Abbildungen der Seite


and saddlery that sent forth an ancient panted on the quays as I lounged on and pigskinny smell. "Perhaps the the bridge that hoops the slow Saône, baggage of the brave Capitaine will be and the market-folk fanned then. here," she said. "But, Monsieur, I do selves with cabbage-leaves. Those not know it from the others.

market-women wore the most extraorIf I had known it from the others"- dinary and unaccountable head-dress she looked at me with eyes that hardly ever seen. I say "seen" and not "to saw me "If I had known it from the be seen,” for if you have never seen it others, I should have"

you will never see it now; Parisian "Treasured it a little, perhaps-forcast-off fashions have everywhere supthe Captain's sake,” I said in a voice planted the antique local garb. But all which, I hope, was full of sympathy, those years ago the quaint Burgundian yet not too pitying. For I had come coiffe was visible anywhere in Mâcon. to understand the story by then, and Fluellen must have seen it in Dijon, I was trying to see her as Fluellen and known it again, though the very must have seen her, neither portly nor burlesque of a Welsh-woman's headfifty-five, nor wedding-ringed, all those dress it was. Conceive a boy's flyyears ago. "Madame," I said, “let us cage, made of bottle-cork halfbother the baggage! Ma foi, do you scooped away, and the aperture barred think it was for his baggage that he by inserted pins. Magnify" that five sent me here? Mais non, mais non, times. Make the pins long ones and Madame, but simply to hear of you thick ones, with big black bead knobs again-of the belle Mademoiselle!" to them, the knobs encircling the top

"Mon Dieu, Monsieur!". Color had of the cork like an effort by Martin come into her clear pallor. Why, Chuzzlewit in the Knobby order of then, did he never come himself?" And architecture. Put the pins and knobs indeed I could not tell her why, for all round the cork. No flies inside, of Fluellen has always been a bachelor. course; the flies were all at the oxen. But "Wait till you come to Forty Now plant this choice confection quite Year!" sang Thackeray the good and centrally upon a disc of cardboard twice gentle, Thackeray the genial and wise, the diameter of the wearer's skull. whom it takes a reader of forty year Hang round the edge of the disc a valor Djore to read in the spirit:

ance of black lace, dropping three

inches deep. Now pose the whole arHo, pretty page, with the dimpled chin That never has known the barber's

rangement on the top of the head. shear,

Heaven knows how they kept it on; I All your wish is woman to win, don't remember, if I ever knew, but I This is the way that boys begin,- dare say there would be chin-straps, or Wait till you come to Forty Year!

ribbons, or things. Of such was the I had more than come to forty year Burgundy coiffe. When I went to when I went the second time to Mâcon per motor-car the other day I Mâcon; I shall not reveal how many could find no specimen of it anywhere, years it is since I went there first. But not even in the Musée. it was consule Planco the first time, ay There was something else I vainly de mi! Eleven hours the train spent looked for at Mâcon the second time. in crawling from Geneva in those days, When I wandered through Mâcon the I remember, and I broke the weary first time I came, as Mr. Pecksnifi journey at Mâcon for a while. It was did, but less intentionally even than market-day, I remember, and a day of he, to the door of a Madame Gamp, brilliant heat. Yokes of yellow oxen and I joyed my then unpaternal eyes


with the sight of the signboard over Macon remains. If you are lucky, that door. Why, indeed, should you may still see yokes of cream-col. Madame Gamp not flaunt a signboard? ored oxen come wagging over the And why should it not be one of armes bridge. The Saône remains, broad, parlantes? The botanical theory of the flat, full, slow, a very bovine breed of origin of small human beings is no river indeed; grazing its way, so to new one; the gooseberry-bush hypothe- speak, through endless buttercup sis held good in England even when I meadows, all the meandering miles was a child.

