A couple of years before the débâcle --- as implicit within --- Louis-Napoléon meditated, which is what he was best at, some wish-fulfilment . An accomplished author, his only known fiction had been, in hereditary fashion, official pronouncements.
'Plot of a Novel by the Emperor'
"M. Benoît, an honest grocer, residing tn the Rue de la Lune, left, in 1847, for America. After having travelled in the countries extending from Hudson's Bay to the Mississippi, he returned to France in April, 1868, having been nearly nineteen years out of the country. He had been only vaguely informed as to the events which had taken place in France since 1848. Some French refugees had told him that, if he visited France, he would find it crushed under a system of despotism, with poverty abounding everywhere; a France, in fact, very different from that he left flourishing under the reign of Louis Phillippe. Our friend Benoît arrives at Brest in a trans-Atlantic steamer, full of uncertainties, regrets, and apprehensions. 'What are those black-looking vessels, so ugly when compared with the beautiful sailing vessels that I have left behind me ?' he asks of the first sailor he meets. 'Why,' replies the sailor, 'they are iron-clad men-of-war, the Emperor's invention; covered in iron, they are impregnable; and this transformation has destroyed, to a certain extent, the supremacy of the English fleet on the seas.' 'That may be possible; but I am sorry for our old ships, with their poetical masts and sails.' [ On the margin, opposite the latter phrase, are written these words : "Passports suppressed." ] He sees the crowd rushing to the Court-house to record their votes. Astonishment at witnessing the existence of universal suffrage; astonishment at the railways which run throughout the whole of the country, and at the telegraph. Arrived in Paris; embellishments. The Octroi ( city dues ) carried to the fortifications. He wishes to make some purchases, which are cheaper, in consequence of the Treaty of Commerce; some half-price, &c. He fancies that there are a number of writers in prison. Error. No disturbances; no political prisoners; no exiles. No more preventative detentions; acceleration of trial; branding suppressed; civil death suppressed; Society for Assistance to the Aged; asylums at Vincennes; coalitions; Police de Roulage suppressed; military service shortened, pay increased, medal instituted, pension augmented, reserve increasing the regular force; funds for infirm priests; arrest for debt; brokers; a tradesman who sent his assistant to buy and sell goods was arrested; Councils-General."
The Secret Documents of the Second Empire. Pub. by the Commission of the Govt. of National Defence. L. 1871 Translated from the French by T. Curry.
Alphonse-Marie-Adolphe de Neuville --- Bivouac devant le Bourget
The ongoing separate war the United States is waging to eradicate the Gaddafi clan by targeting it’s smallest members proceeds apace with the successful targeted killing of some more of his youngest descendants, “I Do it for the Gipper.” Wiggum murmured as he gave the order, continuing his sedulous quest to fulfil the mandates of his Republican mentors. Yet, equally impressive the Chicago Hit he ordered on the demonic bin Laden, another death foretold, actually as well as achieving the primary purpose — gaining votes from those screaming hordes who would publicly celebrate a death — was the final act in Interpol’s Warrant to capture the demonic bin Laden, which was first issued in ’98 at the request of… Libya.
One might think that however tragic the deaths on 9/11 — the destruction of the Towers sans deaths would merely be a blessing, as would be virtually every building since 1920 ( but including the deaths of all foul present modernist architects and scum bastard building workers everywhere who destroyed the old and erected the pointless vile concrete new ) — the swap of 30,000 Afghani civilians since would placate the manes of the 3000 murdered then
Anyway, for the demonic bin Laden, the present choices are: that he was either dead long ago in the Caves of Tora Bora; dead from his numerous ailments ( which included Marfan’s, kidney disease, liver disease etc. etc.); killed in Abottabad; or snatched for a life of imprisonment and torture under the auspices of the vengeful state — which has not treated those on Guantánamo, ever unclosed yet, whose guilt in much less culpable crimes than those of bin Laden was unproven, at all well. Or he may have escaped and a double killed, yet his charisma and mystique vanished.
The ‘DNA evidence’ is as valueless as anything else the propaganda machine issues, since we have to rely on, the retrieved bits actually coming from the corpse in Abottabad, the matching being done by the state who killed him, and the control sample actually having been taken from his sister’s corpse — bearing in mind that it was recently discovered that the piece of skull held by the Russians which they alleged was that of Hitler really belonged to some poor woman — and that in all reports the administration controls what information is released, and however generous they are in releasing in succession utterly different stories, this means believing in the good faith of Obama, a man rarely capable of understanding, let alone telling, truth; the Pentagon; and the various state security forces. One thing that is certain is that the corpse, real or not, was actually about his height: since the killers had omitted, understandably enough, to bring along a tape measure, one of them of a similar length lay down besides the body to provide a datum.
And even if the event is broadly true, whilst the raid was a credit to the hit squad, killing a bewildered old man was evidently preferred to capture, as execution of the unrighteous; especially since they said that anything less than utter submission — difficult to manage for the least alarmed when being shot at — didn’t qualify as surrender, and that attempting to retreat, as was the demonic bin Laden before he was rubbed out proved resistance. Since when they killed this sick old fellow crawling on the floor, in front of his 12 yr-old daughter, he seemed incapable of a fight to the death with tooth and nail, being unguarded and unarmed, which seems extraordinary carelessness on the part of a supervillain.
While this affair reminds one of the horrifying 2004 murder of Shiekh Yassin, which temporarily changed my internet signatures to:
‘If you could have heard the old man scream as he fell, and the noise of his bones upon the pavement !’
[ from The Story Of The Young Man With The Cream Tarts by RLS ]
I have to kill a 67-yr-old man Considering he’s paraplegic, should I choose a knife fight ? Or as he’s blind, it might be pistols at dawn: in order to demonstrate my sheer fighting courage perhaps I should use a helicopter gunship when his wheelchair is exiting morning prayers.
the mention of dreary old Adolf may as well include here my very favourite joke, as told in Germany in late ’45, and perhaps almost relevant in this matter:
When they found the Führer’s body, there was a little note attached: ‘I was never a Nazi.’
Down in the Valley
And with all this cavilling, the fact remains the aging prisoner in Abottabad was wistfully planning yet more wacky mayhem: his computer files, as released by the administration showed his meticulous planning for a new atrocity. “…was looking into trying to tip a train by tampering with the rails so that the train would fall off the track at either a valley or a bridge.”; yet worse, this was to be specifically aimed at Amtrak’s 805 km per hour trains — which I’ll assume can cross the continent in three and a half hours — no doubt as the doleful plumes of smoke rose from the valley below the opera-glass gazing conspirators would toss their tophats into the air and fondle their waxed moustaches whilst cackling fiendishly.
For someone who hated America so, I’m guessing he had very little idea of daily life in America; let alone Amtrak.
And at the last the final question remains: What sort of person is terrified by a weird old loony such as bin Laden ?
As President Wiggum details yet another bombing of a muslim country for their own good --- I swear, part of America's current mission policy statement is to rain death from the clouds upon each and every country in the world, in turn and prolly ending up with themselves --- it can't hurt to visit one of my favourite passages, from Herbert Gorman's magnificent 1947 fictionalization of L'Affaire Boulanger, Brave General, painting the general's unfortunate -- in consequence --- visit to Prince Napoleon's Chateau at Prangins, in the canton of Vaud [ Obit ]. When did a Plon-Plon benefit anyone ? Suitable no doubt since Obama shares with Georges his amiable nullity, combined even yet with the fading aura of one also once claimed as messiah who brought death and dictatorial misery as travelling companions.
