MEMORABLE SIGHT AT BEL- MONT. [By OWEN RHOSCOMYL.) Hundreds of newspapers and scores of books have given the official record of the Battle of Belmontâfirst battle on the western line of advance against the two Republicsâin the long South African a. Here, then, is a record of an incident of that battle which is not official, which is, indeed only just what one's memory retains of it, unrefreshed from that day to this by any reference to official records or any reminiscent talk with the actors in this particular scene. Therefore, it is a record liable to come out mellowed and coloured by the selecting and transmuting effect of slumbering remembrance. Sudh parts of the scene, however, aa one's temperament uncon- sciously selected for remembrance come up as vividly to-day as if one were only waking next morning and turning in one's blanket to look again at the long ridge of the newly-filled grave by the foot of the ironstone koppie. Fincham's Farm lies along the western foot of a koppie near enough to the Boer lines at Belmont lo serve as a base for battle against them. Fincham's Farm, with its wide green orchard, its tall blue- gmns, and its slim-leaved willow trees that filtered the sunlight through on f round and winding waterway; 'incham's Farm, with its low wall about its garden and orchard, its bare barn and sun-baked house and shop, but with its great cemented cistern full of clear, cool water for the men, and its dammed-up streamlet giving drinking and splashing room for all the horses and draught animals of the ArmyâFincham's Farm seemed an ideal place for a camp. Not only had it the water which is absolutely necessary for the camp of an army ⢠it had also the great ircnsione koppie, which rose from the eastern wall of its orchard and "lands" (=cultivated lands), hiding it from the eyes or bullets of the Boers on the other side of the railway. Therefore, the army camped there at mid-day, ready to attack the Boers at dawn next morn- ing- The night was a typical South African spring night on. the feldt; the stars one remembers, beautiful in the soft dark, but one does not re-call any moon. The foot Gruards, or some of them at least, came marohing up from the south in the darkness, and went on into position with the rest, as the army marched across the flat to the foot of the koppies where the Burghers were ensconced. Then one mounted a.nd rode away with one's own r^ment," singing a verse or two of "The Irish Recruit." So we leave the Guards. Daylight found the infamtry in front of an unsearched and unshaken position, and found them there without the sup- port of gunsâbut all that is history, and ancient history, to boot. We will leave it then and come to the afternoon: the afternoon, when tho Burghers had been put off the koppies in a battle where tactics were none, whereâbut no, we'll leave that, too, and say that it was after- noon, when the field was won, the battle done, and the anny returned to Fincham's Farm to camp, instead of pushing on and driving the viotory home. The clean-built guns of the splendid naval contingent were ranged at the south-east corner of the orchard, and we (who had already heard something of the dispute as to whether the guns were in their place or not at dawn that morning) had strolled across from our own lines to look at the workmanlike weapons which were to do such good work at Graspan within the next two days. And as we talked to the cheery gunners, lo! a fatigue party on our right (just east of us, that is) were digging a long trench in the sloping foot of tua koppie. "That's for the Grenadiers; that's" where they're going to bury their dead," said one of the saiiors. One oould not help a little astonish- r ment. "Do you mean that he has brought the dead all these miles back from the "field to bury them here instead of yonder, íwre they fell?H "There's the dead in the wagons," returned the sailorâand one said uo more. It was the sunset hour, and the troops had just finished their meal ("tea" they still called it) when the grave was ready, and the men came marching to the burial, some with the biscuit still in their hands or mouths. The pale-gold sun, from sooth of west, flung level rays across into the faces of the men as they stood behind the trench, the trench between them and tho s-un, and beyond the trench the wagons piled with the stsurk dead. The chaplain was reciting the reverent service for the dead; the "fatigue" men were handing down the dead from the wagons to the ground, that they might have the belts and boots taken off them before being buried. Down came the oorpses, but not smoothed corpses, with hands crossed and limbs composed: not wax-pale faces and forms closed in frilled coffins, waiting to have the cover screwed on. These were bodies of men dead as men die in battle, stiff, some of them, in the attitudes in which men pass their last breath after great agony, for few of them had been killed instantly. One, I remember, had died upon his back, his bands stretched wide and one knee drawn up. Another had lain on his chest and left shoulder, his face on his left arm, but turned to the right, his right leg and arm spread wide. But there had been no work of guns amongst them; no fragments of what had been men blown to pieces by shells. The young soldiers were spared that. Yet bodies stiffened in weird attitudes are not easy to handle. A corpse in loose khaki clothing handed down from the wagon by the crook of a bent arm or leg may overcome the young soldier who receives it to lay it on the ground. More than one of the corpses came to the ground with a clash of