September 7

Was happily surprised to find it pleasant this morning; has turned out the finest day of the fall. Lieutenant H. W. Kingsley came up with the day's rations; ate supper with us. The moonlight, band music and charm of the night has killed the monotony.

September 7, 1863

Monday. In the Gulf of Mexico again. We passed the too familiar quarantine station where we landed from the Arago, and where we started quite a graveyard, and came on down past Forts Jackson and St. Philip, reaching the South West Pass early this morning. I don't know how many boats there are, but the water ahead of us seems covered. I did not suppose the river boats ever went out into the Gulf. We rock and roll like chips on the water. It is curious to watch the tall smokestacks. They slant in every direction at the same time. It is good weather, and the water is smooth. It is what the boatmen call ground swells that are tumbling us about so.

September 7

September 7, 1851. (Aix ).--It is ten o'clock at night. A strange and mystic moonlight, with a fresh breeze and a sky crossed by a few wandering clouds, makes our terrace delightful. These pale and gentle rays shed from the zenith a subdued and penetrating peace; it is like the calm joy or the pensive smile of experience, combined with a certain stoic strength. The stars shine, the leaves tremble in the silver light. Not a sound in all the landscape; great gulfs of shadow under the green alleys and at the corners of the steps. Everything is secret, solemn, mysterious.

O night hours, hours of silence and solitude! with you are grace and melancholy; you sadden and you console. You speak to us of all that has passed away, and of all that must still die, but you say to us, "courage!" and you promise us rest.

September Seventh

OF JAMES RUMSEY, INVENTOR OF THE FIRST STEAMBOAT

I have seen the model of Mr. Rumsey's boat, constructed to work against the stream, examined the powers upon which it acts, been the eye witness to an actual experiment in running water of some rapidity, and give it as my opinion (although I had little faith before) that he has discovered the art of working boats by mechanism and small manual assistance against rapid currents; that the discovery is of vast importance; may be of the greatest usefulness in our inland navigation, and if it succeeds (of which I have no doubt) that the value of it is greatly enhanced by the simplicity of the works; which, when seen and explained, may be executed by the most common mechanic.

Given under my hand at the Town of Bath, County of Berkeley, in the State of Virginia, this 7th day of September, 1784.

George Washington

 

Sidney Lanier dies, 1881

 

 

Monday, September 7th.—The latest wave of this erratic sea has tossed us up on to two little French seaside places north of St Nazaire, the port of Nantes. There are over 500  Sisters at the two places in hotels. No.— and No.— and part of — are at La Baule in one enormous new hotel, which has been taken over for the French wounded on the bottom floor; the rest was empty till we came. We are in palatial rooms with balconies overlooking the sea, and have large bathrooms opening out of our rooms; it is rather like the Riffel in the middle of a forest of pines, and the sea immediately in front. The expense of it all must be colossal! Every one is too sick at the state of affairs to enjoy it at all; some bathe, and you can sit about in the pines or on the sands. We have had no letters since we left Havre last Thursday, and no news of the war. We took till Sunday morning to reach St Nazaire, and at midday were stuffed into a little dirty train for this place. I'm thankful we didn't have to get out at Pornichet, the station before this, where are Nos.—, —, —, —, and —.

The Sisters of No.— who had to leave their hospital at —— handed their sick officers and men over to the French hospital, much to their disgust. The officers especially have a horror of the elegant ways of the French nurses, who make one water do for washing them all round!

September 7, 1862

Philadelphia. Sunday. We were too crowded in the cars to see much, or to do much, coming here. Most of us slept nearly all the way. I did for one, but I had dreams of being trod on, and no doubt I was, for there are some that never sleep, and are constantly on the move. We finally stopped and were ferried across a river and landed in this city. We then marched to a large hall called "The Cooper Shop," why, I don't know. We were given a royal meal, breakfast I should call it, but it was so dark, and I was so sleepy I hardly knew whether it was supper or breakfast. Cold beef, sausage, bread and butter, cheese, and good hot coffee. It was far ahead of any meal we have had so far. I am told that the place is kept open night and day by some benevolent association, and that no regiment passes through without getting a good square meal. If soldiering is all like this I am glad I am a soldier. If the Rebs ever get as far North as Philadelphia, I hope the 128th New York may be here to help defend the "Cooper Shop." After breakfast we went out on the sidewalk and slept until after daylight. We soon after started for a railroad station, where we took a train for Baltimore. Our ride so far has been one grand picnic. We have lots of fun. No matter what our condition may be, there are some that see only the funny side, and we have enough of that sort to keep up the spirits of all. All along the way the people were out, and the most of them gave us cheers, but not all, as was the case in Hudson. We are nearing the enemy's country. The change in sentiment begins to show, and the farther we go, I suppose, the less cheering we will hear, until finally we will get where the cheers will all be for the other fellow, and we will find ourselves among foes instead of friends.