Yanks of a liberal disposition now try to disassociate themselves and Bush-Lite from any suspicion of Obamamania, claiming that it was their opponents who fastened the unreal expectations of a new dispensation upon the reputation of a remarkably shifty candidate and soon to be dilettante president, yet none who actually lived through November of '08 will forget the revolting genuflections and hosannas which accompanied that victory; like Boulanger, who twisted in turn to solicit support from correct legitimists and the slippery factions who composed the body politic of the corrupt Third Republic, orleanists, bonapartists, socialists, clericals etc. etc., all realising in turn that he lacked spirit to do good for any, and not even for himself, the president courted foolishly his alleged enemies for bi-partisan support without having much of a plan for even the semblance of victory. As to whether being a hollow man is better than being a criminal worshipped war-lord, I can't say; but trying to be both is a respectable recipe for disaster.
As Gorman includes: In Politics one insisted to the last that one's party was winning, and when one's party did not win one spent the the next week inventing extraneous excuses for the defeat. The simple fact that one's party had lost because it had not received as many votes as the other fellow's party was never a conclusive explanation in itself. Politics, it appeared, was a constant self-justification. If I had done that, if I had done this, if the question had been properly presented, if my agent in that particular place... if the funds had been distributed as... if... if... if... Ah, that was politics. It was an absurd game of chess with crazy moves and cheating antagonists who stole your pawns when you were not looking. There was more politics, she thought, in republics than there were in kingdoms or empires for the simple reason that in republics there was no definitive iron hoof to stamp it out. That was good. So everybody said. The People spoke. Sometimes they spoke in a dozen clashing voices and nothing was resolved, or, if was resolved, it took a long time and the resolution lost a part of its strength. Like the American Congress. A wilful minority in that Paradise of democracy could indefinitely obstruct the will of the majority. That was called rule by the people. It sounded more like rule by the sediment that was too clotted to go down the drain. It held back everything.
Twilight was falling
Twilight was falling when the Prince, looking very much like a blown-up caricature of his august uncle, waddled into the large library with the General at his heels. "If you enter politics," he was saying, "you will soon discover it to be a nasty and merciless business. Have you a fortune ?" "Not a sou, "replied the General. "Well," said the Prince, as he thrust his hand into the front of his waistcoat, "if you run aground you will never be a stranger here." Thiébaud, who was standing by one of the glass cases of relics with Berthet-Leleux, turned smilingly towards the two men. "I have been thrilled by some of the objects in this case, Your Imperial Highness," he declared. "Look here, my General. Here are some things that will stir your soldier's heart." Boulanger advanced towards the relics eagerly, and the Prince followed, his broad face wreathed with smiles. "Yes," he said, "I intended to show you some of these sacred souvenirs. Berthet-Leleux, hand me the keys." The four men gathered before the case, while the Prince awkwardly unlocked the glass-panelled door. "There are the spurs that He wore on the return from Italy," he explained. "And there is the cockade that was in His hat the day He made them eat grapeshot at the Church of Saint-Roch. There are two of His pistols and the sash He wrapped around His middle when He drove the recalcitrant Council of the Five Hundred out of the Orangerie. And here... here..." He reached into the case and withdrew an Egyptian sabre in a gold-plated and bejewelled sheath. He extended it towards the General. "This is the sword the First Consul carried at Marengo," he said solemnly. For an instant the magic of the Cult impregnated the still air in the library. Afterwards Thiébaud swore that he heard the distant grumble of grenadier drums as the General stretched forward a respectful hand and lightly touched the hilt of the glittering weapon. "Are you sure that this is the sabre of the First Consul ?" he demanded in a hushed voice. The Prince smiled. "Do you think that this is bric-à-brac I have collected in flea-markets ?" he asked proudly. "It is a beautiful souvenir," declared the General in a reverent tone. His hand again caressed the hilt of the sword as lightly, as tenderly as though it were the upturned face of a beloved woman. Thiébaud saw the grave melancholy visage of a professional soldier to whom warfare was a religion and in whose eyes the saints wore burnished epaulets. Like the Moor in the English play his profession was his life and without it he would have no life at all... nothing, indeed, but existence. What, then ? What, then ? The journalist closed his mind to the answer. The Prince, too, observed the General's emotion and instinctively understood it. After all, he was a Bonaparte. Turning, he carefully placed the sabre back on the velvet in the open case. "General," he said, "when you have returned Alsace and Lorraine back to France I will offer you this sword." Justin entered the shadowy library with a lighted candelabra.
As elsewhere, earlier in the book, eternal truth remains for some of us outside all such montebanks of apparent power...
It was after four o'clock in the morning when the Polish waiter, leaning like an old collapsed scarecrow against the corridor wall, saw the door open and the octet emerge in a compact group. They were no longer laughing. "Remember," said Laguerre. "My dinner is tonight. You are all invited. In the meantime..." "In the meantime we have accomplished nothing," snapped Clemenceau. "We are moving to an understanding," said the General mildly. Ignace observed how Clemenceau turned a brief sour glance at the handsome gentleman with the blond beard. "Whose understanding ?" demanded the Breton abruptly. Nobody answered. As they were going down the stairs Ignace turned to Monsieur Frédéric. "They all detest one another," he remarked in a surprised tone. Monsieur Frédéric, who had been a maître d'hôtel for thirty years, shrugged his shoulders. "After all," he replied, "we live under a Republic. They have the liberty to detest one another. As for me... I am a Royalist."
Great was the excitement in Paris when it was announced the King of Prussia and the Tsar would arrive in close succession at the beginning of June . Although the latter was the real guest of honour ( high politics decreed it so ), it was King Wilhelm of Prussia and his massive Chancellor, Count von Bismarck, who attracted all eyes. On the train they passed positions the old King had occupied in 1814, when he had contributed to the downfall of his present host’s uncle. Though some Parisians detected a note of typical Teutonic tactlessness as the King complimented, ecstatically, on ‘what marvellous things you have done since I was last here !’, on the whole they thought his behaviour quite unexceptionable. In fact he stole many hearts by his kindly display of affection for the fragile Prince Impérial, then recovering from an illness. A comfortable figure projecting an image of some benevolent country squire, he set the nervous French at ease, and indeed seemed utterly at ease himself; as someone remarked uncharitably after the event, he explored Paris as if intending to come back there one day.
Even the terrible Bismarck, whose great stature made Wickham Hoffman of the U.S. Legation think of Agamemnon, positively glowed with goodwill. Beauties of Paris society surrounded him. admired his dazzling White Cuirassier unform and the enormous spread eagle upon his shining helmet, and attempted to provoke him; but in vain. In conversation with Louis-Napoleon, he dismissed last year’s Austro-Prussian war as belonging to another epoch, and added amiably ‘Thanks to you no permanent cause of rivalry exists between us and the Court at Vienna’. The festive atmosphere temporarily obscured the full menace of this remark.
