To write a book in a foreign tongue is risky, and I had better at once ask for indulgence.The many scenes and reminiscences belong to England, and, if translated into French, the anecdotes and conversations would lose much of whatever flavour and interest there may be in them.This is my reason for not having written this book in French. Let my reason be also my apology.
h school-boys, it would be out of place, if not somewhat pretentious, to make use of my recollections of the Franco-Prussian War.
Yet I cannot pass over two episodes of those troublous times.
* * * * *
I was twelve years of age when I struck up a friendship with a young Pole, named Gajeski, who was in the same class with me. We became inseparable chums. Year after year we got promoted at the same time. We took our degrees on the same days, entered the military school in the same year, and received our commissions in the same regiment.
We took a small appartement de garçon at Versailles, and I shall never forget the delightful evenings we spent together while in garrison there. He was a splendid violinist, and I was a little of a pianist.
Short, fair, and almost beardless, Gajeski was called the "Petit Lieutenant" by the soldiers, who all idolized him.
At the battle of Wörth, after holding our ground from nine in the morning till five in the evenin