Later. We are stuck on an up-grade. The engine has gone ahead with a part of the train, and we are waiting for it to come back. The train men say we are about forty miles from Baltimore. That means forty miles from our fodder, and I for one am hungry now. That meal at the Cooper Shop was good, but not lasting enough for this trip. The boys are out on the ground having some fun and I am going to join them.

Baltimore, Md. We are here at last. Marched about two miles from where the cars stopped, and are sitting on the sidewalk waiting to see what will happen next. I hope it will be something to eat, for I am about famished. Some of the men are about played-out. The excitement and the new life are getting in their work. The day has been very hot, too, and with nothing to eat since some time last night, it is not strange we begin to wonder where the next meal is coming from, and when it will come. Baltimore is not like New York. I know that much now, but I don't know enough about either city to tell what the difference is. A regiment, fully armed, escorted us here from the cars, and are either staying around to keep us from eating up the city, or to keep the city from eating us, I don't know which. Some act friendly, but the most of the people look as if they had no use for us. Later.—We have finally had something to eat. My folks always taught me never to find fault with the victuals set before me, so I won't begin now. But for that I should say something right now. But whatever it was it had a bracing effect and we soon started and marched through the city to high ground, which I am told is "Stewart's Hill."

I did not wake on the morning of Monday, September 7,—

yesterday,—until I was waked by the cannon at five. I jumped out of bed and rushed to the window. This time there could be no doubt of it: the battle was receding. The cannonading was as violent, as incessant, as it had been the day before, but it was surely farther off—to the northeast of Meaux. It was another beautiful day. I never saw such weather.

Amelie was on the lawn when I came down. "They are surely retreating," she called as soon as I appeared.

"They surely are," I replied. "It looks as if they were somewhere near Lizy-sur-I'Ourcq," and that was a guess of which I was proud a little later. I carry a map around these days as if I were an army officer.

As Amelie had not been for the milk the night before, she started off quite gayly for it. She has to go to the other side of Voisins. It takes her about half an hour to go and return; so—just for the sake of doing something—I thought I would run down the hill and see how Mile. Henriette and the little family had got through the night.

Amelie had taken the road across the fields. It is rough walking, but she doesn't mind. I had stopped to tie a fresh ribbon about my cap,—a tri-color,—and was about five minutes behind her. I was about halfway down the hill when I saw Amelie coming back, running, stumbling, waving her milk-can and shouting, "Madame—un anglais, un anglais." And sure enough, coming on behind her, his face wreathed in smiles, was an English bicycle scout, wheeling his machine. As soon as he saw me, he waved his cap, and Amelie breathlessly explained that she had said, "Dame americaine" and he had dismounted and followed her at once.

We went together to meet him. As soon as he was near enough, he called out, "Good-morning. Everything is all right. Germans been as near you as they will ever get. Close shave."

"Where are they?" I asked as we met.

"Retreating to the northeast—on the Ourcq."

I could have kissed him. Amelie did. She simply threw both arms round his neck and smacked him on both cheeks, and he said, "Thank you, ma'am," quite prettily; and, like the nice clean English boy he was, he blushed.

"You can be perfectly calm," he said. "Look behind you."

I looked, and there along the top of my hill I saw a long line of bicyclists in khaki.

"What are you doing here?" I asked, a little alarmed. For a moment I thought that if the English had returned, something was going to happen right here.

"English scouts," he replied. "Colonel Snow's division, clearing the way for the advance. You've a whole corps of fresh French troops coming out from Paris on one side of you, and the English troops are on their way to Meaux."

"But the bridges are down," I said.

"The pontoons are across. Everything is ready for the advance. I think we've got 'em." And he laughed as if it were all a game of cricket.

By this time we were in the road. I sent Amelie on for the milk. He wheeled his machine up the hill beside me. He asked me if there was anything they could do for me before they moved on. I told him there was nothing unless he could drive out the Uhlans who were hidden near us.

He looked a little surprised, asked a few questions—how long they had been there? where they were? how many? and if I had seen them? and I explained.

"Well," he said, "I'll speak to the colonel about it. Don't you worry. If he has time he may get over to see you, but we are moving pretty fast."