On April 12th, the Emperor attended the première of one of the great entertainments to be produced in honour of his Royal guests: Offenbach’s La Grande Duchesse de Gérolstein…
…Now here was this new triumph about the amorous Grand Duchess of a joke German principality, embarking on a pointless war because its Chancellor, Baron Puck, needed a diversion. Its forces were led by a joke German general called Boum, as incapable as he was fearless, who invigorated himself with the smell of gunpowder by periodically firing off his pistol into the air. The farce, tallying so closely with Europe’s private view of the ridiculous Teutons, was too obvious to be missed. When the Tsar came to see it, his box was said to have rung with unroyal laughter. Between gusts of mirth, members of the French court peeped over at Bismarck’s expression, half in malice, half in apprehension, wondering if perhaps King Wilhelm’s lack of tact about his previous visit to Paris had not been revenged to excess. But nobody appeared to be showing more obvious and unrestrained pleasure than the Iron Chancellor himself; one might almost have suspected that the pleasure was enhanced by the enjoyment of some secret joke of his own.
The doom of our culture was already well upon it's way by the time of the Second World War --- or War of the Republics as I would prefer it to be known, since this was conducted entirely betwixt differing republican systems, all equally loathsome. Possibly not Japan, I guess, since it was at least nominally a monarchy, although cursory search indicates it was more of a constitutional monarchy. WWII may be summarized as that the nazis were detestable; the western allies despicable; and the communists disgusting.
The Russians had reverted to becoming savages by 1945: the Americans maintained their customary anthropological status as barbarians. Their especially barbaric political system of representative democracy had grave consequence as victors... The very first moralistic theatre was the judicial murder of General Anton Dostler, of which may be read here, written by the son of his American defense counsel. Essentially, 15 American soldiers were captured disguised as Italian civilians, and the --- non-nazi --- General referred the case to Kesselring, who ordered them to be executed. Admittedly Smiling Albert had enough to occupy his mind right then without giving this a great deal of thought, but under the laws of war this was a done deal anyway. It is pointless to object or blame soldiers for disguising; it is equally pointless to object to the consequence --- which procedure is actually there to protect civilians. Thus although guiltless --- neither prosecutor nor defence expected anything except acquittal --- General Dostler was then sentenced to death after new instructions were handed down from Washington in response to the revelation that the prosecution would fail, that is that henceforth in these trials hearsay evidence would be admissible. This was to satisfy the voting constituents. Democracy is awesomely repellent not merely in practice, but still more so in idealist theory...
'Hope to God we never lose a war.' said the prosecutor.
Ivanov Seven is an excellent boys' book by Elizabeth Janeway, and regards a mid-19th century recruit into the Russian army who is fortunate enough to return home to the hills with a charming little howitzer named Katya for his very own > which is the sort of souvenir no-one could resist; particularly a Prussian ornate cannon that is antique bronze inscribed:
Anyway, during the royalist war in the Vendée against the brutish scum of the French Republic, there was another notable piece with a sweet name. She was a bit bigger, but just as lovable.
Really, the only engaging with life which makes the curious matter of existence endurable is to destroy republicans... And maybe, to collect cannon. Not only for that good purpose, but just because... I find myself unable to believe God created us in order that we might worship Him --- although He would have every right so to do if He so Chose ( that's the arbitrary and unfettered bit that is the essence of power; which we must try to mirror, howsoever unsuccessfully here on earth, at least for His equally arbitrarily Chosen lieutenants... ) --- and His reasons for creation must remain a mystery, but fighting on the right side each time consoles us at least during each such struggle.
The soldiers reassembled in large numbers, till, with Bonchamps' division, there were close on forty thousand, but destitute of powder; the army spent the night before La Châtaigneraie, which had been re-occupied by the Republicans. At daybreak the town was found to have been evacuated, all the Blues having fallen back on Fontenay. The Catholic Army marched forward without delay and towards noon reached Pissotte, three-quarters of a league from Fontenay; the Blues, to the number of ten thousand, with upwards of forty pieces of cannon, were drawn up in battle array before the town. The priests were asked to give the men absolution before the battle. "We have no powder, boys", the generals said to them; "Come on and recapture Marie-Jeanne with your cudgels, as you did at first. See who can run fastest, for we cannot stop to fire this time." M. de Lescure was in command of the left wing; his men showing a disposition to hang back, he was obliged to ride on alone forty paces ahead of them; then, pulling up, he called out "Vive le Roi !" He was instantly greeted with six rounds of grapeshot, for the enemy had aimed at him as though he was the bullseye on a target; by a veritable miracle he was not wounded, though his clothes were riddled, his left spur shot away, and also a large piece of his boot from the right calf. Turning round he called out to the men, "You see, boys, the Blues cannot shoot. On with you ! Forward !" The men, carried away with enthusiasm, rushed forward at such a pace that my husband had to break into a quick trot in order to keep at their head. Just then the peasants, catching sight of a mission cross, fell on their knees around it, though within range of the cannon. More than thirty balls passed over their heads. At that point there were only MM. de Lescure and de Baugé on horseback. The latter would have had my husband bid them go on. "No, let them finish their prayers first", he answered quietly. At length they sprang up and rushed upon the enemy. Meanwhile M. de Marigny fired off the few charges we had with good effect. M. de la Rochejaquelein had put himself at the head of the cavalry with MM. de Dommaigné and de Beaurepaire; they all displayed the utmost gallantry, while Henri distinguished himself by a judgment beyond his years. After repulsing the Republican cavalry, instead of pursuing it, he fell upon the flank of the enemy's left wing, which till then had been maintaining the fight with some success, and by so doing placed the victory beyond a doubt. I wish I could give further details with regard to the circumstances of this battle, but I can only say what I know for certain.
The Blues, appalled by the desperate onslaught of the Vendeans, were completely routed in three quarters of an hour. The left wing, under the command of M. de Lescure, reached the gate of the town, and he himself was the first to enter, but his men, to begin with, had not the courage to follow him. MM. de Bonchamps and Forest, spying him from a distance, dashed forward to join him ; it was high time, for he was alone and in a very perilous situation. The three officers together were rash enough to penetrate into the town, though the streets were still crowded with over four thousand Blues, who, paralysed with terror, fell on their knees and began begging for quarter. When they had reached the square they separated and took three different streets, likewise thronged with armed volunteers, to whom they cried, "Surrender, down with your arms !Vive le Roi ! We will do you no harm." Scarcely had he parted from M. de Lescure, however, than M. de Bonchamps was wounded. One of the soldiers, after laying down his musket and crying for quarter like the rest, picked it up again as soon as he had passed, and fired, shooting him through the arm and fleshy part of the breast and inflicting four wounds upon him : luckily our troops were just then crowding into the town in the wake of their generals. Bonchamps' men in their fury closed in on the street and slaughtered about sixty Blues who were in it, so that the guilty one should not escape their vengeance.
As for M. de Lescure, he had the greatest pleasure a man can experience ; on leaving M. de Bonchamps and Forest he had taken the Street of the Prisons, which he caused.to be thrown open, to the cry of Vive le Roi, and flung himself into the arms of M. de la Marsonniere and the two hundred and forty prisoners confined along with him. This officer and several of the men were to have been guillotined the following morning; he had shown at his examination a nobility and greatness of character worthy of the highest praise. M. de Lescure had hastened to deliver them for fear they should be massacred by the Blues, and having done so flew at once to another prison in which were confined the relations of émigrés and other suspected persons, to the number of over two hundred. They had viewed the battle from afar and barricaded themselves on the inside for fear of being butchered by the patriots. M. de Lescure knocked repeatedly, crying, "Open, in the King's name !" Immediately the doors flew open, while the prison rang with cries of Vive le Roi ! All the captives embraced M. de Lescure, but without recognizing him, even though a great many were relations or friends of his ; after telling them his name he left them, to engage in the pursuit of the patriots like all the other officers.