In France that goose- down from the tiny old bourg of Gray. berry-bush becomes a less fertile cab- Slow and somnolent, the Saône; and bage-patch, and the cabbage-patch yet of the Saône I can say, “River, oh theory explains to a French youngster river of journeys, river of dreams!" It why his mother calls him her petit is here that I syncopate again, John; chou. The picture on the signboard you will have noticed how guilty I am displayed Madame Gamp in her gar- of syncopation. Or, rather, you will den. Her foot upon a spade, and her have noticed nothing of the kind, for whole considerable bulk bent hotly "syncopation" is a term of art, and on her philanthropic effort. Madame what does John Bull know of music? Gamp was eradicating a giant cab- Nothing, by common consent. Handel bage, and there at the roots of it-do you know, and Mendelssohn may be, cabbages have roots, by-the-by?-lay but what of the stormy Weber, the inan infant, just unearthed like a new sane Schumann, the satirical Berlioz, potato, but weeping as potatoes never or Chopin the neurasthene? To syncodo, though potatoes, too, have eyes. pate, a bighly respectable dictionary When I went to Mâcon again the other reminds me, is to cominence a tone or day I hunted for that signboard, but it note in an unaccented part of a bar was not. Gone are the years, gone and continue it into the following acare the fly-cages, gone are Madame cented portion. Even so does the unGamp and her signboard into the accentuated Saône lead us along to Ewigkeit, like Louis-Napoleon, General Gray. Werder, the black out of Fluellen's

Gray? Where is Gray? What was impériale, and the svelte grace of Made- my surprise last year to find in a very moiselle. Gone, too, are the spinster pleasant guest and Goth-the Rektor ladies who kept the little bookshop at

of a

Bavarian University-the only Mâcon on the Quai. Tenderly cour- man I know who has ever been to teous and considerate for my bloom.

Gray! My pleasant Goth from Erlaning youth, they sold me with compune: gen has twice been to Gray, indeed; he tion a copy of La Dame aur Camélias, I went there first about the date when remember, pressing me first and earn. Captain Fluellen was still sunned in estly to purchase some more moral tale the honest smiles of Mademoiselle Sonthan that, for sleeping over in the long nez de Dijon. Precisians will inform train to Paris. One's pathetical pleas. me that Erlangen is in South Germany, ure in that tale has also gone. Lots of and that the Bavarian contingent things, you see, are gone. Sic transit. never warred in Gaul so far north as Tempus irreparabile fugit. And the

Gray. May be, may be, Precisian; I rest of it. But Macon is not gone; the will take your word for that. But my terraced old city still dozes on its hill- friend was not Rektor of Erlangen just side, though honking and tootling mo- then; he was a mere Pomeranian untor-cars rouse it for moments, every dergraduate and recruit from Bingen. now and again.

The second time he went to Gray it was


to study, with an historian's eye, the La Revanche! That is still the fixed ground he darkly fought over the first idea in Gaul; that is still the inhumane time he went to Gray; thus may we

but human intention. You realize the review our young misdeeds, self-pity- cold hard smooth fixity of it when you ing and time-mellowed. And when he come to the Gap in the Vosges, as went to Gray the second time he saw from Gray you may quickly do. On a the great bronze chassepot there.

night of the Autumn maneuvres for An excessive friend of mine collects instance, when the garrisons and Reold rifles, and makes his dining-rooin servists are out from Toul and look like a non-commissioned officers' Langres and encamped upon the Platmess.

He assures his guests that he eau, you may realize those Gallic prepowns a Baker, a Delvigne, a Bruns- arations for revenge, that last and wick, a Minie, an Enfield, a needle-gun, dearest joy of the untutored soul.

Chassepot, a Snider, a Martini. There lie the embattled hosts, at rest Henry, a Mauser, a Gras, a Winches- after a rehearsal. At a telegram, a ter, a Mannlicher, a Lee-Metford, a word of command, an affront of Lebel, and what-not. He slings them France, they would spring into “mag. chronologically, la belled with the nificently stern array." Meanwhile names by which these toys for a young they rest, at nightfall. Listen Apollyon are known, and they take

Les diligen-ces away my appetite when I dine amidst

Part' pour Mayen-ce, their array. 'Tis the plague of his life

Bordeaux, Floren-ce that he cannot unearth an example of

Et tous pays. the original rifle, the old Adam and first father of all rifles, the crude and

