The French soldier--Clothes and eatables--A touching incident--The Russian troops--Not quite so black as they are painted--A fancy for jewellery and perfumery--The manner of the Russian soldier--An untidy looter--Musical boxes spared--Italian opera selections refreshing but out of place-- A marvellous work of art--Evil spirits and their ways.
A CONTRAST to the business capabilities of the American soldier, and the enterprise of the British and Japanese in the appropriation of other people's goods, was furnished by the apparent reluctance of the French to take any article of value. They occasionally selected some small trifle, in a sort of half-apologetic way, and their taste seemed to run particularly towards valueless old clothing, which they evidently proposed to adapt to their own wear. Cheap Chinese cotton pajamas were carried away in preference to more precious fabrics, while eatables of all kinds, and tobacco, were in great demand.
On the day when Tientsin fell, I happened to be in the centre of the town when I perceived some Frenchman in a state of great agitation. In my best Parisian I asked them what was the matter. Whereupon with hoarse voices they shouted, waving their arms dangerously over my head:--
"Mais vas donc, vas donc en prendre lά, il y en a taut!" ("But go on, go and take some over there, there is such a lot of it!")