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(Supposed to be related by a Veteran French Officer.)

YES! I have served that noble chief throughout his proud career,

And heard the bullets whistle past in lands both far and


Amidst Italian flowers, below the dark pines of the North, Where'er the Emperor willed to pour his clouds of battle forth.

'Twas then a splendid sight to see, though terrible, I ween, How his vast spirit filled and moved the wheels of the machine;

Wide-sounding leagues of sentient steel, and fires that lived to kill,

Were but the echo of his voice, the body of his will.

But now my heart is darkened with shadows that rise and fall

Between the sunlight and the ground to sadden and appal ;

The woeful things both seen and done we heeded little


But they return, like ghosts, to shake the sleep of aged


The German and the Englishman were each an open foe, And open hatred hurled us back from Russia's blinding


Intenser far, in blood-red light, like fires unquenched, remain

The dreadful deeds wrung forth by war from the brooding soul of Spain.

I saw a village in the hills, as silent as a dream,

Nought stirring but the summer sound of a merry mountain stream,

The evening star just smiled from heaven with its quiet silver eye,

And the chestnut woods were still and calm beneath the

deepening sky.

But in that place, self-sacrificed, nor man nor beast we found,

Nor fig-tree on the sun-touched slope, nor corn upon the


Each roofless but was black with smoke, wrenched up each trailing vine,

Each path was foul with mangled meat and floods of wasted wine.

We had been marching, travel-worn, a long and burning


And when such welcoming we met, after that toilsome day,

The pulses in our maddened breasts were human hearts

no more,

But like the spirit of a wolf hot on the scent of gore.

We lighted on a dying man; they slew him where he lay

His wife, close-clinging, from the corpse they tore and wrenched away,

Then thundered in her widowed ears, with frowns and curses grim,

"Food, woman-food and wine, or else we tear thee limb from limb!"

The woman, shaking off his blood, rose, raven-haired and tall,

And our stern glances quailed before one sterner far than åll.

"Both food and wine," she said, "I have. I meant them for the dead,

But ye are living still, and so let them be yours instead." The food was brought, the wine was brought out of a secret place,

But each one paused aghast, and looked into his neighbour's face:

Her haughty step and settled brow, and chill, indifferent mien,

Suited so strangely with the gloom and grimness of the


She glided here, she glided there, before our wondering


Nor anger showed nor shame, nor fear, nor sorrow, nor surprise;

At every step from soul to soul a nameless horror ran, And made us pale and silent as that silent murdered man.

She sat and calmly soothed her child into a slumber sweet,

Calmly the bright blood on the floor crawled red around our feet,

On placid fruits and bread lay soft the shadows of the wine,

And we like marble statues glared-a chill, unmoving


All white, all cold; and moments thus flew by without a breath,

A company of living things where all was still-but


My hair rose up from roots of ice as there unnerved I


And watched the only thing that stirred-the rippling of the blood..

That woman's voice was heard at length, it broke the solemn spell,

And human fear, displacing awe, upon our spirits fell"Ho! slayers of the sinewless; ho! tramplers of the weak; What? shrink ye from the ghastly meats and life-bought wine ye seek?

"Feed and be gone! I wish to weep. I bring you

my store


Devour it waste it all—and then-pass and be seen no


Poison? Is that your craven fear?" She snatched a goblet up

And raised it to her queen-like head, as if to drain the


But our fierce leader grasped her wrist-" No, woman! No!" he said,

"A mother's heart of love is deep-give it your child instead."

She only smiled a bitter smile-" Frenchmen, I do not shrink:

As pledge of my fidelity, behold the infant drink!

He fixed on her his proud black eye, scanning the inmost soul,

But her chill fingers trembled not as she returned the bowl;

And we, with lightsome hardihood, dismissing idle care, Sat down to eat and drink and laugh over our dainty fare.

The laugh was loud around the board, the jesting wild and light,

But I was fevered with the march, and drank no wine that night;

I just had filled a single cup, when through my very


Stung sharper than a serpent's tooth an infant's cry of


Through all that heat of revelry, through all that boisterous cheer,

To every heart its feeble moan pierced like a frozen


"Ay," shrieked the woman, darting up, "1 pray you trust again

A widow's hospitality in our unyielding Spain.

"Helpless and hopeless, by the light of God himselt I


To treat you as you treated him-that body on the floor; Yon secret place I filled, to feel, that if ye did not spare, The treasure of a dread revenge was ready hidden there.

A mother's love is deep, no doubt-ye did not phrase it


But in your hunger you forgot that hate is deeper still; The Spanish woman speaks for Spain; for her butchered love the wife;

To tell you that an hour is all my vintage leaves of life."

I cannot paint the many forms of wild despair put on, Nor count the crowded brave who sleep under a single stone;

I can but tell you how, before that horrid nour went by, I saw the murderess beneath the self-avengers die.

But though upon her wrenched limbs they leaped like beasts of prey,

And with fierce hands like madmen tore the quivering life away

Triumphant hate and joyous scorn, without a trace of pain,

Burned to the last, like sullen stars, in that haughty eye of Spain.

And often now it breaks my rest, the tumult vague and wild,

Drifting, like storm-tossed clouds, around the mother and her child

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