By this time we were at the gate. He stood leaning on his wheel a moment, looking over the hedge.

"Live here with your daughter?" he asked.

I told him that I lived here alone with myself.

"Wasn't that your daughter I met?"

I didn't quite fall through the gate backwards. I am accustomed to saying that I am old. I am not yet accustomed to have people notice it when I do not call their attention to it. Amelie is only ten years younger than I am, but she has got the figure and bearing of a girl. The lad recovered himself at once, and said, "Why, of course not,—she doesn't speak any English." I was glad that he didn't even apologize, for I expect that I look fully a hundred and something. So with a reiterated "Don't worry—you are all safe here now," he mounted his wheel and rode up the hills.

I watched him making good time across to the route to Meaux. Then I came into the house and lay down. I suddenly felt horribly weak. My house had taken on a queer look to me. I suppose I had been, in a sort of subconscious way, sure that it was doomed. As I lay on the couch in the salon and looked round the room, it suddenly appeared to me like a thing I had loved and lost and recovered—resurrected, in fact; a living thing to which a miracle had happened. I even found myself asking, in my innermost soul, what I had done to deserve this fortune. How had it happened, and why, that I had come to perch on this hillside, just to see a battle, and have it come almost to my door, to turn back and leave me and my belongings standing here untouched, as safe as if there were no war,—and so few miles away destruction extending to the frontier.

The sensation was uncanny. Out there in the northeast still boomed the cannon. The smoke of the battle still rose straight in the still air. I had seen the war. I had watched its destructive bombs. For three days its cannon had pounded on every nerve in my body; but none of the horror it had sowed from the eastern frontier of Belgium to within four miles of me, had reached me except in the form of a threat. Yet out there on the plain, almost within my sight, lay the men who had paid with their lives—each dear to some one—to hold back the battle from Paris—and incidentally from me. The relief had its bitterness, I can tell you. I had been prepared to play the whole game. I had not even had the chance to discover whether or not I could. You, who know me fairly well, will see the irony of it. I am eternally hanging round dans les coulisses, I am never in the play. I instinctively thought of Captain Simpson, who had left his brother in the trenches at Saint-Quentin, and still had in him the kindly sympathy that had helped me so much.

When Amelie returned, she said that every one was out at the Demi-Lune to watch the troups going to Meaux, and that the boys in the neighborhood were already swimming the Marne to climb the hill to the battlefield of Saturday. I had no curiosity to see one scene or the other. I knew what the French boys were like, with their stern faces, as well as I knew the English manner of going forward to the day's work, and the hilarious, macabre spirit of the French untried lads crossing the river to look on horrors as if it were a lark.

I passed a strangely quiet morning. But the excitement was not all over. It was just after lunch that Amelie came running down the road to say that we were to have a cantonnement de regiment on our hill for the night and perhaps longer—French reinforcements marching out from the south of Paris; that they were already coming over the crest of the hill to the south and could be seen from the road above; that the advance scouts were already here. Before she had done explaining, an officer and a bicyclist were at the gate. I suppose they came here because it was the only house on the road that was open. I had to encounter the expressions of astonishment to which I am now quite accustomed—a foreigner in a little hole on the road to the frontier, in a partially evacuated country. I answered all the usual questions politely; but when he began to ask how many men I could lodge, and how much room there was for horses in the outbuildings, Amelie sharply interfered, assuring him that she knew the resources of the hamlet better than I did, that she was used to "this sort of thing" and "madame was not"; and simply whisked him off.

I can assure you that, as I watched the work of billeting a regiment in evacuated houses, I was mighty glad that I was here, standing, a willing hostess, at my door, but giving to my little house a personality no unoccupied house can ever have to a passing army. They made quick work, and no ceremony, in opening locked doors and taking possession. It did not take the officer who had charge of the billeting half an hour, notebook in hand, to find quarters for his horses as well as his men. Before the head of the regiment appeared over the hill names were chalked up on all the doors, and the number of horses on every door to barn and courtyard, and the fields selected and the number of men to be camped all over the hill. Finally the officer returned to me. I knew by his manner that Amelie, who accompanied him, had been giving him a "talking to."

"If you please, madame," he said, "I will see now what you can do for us"; and I invited him in.

I don't suppose I need to tell you that you would get very little idea of the inside of my house from the outside. I am quite used now to the little change of front in most people when they cross the threshold. The officer nearly went on tiptoes when he got inside. He mounted the polished stairs gingerly, gave one look at the bedroom part-way up, touched his cap, and said: "That will do for the chef-major. We will not trouble you with any one else. He has his own orderly, and will eat outside, and will be no bother. Thank you very much, madame"; and he sort of slid down the stairs, tiptoed out, and wrote in chalk on the gatepost, "Weitzel."

