Adventures of a Despatch Rider eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 210 pages of information about Adventures of a Despatch Rider.

At dead of night we echoed into the Chateau at Tournan, roused some servants, and made them get us some bread, fruit, and mattresses.  The bread and fruit we devoured, together with a lunch-tongue, from that excellent Chateau at La Haute Maison—­the mattresses we took into a large airy room and slept on, until we were wakened by the peevish tones of the other motor-cyclists who had ridden with the column.  One of them had fallen asleep on his bicycle and disappeared into a ditch, but the other two were so sleepy they did not hear him.  We were all weary and bad-tempered, while a hot dusty day, and a rapid succession of little routine messages, did not greatly cheer us.

At Tournan, appropriately, we turned.  We were only a few miles S.-E. of Paris.  The Germans never got farther than Lagny.  There they came into touch with our outposts, so the tactful French are going to raise a monument to Jeanne d’Arc—­a reminder, I suppose, that even we and they committed atrocities sometime.


[8] I do not know who the officer was, and I give the story as I wrote it in a letter home—­for what it is worth.

[9] It must have been Guiscard.

[10] August 29th.

[11] Stray bullets that, fired too high, miss their mark, and occasionally hit men well behind the actual firing line.

[12] Foret de Crecy.



The morning of September 5th was very hot, but the brigades could easily be found, and the roads to them were good.  There was cheerfulness in the air.  A rumour went round—­it was quite incredible, and we scoffed—­that instead of further retreating either beyond or into the fortifications of Paris, there was a possibility of an advance.  The Germans, we were told, had at last been outflanked.  Joffre’s vaunted plan that had inspired us through the dolorous startled days of retirement was, it appeared, a fact, and not one of those bright fancies that the Staff invents for our tactical delectation.

Spuggy returned.  He had left us at Bouleurs to find a bicycle in Paris.  Coming back he had no idea that we had moved.  So he rode too far north.  He escaped luckily.  He was riding along about three hundred yards behind two motor-cyclists.  Suddenly he saw them stop abruptly and put up their hands.  He fled.  A little farther on he came to a village and asked for coffee.  He heard that Uhlans had been there a few hours before, and was taken to see a woman who had been shot through the breast.  Then he went south through Villeneuve, and following a fortunate instinct, ran into our outposts the other side of Tournan.

We all slept grandly on mattresses.  It was the first time we had been two nights in the same place since Dour.

We awoke early to a gorgeous day.  We were actually going to advance.  The news put us in marvellous good temper.  For the first time in my recollection we offered each other our bacon, and one at the end of breakfast said he had had enough.  The Staff was almost giggling, and a battalion (the Cheshires, I think) that we saw pass, was absolutely shouting with joy.  You would have thought we had just gained a famous victory.

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Adventures of a Despatch Rider from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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