Camps, Quarters, and Casual Places

Archibald Forbes Camps, Quarters, and Casual Places
ISBN:
2000000001641
Мова:
англійська
Автор:
Archibald Forbes
Видавництво:
Project Gutenberg
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The interval between the declaration of the Franco-German war of 1870-71, and the "military promenade," at which the poor Prince Imperial received his "baptism of fire," was a pleasant, lazy time at Saarbrücken; to which pretty frontier town I had early betaken myself, in the anticipation, which proved well founded, that the tide of war would flow that way first. What a pity it is that all war cannot be like this early phase of it, of which I speak! It was playing at warfare, with just enough of the grim reality cropping up occasionally, to give the zest which the reckless Frenchwoman declared was added to a pleasure by its being also a sin. The officers of the Hohenzollerns—our only infantry regiment in garrison—drank their beer placidly under the lime-tree in the market-place, as their men smoked drowsily, lying among the straw behind the stacked arms ready for use at a moment's notice. The infantry patrol skirted the frontier line every morning in the gray dawn, occasionally exchanging with little result a few shots with the French outposts on the Spicheren or down in the valley bounded by the Schönecken wood. The Uhlans, their piebald lance-pennants fluttering in the wind, cantered leisurely round the crests of the little knolls which formed the vedette posts, despising mightily the straggling chassepot bullets which were pitched at them from time to time in a desultory way; but which, desultory as they were, now and then brought lance-pennant and its bearer to the ground—an occurrence invariably followed by a little spurt of lively hostility.

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