By this time the advance guard was in the road and I could not resist going out to talk to them. They had marched out from the south of Paris since the day before,—thirty-six miles,—without an idea that the battle was going on the Marne until they crossed the hill at Montry and came in sight of its smoke. I tell you their faces were wreathed with smiles when they discovered that we knew the Germans were retreating.

Such talks as I listened to that afternoon—only yesterday—at my gate, from such a fluent, amusing, clever French chap,—a bicyclist in the ambulance corps,—of the crossing the Meuse and the taking, losing, re-taking, and re-losing of Charleroi. Oddly enough these were the first real battle tales I had heard.

It suddenly occurred to me, as we chatted and laughed, that all the time the English were here they had never once talked battles. Not one of the Tommies had mentioned the fighting. We had talked of "home," of the girls they had left behind them, of the French children whom the English loved, of the country, its customs, its people, their courage and kindness, but not one had told me a battle story of any kind, and I had not once thought of opening the subject. But this French lad of the ambulance corps, with his Latin eloquence and his national gift of humor and graphic description, with a smile in his eyes, and a laugh on his lips, told me stories that made me see how war affects men, and how often the horrible passes across the line into the grotesque. I shall never forget him as he stood at the gate, leaning on his wheel, describing how the Germans crossed the Meuse—a feat which cost them so dearly that only their superior number made a victory out of a disaster.

"I suppose," he said, "that in the history of the war it will stand as a success—at any rate, they came across, which was what they wanted. We could only have stopped them, if at all, by an awful sacrifice of life. Joffre is not doing that. If the Germans want to fling away their men by the tens of thousands—let them. In the end we gain by it. We can rebuild a country; we cannot so easily re-create a race. We mowed them down like a field of wheat, by the tens of thousands, and tens of thousands sprang into the gaps. They advanced shoulder to shoulder. Our guns could not miss them, but they were too many for us. If you had seen that crossing I imagine it would have looked to you like a disaster for Germany. It was so awful that it became comic. I remember one point where a bridge was mined. We let the first divisions of artillery and cavalry come right across on to our guns—they were literally destroyed. As the next division came on to the bridge—up it went—men, horses, guns dammed the flood, and the cavalry literally crossed on their own dead. We are bold enough, but we are not so foolhardy as to throw away men like that. They will be more useful to Joffre later."

It was the word "comic" that did for me. There was no sign in the fresh young face before me that the horror had left a mark. If the thought came to him that every one of those tens of thousands whose bodies dammed and reddened the flood was dear to some one weeping in Germany, his eyes gave no sign of it. Perhaps it was as well for the time being. Who knows?

I felt the same revolt against the effect of war when he told me of the taking and losing of Charleroi and set it down as the most "grotesque" sight he had ever seen. "Grotesque" simply made me shudder, when he went on to say that even there, in the narrow streets, the Germans pushed on in "close order," and that the French mitrailleuses, which swept the street that he saw, made such havoc in their ranks that the air was so full of flying heads and arms and legs, of boots, and helmets, swords, and guns that it did not seem as if it could be real—"it looked like some burlesque"; and that even one of the gunners turned ill and said to his commander, who stood beside him: "For the love of God, colonel, shall I go on?" and the colonel, with folded arms, replied: "Fire away."

Perhaps it is lucky, since war is, that men can be like that. When they cannot, what then? But it was too terrible for me, and I changed the subject by asking him if it were true that the Germans deliberately fired on the Red Cross. He instantly became grave and prudent.

"Oh, well," he said, "I would not like to go on oath. We have had our field ambulance destroyed. But you know the Germans are often bad marksmen. They've got an awful lot of ammunition. They fire it all over the place. They are bound to hit something. If we screen our hospital behind a building and a shell comes over and blows us up, how can we swear the shell was aimed at us?"

Just here the regiment came over the hill, and I retreated inside the gate where I had pails of water ready for them to drink. They were a sorry-looking lot. It was a hot day. They were covered with dirt, and you know the ill-fitting uniform of the French common soldier would disfigure into trampdom the best-looking man in the world.

The barricade was still across the road. With their packs on their backs, their tin dippers in their hands for the drink they so needed, perspiring in their heavy coats, they crawled, line after line, under the barrier until an officer rode down and called sharply:—

"Halt!"

The line came to a standstill.