A little reg-legged soldier wrapped in imperfect killing-tool which was all

his fusty great-coat lies beside a bithat Chrissom

had to content

vouac fire on the Plateau de Langres, themselves with between Anno Domini and bums to himself that old song, 1498 and the year of Our Lord 1631. "Les diligences partent pour Mayence," As for myself, I should prefer a collec. do they? No diligences will ever detion of spinning-wheels, and I might part for Mainz again, but those shining have made one by now had I taken

straight lines in the valley, those paralthat thirty-five franc chance at Dijon. lel bars, prepared as if for gymnastic But do not opine that I cannot let off uses and prolonged to apparent ina rifle. I can; I can make a bull, like finity, may carry armed travellers toany Irish Fusilier; I can hit the ball wards Mainz some day. Spreading on the jet; I can ring the bell; I can out like the bones of a fan, to touch perforate the card quite respectably. I at twenty points the Gap in the Vosges, am handier with a rifle than with a they run, those hard, smooth-devilish spinning-wheel; point of fact.

But railways built for war, all for war. what cold, hard, smooth-devilish Grass grows hay-high between those thing a rifle is to be handy with, or rails; no train conveys a single civilian to collect! Cold, hard, but not smooth

passenger or ounce of peaceable is the great bronze chasse pot on the merchandise along them. Idle they Soldiers' Monument which the Rektor lie and grimly they wait, strategic iron and I have seen at Gray. High set in roads built all for war; the motor-car bronze upon the pedestal of that touch- cannot antiquate them or abolish their ing memorial a shot soldier staggers, purposed use. The motor-car that and his rifle falls; but it falls into the takes the highway from Dijon to Sedan clutch of his boyish son.

goes through Doinremy, and the troops




which France has lost. And listen again-he is humming again, this little red-legged, hot-headed young soldier; it is the Sentinelles veillez of M. Fragerolles which he hums

Sentinelle au pantalon rouge,

A l'Est que vois-tu ?
Je vois un nuage qui bouge,

Vapeur de sang qui est perdu.
L'éclair y trace, en formes nettes,
De grands zig-zags, de baionettes;

Sentinelles, veillez!

that marched from Toul three days ago went swinging past the church where Jeanne Darc knelt in her ecstasy, and past the house wherein the Deliverergirl was born. And "Halt!” cried the colonels there. "Port arms! Salute!" The sabres flashed in the beautiful curves and sway of that accolade, the rifles were raised and ranked like thurifers before a shrine. Deliverance for France again they dream of, do the Gauls, but not from English and Burgundians this time.

Thirty thousand red-legged soldats prepare for open-air sleep on the Plateau, and presently the last bugles sound. Solemn, virile, and largo is the music of the extinction des feux; poesy intense, fraught with charm and melancholy, breathes through that chain of slow, grave notes. They float across table-land and valley, they die upon the silent fields all blonde with stubble. Cover fires? There are fires of memory and emotion which are never extinguished in France. Think you that Madame X at Dijon has forgotten? Revenge?" Gambetta thundered, “Think of it always, if you speak of it never!" Seldom do they speak of it in Gallia now, but they think of it still. They remember. The men who have come to forty and fifty year remember; and if the young soldiers on the Plateau cannot remember, they know. They have heard; their fathers have told them. They have seen the Gloria victis statue at Bordeaux. And at Gray they have understood the ipeaning of the chassepot, falling from the shot Gaul's fingers into his son's young hand.

The curfew bugle is silent, the fires of the bivouac flicker down, the troops are already asleep; but as for the little red-legged soldat, still he wakes and still he hums. His feet as he lies point Eastward, Rhineward, Gothward, revengeward; over yonder is the Gap which admits to the fair province

Yes, he will watch. Nowadays, now that all the little nations in the world are emphasizing themselves, shall not the Grande France ?