Forest had taken the street leading to the Niort road, and accordingly found himself at the very head. Everyone's chief concern was to recapture Marie-Jeanne, the idol of the army, while the Blues, who were aware of this, used every endeavour to save her. They were already well over a league from the town. Forest had pushed forward so far that he found himself in the midst of over a hundred gendarmes ; fortunately he had the horse, saddle and weapons of a gendarme he had killed in a previous engagement, besides which, he was not dressed like a peasant and had no white cockade, and as at that time most of the Republican regiments were full of new recruits not yet in uniform, the Blues took him for one of their own men. "Comrade," said one of them, clapping him on the shoulder, "there is a reward of twenty-five thousand francs for those who save Marie-Jeanne; she is in danger; let us turn back and prevent her from being taken." All the Blues promptly turned back, whereupon Forest began to play the hero, declaring that he must be the foremost, and so gradually worked his way forward till he found himself leading, some way ahead, and followed only by the two boldest. When he was only a short distance from our men, he turned round with a cry of Vive le Roi ! and killed the two Blues who were following him, while the Vendeans, recognizing him, fell upon the enemy and captured Marie-Jeanne who was defended by some foot. To bring the history of this gun to a conclusion, I will add that she was brought back by the soldiers in triumph to La Vendée, where, in all the villages, the women came out to meet her, embracing her and covering her with flowers and ribbons.
Memoirs of the Marquise de La Rochejaquelein [ trans : Cecil Biggane ]
Henri, Marquis de La Rochejaquelein fighting at Cholet
The account given by Pinto of the final surrender of Martaban to the Burmese, and of the events which followed, is graphic and interesting, and in many particulars bears the impress of accuracy and truth, though to the Europeans of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, who had a very vague and inadequate idea of the greatness and splendour of the cities and countries of Eastern Asia, it appeared absurdly exaggerated. Here, as elsewhere, it must be remembered that Pinto had no means of accurately estimating numbers, and that he frequently was obliged to take his details from the reports of men who no doubt employed Eastern hyperbole with great freedom.
It appears that the unfortunate King of Martaban had reckoned greatly upon the assistance of the Portuguese, and had held out in the full hope that they would give him efficient succour. When he found them, to his intense chagrin, ranged on the side of his enemies, he gave up his cause for lost, and entered into negotiations with his assailant, offering to surrender his capital on condition that he should be allowed to retire in safety with his family. The faithless Burmese tyrant, after pledging his word that this condition should be granted, shamefully broke the promise he had given, and the unhappy prince was led forth in triumph with his wives and children, and exposed to great humiliation and ignominy. Pinto gives a very circumstantial account of the procession of guards and captives who marched forth from Martaban, giving the names of many of the princes, the chief priest, &c. He then says --- "Immediately after these there came in a litter Nhay Canatoo, daughter of the King of Pegu, whose kingdom the Burmese monarch had taken away, and wife of the Chambainhaa. She had with her four little children, two boys and two girls, the greatest of whom was not more than seven years old, and around her were thirty or forty young women of noble family, and grandly beautiful. They all had their faces bowed down towards the ground, and tears in their eyes, and leaned upon other women. After these marched in order certain Falagrepos, who are among themselves like the Capuchins among us, and who all, barefooted and bareheaded, marched onward praying, and carrying in their hands a kind of chaplets. Moreover, they encouraged these ladies as well as they could, throwing water in their faces to revive them when their hearts failed them, which happened often enough --- a lamentable spectacle, which it was impossible to look upon without shedding tears. This unhappy company was followed by a number of foot-guards, and after these came some five hundred Burmese on horseback. Near them was the Chambainhaa, mounted on a small elephant, in token of poverty and of the disregard of the world, conformably to the religion to which he had devoted himself anew. There was no greater pomp about him than this, and he was dressed simply in a long garment of black velvet, in token of mourning, having his beard, his hair, and his eyebrows shaved off; and, moreover, he had caused an old cord to be placed about his neck before he gave himself up to the king. This spectacle, too, was so mournful that none could look upon it and refrain, from weeping. With regard to his age, he was about sixty-two years old, of very lofty stature, with a grave and severe countenance, and the look of a very generous prince. When he had come to a place where a confused company of women, children, and old men awaited him, when they saw him in such a lamentable condition, before he had emerged from the city, they all raised, six or seven times, such a loud and terrible cry, that one would have said the earth was crumbling under his feet; and these lamentations and cries were incontinently followed by a multitude of blows that they inflicted on their own faces, striking themselves heavily with stones, with so little pity for themselves that the majority of them were in a short time covered with blood. Moreover, these things so horrible, to see and so terrible to hear, in such measure afflicted all the bystanders, that even the Burmese guards, though they were men of war, and consequently little inclined to compassion, and enemies of the Chambainhaa, could not refrain from weeping like children. It was at this place, also, that the heart of Nhay Canatoo, the wife of the Chambainhaa, twice failed her, and: all the other ladies gave way also, insomuch ilhat it was necessary to let him dismount from the elephant on which he was riding, that he might be able to encourage his wife and to console her. Then, seekig her lying on the ground like one dead, and embracing her four littte children, he knelt down on the ground and looked up with tears in his eyes."
The severest part of the unfortunate prince's trial was the mortification of meeting the Portuguese, who had behaved very treacherously towards him, and who were now standing to see him pass "all clothed in holiday dresses, with cuirasses of buffalo leather, their hats on their heads ornamented with a great number of plumes, and their arquebuses on their shoulders." Juan Cayeyro, one of the number, especially attracted the notice of the Chambainhaa by flaunting in crimson satin. On seeing him, the fallen monarch bent forward on his elephant's neck, and declared that he would go no farther unless these wicked and treacherous men were removed. The Birmans themselves were irritated at the double-dealing of the Spaniards, and the captain of the guard sarcastically bade them go shave their beards, and no longer deceive people into the belief that they were soldiers; and the Burmese would hire a number of women in their stead, who would serve for money. The Burmese guards, following their commander's lead, thereupon pushed away the Spaniards with great contempt, and Pinto adds pathetically, "Not to tell a lie, nothing ever so sensibly affected me as this, for the honour of my compatriots."
Comte Louis de Robien was a cynical French diplomat attached to St. Petersburg during the First World War: in his diary of the final years he detailed the Revolutions and that curious time when at any given time Tsarists, democrats, bolsheviks, socialists, the German army, Ukrainians and many other groups of varying sizes could be either fighting each other, or in very temporary alliance contesting the other groups singly or in concert...
