August 30

We were under arms at 3 o'clock a. m., but no signs of an enemy. It's a beautiful cool morning. Some think Early has gone to reinforce Lee; guess not; at any rate, an enemy is in front. The Third Division hasn't moved back to its original position as anticipated last night. Time hangs heavily and were it not for the bands I should be almost homesick; got a mail but no news from home.

Sunday, August 30th.—Orders to-day for the whole Base at Havre to pack itself up and embark at a moment's notice. So No.—, No.—, No.—, and No.— G.H., who are all here, and a Royal Flying Corps unit, the Post Office, and the Staff, and every blessed British unit, are all packing up for dear life. We may be going home, and we may be going to Brittany, to Cherbourg, or to Brest, or to Berlin.

August Thirtieth

In the rapidity with which the opportunity was seized, in the combination of the three arms, and in the vigor of the blow, Manassas is in no way inferior to Austerlitz or Salamanca. That the result was less decisive was due to the greater difficulties of the battle-field, to the stubborn resistance of the enemy, to the obstacles in the way of rapid and connected movement, and to the inexperience of the troops.

Lieut.-Col. G. F. R. Henderson, C.B.

 

Second Battle of Manassas, 1862

 

 

August 30, 1862

$25.00 more to-day. How the money comes in! Many people were here to-day, some from our neighborhood. Between our camp duties and so much visiting the time flies fast. The ladies of Hudson presented us with two beautiful flags to-day, and Colonel Cowles with a horse, saddle and bridle. It was estimated that five thousand visitors were in camp to-day. We are the 128th Regiment the State of New York has sent out. I wonder if such a time was made over each one. There was good speaking when the presents were made and accepted. We certainly are having a grand send-off.

Night. There is a circus in Hudson to-night, and the guards have their hands full keeping the 128th in camp. Many get out, and the guard-house is full of those who were caught making the attempt.

August 30

August 30, 1880. (Two o'clock ).--Rumblings of a grave and distant thunder. The sky is gray but rainless; the sharp little cries of the birds show agitation and fear; one might imagine it the prelude to a symphony or a catastrophe.

"Quel éclair te traverse, ô mon coeur soucieux?"

Strange--all the business of the immediate neighborhood is going on; there is even more movement than usual; and yet all these noises are, as it were, held suspended in the silence--in a soft, positive silence, which they cannot disguise--silence akin to that which, in every town, on one day of the week, replaces the vague murmur of the laboring hive. Such silence at such an hour is extraordinary. There is something expectant, contemplative, almost anxious in it. Are there days on which "the little breath" of Job produces more effect than tempest? on which a dull rumbling on the distant horizon is enough to suspend the concert of voices, like the roaring of a desert lion at the fall of night?

206. John Adams

Philadelphia, Saturday, 30 August, 1777.

A letter from General Washington was received last night by the President, which I read. It is dated the 29th, yesterday.

The enemy are in possession of the Head of Elk, a little town at the head of the river Elk, in which they found a quantity of corn and oats belonging to the States. Wagons were so universally taken up in conveying away the valuable effects of the inhabitants, that none could be procured to transport this grain. Part of their army has advanced to Gray's Hill, about two miles from the Head of Elk, but whether to take post there, or only to cover while they remove their plunder from the Head of Elk, is uncertain.

Our army is at Wilmington. We have many officers out reconnoitering the country and the enemy. Our scouting parties have taken between thirty and forty prisoners, and twelve deserters are come in from the fleet and eight from the army. They say the men are generally healthy, but their horses have suffered much from the voyage. These prisoners and deserters are unable to give any other intelligence. The enemy give out that they are eighteen thousand strong. But these are like Burgoyne's "make believes" and "insinuations." We know better, and that they have not ten thousand. The militia from four States are joining General Washington in large numbers. The plan of their military operations this campaign is well calculated for our advantage. I hope we shall have heads and hearts to improve it.

For my own part I feel a secret wish that they might get into this city, because I think it more for our interest that they should be cooped up here than that they should run away again to New York. But according to present appearances they will not be able to get here. By going into the Chesapeake Bay they have betrayed a dread of the fire-works in the river Delaware, which indeed are formidable. They must make the most of their time, for they cannot rationally depend upon so fine a season late in the fall and early in winter as they had the last year. September, October, and November are all that remain.

We expect, hourly, advices from Gates and Arnold. We have rumors of an expedition to Long Island under Parsons, and another to Staten Island under Sullivan, but no regular accounts. I suppose it certain that such expeditions have been made, but know not the success.

