I saw one man ask for his papers at the Gare de l'Est this afternoon, where with incredible assurance he was watching the entraining of French troops. He was led away between two policemen, and ought to feel thankful that the crowd did not get hold of him. He might have shared the same fate as that which befell one of his imprudent compatriots last Sunday at Clarendon.
Farmer when he next went on leave. On the 27th we again moved, this time to some farms round Widdebroucq, just west of Aire, to be nearer our entraining station Berguette, which with Lillers had already been reconnoitred.
Having collected all the stores and camp equipment we could lay hands on, and after the usual circus in entraining the horses, we started for Suez. Incidentally, this was the last time we boarded a train as a complete unit for more than two years.
The tribes will keep quiet because an army at Kerachi might be meant for their benefit. Oh, yes, I'm quite sure they were entraining for Kerachi in readiness to move on Basra. Trucks ready for camels and camel drivers and food for camels and Eresby, who's just come from taking a special camel course. Not a doubt of it!
On the thirteenth he began entraining Longstreet's troops for Gordonsville. On the fifteenth he conferred with his generals. And on the seventeenth, from the lookout on Clark's Mountain, he saw Pope's unsuspecting army camped round Slaughter Mountain within fifteen miles of the united Confederates. Halleck had just given Pope the fatal order to "fight like the devil" till McClellan came up.
"We know something now that probably even a lot of the soldiers don't know! They're mobilizing. If they are going to be sent from Waterloo it must mean that they're going to Southampton and that means that they will reach France. That's what we'll see at Waterloo station troops entraining to start the trip to France. They're going to fight over there.
Under ordinary circumstances the Outdoor Girls would have given the incident considerable attention. But now their thoughts were of the soldier boys so soon to leave. "Didn't the boys say they were entraining for Philadelphia?" asked Grace, trying hard to make her voice sound natural and merely conversational.
"A nice level lot," said the Colonel to the Second-in-Command as they watched the first four companies entraining. "Fit to do anything," said the Second-in-Command enthusiastically. "But it seems to me they're a thought too young and tender for the work in hand. It's bitter cold up at the Front now." "They're sound enough," said the Colonel. "We must take our chance of sick casualties."
Later we had two further lessons in entraining, and we came to fear that when the summons did come dry eyes would watch us depart and sarcastic jibes make heavy our leave-taking. Indeed, some of the inhabitants of our town hinted that we should never leave the place until the local undertakers make a profit on our exit. So much for their gentle sarcasm!
The four battalions which had remained at Merawi were floated down stream to Kerma, and, there entraining, were carried by Halfa and Abu Hamed to Dakhesh a journey of 450 miles. When the railway had been begun across the desert, it was believed that the Nile was always navigable above Abu Hamed. In former campaigns it had been reconnoitred and the waterway declared clear.