Monday 9th April 1917 Shubin is still very worried. The apparent orderliness of the demonstration in honour of the victims of the revolution does not reassure him. He analysed the psychology of Russian crowds to us with great shrewdness --- he understands them better than we do, their mentality is so far removed from ours. "I saw," he told us, "a troop of a thousand demonstrators in a small side-street, waiting their turn to take up their position in one of the processions. There they stood, each one in his place, from ten o'clock in the morning until eight o'clock at night, marking time in the melting snow without the slightest sign of impatience, with nothing to eat and nothing to drink, without asking for anything from the neighbouring houses. The bearers laid five or six red coffins down on the bare earth, and none of this great crowd gave any sign of impatience. And yet, on the banners which they carried, the most extreme and violent demands were inscribed. From time to time a leader raised his baton, giving the note, and they began to sing: 'We will pillage ! --- we will kill ! --- we will cut throats ! --- to the gallows with the Tsar ! --- the bourgeois are vampires !' etc. . . . The tenors cried out for the heads of the aristocrats, the sopranos for that of the Tsar, the basses wanted no one spared. Then, when the verse was over they rested for ten minutes and then, at a new signal, they started again. It wasn't until that night that the procession could start marching, the bearers lifted the coffins on to their shoulders, and the crowd left in an orderly fashion, singing: 'We will pillage ! --- We will murder !' etc. . . ." Fat Shubin mimed the scene all the while he described it, rolling his pale blue eyes, beating time, singing first in a tenor voice, then in a bass... and then marching across the drawing-room with superb calm. He was most amusing. But his observation is very exact. In no other country could people confine themselves to words like this, without breaking into action. But how dangerous it all is ! Because, once let loose, these brutes are terrifying. In 1905 there were atrocious scenes and the moujiks, so mild in appearance, pillaged everywhere with sadistic cruelty. Someone told me about one 'estate', where the peasants cut three legs off all the sheep. In other places they tore out the cattles' tongues and put out their eyes. Let us hope that we do not see horrors like these !
Wednesday 8th August 1917 Everyone is interested in the battalions of women soldiers who exercise in the courtyard of the Paul Palace on the Fontanka . . . people talk of the 'heroism of the Russian women' and they get all excited about it... as for myself, I feel that it is rather unpleasant histrionics. As far as fighting goes these women can only be thinking of the rough-and-tumble ! Tuesday 14th August 1917 What strikes one about the present events is the lack of men ... the Kadets, who stirred up so much trouble in the opposition under the old regime, have shown themselves to be lamentably incompetent when in power. It makes one wonder whether the Emperor wasn't quite right in not calling on their help. If he had given them power, far from saving him they would have precipitated his downfall, because they have shown themselves to be doctrinaires, muddlers and blunderers. . . . During the first days of the revolution one of these brilliant theoreticians came to see Shubin, completely panic-stricken. Shubin expressed astonishment at his being in such a state at the moment when the event which he had spent his whole life preparing for was actually taking place.... "Yes," his visitor replied, "the revolution is all very well, but it is not happening the way I wrote about it in my book...." The whole history of the Kadet party is contained in that answer.
Manstein ordered a signal to be sent back: "Withdrawal must be stopped at once." But the signal no longer got through. Corps headquarters did not reply any more. Count Sponeck had already had his wireless station dismantled. It was the first instance of a commanding general's disobedience since the beginning of the campaign in the East. It was a symptomatic case, involving fundamental principles. Lieutenant-General Hans Count von Sponeck, the scion of a Düsseldorf family of regular officers, born in 1888, formerly an officer in the Imperial Guards, was a man of great personal courage and an excellent commander in the field. While commanding the famous 22nd Airborne Division, which in 1940 captured the "fortress of Holland" with a bold stroke, he had earned for himself the Knights Cross in the Western campaign. Subsequently, as the commander of 22nd Infantry Division, into which the Airborne Division had been converted, he also distinguished himself by outstanding gallantry during the crossing of the Dnieper. The significance of the affair lay in the fact that Count Sponeck was the first commanding general on the Eastern Front who, when the attack of two Soviet Armies against a single German division faced him with the alternatives of hanging on and being wiped out or withdrawing, refused to choose the former alternative. He reacted to the Soviet threat not in accordance with Hitlerite principles of leadership, but according to the principles of his Prussian General Staff upbringing. This demanded of a commanding officer that he should judge each situation accurately and dispassionately, react to it flexibly, and not allow his troops to be slaughtered unless there was some compelling and inescapable reason for it. Sponeck saw no such reason.
Feldmarschall Graf Josef Radetzky von Radetz died at the age of 91 upon the 5th January 1858, having served his lord well for 91 years, and leaving Strauss the elder's tribute march to perpetuate his memory.
Parts 1 - 4 of Erik Jorgensen's award-winning video of anti-war protests in Northern California in 2003'.
Quite apart from the fact that protests rarely succeed in altering anything, any more than voting does, or contacting one's --- and I may add that I take it as a deep and perpetual insult to suppose that anyone can 'represent' me --- representatives does; ultimately protesters and fascistic guardians are locked in a dance, and in the longer run keep exchanging roles. As Göring once affably pointed out to some ( agreeing ) communist prisoners: it could have easily been him in jail and them as the jailers. In this case I prefer the protesters philosophically, and despise the rigid guardians > yet in another I would as easily crush the iron heel down on protesters I personally despised... And in this case, neither side are efficient --- beyond the habitual national characteristic of inefficiency --- mainly because each claims to be speaking on behalf of 'The People': an entity, who like the Almighty, to which any assorted randomly chosen beliefs and feelings may be attributed. Oddly enough, the protesters prefer not to point out that thus they are speaking on behalf of redneck gun-toting anti-commies who gibber for Bush; whilst the state spokespeople equally refrain from acknowledging part of their constituency are shiftless liberal slackers who would elect for all war-mongers to be hung from apple-trees. Which is one of the prime jokes of conceptual democracy.
But anyway, this is funny and exquisitely chosen: for a state with such a worldwide reputation for wackiness ranging from hippydom to the extreme marcusian egalitarianism enshrined in PC to various cults, Californian policing appears to be modelled on the vague inchoate fascisimo of a Latin American country run by a demented authoritarian general who has been delaying death from extreme old age for thirty years during the mid twentieth century.
Not many weeks later, committing the charge and defence of his capital to Ooryphas, the Prefect, Michael again set forth to invade the Caliph's dominions. But even, as it would seem, before he reached the frontier, he was recalled ( in June ) by the alarming news that the Russians had attacked Constantinople. When the danger had passed, he started again for the East, to encounter Omar, the Emir of Melitene, who had in the meantime taken the field. Michael marched along the great high-road which leads to the Upper Euphrates by Ancyra and Sebastea. Having passed Gaziura, he encamped in the plain of Dazimon, where Afshin had inflicted on his father an overwhelming defeat. Here he awaited the approach of the Emir, who was near at hand, advancing, as we may with certainty assume, from Sebastea.
An enemy marching by this road, against Amasea, had the choice of two ways. He might proceed northward to Dazimon and then westward by Gaziura; or he might turn westward at Verisa ( Bolous ) and reach Amasea by Sebastopolis ( Sulu-serai ) and Zela. On this occasion the first route was barred by the Roman army, which lay near the strong fortress of Dazimon, and could not be advantageously attacked on this side. It would have been possible for Omar, following the second route, to have reached Gaziura from Zela, and entered the plain of Dazimon from the west. But he preferred a bolder course, which surprised the Greeks, who acknowledged his strategic ability. Leaving the Zela road, a little to the west of Verisa, he led his forces northward across the hills ( Ak-Dagh ), and descending into the Dazimon plain occupied a favourable position at Chonarion, not far from the Greek camp. The battle which ensued resulted in a rout of the Imperial army, and Michael sought a refuge on the summit of the same steep hill of Anzên which marked the scene of his father's defeat. Here he was besieged for some hours, but want of water and pasture induced the Emir to withdraw his forces.