"What's that thing?" asked the officer sternly.

I replied that obviously it was a barricade.

"Who put it there?" he asked peremptorily, as if I were to blame.

I told him that the English did.

"When?"

I felt as if I were being rather severely cross-examined, but I answered as civilly as I could, "The night before the battle."

He looked at me for the first time—and softened his tone a bit—my white hair and beastly accent, I suppose—as he asked:

"What is it for?"

I told him it was to prevent a detachment of Uhlans from coming up the hill. He hesitated a moment; then asked if it served any purpose now. I might have told him that the Uhlans were still here, but I didn't, I simply said that I did not know that it did. "Cut it down!" he ordered, and in a moment it was cut on one end and swung round against the bank and the regiment marched on.

It was just after that that I discovered the explanation of what had happened to my Irish scout on Saturday. An exhausted soldier was in need of a stimulant, and one of his comrades, who was supporting him, asked me if I had anything. I had nothing but the bottle out of which the Irish scout had drunk. I rushed for it, poured some into the tin cup held out to me, and just as the poor fellow was about to drink, his comrade pulled the cup away, smelt it, and exclaimed, "Don't drink that—here, put some water in it. That's not cider. It's eau de vie des prunes."

I can tell you I was startled. I had never tasted eau de vie des prunes,—a native brew, stronger than brandy, and far more dangerous,—and my Irishman had pulled off a full champagne glass at a gulp, and never winked. No wonder he fell off his wheel. The wonder is that he did not die on the spot. I was humiliated. Still, he was Irish and perhaps he didn't care. I hope he didn't. But only think, he will never know that I did not do it on purpose. He was probably gloriously drunk. Anyway, it prevented his coming back to make that visit he threatened me with.

The detachment of the regiment which staggered past my gate camped in the fields below me and in the courtyards at Voisins, and the rest of them made themselves comfortable in the fields at the other side of the hill and the outbuildings on Amelie's place, and the officers and the ambulance corps began to seek their quarters.

I was sitting in the library when my guest, Chef-Major Weitzel, rode up to the gate. I had a good chance to look him over, as he marched up the path. He was a dapper, upright, little chap. He was covered with dust from his head to his heels. I could have written his name on him anywhere. Then I went to the door to meet him. I suppose he had been told that he was to be lodged in the house of an American. He stopped abruptly, halfway up the path, as I appeared, clicked his heels together, and made me his best bow, as he said:—

"I am told, madame, that you are so gracious as to offer me a bed."

I might have replied literally, "Offer? I had no choice," but I did not. I said politely that if Monsieur le Chef-Major would take the trouble to enter, I should do myself the distinguished honor of conducting him to his chamber, having no servant for the moment to perform for him that service, and he bowed at me again, and marched in—no other word for it—and came up the stairs behind me.

As I opened the door of my guest-room, and stood aside to let him pass, I found that he had paused halfway up and was giving my raftered green salon and the library beyond a curious glance. Being caught, he looked up at once and said: "So you are not afraid?" I supposed he was inspired by the fact that there were no signs of any preparations to evacuate.

I replied that I could not exactly say that, but that I had not been sufficiently afraid to run away and leave my house to be looted unless I had to.

"Well," he said, with a pleasant laugh, "that is about as good an account of himself as many a brave soldier can give the night before his first battle "; and he passed me with a bow and I closed the door.

Half an hour later he came downstairs, all shaved and slicked up—in a white sweater, white tennis shoes, with a silk handkerchief about his neck, and a fatigue cap set rakishly on the side of his head, as if there were no such thing as hot weather or war, while his orderly went up and brought his equipment down to the terrace, and began such a beating, brushing, and cleaning of boots as you never saw.

At the library door he stopped, looked in, and said, "This is nice"; and before I could get together decent French enough to say that I was honored—or my house was—at his approval, he asked if he might be so indiscreet as to take the liberty of inviting some of his fellow officers to come into the garden and see the view. Naturally I replied that Monsieur le Chef-Major was at home and his comrades would be welcome to treat the garden as if it were theirs, and he made me another of his bows and marched away, to return in five minutes, accompanied by half a dozen officers and a priest. As they passed the window, where I still sat, they all bowed at me solemnly, and Chef-Major Weitzel stopped to ask if madame would be so good as to join them, and explain the country, which was new to them all.

