THE FALL OF QUEBEC 99
"The enemy, sir, they give way everywhere !"
Like a flash all the old energy returned.
"Go, one of you, to Colonel Burton," was the order, keen and capable as ever, "tell him to cut off the retreat at the bridge. . . . Now, God be praised, I die in peace!"
The words were distinct, but the exertion was too great, and in a few moments the dauntless soul of James Wolfe had taken its flight.'
In the meantime, Montcalm, still on horse-back, and striving to rally his men, was borne backward among the shouting, surging ranks. Nearing the ramparts, a shot struck him in the body, and he would have fallen, had he not been supported on either side.
Desperate as was the struggling throng, a little space was formed, through which the
' The death of General Wolfe, at the critical moment of victory, was regarded by the troops with profound grief, resembling that felt at the similar fate of Nelson. In both cases the joy and significance of success was completely over-shadowed for the time by sorrow and consternation. The event on the Plains of Abraham was embodied in numerous poetical efforts on the part of the soldiers, one of which, written in Gaelic by a sergeant of the 78th Highlanders, alluded with deep pathos to "the precious blood of the General flowing to the ground." This song is still extant, and is said to be of exceptional merit.