A Truce and a Triumph
Our little world is tired; we have all had enough.
-- Bertram Lenox Simpson
THE break in the fighting had come just in time. The defenders were exhausted, run down and suffering from stress. Some civilian men had gone to pieces, using minor ailments as an excuse to shirk work, while those women who had collapsed "simply spent their hours, day and night, behind the nearest closed door, and await each fresh attack to indulge in new hysterical scenes." The Squierses' French governess, upset by the amount of curry powder in her food, seized Polly's hands and sobbed that someone was trying to poison her. She had just one request -- that she be immediately returned to France. Lenox Simpson summed it up: "Our little world is tired; we have all had enough."
Their physical condition was not helped by a poor diet. Occasional raiding parties to the Mongol Market yielded some useful pickings. People also braved the decomposing corpses lying in front of Kierulff's store on Legation Street to pick hopefully through the debris. However, for most the diet was a monotonous one of horse, pony, or mule and rice, which gave many people digestive problems and made them feel "out of sorts." A few were still faring quite well. The Squierses' larder had been bolstered by Fargo's exploits in the early stages of the siege and their "splendid stores" were the best in the compound. An invitation to join the