August 30

August 30, 1869.--Still some chapters of Schopenhauer. Schopenhauer believes in the unchangeableness of innate tendencies in the individual, and in the invariability of the primitive disposition. He refuses to believe in the new man, in any real progress toward perfection, or in any positive improvement in a human being. Only the appearances are refined; there is no change below the surface. Perhaps he confuses temperament, character, and individuality? I incline to think that individuality is fatal and primitive, that temperament reaches far back, but is alternable, and that character is more recent and susceptible of voluntary or involuntary modifications. Individuality is a matter of psychology, temperament, a matter of sensation or aesthetics; character alone is a matter of morals. Liberty and the use of it count for nothing in the first two elements of our being; character is a historical fruit, and the result of a man's biography. For Schopenhauer, character is identified with temperament just as will with passion. In short, he simplifies too much, and looks at man from that more elementary point of view which is only sufficient in the case of the animal. That spontaneity which is vital or merely chemical he already calls will. Analogy is not equation; a comparison is not reason; similes and parables are not exact language. Many of Schopenhauer's originalities evaporate when we come to translate them into a more close and precise terminology.

Later.--One has merely to turn over the "Lichtstrahlem" of Herder to feel the difference between him and Schopenhauer. The latter is full of marked features and of observations which stand out from the page and leave a clear and vivid impression. Herder is much less of a writer; his ideas are entangled in his style, and he has no brilliant condensations, no jewels, no crystals. While he proceeds by streams and sheets of thought which have no definite or individual outline, Schopenhauer breaks the current of his speculation with islands, striking, original, and picturesque, which engrave themselves in the memory. It is the same difference as there is between Nicole and Pascal, between Bayle and Satin-Simon.

What is the faculty which gives relief, brilliancy, and incisiveness to thought? Imagination. Under its influence expression becomes concentrated, colored, and strengthened, and by the power it has of individualizing all it touches, it gives life and permanence to the material on which it works. A writer of genius changes sand into glass and glass into crystal, ore into iron and iron into steel; he marks with his own stamp every idea he gets hold of. He borrows much from the common stock, and gives back nothing; but even his robberies are willingly reckoned to him as private property. He has, as it were, carte blanche, and public opinion allows him to take what he will.

August 30

August 30, 1872.--A priori speculations weary me now as much as anybody. All the different scholasticisms make me doubtful of what they profess to demonstrate, because, instead of examining, they affirm from the beginning. Their object is to throw up entrenchments around a prejudice, and not to discover the truth. They accumulate that which darkens rather than that which enlightens. They are descended, all of them, from the Catholic procedure, which excludes comparison, information, and previous examination. Their object is to trick men into assent, to furnish faith with arguments, and to suppress free inquiry. But to persuade me, a man must have no parti pris, and must begin with showing a temper of critical sincerity; he must explain to me how the matter lies, point out to me the questions involved in it, their origin, their difficulties, the different solutions attempted, and their degree of probability. He must respect my reason, my conscience, and my liberty. All scholasticism is an attempt to take by storm; the authority pretends to explain itself, but only pretends, and its deference is merely illusory. The dice are loaded and the premises are pre-judged. The unknown is taken as known, and all the rest is deduced from it.

Philosophy means the complete liberty of the mind, and therefore independence of all social, political, or religious prejudice. It is to begin with neither Christian nor pagan, neither monarchical nor democratic, neither socialist nor individualist; it is critical and impartial; it loves one thing only--truth. If it disturbs the ready-made opinions of the church or the state--of the historical medium--in which the philosopher happens to have been born, so much the worse, but there is no help for it.

"Est ut est aut non est,"

Philosophy means, first, doubt; and afterward the consciousness of what knowledge means, the consciousness of uncertainty and of ignorance, the consciousness of limit, shade, degree, possibility. The ordinary man doubts nothing and suspects nothing. The philosopher is more cautious, but he is thereby unfitted for action, because, although he sees the goal less dimly than others, he sees his own weakness too clearly, and has no illusions as to his chances of reaching it.

The philosopher is like a man fasting in the midst of universal intoxication. He alone perceives the illusion of which all creatures are the willing playthings; he is less duped than his neighbor by his own nature. He judges more sanely, he sees things as they are. It is in this that his liberty consists--in the ability to see clearly and soberly, in the power of mental record. Philosophy has for its foundation critical lucidity. The end and climax of it would be the intuition of the universal law, of the first principle and the final aim of the universe. Not to be deceived is its first desire; to understand, its second. Emancipation from error is the condition of real knowledge. The philosopher is a skeptic seeking a plausible hypothesis, which may explain to him the whole of his experiences. When he imagines that he has found such a key to life he offers it to, but does not force it on his fellow men.

