Chapter Three of the Lost Diaries

Chapter Three: A Punitive Raid!

Now Headquarters at Alexandria was not amused with the French action, and so tacitly approved of a 'punitive expedition' against them. A raid on their fort was planned; but even then I thought it imprudent. And I was proved right in this matter. 

 As it came to be I was ill with the fever (such were the conditions of the tropics in those days), and could not accompany Captain Chard that day. The account which follows came to me by Captain Chard many days later. (Here follows an account of tropical fever and its treatment...)


As the Queen and the Manatee approached the fort on the day of the raid, they found the French arrayed on a ridge before it, awaiting them. Foolishly (as one may easily say from hindsight), Captain Chard pressed on with the attack, thinking to overwhelm the French. 

 But the French, forewarned in the last fight, had prepared rockets and light guns to assail the White Manatee, and which is more, had contrived to make flying engines of their own, which resembled a giant bird, but flew by the power of its rider, who propelled it in the air with pedals in the fashion of a velocipede! I had the chance to survey one such machine later in our adventures in the Soudan, and found it a most ingenious contraption. 


The day went ill for us, as the Manatee was chased off the field by the flyers, and the Queen took several hits from the French gun and was lost. Captain Chard was greviously wounded, and had but half a breath left in him when he was brought back to Alexandria... (Here follows an account of his injuries and Captain Arjun's diagnosis and treatment.



To Chapter Four...