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BY HORTENSE FLEXNER
'An aeroplane has been brought down in the Ægean Sea.' — DISPATCH.
WOUNDED, the steel-ribbed bird dipped to the sea,
then silver steam,
Étranger (Foreign Legion), passed in I
review before the President of the ONE day during the latter part of French Republic and the CommanderAugust, 1915, my regiment, the 2me in-Chief of her armies, General Joffre.
On that day, after twelve months of 1 Mr. Morlae is the California-born son of a French immigrant who served as sergeant in
fighting, the regiment was presented by the French army in 1870. Two days after the
President Poincaré with a battle-flag. war began he left Los Angeles for Paris, and en- The occasion marked the admission of listed in the Foreign Legion. On returning to
the Légion Etrangère to equal footAmerica, wounded in neck and knee, he came to Boston, where the Atlantic made his acquaint- ing with the regiments of the line. Two ance, heard his story, and asked him to write
months later — it was October 28 it in detail. — THE EDITORS.
the remnants of this regiment were paraded through the streets of Paris, which has shown them confidence,
, and, with all military honors, this same mothered them, and placed them on an battle-flag was taken across the Seine equal footing with her own sons. These to the Hôtel des Invalides. There it things mean something to a man who was decorated with the cross of the Le- has led the life of an outcast, and the gion of Honor and, with reverent cere- Légionnaires have proved their loyalty mony, was placed between the flag of many times over. At Arras, in La the cuirassiers who died at Reichshofen Champagne, there are more than 400 and the equally famous standard which kilometers of trench-line which they the Garibaldians bore in 1870–71. The have restored to France. The Legion flag lives on. The regiment has ceased has always boasted that it never shows to exist.
its back, and the Legion has made On the battlefield of La Champagne, good. from Souain to the Ferme Navarin, In my own section there were men of from Somme-Pye to the Butte de Sou- all races and all nationalities. There ain, the ground is thickly studded with were Russians and Turks, an Anamite low wooden crosses, their plain pine and a Hindu. There were Frenchboards marked with the Mohammedan men from God knows where. There crescent and star. Beside the crosses was a German, God only knows why. you see bayonets thrust into the There were Bulgars, Serbs, Greeks, Ne ground, and dangling from their cross- groes, an Italian, and a Fiji Islander bars little metal disks which months fresh from an Oxford education, - a ago served their purpose in identify- silent man of whom it was whispered ing the dead and now mark their that he had once been an archbishop, graves. Many mounds bear no mark - three Arabians, and a handful of at all. On others again you see a dozen Americans who cared little for the helmets laid in rows, to mark the com- quiet life. As Bur-bek-kar, the Arabian panionship of the dead below in a com- bugler, used to say in his bad French, mon grave. It is there you will find Ceux sont le ra-ta international.' the Legion.
They're the international stew.' Of the Legion I can tell you at first- Many of the men I came to know hand. It is a story of adventurers, of well. The Italian, Conti, had been a criminals, of fugitives from justice. professional bicycle-thief who had Some of them are drunkards, some slipped quietly into the Legion when thieves, and some with the mark of things got too hot for him. When he Cain upon them find others to keep was killed in Champagne he was servthem company. They are men I know ing his second enlistment. Doumergue, the worst of. And yet I am proud of a Frenchman who was a particularly them - proud of having been one of good type of soldier, had absconded them; very proud of having command- from Paris with his employer's money
; ed some of them.
and had found life in the Legion necesIt is all natural enough. Most men sary to his comfort. A striking figure who had come to know them as I have with a black complexion was Voronoff, would feel as I do. You must reckon a Russian prince whose precise antecethe good with the evil. You must re- dents were unknown to his mates. Pala member their comradeship, their esprit was a Parisian ‘Apache'and looked the de corps, their pathetic eagerness to part. Every man had left a past beserve France, the sole country which hind him. But the Americans in the has offered them asylum, the country Legion were of a different type. Some
of us who volunteered for the war loved from wounds, and more than half of the fighting, and some of us loved France. section rests quietly along the route of I was fond of both.