boots and belts, raising a. little cloud of dnet from the khaki clothing, and the level sun shone through the dust, making it like dust of gold, or faint, faint smoke of gold, in the instant of the clash, and always the rays picked out and flashed on the stain that told of death, that stain of thickened blood which the rays of the sun turn to the grim purple of imperial death âDeath's badge and livery, wherewith he ohnms his own in battle. One I remember, with bent knee and outfitmg arm, and he had been shot in the head by » bullet which had ricocheted from a boulder, for it had made a hole, from which the blood had filmed all his face with the blazon of honour. He came down with a. little olash, and one heard a gasp at one's elbow. Turning at that, one was aware of more faces than one whitening and greyingâfaces of men who had played their part like men in that splendid up- hill charge with the steel that morning. Yet men were literally sick at this sight, and by that sign one remembered that theso were men mostly new to battle: few of the-m had ever attended this after-ceremony before. A-well. and then the dead were packed away in the trench; parade was dismissed, and the men fell away. Yet, still some groups remained between tho guns and the trench, watching the earth being shovelled in and talking of this com- rade or that for whom "Last post" would never sound again. One had already returned to one's own linesâthere are many things to do in campâwhen here came one of one's own comrades, walking with long strides and kindling eyes. "By Jove!"âhe spoke with roused toneâ"they're all talking about one man. You ought to hear them, for he was a Welshman, too. He was the champion boxerâSent John his name was." "What! Di John killed!" one answered that, and then it seemed to dawn slowly upon one that Di John would, of course, be amongst the stormers that mQrning-bat "amongsrt" proved to be hardly the word. "Saint John?âor Sinjin, if you like," corrected one's comrade. "No, David John; the recruiting-ser- geant added the Saint because John seemed misleading by itself," one answered, remembering the circum- stances of that enlistment. "Well, if you knew him or knew any- thing of him in Wales you'd better go over and let them talk to you," urged the comrade. Any man who knows what used to be signified by "Llanwonno Mountain" en Sunday morning, or Aberaman in the same connection, must have heard tales of Di John. I went across, and as I got there here came more than one of my troop. "You should hear about this YV elshman they're talking of. By -111 I did hear as soon as the Guardsmen there knew that I was a Welshman, too, countryman of their dead idol. Had I been a duke it would have been all one to them thev would have made me bear. But I heard gladly. I knew enough of Di John, of his quiet ways, his good-heartedness, and of the good son he was to his old mother. And so I listened while his com- rades launched forth into the finest reward a dead ,soldier can ha-ve the swelling praise of those who are proud to the bone of having been his comrades, those who can only ease their regret by telling of his fine character and the splendidness of his end. .Not of his character did they speak first, however. If I were a Welshman it seemed to them that I would know all that already. The thing they crowded to tell was the tale of his ending, one man speaking, and the rest adding their silence in testimony of its truth. Short the story was; shorter in the telling than in the doing of it. "When it came daylight," said the man, "then we were out in the open fiat at the foot of the hill, and no guaa there to shell the Boers loose for us. We had to do the whole job ourselves, and so we did it. The bullets did come thick, an' they got thicker, but we had to go up, and so up we went with the bayonet. We charged, and it was all stones and steep; but we charged. And Sent John, he chargedâby God! he did charge. He was ahead all the way up; he never slowed for breath; he never missed a stride. Up he went, an' in be got with the bayonet ahead of all of us. You should ha' seen him. He got eleven of them-killed eleven of 'em with his own bayonet, and then one shot him while he was at it. And when he'd shot him the. Boer that did it dropped his rifle and tlyew up his hands, an' cried otit, -Mercy. for t'he rest of us were np then, an he couldn't get away. The sergeant- major was nearest. 'Mercy!' says he; 111 give you mercy!' an' with that he smacked the steel through his breast- clean through himâthe bayonet and the barrel after it, clear through, till the pip of the left hand stopped it at the back-band. 'I'll give you mercy says the sergeant-major; 'I'll give you mercy!' And that was the story of Di John's death, heading a splendid charge and leaving the story of his doing it for a legend to his battalion. Endlessly his comrades dwelt on his good qualities while he lived, and endlessly they returned to the story of his death and the vengeance taken for it by that mighty bayonet thrust of the sergeant-major. And as they taJked I thought it all over again. This one man, by his bearing amongst his comrades while he lived and by his valour in his death, had made his comrades eager to speak to any Cymro as to a man come of what must be a goodly race. Can a man do a prouder thing than that. ? "Y'ddraig goeh a ddyry gychwyn." Di John made our national motto true on the bloody slopes of Belmont. If we boast the motto, let us also boast the man who fulfilled it. *1 cannot be quite certain whether the narrator said "sergeant-major" or "colour-sergeant."