In the matter of demeanour you behave as a native would do who was accustomed to being there.
Walking into a strange fort must be carried out much on the same lines as you would adopt in entering a strange town, only more so. You walk as if with a set purpose to get to a certain part of it, as though you knew the way perfectly, and without showing any kind of interest in what is around you. If you pass an officer or dignitary whom you see everybody saluting, salute him too, so that you do not appear singular. When you want to observe any special feature you loaf about reading a newspaper or, if in a town, by looking at all you want to see as reflected in a shop window.
The penalty for spying in this country was five years without the option of a fine, or even of a trial.
Having walked in like this, and having successfully walked out again—which is quite another matter—we felt elated with our success and hung about till nightfall and tried it again after dark. This was no easy job, as the place was surrounded by outposts very much on the qui vive for an enemy that was to make a manoeuvre attack during the night. By keeping to leeward of the general position one was able to quietly creep along, sniffing the breeze, until one could judge where there was an outpost and where there was open ground, and in this manner, smelling our way as we went, we were able to creep through between the outposts and so gained the fort.
This time it meant slipping through unperceived as far as possible, and in this we succeeded equally well. By good fortune we arrived just before experiments commenced with the illuminating rockets. Everybody’s attention was centred on these and no one had time to notice or observe what we were doing. We watched the preparations and also the results, and having studied the routine and the geography of the practice we were in the end able to help ourselves to some of the rockets and the lighting composition, and with these we eventually made off. Without delay we placed our treasures in the hands of a trusty agent who transferred them at once to England.
Our next step was to see how crossing the river was carried out by the cavalry. From information received we presented ourselves at a certain spot on the river at a little before ten one morning. The official attaches had received notice that a brigade of cavalry would swim the river at this point at ten o’clock, and at ten o’clock their special train was due to arrive there.
We were there, fortunately, half an hour beforehand, and we saw the whole brigade come down to the river and file across a fairly deep ford, where the horses got wet to some extent, but they did not swim.
On the far bank a few men were left behind. These, as it turned out, were all the men and horses who could actually swim well, and as the train arrived and the attaches disembarked on to the bank they found the major part of the brigade already arrived, dripping wet, and the remainder just swimming over at that moment.