Souvenirs of France
Notes edited by Max Rives. In preparing these notes, the present Editor has drawn where appropriate on those of the ORG. The page and line numbers are based on those of the Macmillan Pocket Edition of 1933.
'I was a giant in those times, and a hundred cubits high'. BONAPARTE. (Ed.)This alexandrine line of verse has its origin in the "Mémorial de Sainte Hélène" by Las Cases (Memorial of Napoléon's life on the Island), later put into verse by Victor Hugo (1802-1995).
One night, on just one night, their vigilance failed, and the Emir’s soldiers, slipping into the middle of their positions, opened a murderous fire on the camp. The fire was so fierce that our soldiers hesitated to get up; the officers had to set the example. Marshal Bugeaud was among the first to arrive. However, order was soon restored, the zouaves charged and repulsed the enemy. When the fight was over, the marshal saw, by the light of the watch-fires, that everyone who looked at him was smiling. He put his hand up to his head and realised that he was only wearing a plain cotton night-cap. He at once demanded his cap, and a thousand voices replied:The cap, the maréchal’s cap!Next day, when the bugles sounded the march, the zouave battalion sang with them in chorus:Have you seen the cap, the cap?Since that time, the bugle-call to march has been known as nothing but “The Cap”, and the maréchal, who willingly told the story, often said to the buglers “Sound the Cap!”
Have you seen Papa Bugeaud’s cap?
Whatever happens we have got[Page 10, line 22] "out on the barricades in '48" ie during the revolution of 1848, leading to the short-lived (1848-1852) French Second République, displaced by the Second Empire (up to 1871).
The Maxim Gun - and they have not ...
Oh ! Demain c'est la grande chose
De quoi demain sera-t-il fait ? VICTOR HUGO
(Oh ! Tomorrow: that is the big question
From what will tomorrow be made ?)
In spite of ten days' bombardment by over fifty guns and howitzers, the number of Boer wounded was said to be only 160 - a fact which went to prove that the power of artillery can be broken by the ingenious use of the spade. The entrenchments, when examined, proved to be most skilfully contrived, with narrow mouths some eighteen inches wide, and wide bases, some quite three feet broad, which rendered them almost impregnable to shell fire.I suspect that Kipling's comment is based on the same source as the above report. [R.A.]
[From page 75 of Volume two of South Africa and the Transvaal War, Louis Creswicke, T.C. & E.C. Jack, Edinburgh, 1900.]