Jean Macquart, a farmer who, after having lost his wife and land, joins the French army just before the start of the Franco-Prussian War. A dramatic portrayal of the brutality of war for the common soldier and for the civilian population hit with the loss of family and friends, and by economic hardship.Translated By E. P. Robins.
again mentioning his father's name or sending any word to Silvine, whose name lay at the end of his tongue.
The minutes slipped away, and over toward the left, where the 2d brigade lay, a bugle sounded. Another, near at hand, replied, and then a third, in the remote distance, took up the strain. Presently there was a universal blaring, far and near, throughout the camp, whereon Gaude, the bugler of the company, took up his instrument. He was a tall, lank, beardless, melancholy youth, chary of his words, saving his breath for his calls, which he gave conscientiously, with the vigor of a young hurricane.
Forthwith Sergeant Sapin, a ceremonious little man with large vague eyes, stepped forward and began to call the roll. He rattled off the names in a thin, piping voice, while the men, who had come up and ranged themselves in front of him, responded in accents of varying pitch, from the deep rumble of the violoncello to the shrill note of the piccolo. But there came a hitch in the proceedings.