is well victualled" (so they thought), "Amherst is not arrived, and fifteen thousand men are encamped to defend it. We have lost many men by the enemy, and some by our friends; that is, we now call our nine thousand only seven thousand. How this little army will get away from a much larger, and in this season, in that country, I don't guess : yes, I do."
Scarcely had these lines reached their destination, when further despatches brought a reversal of the depressing news. Montcalm was defeated, Quebec taken, and Wolfe killed. Mixed emotions of grief and triumph swept over England, and with a packet of newspapers detailing events to Florence, Walpole gave utterance to his vivacious relief:
"You may now give yourself what airs you please," he says. "An ambassador is the only man in the world whom bullying becomes. All precedents are on your side : Persians, Greeks, Romans always insulted their neighbours when they took Quebec. Think how pert the French would have been on such an occasion ! What a scene ! An army in the night dragging itself up a precipice by stumps of trees to assault a town and attack an enemy strongly entrenched and double in numbers ! The King is over-