With the Secretary to Government

[August 30, 1879.]

He is clever, I am told, and being clever he has to be rather morose in manner and careless in dress, or people might forget that he was clever. He has always been clever. He was the clever man of his year. He was so clever when he first came out that he could never learn to ride, or speak the language, and had to be translated to the Provincial Secretariat. But though he could never speak an intelligible sentence in the language, he had such a practical and useful knowledge of it, in half-a-dozen of its dialects, that he could pass examinations in it with the highest credit, netting immense rewards. He thus became not only more and more clever, but more and more solvent; until he was an object of wonder to his contemporaries, of admiration to the Lieutenant-Governor, and of desire to several Burra Mem Sahibs [A] with daughters. It was about this time that he is supposed to have written an article published in some English periodical. It was said to be an article of a solemn description, and report magnified the periodical into the Quarterly Review. So he became one who wrote for the English Press. It was felt that he was a man of letters; it was assumed that he was on terms of familiar correspondence with all the chief literary men of the day. With so conspicuous a reputation, he believed it necessary to do something in religion. So he gave up religion, and allowed it to be understood that he was a man of advanced views: a Positivist, a Buddhist, or something equally occult. Thus he became ripe for the highest employment, and was placed successively on a number of Special Commissions. He inquired into everything; he wrote hundredweights of reports; he proved himself to have the true paralytic ink flux, precisely the kind of wordy discharge or brain hæmorrhage required of a high official in India. He would write ten pages where a clod-hopping collector would write a sentence. He could say the same thing over and over again in a hundred different ways. The feeble forms of official satire were at his command. [He could bray ironically at subordinate officers. He had the inborn arrogance required for official "snubbing." Being without a ray of good feeling or modesty, he could allow himself to write with ceremonial rudeness of men who in his inmost heart he knew to be in every way his superiors.] He desired exceedingly to be thought supercilious, and he thus became almost necessary to the Government of India, was canonised, and caught up to Simla. The Indian papers chanted little anthems, "the Services" said "Amen," and the apotheosis was felt to be a success. On reaching Simla he was found to be familiar with the two local "jokes," planted many years ago by some jackass. One of these "jokes" is about everything in India having its peculiar smell, except a flower; the second is some inanity about the Indian Government being a despotism of despatch-boxes tempered by the loss of the keys. He often emitted these mournful "jokes" until he was declared to be an acquisition to Simla society.

[A: Lit. Great Ladies , i.e. Wives of Heads of Departments .]

Such is the man I am with to-day. His house is beautifully situated, overlooking a deep ravine, full of noble pine-trees, and surrounded by rhododendrons. The verandah is gay with geraniums and tall servants in Imperial red deeply encrusted with gold. Within, all is very respectable and nice, only the man is—not exactly vile, but certainly imperfect in a somewhat conspicuous degree. With the more attractive forms of sin he has no true sympathy. I can strike no concord with him on this umbrageous side of nature. I am seriously shocked to discover this, for he affects infirmity; but his humanity is weak. In his character I perceive the perfect animal outline, but the colour is wanting; the glorious sunshine, the profound glooms of humanity are not there.

Such a man is dangerous; he decoys you into confidences. Even Satan cannot respect a sinner of this complexion,—a sinner who is only fascinated by the sinfulness of sin. As for my poor host, I can see that he has never really graduated in sin at all; he has only sought the degree of sinner honoris causa. I am sure that he never had enough true vitality or enterprise to sin as a man ought to sin, if he does sin. [Of course a man ought not to sin; and the nobler sort try to reduce their sinning to a minimum; but when they do sin I hold that they sin like men. (I have heard it said that a man should sin like a gentleman; but I am much disposed to think that the gentleman nature appears in the non-sinning lucid intervals.)] When I speak of sin I will be understood to mean the venial offences of prevarication and sleeping in church. I am not thinking of sheep-stealing or highway robbery. My clever friend's work consists chiefly in reducing files of correspondence on a particular subject to one or two leading thoughts. Upon these he casts the colour of his own opinions, and submits the subjective product to the Secretary or Member of Council above him for final orders. His mind is one of the many dense and refractive mediums through which the Government of India looks out upon India.

