nearly wrecking themselves and everything else. Immediately after, three

officers came to the house to beg lodging for the night. They were

frightful-looking individuals covered with mud and dirt, with half-grown

beards and one could not tell what uniforms. They asked the most humble

apartment--a corner, the floor--anything, "and, Madame, a little hot

water, _s'il vous plait_." We were sitting on the terrace tonight just

before dinner when down came the three new arrivals, beautiful as the

morning, shaven and shining in their gray-green uniforms, polished boots

and bracelets set with precious stones--officers of the "Emperor's Own,"

though these men did not seem like Germans, but were much more the

lighter build and elegant type of the Austrians.

They were a bit haughty at first, but dinner thawed them out and then

what tales they told us; the most promising imagination could not rival

their flights in the air. They acted like people who walk in their sleep

and had that same vague expression of the eye. But it is not to be

wondered at, coming as they did from a frightful battlefield and

fatigued by a hard march. It must be true that battle intoxicates men

for these latter, being of a sensible age, did say very ridiculous

things. Hitherto the officers who have been here were fairly modest

though always showing an undeniable confidence, while these three openly

bragged. The young lieutenant who sat next to me spoke French fluently

and never stopped talking all the evening. Among countless other things,

he said, "We are being sent back from Namur as Paris is taken"

(ejaculation from me "I cannot believe it") "and they have no more need

of us in that direction," he went on without turning a hair. "So we are

_en route_ for England or Russia, in the morning, to conquer the seven

nations (he included Monaco in the list) who have declared war against

our beloved Vaterland."

"And, Mademoiselle," he continued, "they fired on our ambulances!"

"Ah?" I answered, nonchalantly, "the Germans have already done that

here."

He was a bit taken aback at this rejoinder; then with a prodigiously

sorrowful look he exclaimed in a hushed voice, "_Oui, la guerre est

terrible._"

The victories they exploited on land and sea were fantastic and the

funny part is, they believed thoroughly all they said. It is strange to

hear serious people fabricate such yarns as they did, with as much

dexterity as a spider spins its web.

_August 29th, Saturday._

The ambulance was as busy as a beehive this A. M. Except for

one or two, the patients are all feeling better. Andre, the third on the

left, whose sonorous "_Merci, chere Soeur_" nearly frightened me to

pieces one day, seems to be the wit and authority on all subjects--a

real leader, I should say, and _drole_! Augustin, four beds from him, is

our difficult child, the only one of the twenty-nine who is spoiled and

Download<<BackPagesMainNext>>
(C) 2013 Как раскрутить сайт навсегда