woman's natural intuition. Then I decided to lead out next--anyway I
wanted to get him started on "War" without precipitating an
international difficulty and I asked him as stupidly as possible
(perhaps I did not need to simulate that) if he liked "War." He
hesitated just a second and I was prepared for the usual self-respecting
denial when he horrified me by answering a simple "Yes." _Voila, le
Afterward when we went into the salon all the officers, commencing with
the superior, came up to Madame X. and kicking their spurs together with
the habitual "_Danke, Frau_," kissed our hands all around. The youngest
soldier among them was a handsome boy of about twenty-two years, who
interested me rather, because he was different--even his boots were
different and he truly had a striking manner, though very gracious. I am
convinced that he was a prince of a reigning house. The atmosphere had a
way of parting in rapid waves when he came in and dropping behind him
like an impervious shield when he went out. Fair, young Achilles! Will a
fatal arrow attain his charmed person?
_August 15th, Saturday._
We took care of the wounded all day: it is the most heartrending
spectacle to see those poor, black heads lying there on their pillows.
They were so shapeless and immovable, I had almost begun to look upon
them as without life like charred logs, when, after finishing a dressing
this morning, I was startled by a hearty, "_Merci, chere Soeur._" Oh,
the joy of it! That brightened the whole scene and flooded me with hope.
Then they have not lost their intelligences, they aren't mere pieces of
wood and one day when their poor flesh has rejuvenated itself, they will
be given back to real life--and their country, again.
The village people and the Sisters were so ardent in their desire to
help that dressings well covered with ointment sometimes fell from their
eager fingers onto grimy blankets or flopped, butter side down, so to
speak, upon the floor; which did not disconcert anyone but me, whose
modern prophylactic soul rattled and shook with horror as the
recalcitrant bandage was gaily redeemed from its dusty resting-place and
applied as originally intended.
It seemed as if I must remonstrate, but the dear whole-hearted helper
was so sure that her dressing would cure and the patient was so
overwhelmingly grateful for the trouble she took to pick it up for him,
that I was dumb before their exquisite faith.
Here was something too big for my stilted aseptic advice and it occurred
to me, suddenly, that perhaps there _are_ many things yet undreamed of
in our philosophy.
All day long the troops in an endless chain have been passing on the
highroad before the chateau. The air was full of mingled sounds, as, for
example, the singing of the soldiers in the distance, which sounds like
the droning of bees far away and always heralds an advance of troops;Download<<BackPagesMainNext>>