From time to time he is called upon to write a minute or a note on some given subject, and then it is that his thoughts and words expand freely. He feels bound to cover an area of paper proportionate to his own opinion, of his own importance; he feels bound to introduce a certain seasoning of foreign words and phrases; and he feels bound to create, if the occasion seems in any degree to warrant it, one of those cock-eyed, limping, stammering epigrams which belong exclusively to the official humour of Simla. [In writing thus, the figure of another Secretariat official rises before me with reproachful looks. I see the thought-worn face of that Secretary to whom the Rajas belong, and who is, in every particular, a striking contrast with the typical person whose portrait I sketch. The Secretary in the Foreign Department is a scholar and a man of letters by instinct. Whatever he writes is something more than correct and precise—it is impressed with the sweep and cadence of the sea; it is rhythmical, it is sonorous.]

[But let us return to the prisoner in the dock] I have said that the Secretary is clever, scornful, jocose, imperfectly sinful, and nimble with his pen. I shall only add that he has succeeded in catching the tone of the Imperial Bumbledom; and then I shall have finished my defence.

This tone is an affectation of æsthetic and literary sympathies, combined with a proud disdain of everything Indian and Anglo-Indian.

The flotsam and jetsam of advanced European thought are eagerly sought and treasured up. "The New Republic" and "The Epic of Hades" are on every drawing-room table. One must speak of nothing but the latest doings at the Gaiety, the pictures of the last Academy, the ripest outcome of scepticism in the Nineteenth Century, or the aftermath in the Fortnightly. If I were to talk to our Secretariat man about the harvest prospects of the Deckan, the beauty of the Himalayan scenery, or the book I have just published in Calcutta about the Rent Law, he would stare at me with feigned surprise and horror.

      "When he thinks of his own native land,
        In a moment he seems to be there;
      But, alas! Ali Baba at hand
        Soon hurries him back to despair."

Ali Baba

Oh, the things I have seen and felt since I last wrote to you over two weeks ago. Here I am again cut off from the world, and have been since the first of the month. For a week now I have known nothing of what was going on in the world outside the limits of my own vision. For that matter, since the Germans crossed the frontier our news of the war has been meager. We got the calm, constant reiteration—"Left wing—held by the English—forced to retreat a little." All the same, the general impression was, that in spite of that, "all was well." I suppose it was wise.

On Sunday week,—that was August 30,—Amelie walked to Esbly, and came back with the news that they were rushing trains full of wounded soldiers and Belgian refugies through toward Paris, and that the ambulance there was quite insufficient for the work it had to do. So Monday and Tuesday we drove down in the donkey cart to carry bread and fruit, water and cigarettes, and to "lend a hand."

It was a pretty terrible sight. There were long trains of wounded soldiers. There was train after train crowded with Belgians—well-dressed women and children (evidently all in their Sunday best)—packed on to open trucks, sitting on straw, in the burning sun, without shelter, covered with dust, hungry and thirsty. The sight set me to doing some hard thinking after I got home that first night. But it was not until Tuesday afternoon that I got my first hint of the truth. That afternoon, while I was standing on the platform, I heard a drum beat in the street, and sent Amelie out to see what was going on. She came back at once to say that it was the garde champetre calling on the inhabitants to carry all their guns, revolvers, etc., to the mairie before sundown. That meant the disarming of our departement, and it flashed through my mind that the Germans must be nearer than the official announcements had told us.

While I stood reflecting a moment,—it looked serious,—I saw approaching from the west side of the track a procession of wagons. Amelie ran down the track to the crossing to see what it meant, and came back at once to tell me that they were evacuating the towns to the north of us.

I handed the basket of fruit I was holding into a coach of the train just pulling into the station, and threw my last package of cigarettes after it; and, without a word, Amelie and I went out into the street, untied the donkey, climbed into the wagon, and started for home.

By the time we got to the road which leads east to Montry, whence there is a road over the hill to the south, it was full of the flying crowd. It was a sad sight. The procession led in both directions as far as we could see. There were huge wagons of grain; there were herds of cattle, flocks of sheep; there were wagons full of household effects, with often as many as twenty people sitting aloft; there were carriages; there were automobiles with the occupants crowded in among bundles done up in sheets; there were women pushing overloaded handcarts; there were women pushing baby-carriages; there were dogs and cats, and goats; there was every sort of a vehicle you ever saw, drawn by every sort of beast that can draw, from dogs to oxen, from boys to donkeys. Here and there was a man on horseback, riding along the line, trying to keep it moving in order and to encourage the weary. Every one was calm and silent. There was no talking, no complaining.