But the tardy moon has risen. It climbs to the edge of the Plateau; it looks down at the couchant myriads cast there in the mimicry of death. And the little red-legged fellow shivers, for the strewn plain and the deathpale moon remind him of the tale his father tells. Of when his father lay wounded on the deserted field of Sedan. Of how such a moon as that rose up and rested at the edge of the battlefield, distant but plain before his father's eyes.

of how-ah, strange and awesome sight!-forth from the moon a black thing seemed to spring, and to make towards him slowly; a thing like a black bar that moved, that crept, that advanced; a black bar short and narrow, straight marching out of the moon towards the sopping red spot where the soldier lay. Out of the eerie moon it seemed to come, straight, direct, inevitable upon him, and his fear shrieked aloud. But soon his hope cried out, for the black bar was a priest, a priest bare-headed, kilting his cassock and marching with reddened ouliers across the awful wetness of the field; a priest, breviary in hand, and chanting the Miserere and the prayer for the dying and the dead. ... Just such a peeping moon as this one, and just such a man-strewn plain, the little red-legged fellow reflects; and



he himself, perhaps, forlorn little sol- that best of comicality.

Pitiful and dat, tawdry little tin soldier for the considerate for others, yet suddenly play-game of both children at Paris boiling and bubbling with rage on inand Berlin, to lie as his father did, adequate occasions, like geyser. shell-torn at the thigh and sabre- And

to his name-Fluellen, broken in the arm, if war shall come Thlewellyn—the Welshman, the Elizaagain. And then for France—who bethan Welshman, and also the Victoknows?-perhaps another Sedan.

rian Welshman to a t. "All the waSepulchrally the churchbell in the ters of Wye cannot wash the Welsh valley tolls ten, and the little red- plood out of his pody." As a thumblegged fellow has fallen asleep at last. nail sketch Fluellen's is the most perBut near him a dragoon is dreaming; fect pen-and-ink portrait ever drawn; he dreams that he rides, rides, rides, I would know him again amongst a with flashing sabre and tossing horse- million on the thither Lethean shore. hair plume. He has thought of la For may I eat the leek of the liar if revanche, and he dreams that the one does not see his shade—a pale chance is come; he can speak of it green, leek-green, it is in color-any now, he can shout of it—but he dreams night when one walks about "that that his troop is ill-marshalled, and he famed Picard field” where he fought cries out a warning. "Aux armes ! V'là So well. l'ennemi! Au secours, je vous dis, nom

Battlefields of France, which generade Dieu! V'là les Prussiens, je vous dis ! tions of Madame Gamps have labored Apprétez-vous! Sabre-mainà gauche en to provide with food for powder-Aginbataille! Au galop! Char-r-r-gez! court where Fluellen did so valiantly, Hourah!" A sleepy corporal curses Poitiers, Crécy, Toulouse, Chateaudun, him into silence; again there is death- Dijon, Mars-la-Tour, St. Quentin, and like quietude, and the mimicry of endless others—multitudinous champs death once more.

de bataille which something still seems That, or nearly that, is what one

to incarnadine I have felt your horrimay hear on a night of the Autumn ble charm. Hobbinol and I have colmaneuvres, when one goes the rounds lected battlefields; Gravelotte, I have with one's ami, Major Leliene. And

traced the hoof-marks of your cavalry afterwards in the tent one talks of charge; Sedan, I have trod your furrows Fluellen, of Shakespeare's Fluellen, of

flat. I have followed the flight of the the nuances there are in Shakespeare's miserablest of Napoleons, I have slept Fluellen, and of how little those where he slept the night of disaster irnuances can be understood by a Gaul retrievable, the very Pelion upon Ossa or a Goth who does not understand of defeat. And there at Bouillon, in the Welsh. For look you, as he him- an annexe of Godfrey's feudal castle, self would say, "there is very excel

in the whitewashed salles of a petty lent" nuances in Shakespeare's Fluel- Versailles, I have seen the names of len. Is he not the arrant Welsh gen

Marie and Gretchen, Lina and Louise, tleman, strange in his consonants but scratched or pencilled on the whitemusical in his vowels and cadences? wash by Gauls and Goths who lay side "Marvellous valorous," hot as cayenne

by side in a common pain and hospital, pepper, touchy as the sensitive plant, chumming together as they tried to extravagant in hyperbolical speech, pe

talk to each other of their wives or dantic in erudition, and over-proud of

sweethearts and their wounds. his claims of long descent. Comic Upon the hearts of the Maries and with the unconscious Welsh humor, Gretchens, the Linas and Louises, the

« ZurückWeiter »