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Alphonse Daudet: Revenge and war

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

French writers on war and peace

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Alphonse Daudet
From Support of the Family
Unknown translator

“Mauglas, whom we just picked up on the road, declares that from one generation to another is as far as from Mars to the earth or any other planet, and that urchins like Raymond here, when I talk to them of the coup d’État of 1852 and of Badingue’s [Napoleon III’s] cowardly recantation, do not know what I mean.”

“Any more than they understand those of my generation who preach revenge and war to them.”

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Mademoiselle Pulchérie, the older sister, betrayed by a very keen taste for hussars, gave every year a fresh proof of her affection for them to some officer of the 12th, then in garrison at Saint-Lô. When the war of 1870 scattered the jaunty hussars with their wasp-waists, one of Monsieur Denizan’s clerks took the place left vacant by the officers of the 12th, and, being less scrupulous than they, ran away with the daughter and the money-box.

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There was no more carting, but the roads were abandoned to parties of abandoned troops, Algerian swallows who devoured even the window curtains. Twice, soldiers on their way to their regiments had set the house on fire.

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“I agree with you, my boy. But the novelist, who is the historian of unimportant people, of those who have no history, has no more right than other historians to deal in imposture and evil speaking…”

 

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