The whole road was, however, blocked, and, even had our donkey wished to pass,—which she did not,—we could not. We simply fell into the procession, as soon as we found a place. Amelie and I did not say a word to each other until we reached the road that turns off to the Chateau de Conde; but I did speak to a man on horseback, who proved to be the intendant of one of the chateaux at Daumartin, and with another who was the mayor. I simply asked from where these people had come, and was told that they were evacuating Daumartin and all the towns on the plain between there and Meaux, which meant that Monthyon, Neufmortier, Penchard, Chauconin, Barcy, Chambry,—in fact, all the villages visible from my garden were being evacuated by order of the military powers.

One of the most disquieting things about this was to see the effect of the procession as it passed along the road. All the way from Esbly to Montry people began to pack at once, and the speed with which they fell into the procession was disconcerting.

When we finally escaped from the crowd into the poplar-shaded avenue which leads to the Chateau de Conde, I turned to look at Amelie for the first time. I had had time to get a good hold of myself.

"Well, Amelie?" I said.

"Oh, madame," she replied, "I shall stay."

"And so shall I," I answered; but I added, "I think I must make an effort to get to Paris to-morrow, and I think you had better come with me. I shall not go, of course, unless I am sure of being able to get back. We may as well face the truth: if this means that Paris is in danger, or if it means that we may in our turn be forced to move on, I must get some money so as to be ready."

"Very well, madame," she replied as cheerfully as if the rumble of the procession behind us were not still in our ears.

The next morning—that was September 2—I woke just before daylight. There was a continual rumble in the air. At first I thought it was the passing of more refugies on the road. I threw open my blinds, and then realized that the noise was in the other direction—from the route nationale. I listened. I said to myself, "If that is not artillery, then I never heard any."

Sure enough, when Amelie came to get breakfast, she announced that the English soldiers were at the Demi-Lune. The infantry was camped there, and the artillery had descended to Couilly and was mounting the hill on the other side of the Morin—between us and Paris.

I said a sort of "Hm," and told her to ask Pere to harness at once. As we had no idea of the hours of the trains, or even if there were any, it was best to get to Esbly as early as possible. It was nine o'clock when we arrived, to find that there should be a train at half past. The station was full. I hunted up the chef de gare, and asked him if I could be sure of being able to return if I went up to Paris.

He looked at me in perfect amazement.

"You want to come back?" he asked.

"Sure," I replied.

"You can," he answered, "if you take a train about four o'clock. That may be the last."

I very nearly said, "Jiminy-cricket!"

The train ran into the station on time, but you never saw such a sight. It was packed as the Brookline street-cars used to be on the days of a baseball game. Men were absolutely hanging on the roof; women were packed on the steps that led up to the imperials to the third-class coaches. It was a perilous-looking sight. I opened a dozen coaches—all packed, standing room as well as seats, which is ordinarily against the law. I was about to give it up when a man said to me, "Madame, there are some coaches at the rear that look as if they were empty."

I made a dash down the long platform, yanked open a door, and was about to ask if I might get in, when I saw that the coach was full of wounded soldiers in khaki, lying about on the floor as well as the seats. I was so shocked that if the station master, who had run after me, had not caught me I should have fallen backward.

"Sh! madame," he whispered, "I'll find you a place"; and in another moment I found myself, with Amelie, in a compartment where there were already eight women, a young man, two children, and heaps of hand-luggage—bundles in sheets, twine bags just bulging, paper parcels, and valises. Almost as soon as we were in, the train pulled slowly out of the station.

I learned from the women that Meaux was being evacuated. No one was remaining but the soldiers in the barracks and the archbishop. They had been ordered out by the army the night before, and the railroad was taking them free. They were escaping with what they could carry in bundles, as they could take no baggage. Their calm was remarkable-not a complaint from any one. They were of all classes, but the barriers were down.

The young man had come from farther up the line-a newspaper chap, who had given me his seat, and was sitting on a bundle. I asked him if he knew where the Germans were, and he replied that on this wing they were at Compiegne, that the center was advancing on Coulommier, but he did not know where the Crown Prince's division was.

I was glad I had made the effort to get to town, for this began to look as if they might succeed in arriving before the circle of steel that surrounds Paris, and God knows what good that seventy-five miles of fortifications will be against the long-range cannon that battered down Liege. I had only one wish—to get back to my hut on the hill; I did not seem to want anything else.