the Ryt. Seven of them are buried at But even the Americans were not all Craonne; two more at Ferme Alger, of one stripe. J. J. Casey had been a near Rheims. Eighteen of them I saw newspaper artist, and Bob Scanlon, a buried myself in Champagne. burly Negro, an artist with his fist in That is the record of the first section the squared ring. Alan Seeger bad of Company I. It has not a fortunate something of the poet in him. Dennis sound, but in the company it was the Dowd was a lawyer; Edwin Bouligny a lucky section. Section III, on the night lovable adventurer. There was D. W. of the first day's fighting in ChamKing, the sprig of a well-known fam- pagne, mustered eight men out of the ily. William Thaw of Pittsburg start- forty-two who had fallen into line that ed with us, though he joined the Flying morning. Section IV lost that day Corps later on. Then there were James more than half of its effectives. SecBach of New York, B. S. Hall, who tion II lost seventeen out of thirtyhailed from Kentucky, Professor Oh- eight. War did its work thoroughly linger of Columbia, Phelizot, who had with the Legion. We had the place of shot enough big game in Africa to feed honor in the attack, and we paid for it. the regiment. There were Delpenche, and Capdevielle, and little Trinkard,
II from New York. Bob Subiron came, I imagine, from the States in general, Two days before the forward movefor he had been a professional automo- ment began, we were informed by our bile racer. The Rockville brothers, jour- captain of the day and hour set for the nalists, signed on from Georgia; and attack. We were told the exact numlast, though far from least, was Fried- ber of field-pieces and heavy guns which rich Wilhelm Zinn from Battle Creek, would support us and the number of Michigan.
shells to be fired by each piece. Our arThe rest of the section were old-time tillery had orders to place four shells Légionnaires, most of them serving per metre per minute along the length their second enlistment of five years,
of the German lines. Our captain gave and some their third. All these were us also very exact information regardseasoned soldiers, veterans of many ing the number of German batteries battles in Algiers and Morocco. My opposed to us. He even told us the regisection - complete — numbered sixty. mental numbers of the Prussian and Twelve of us survive, and of these there Saxon regiments which were opposite are several still in the hospital recover- our line. From him we learned also ing from wounds. Zinn and Trinkard that along the whole length of our first lie there with bullets in their breasts; row of trenches steps had been cut into Dowd, with his right arm nearly sev- the front bank in order to enable us to ered; Subiron, shot in the leg; Bouligny, mount it without delay, and that our with a ball in his stomach. But Bou- own barbed-wire entanglements, which ligny, like many another, is an old hand were immediately in front of this in the hospital. He has been there trench, had been pierced by lanes cut twice before with metal to be cut out through every two metres, so that we Several others lie totally incapacitated might advance without the slightest
* The author's MS. leaves the spelling of these hindrance. names in considerable doubt. — THE EDITORS. On the night of September 23, the VOL. 117 - NO.3
commissioned officers, including the and disposing of such of the enemy as colonel of the regiment, entered the were still hidden therein after we had front lines of trenches, and with stakes stormed the trench and passed on to marked the front to be occupied by our the other side. All extra shoes, all clothregiment during the attack. It was ing and blankets were turned in to the like an arrangement for a race. Start- quartermaster, and each man was proing from the road leading from Souain vided with a second canteen of water, to Vouziers, the officers, after marking two days of 'iron rations,' and 130 the spot with a big stake, paced 1500 rounds additional, making 250 carmetres to the eastward and there tridges per man. The gas-masks and marked the extreme right of the regi- mouth-pads were ready; emergency ment's position by a second stake. Mid- dressings were inspected, and each man way between these two a third was ordered to put on clean underwear and placed. From the road to the stake, shirts to prevent possible infection of the 750 metres marked the terrain for the wounds. Battalion C. The other 750 metres One hour before the time set for the bearing to the left were assigned to Bat- advance, we passed the final inspectalion D. Just 100 metres behind these tion and deposited our last letters with two battalions a line was designated for the regimental postmaster. Those letBattalion E, which was to move up in ters meant a good deal to all of us and support.
