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Chapter 16 Racing Days IT was always the custom for the boats to leave New Orleans between four and five o'clock in the afternoon. From three o'clock onward they would be burning rosin and pitch pine (the sign of preparation), and so one had the picturesque spectacle of a rank, some two or three miles long, of tall, ascending columns of coal-black smoke; a colonnade which supported a sable roof of the same smoke blended together and... more...

A Question of Law THE slaughter-house is gone from the mouth of Bear Creek and so is the small jail (or 'calaboose') which once stood in its neighborhood. A citizen asked, 'Do you remember when Jimmy Finn, the town drunkard, was burned to death in the calaboose?' Observe, now, how history becomes defiled, through lapse of time and the help of the bad memories of men. Jimmy Finn was not burned in the calaboose, but died a natural death in a... more...

CHAPTER I. THE "MONTFORT." A wintry ride—Retrospect—Embarkation—A typical day—"Stables" in rough weather—Las Palmas—The tropics—Inoculation—Journalism—Fashions—"Intelligent anticipation"—Stable-guard—Arrival. With some who left for the War it was "roses, roses, all the way." For us, the scene was the square of St. John's Wood Barracks at 2 A.M. on the 3rd of February, a... more...

Ever since 1807, when the space between the Rhine and the Niemen had been overrun, the two great empires of which these rivers were the boundaries had become rivals. By his concessions at Tilsit, at the expense of Prussia, Sweden, and Turkey, Napoleon had only satisfied Alexander. That treaty was the result of the defeat of Russia, and the date of her submission to the continental system. Among the Russians, it was regarded by some as attacking... more...

PREFACE On April 22nd, 1915, the writer, in company with Major Rankin, saw the Germans launch their first gas attack near St. Julien upon the section of the line held by the French colonial troops and the first Canadian division. This book was written primarily for the purpose of recording this as well as some of the other experiences of the first Canadian division as seen from the unusual angle of a scientist, in the course of 18,000 miles... more...


Chapter 31 A Thumb-print and What Came of It WE were approaching Napoleon, Arkansas. So I began to think about my errand there. Time, noonday; and bright and sunny. This was bad—not best, anyway; for mine was not (preferably) a noonday kind of errand. The more I thought, the more that fact pushed itself upon me—now in one form, now in another. Finally, it took the form of a distinct question: is it good common sense to do the... more...

Chapter 51 Reminiscences WE left for St. Louis in the 'City of Baton Rouge,' on a delightfully hot day, but with the main purpose of my visit but lamely accomplished. I had hoped to hunt up and talk with a hundred steamboatmen, but got so pleasantly involved in the social life of the town that I got nothing more than mere five-minute talks with a couple of dozen of the craft. I was on the bench of the pilot-house when we backed out and... more...

Chapter 46 Enchantments and Enchanters THE largest annual event in New Orleans is a something which we arrived too late to sample—the Mardi-Gras festivities. I saw the procession of the Mystic Crew of Comus there, twenty-four years ago—with knights and nobles and so on, clothed in silken and golden Paris-made gorgeousnesses, planned and bought for that single night's use; and in their train all manner of giants, dwarfs,... more...

THE MEANING OF THE TANK CORPS TANKS! To the uninitiated—as were we in those days when we returned to the Somme, too late to see the tanks make their first dramatic entrance—the name conjures up a picture of an iron monster, breathing fire and exhaling bullets and shells, hurling itself against the enemy, unassailable by man and impervious to the most deadly engines of war; sublime, indeed, in its expression of indomitable power... more...

TO HALIBURTON, BLANCHE, AND SYDNEY. My dear Children, I dedicate this little volume to you in memory of your father, who, as you know, fell on March 12th, 1915, in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. These Letters, which were written to me from France during the first winter of the World War, do not in any way pretend to literary attainment; they are just the simple letters of a soldier recording as a diary the daily doings of his regiment at the... more...