Just before the train ran into Lagny—our first stop—I was surprised to see British soldiers washing their horses in the river, so I was not surprised to find the station full of men in khaki. They were sleeping on the benches along the wall, and standing about, in groups. As to many of the French on the train this was their first sight of the men in khaki, and as there were Scotch there in their kilts, there was a good deal of excitement.

The train made a long stop in the effort to put more people into the already overcrowded coaches. I leaned forward, wishing to get some news, and the funny thing was that I could not think how to speak to those boys in English. You may think that an affectation. It wasn't. Finally I desperately sang out:—

"Hulloa, boys."

You should have seen them dash for the window. I suppose that their native tongue sounded good to them so far from home.

"Where did you come from?" I asked.

"From up yonder—a place called La Fere," one of them replied. "What regiment?" I asked.

"Any one else here speak English?" he questioned, running his eyes along the faces thrust out of the windows.

I told him no one did.

"Well," he said, "we are all that is left of the North Irish Horse and a regiment of Scotch Borderers."

"What are you doing here?"

"Retreating—and waiting for orders. How far are we from Paris?"

I told him about seventeen miles. He sighed, and remarked that he thought they were nearer, and as the train started I had the idea in the back of my head that these boys actually expected to retreat inside the fortifications. La! la!

Instead of the half-hour the train usually takes to get up from here to Paris, we were two hours.

I found Paris much more normal than when I was there two weeks ago, though still quite unlike itself; every one perfectly calm and no one with the slightest suspicion that the battle line was so near—hardly more than ten miles beyond the outer forts. I transacted my business quickly—saw only one person, which was wiser than I knew then, and caught the four o'clock train back—we were almost the only passengers.

I had told Pere not to come after us—it was so uncertain when we could get back, and I had always been able to get a carriage at the hotel in Esbly.

We reached Esbly at about six o'clock to find the stream of emigrants still passing, although the roads were not so crowded as they had been the previous day. I ran over to the hotel to order the carriage—to be told that Esbly was evacuated, the ambulance had gone, all the horses had been sold that afternoon to people who were flying. There I was faced with a walk of five miles—lame and tired. Just as I had made up my mind that what had to be done could be done,—die or no die,—Amelie came running across the street to say:—

"Did you ever see such luck? Here is the old cart horse of Cousine Georges and the wagon!"

Cousine Georges had fled, it seems, since we left, and her horse had been left at Esbly to fetch the schoolmistress and her husband. So we all climbed in. The schoolmistress and her husband did not go far, however. We discovered before we had got out of Esbly that Couilly had been evacuated during the day, and that a great many people had left Voisins; that the civil government had gone to Coutevroult; that the Croix Rouge had gone. So the schoolmistress and her husband, to whom all this was amazing news, climbed out of the wagon, and made a dash back to the station to attempt to get back to Paris. I do hope they succeeded.

Amelie and I dismissed the man who had driven the wagon down, and jogged on by ourselves. I sat on a board in the back of the covered cart, only too glad for any sort of locomotion which was not "shank's mare."

Just after we left Esbly I saw first an English officer, standing in his stirrups and signaling across a field, where I discovered a detachment of English artillery going toward the hill. A little farther along the road we met a couple of English officers—pipes in their mouths and sticks in their hands—strolling along as quietly and smilingly as if there were no such thing as war. Naturally I wished to speak to them. I was so shut in that I could see only directly in front of me, and if you ever rode behind a big cart horse I need not tell you that although he walks slowly and heavily he walks steadily, and will not stop for any pulling on the reins unless he jolly well chooses. As we approached the officers, I leaned forward and said, "Beg your pardon," but by the time they realized that they had been addressed in English we had passed. I yanked at the flap at the back of the cart, got it open a bit, looked out to find them standing in the middle of the road, staring after us in amazement.

The only thing I had the sense to call out was:—

"Where 'd you come from?"

One of them made an emphatic gesture with his stick, over his shoulder in the direction from which they had come.

"Where are you going?" I called.

He made the same gesture toward Esbly, and then we all laughed heartily, and by that time we were too far apart to continue the interesting conversation, and that was all the enlightenment I got out of that meeting. The sight of them and their cannon made me feel a bit serious. I thought to myself: "If the Germans are not expected here—well, it looks like it." We finished the journey in silence, and I was so tired when I got back to the house that I fell into bed, and only drank a glass of milk that Amelie insisted on pouring down my throat.