they were in our minds during the My own company formed the front long wait that followed. One man sudline of the extreme left flank of the regi- denly began to intone the Marseillaise. ment. Our left was to rest on the high Soon every man joined in singing. It road and our front was to run from that was a very Anthem of Victory. We to a stake marking a precise frontage were ready, eager and confident: for of 200 metres. From these stakes, us to-morrow held but one chance which marked the ends of our line, we Victory. were ordered to take a course due north, sighting our direction by trees and natural objects several kilometres in the Slowly the column swung out of rear of the German lines. These were camp, and slowly and silently, without to serve us for guides during the ad- a spoken word of command, it changed vance. After explaining all these mat- its direction to the right and straightters to us at length, other details were ened out its length upon the road leadtaken up with the engineers, who were ing to the trenches. It was 10 P.M. preshown piles of bridging, ready made in cisely by my watch. The night was sections of planking so that they might quite clear, and we could see, to right be readily placed over the German and to left, moving columns marchtrenches and thus permit our guns and ing parallel to ours. One, though there supply-wagons to cross quickly in the was not quite light enough to tell which, wake of our advance.
was our sister regiment, the ler RégiThe detail was infinite, but every- ment Etranger. The other, as I knew, thing was foreseen. Twelve men from was the sme Zouaves. The three coleach company were furnished with umns marched at the same gait. It long knives and grenades. Upon these was like a funeral march, slow and very “trench-cleaners,' as we called them, quiet. There was no singing and shoutfell the task of entering the German ing; none of the usual badinage. Even trenches and caves and bomb-proofs, the officers were silent. They were all
on foot, marching like the rest of us. that my comrades would have someWe knew there would be no use for thing to remember me by. There is alhorses to-morrow.
ways the chance of something unforeTo-morrow was the day fixed for seen happening. the grand attack. There was not a The pace was accelerating. The man in the ranks who did not know strain was beginning to wear off. From that to-morrow, at 9.15, was the time right and left there came a steady murset. Every man, I suppose, wonder- mur of low talk. In our own column ed whether he would do or whether he men were beginning to chaff each othwould die. I wondered myself. er. I could distinctly hear Subiron de
I did not really think I should die. scribing in picturesque detail to CapdeYet I had arranged my earthly affairs. vielle how he, Capdevielle, would look, 'One can never tell,' as the French sol- gracefully draped over the German dier says with a shrug. I had written barbed wire; and I could hear Capdeto my friends at home. I had named vielle's heated response that he would the man in my company to whom I live long enough to spit upon Subiron's wished to leave my personal belongings. grave; and I smiled to myself. The moSergeant Velte was to have my Para- ment of depression and self-communibellum pistol; Casey my prismatics; cation had passed. The men had found Birchler my money-belt and contents; themselves and were beginning their while Sergeant Jovert was booked for usual chaffing. And yet, in all their my watch and compass. Yet, in the chatter there seemed to be an unusuback of my mind, I smiled at my own ally sharp note. The jokes all had an forethought. I knew that I should come edge to them. References to one anout alive. I recalled to myself the nu- other's death were common, and good merous times that I had been in immi- wishes for one another's partial disnent peril: in the Philippines, in Mexi- memberment excited only laughter. co, and during the thirteen months of Just behind me I heard King express this war: I could remember time and the hope that if he lost an arm or a leg again when men were killed on each he would at least get the médaille miliside of me and when I escaped un- taire in exchange. By way of comfort, scratched. Take the affair of Papoin, his chum, Dowd, remarked that, whethJoly, and Bob Scanlon. We were stand- er he got the medal or not, he was very ing together so near that we could have sure of getting a permit to beg on the clasped hands. Papoin was killed, Joly street corners. was severely wounded, and Scanlon From personal bickerings we passed was hit in the ankle all by the same on to a discussion of the Germans and shell. The fragments which killed and German methods of making war. We wounded the first two passed on one talked on the finer points of hand-greside of me, while the piece of iron that nades, poison gas, flame-projectors, hit Bob went close by my other side. vitriol bombs, and explosive bullets. Yet I was untouched! Again, take the Everybody seemed to take particular last patrol. When I was out of cover, pleasure in describing the horrible the Germans shot at me from a range
wounds caused by the different weapof 10 metres - and missed! I felt cer- ons. Each man embroidered upon the tain that my day was not to-morrow. tales the others told.
Just the same, I was glad that my af- We were marching into Hell. If you fairs were arranged, and it gave me a judged them by their conversation, sense of conscious satisfaction to think these men must have been brutes at