a roundabout journey

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER III. Avignon To N!mes. Put a man in red trousers and blue jacket and make his red legs move in unison with a lot of other red legs, and the man is perhaps relieved a little of his original insignificance. We have been witnessing the manufacture of soldiers, out of poor material, all the way across France. We have seen the forlorn squads of conscripts on their way to the stations; we have seen the first attempts on the drill ground to make four of them stand in a right line; we have seen their awkward efforts to make the musket anything but a murderous instrument for themselves, and we have finally seen them march off in columns—this thousand red-legged machine of war — with slanting bayonets and the intent to kill. I did not intend to say anything more about the soldiers. But as I opened my window to the south to let in the sweet morning air, I heard the toot-toot of the everlasting trumpet-call, and while I sit down to begin this page a red-legged regiment is crossing the esplanade. I wish I could say anything good of them. Individually they are insignificant; but their red legs do go very well together. At any rate they are theprominent fact in all these towns and cities. The air is full of soldiering. The trumpet-call is the first thing one hears in the morning and the last in the evening, and all day the tan-ta-ra tan-ta-ra is liable to break out and a squad of uniforms appear round the corner. In the streets everywhere are soldiers and officers, the most familiar figures ; but nothing seems able to give any of them the soldierly bearing that the Germans have. I don't know, however, that it is any of my business, if the republic chooses to use up its energies in this way. But I wish they would put some good-sized men into the army, just for appearances. The... --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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