It is possible that the victorious general followed up his success by advancing as far as Sinope. But three years later, Omar revisited the same regions, devastated the Armeniac Theme, and reached the coast of the Euxine ( A.D. 863 ). His plan seems to have been to march right across the centre of Asia Minor and return to Saracen territory by the Pass of the Cilician Gates. He took and sacked the city of Amisus ( Samsun ), and the impression which the unaccustomed appearance of an enemy on that coast made upon the inhabitants was reflected in the resuscitation of an ancient legend. Omar, furious that the sea set a bound to his northern advance, was said, like Xerxes, to have scourged the waves. The Emperor appointed his uncle Petronas, who was still stratêgos of the Thrakesian Theme, to the supreme command of the army ; and not only all the troops of Asia, but the armies of Thrace and Macedonia, and the Tagmatic regiments, were placed at his disposal. When Omar heard at Amisus of the preparations which were afoot, he was advised by his officers to retire by the way he had come. But he determined to carry out his original plan, and setting out from Amisus in August, he chose a route which would lead him by the west bank of the Halys to Tyana and Podandos. The object of Petronas was now to intercept him. Though the obscure localities named in the chronicles have not been identified, the general data suggest the conclusion that it was between LakeTatta and the Halys that he decided to surround the foe. The troops of the Armeniac, Bukellarian, Paphlagonian, and Kolonean Themes converged upon the north, after Omar had passed Ancyra. The Anatolic, Opsikian, and Cappadocian armies, reinforced by the troops of Seleucia and Charsianon, gathered on the south and south-east ; while Petronas himself, with the Tagmata, the Thracians, and Macedonians, as well as his own Thrakesians, appeared on the west of the enemy's line of march. A hill separated Petronas from the Saracen camp, and he was successful in a struggle to occupy the height. Omar was caught in a trap. Finding it impossible to escape to the north or to the south, he attacked Petronas, who held his ground. Then the generals of the northern and southern armies closed in, and the Saracen forces were almost annihilated. Omar himself fell. His son escaped across the Halys, but was caught by the turmarch of Charsianon. The victory of Poson ( such was the name of the place ), and the death of one of the ablest Moslem generals were a compensation for the defeat of Chonarion. Petronas was rewarded by receiving the high post of the Domestic of the Schools, and the order of magister. Strains of triumph at a victory so signal resounded in the Hippodrome, and a special chant celebrated the death of the Emir on the field of battle, a rare occurrence in the annals of the warfare with the Moslems.
J. B. Bury : A History of the Eastern Roman Empire --- A.D. 802 - 867
"Glory to God who shatters our enemies !
Glory to God who has destroyed the godless !
Glory to God the author of victory !
Glory to God who crowned thee, O lord of the earth !
Hail, Lord, felicity of the Romans !
Hail, Lord, valour of thy army !
Hail, Lord, by whom --- Omar --- was laid low !
Hail, Lord --- Michael ---, destroyer !
God will keep thee in the purple, for the honour and raising up of the Romans, along with the honourable Augustae --- Eudocia, Theodora, Thecla --- in the purple.
Fire-organ played in Reykjavik at the Winter Lights Festival
Both the Bundeswehr and the late Nationale Volksarmee have/had no more legitimacy than Hitler's mob, but although republican do/did obviously still carry out a little of the great tradition... Torchlight Parades are always so pretty.
Both uniforms are getting on the silly side, with ties and all ( and ugly impracticable Allied-Type helmets; which is kind of ironical now the Yanks are sensibly starting to model their helmets on the stahlhelm... ) and look really remarkably similar despite any supposed ideological differences betwixt state capitalism and the free-market kind.
Note the holy atmosphere of the NVA bash --- no doubt anything would be a break from the necessity of writing up a daily report on one's neighbours; and the poor production values of something shot in 1989 which films like 1962 outside the Iron Curtain. Note also the use of Jingling Johnnies aka La Pavillon Chinois which seem to really take one back...
Come hither, Evan Cameron ! Come, stand beside my knee --- I hear the river roaring down Towards the wintry sea. There's shouting on the mountain side, There's war within the blast --- Old faces look upon me, Old forms go trooping past. I hear the pibroch wailing Amidst the din of fight, And my dim spirit wakes again Upon the verge of night !
'Twas I that led the Highland host Through wild Lochaber's snows, What time the plaided clans came down To battle with Montrose. I've told thee how the Southrons fell Beneath the broad claymore, And how we smote the Campbell clan By Inverlochy's shore. I've told thee how we swept Dundee, And tamed the Lindsay's pride; But never have I told thee yet How the Great Marquis died !
A traitor sold him to his foes; O deed of deathless shame ! I charge thee, boy, if e'er thou meet With one of Assynt's name --- Be it upon the mountain's side, Or yet within the glen, Stand he in martial gear alone, Or backed by armed men --- Face him, as thou wouldst face the man Who wronged thy sire's renown; Remember of what blood thou art, And strike the caitiff down !
They brought him to the Watergate, Hard bound with hempen span, As though they held a lion there, And not a 'fenceless man. They set him high upon a cart --- The hangman rode below --- They drew his hands behind his back, And bared his noble brow. Then, as a hound is slipped from leash, They cheered the common throng, And blew the note with yell and shout, And bade him pass along.
It would have made a brave man's heart Grow sad and sick that day, To watch the keen malignant eyes Bent down on that array. There stood the Whig west-country lords In balcony and bow, There sat their gaunt and withered dames, And their daughters all a-row; And every open window Was full as full might be, With black-robed Covenanting carles, That goodly sport to see !
But when he came, though pale and wan, He looked so great and high, So noble was his manly front, So calm his steadfast eye; --- The rabble rout forebore to shout, And each man held his breath, For well they knew the hero's soul Was face to face with death. And then a mournful shudder Through all the people crept, And some that came to scoff at him, Now turn'd aside and wept.
But onwards --- always onwards, In silence and in gloom, The dreary pageant labor’d, Till it reach’d the house of doom. Then first a woman’s voice was heard In jeer and laughter loud, And an angry cry and a hiss arose From the heart of the tossing crowd: Then as the Græme look’d upwards, He saw the ugly smile Of him who sold his king for gold, The master-fiend Argyle !
The Marquis gaz’d a moment, And nothing did he say, But the cheek of Argyle grew ghastly pale And he turn’d his eyes away. The painted harlot by his side, She shook through every limb, For a roar like thunder swept the street, And hands were clench’d at him; And a Saxon soldier cried aloud, “Back, coward, from thy place ! For seven long years thou hast not dar’d To look him in the face.”
Had I been there with sword in hand, And fifty Camerons by, That day through high Dunedin's streets, Had pealed the slogan cry. Not all their troops of trampling horse, Nor might of mailed men --- Not all the rebels of the south Had borne us backwards then ! Once more his foot on Highland heath Had trod as free as air, Or I, and all who bore my name, Been laid around him there !
