That’s what you’d have said if you’d see...

Arms and the Man

Captain Bluntschli

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That’s what you’d have said if you’d seen the first man in the charge today. He did it like an operatic tenor -- a regular handsome fellow, with flashing eyes and lovely moustache, shouting a war cry and charging like Don Quixote at the windmills. We nearly burst with laughter at him; but when the sergeant ran up as white as sheet, and told us they’d sent us the wrong cartridges, and that we couldn’t fire a shot for the next ten minutes, we laughed at the other side of our mouths. I never felt so sick in my life, though I’ve been in one or two very tight places. And I hadn’t even a revolver cartridge -- nothing but chocolate. We’d no bayonets -- nothing. Of course, they just cut us to bits. And there was Don Quixote flourishing like a drum major, thinking he’d done the cleverest thing ever known, whereas he ought to be courtmartialled for it. Of all the fools ever let loose on a field of battle, that man must be the very maddest. He and his regiment simply committed suicide -- only the pistol missed fire, that’s all.

Shaw, George Bernard. Plays by George Bernard Shaw. Penguin Group Inc, New York, NY. 2004. pp. 112-113.

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