in bitter mockery of the distant mob, the old tune of the Old Line shrilled and rattled:—
Some talk of Alexander,
There was a far-off clapping of hands from the Gurkhas, and a roar from the Highlanders in the distance, but never a shot was fired by British or Afghan. The two little red dots moved forward in the open parallel to the enemy’s front.
This is from “The Drums of the Fore and Aft”
A raw English regiment has fled in a fight with an Afghan force. Two drummer boys have been stranded out on the battlefield. Rather than run they march up and down to rally their comrades.
The regiment comes back to the fight but it is too late for the boys, who fall to the next volley.