It might not be. They placed him next Within the solemn hall, Where once the Scottish Kings were throned Amidst their nobles all. But there was dust of vulgar feet On that polluted floor, And perjured traitors filled the place Where good men sate before. With savage glee came Warristoun To read the murderous doom, And then uprose the great Montrose In the middle of the room.
"Now by my faith as belted knight, And by the name I bear, And by the bright Saint Andrew's cross That waves above us there --- Yea, by a greater, mightier oath --- And oh, that such should be ! --- By that dark stream of royal blood That lies 'twixt you and me --- I have not sought in battle-field A wreath of such renown, Nor dared I hope, on my dying day, To win the martyr's crown !"
"There is a chamber far away Where sleep the good and brave, But a better place ye have named for me Than by my father's grave. For truth and right, 'gainst treason's might, This hand hath always striven, And ye raise it up for a witness still In the eye of earth and heaven. Then nail my head on yonder tower --- Give every town a limb --- And God who made shall gather them: I go from you to Him !"
The morning dawn’d full darkly, The rain came flashing down, And the jagged streak of the levin-bolt Lit up the gloomy town: The thunder crash’d across the heaven, The fatal hour was come; Yet aye broke in with muffled beat The ’larum of the drum. There was madness on the earth below And anger in the sky, And young and old, and rich and poor, Came forth to see him die.
Ah, God ! that ghastly gibbet ! How dismal ’tis to see The great tall spectral skeleton, The ladder and the tree ! Hark ! hark ! it is the clash of arms --- The bells begin to toll --- “He is coming! he is coming! God’s mercy on his soul !” One last long peal of thunder: The clouds are clear’d away, And the glorious sun once more looks down Amidst the dazzling day.
“He is coming ! he is coming !” Like a bridegroom from his room, Came the hero from his prison To the scaffold and the doom. There was glory on his forehead, There was lustre in his eye, And he never walk’d to battle More proudly than to die: There was color in his visage, Though the cheeks of all were wan, And they marvell’d as they saw him pass, That great and goodly man !
He mounted up the scaffold, And he turn’d him to the crowd; But they dar’d not trust the people, So he might not speak aloud. But he look’d upon the heavens, And they were clear and blue, And in the liquid ether The eye of God shone through; Yet a black and murky battlement Lay resting on the hill, As though the thunder slept within --- All else was calm and still.
The grim Geneva ministers With anxious scowl drew near, As you have seen the ravens flock Around the dying deer. He would not deign them word nor sign, But alone he bent the knee; And veiled his face for Christ's dear grace Beneath the gallows-tree. Then radiant and serene he rose, And cast his cloak away: For he had ta'en his latest look Of earth, and sun, and day.
A beam of light fell o'er him, Like a glory round the shriven, And he climbed the lofty ladder As it were the path to heaven. Then came a flash from out the cloud, And a stunning thunder roll, And no man dared to look aloft, For fear was on every soul. There was another heavy sound, A hush and then a groan; And darkness swept across the sky --- The work of death was done !
William Edmondstoune Aytoun : The Execution of Montrose
For sentimental reasons, the Lancastrian usurper PKing Henry V is somehow excused for ordering prisoners killed at Agincourt --- even in the following civil wars affecting parts of England during the rest of the century, caused by his verminous House's illegal seizure, this would only happen to prisoners of high enough status to merit expungement --- however, although England has actually had more monarchs who were usurping thieves than legitimate rulers, this little fellow may well be in the top three for unpleasantness: a snivelling pious puritan who majored in self-righteousness and slaughtered as freely as any serial killer for pointless aggrandizement.
Usually however it's considered a bêtise to slay the surrendered --- the Aussie furore on behalf of Breaker Morant and his mates being shot for so doing may be charitably ascribed to pitiful anti-Pom nationalism rather than condoning his shooting of captives.
After the invasion of Russia in 1941 the Germans, partially through luck and partially through skill were rewarded with hundreds of thousands of prisoners: partially through immediate inability and partially through ideological imperative a large proportion of the 5-6 million soviet POWs were starved to death in a crime worse than the labour-camps. This had a precedent ( apart from the fact that 85% of German POWs died in the camps that Stalin kept for his own people, and anyone else he could collect... ):
In the evening of the long day, as the imperial column was approaching Gzhatsk, we were surprised to find a number of dead Russians, still warm, on the road in front of us. We noticed that their heads had all been shattered in the same manner, and that their brains were scattered about. We knew that two thousand Russian prisoners had gone before us under the escort of Spanish, Portuguese, and Polish troops. Some of our generals greeted this with indifference, others with indignation, still others with approval.
...but the next day those murders had stopped. After that we simply let our unfortunate prisoners die of hunger in the enclosures where we penned them up for the night, like cattle. This was doubtless an atrocity; but what were we to do ? Exchange them ? The enemy refused to consider it. Set them free ? They would have spread the news of our destitute condition far and wide, and soon would have joined up with others and returned to dog our steps. In this war to the death we should have sacrificed ourselves in letting them live. We were cruel by necessity. The evil lay in the fact that we had got ourselves in a position where we were faced with such a terrible alternative.
Count Philippe-Paul de Ségur : Napoleon's Russian Campaign
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Although uninterested in automobiles, I'm terribly fond of my little Pajero, 'Baby', as I call her without the faintest trace of mawkishness. Certainly she may lack a dainty grace, but she could go through a large crowd of people in 10 seconds. She looks like this ( except goldish champagne ):
Yesterday I went to the dentist in Ipswich keeping a wary eye out for cop-cars; keeping to the correct mileage to the sulphurous annoyance of the drivers behind; and inter alia running a red light unnoticed. After picking up some more boxes from the garage, glancing without pleasure at the rest to be moved --- since we've not really had a summer the cold and wet inculcates mould ---- I left Baby in a multi-story since cars there attract less attention than on the road. Unfortunately there were a couple of hours to kill, and this not merely reinforced my distaste for a place where I had been far too often, but emphasised how further along the road to booklessness towns are on. Two books only could I buy: of thousands of books most were modern trash, and the rest either uninteresting or read. On my own road to perdition, it shewed that I have, on most subjects, read as much as I shall ever want to. And of the few types of books I still do want to read, these are unobtainable in shops... Which is one form of defeat.
Still, and this is more a subject for a separate paper, Defeat is illusory --- as much as is Victory --- vital, and necessitous. It is not only part of the human condition, but the major part; and is far more enriching than the equally temporary feat of victory. Apart from the fact that without defeat we could no longer fight ---- I have never heard of any commander who, lying, didn't proclaim the ultimate aim was universal peace; peace on their terms no doubt, but boring deadly peace nonetheless --- it may not be the lostness of lost causes that is the potent attraction, but that those causes being more correct than others were bound to lose, and gain a shining aura in the process. The Prussians were powerfully beaten at Jena, but their fighting there should be as cherished as that in any of their victories. And... in Valhalla both victors and defeated are created anew to battle the next day...
On the other hand, for a future post on Himmelstürmers, I came across this related page on the new GMC Yukons with pop-up Gatlings, and I can honestly say that if I ever wanted another SUV than my sweet Baby, it would be one of these. The Prussians could have used one at Jena; and it would be useful if I ever visited Jena, Louisiana.