Naturally madame did not wish to. I had not been out there since Saturday night—was it less than forty-eight hours before? But equally naturally I was ashamed to refuse. It would, I know, seem super-sentimental to them. So I reluctantly followed them out. They stood in a group about me—these men who had been in battles, come out safely, and were again advancing to the firing line as smilingly as one would go into a ballroom—while I pointed out the towns and answered their questions, and no one was calmer or more keenly interested than the Breton priest, in his long soutane with the red cross on his arm. All the time the cannon was booming in the northeast, but they paid no more attention to it than if it were a threshing-machine.

There was a young lieutenant in the group who finally noticed a sort of reluctance on my part-which I evidently had not been able to conceal—to looking off at the plain, which I own I had been surprised to find as lovely as ever. He taxed me with it, and I confessed, upon which he said:—

"That will pass. The day will come—Nature is so made, luckily—when you will look off there with pride, not pain, and be glad that you saw what may prove the turning of the tide in the noblest war ever fought for civilization."

I wonder.

The chef-major turned to me—caught me looking in the other direction—to the west where deserted Esbly climbed the hill.

"May I be very indiscreet?" he asked.

I told him that he knew best.

"Well," he said, "I want to know how it happens that you—a foreigner, and a woman—happen to be living in what looks like exile—all alone on the top of a hill—in war-time?"

I looked at him a moment—and—well, conditions like these make people friendly with one another at once. I was, you know, never very reticent, and in days like these even the ordinary reticences of ordinary times are swept away. So I answered frankly, as if these men were old friends, and not the acquaintances of an hour, that, as I was, as they could see, no longer young, very tired, and yet not weary with life, but more interested than my strength allowed. I had sought a pleasant retreat for my old age,—not too far from the City of my Love,—and that I had chosen this hilltop for the sake of the panorama spread out before me; that I had loved it every day more than the day before; and that exactly three months after I had sat down on this hilltop this awful war had marched to within sight of my gate, and banged its cannon and flung its deadly bombs right under my eyes.

Do you know, every mother's son of them threw back his head—and laughed aloud. I was startled. I knew that I had shown unnecessary feeling—but I knew it too late. I made a dash for the house, but the lieutenant blocked the way. I could not make a scene. I never felt so like it in my life.

"Come back, come back," he said. "We all apologize. It was a shame to laugh. But you are so vicious and so personal about it. After all, you know, the gods were kind to you—it did turn back—those waves of battle. You had better luck than Canute."

"Besides," said the chef-major, "you can always say that you had front row stage box."

There was nothing to do to save my face but to laugh with them. And they were still laughing when they tramped across the road to dinner. I returned to the house rather mortified at having been led into such an unnecessary display of feeling, but I suppose I had been in need of some sort of an outlet.

After dinner they came back to the lawn to lie about smoking their cigarettes. I was sitting in the arbor. The battle had become a duel of heavy artillery, which they all found "magnificent," these men who had been in such things.

Suddenly the chef-major leaped to his feet.

"Listen—listen—an aeroplane."

We all looked up. There it was, quite low, right over our heads. "A Taube!" he exclaimed, and before he had got the words out of his mouth, Crick-crack-crack snapped the musketry from the field behind us—the soldiers had seen it. The machine began to rise. I stood like a rock,—my feet glued to the ground,—while the regiment fired over my head. But it was sheer will power that kept me steady among these men who were treating it as if it were a Fourteenth of July show. I heard a ping.

"Touched," said the officer as the Taube continued to rise. Another ping.

Still it rose, and we watched it sail off toward the hills at the southeast.

"Hit, but not hurt," sighed the officer, dropping down on the grass again, with a sigh. "It is hard to bring them down at that height with rifles, but it can be done."

"Perhaps the English battery will get it," said I; "it is going right toward it."

"If there is an English battery up there," replied he, "that is probably what he is looking for. It is hardly likely to unmask for a Taube. I am sorry we missed it. You have seen something of the war. It is a pity you should not have seen it come down. It is a beautiful sight."

I thought to myself that I preferred it should not come down in my garden. But I had no relish for being laughed at again, so I did not say it.

Soon after they all went to bed,—very early,—and silence fell on the hilltop. I took a look round before I went to bed. I had not seen Amelie since the regiment arrived. But she, who had done

everything to spare me inconvenience, had fourteen officers quartered in her place, and goodness knows how many horses, so she had little time to do for me.

The hillside was a picture I shall never forget. Everywhere men were sleeping in the open—their guns beside them. Fires, over which they had cooked, were smouldering; pickets everywhere. The moon shed a pale light and made long shadows. It was really very beautiful if one could have forgotten that to-morrow many of these men would be sleeping for good—"Life's fitful dream" over.