"A shell grazed the third funnel and exploded on the upper deck above….' said Gneisenau’s Commander Pochhammer. ‘Large pieces of shrapnel ripped down and reached the coal bunkers, killing a stoker. A deck officer had both his forearms torn off. A second shell exploded on the main deck, destroying the ship’s boats. Fragments smashed into the officers’ mess and wounded the officers’ little pet black pig. Another hit aft entered the ship on the waterline, pierced the armored deck and lodged in an ammunition chamber…[which] was flooded to prevent further damage….These three hits killed or wounded fifty men." ( Castles of Steel, 2003, by Robert K. Massie, at page 267 )here
One of the --- many --- reasons the Germans have most favoured nation status with me is that they never let rationality interfere with life overmuch; or didn't before modernity was bombed into them, leaving the woeful bland of conformist and pc drear that is the present-day. I can't find it now, but in one town, they built a statue in gratitude to yet another pig for some valiant deed.
Could one expect less from a people capable of taking time off during the most vicious war theatre imaginable, WWII OstFront, to build a statue in the snows of some captured town, not of any contemporary or hero, but of an imaginary girl, Lili Marleen ?
The women were worthy of the men --- bold, quarrelsome, revengeful. Some were loyal, like Bergthora, who foresaw how all her sons and her husband were to be burned; but who would not leave them, and perished in the burning without a cry. Some were as brave as Howard's wife, who enabled her husband, old and childless, to overthrow the wealthy bully, the slayer of his only son. Some were treacherous, as Halgerda the Fair. Three husbands she had, and was the death of every man of them. Her last lord was Gunnar of Lithend, the bravest and most peaceful of men. Once she did a mean thing, and he slapped her face. She never forgave him. At last enemies besieged him in his house. The doors were locked --- all was quiet within. One of the enemies climbed up to a window slit, and Gunnar thrust him through with his lance. "Is Gunnar at home ?" said the besiegers. "I know not --- but his lance is," said the wounded man, and died with that last jest on his lips. For long Gunnar kept them at bay with his arrows, but at last one of them cut the arrow string. "Twist me a string with thy hair," he said to his wife, Halgerda, whose yellow hair was very long and beautiful. "Is it a matter of thy life or death ?" she asked. "Ay," he said. "Then I remember that blow thou gavest me, and I will see thy death." So Gunnar died, overcome by numbers, and they killed Samr, his hound, but not before Samr had killed a man.
Andrew Lang : The Sagas
Allfather's curse on nithings is stronger than that on evil-doers: therefore we too must despise weaklings and those who associate with them more than those who actively seek us harm; both take us to hell, but the weak feign it is the way to heaven.
From Christopher Duffy's magisterial Frederick The Great - A Military Life
Scenes of Rossbach:
Frederick left Gotha on 16 September, and the next day the allied commanders Soubise and Hildburghausen arrived there on a reconnaissance in force with nine or ten thousand men. Seydlitz arranged his 1,500 troopers outside in a thin but impressive-looking line, and sent a 'deserter' and some peasants into the town to announce that Frederick was on his way with the main army. The allies evacuated Gotha in some alarm. Eighty soldiers were captured by the Prussian hussars, together with a huge booty of clerks, lackeys, cooks, ladies, perfumes, dressing gowns and parrots.
Frederick's outward cheerfulness, and the army's enjoyment of the comedy at Gotha, gave no hint of the disintegration in Prussia's wider strategic affairs.
[November] Once aroused, Frederick acted with all possible vigour to head off the advance of the allies and attack them on the march. He immediately seized on the potential of the long, low ridge of the Janus Hill for screening a clockwise movement of the army out to the north-east, and on by a broad sweep south and west to embrace the allied columns. The cavalry had the furthest to go, and Frederick gave the newly promoted Major-General Seydlitz full authority over the disposable thirty-eight squadrons. Seydlitz duly rode up to the cavalry generals and announced: 'Gentlemen, I obey the king, and you will obey me !'
Seydlitz now committed the eighteen squadrons of the second line in a double flanking attack which embraced not only the Austrian and German cavalry but the twenty-four squadrons of French which now arrived the scene. The Low German cry of 'Gah to !" burst from the Brandenburgers and Pomeranians of the cuirassiers, giving one of the French officers occasion to wonder what kind of men were these who went into battle crying 'Cake !"
Few details have been transmitted of the ensuing infantry battle, which lasted a matter of minutes and involved only seven of the Prussian battalions. The leading French infantry regiments of Piemont and Mailly braved the fire of the artillery and approached to within forty paces of the Prussian line before being shredded by the salvoes of Kleist and Alt-Braunschweig . It was then or shortly afterwards that Frederick strayed in front of the muskets, and the Magdeburgers of Alt-Braunschweig called out: 'Father, please get out of the way, we want to shoot !'
*** The battle ended in scrappy fighting west of Pettstadt, when the light detachments of Saint-Germain and Loudon came south to cover the retreat. A French soldier approached the plainly dressed Frederick and declared: "Corporal, I want permission to go back to Auvergne. That's where I come from" . . . 'While we were chatting he espied one of our NCOs gathering all the prisoners and arranging them in three ranks. "Hey, corporal, look at that bugger over there. He wants to line us up like Prussians, and we've only been here a couple of minutes !" '
By 5 p.m. the field was shrouded in darkness. Frederick had intended to lodge for the night in the castle of Burgwerben, but he found all the rooms full of wounded French officers. Rather than disturb these gentlemen, he established himself in a servant's room in a nearby house.
Elgar called it the perfect tune ever. Written by Nat D. Ayer with words by Clifford Grey, these two sung it at the Alhambra for a revue in 1916. No doubt many hummed it in the trenches, thinking of the last parting, before they parted this life courtesy of a shell. The fact that neither singer sounds particularly youthful adds a certain something; then again, most singers of the time creak a bit in old recordings.
George Robey & Violet Lorraine - If You Were The Only Girl In The Worldtour
Then on a tyme there were many grete clerkes and rad of kyng Alysaunder how on a tyme as he sholde have a batayle with ye kynge of Inde. And this kynge of Inde broughte with hym many olyphauntis berynge castelles of tree on theyr backes as the kynde of the is to haue armed knyghtes in ye castell for the batayle, them ne knewe Alysaunder the kynge, of the olyphauntes that they drad no thing more than the jarrynge of swyne, wherefore he made to gader to gyder all ye swyne that myghte be goten, and caused them to be dryuen as ny the olyphautes as they myghte well here the jarrynge of the swyne, and thenne they made a pygge to crye, and whan the swyne herd the pygges a none they made a great jarrynge, and as soone as the olyphauntes herde that, they began to fle eche one, and keste downe the castelles and slewe the knyghtes that were in them, and by this meane Alysaunder had ye vyctory.
In six hours I begin the Pilgrimage to Calais, and shall attend the shrine of cheap smokes at Holy Adinkerke with a devotional coach excursion. By all accounts Calais is rather a dump, having had to be rebuilt in the modern style after the Germans bombed it in 1940, and the English in 1944. Yet the French still retain their old warm hospitality to the stranger within their midst.
This, Bertha No. 2, from World War I won't be trained on the place; but I'm sure that after a while I'll wish it was, and that I had the handling of it.