A GLIMPSE OF THE ITAL­IAN ARMY.

The Daily Telegraph - - Court & Social - By SIR ARTHUR CO­NAN DOYLE.

One meets with such ex­treme kind­ness and con­sid­er­a­tion among the Ital­ians that there is a real danger lest one’s per­sonal feel­ing of obli­ga­tion should warp one’s judg­ment or ham­per one’s ex­pres­sion. Mak­ing ev­ery pos­si­ble al­lowance for this, I come away from them, af­ter a very wide if su­per­fi­cial view of all that they are do­ing, with a deep feel­ing of ad­mi­ra­tion, and a con­vic­tion that no army in the world could have made a braver at­tempt to ad­vance un­der con­di­tions of ex­tra­or­di­nary dif­fi­culty. First a word as to the Ital­ian sol­dier. He is a type by him­self, which dif­fers from the earnest sol­i­dar­ity of the new French army, and from the busi­ness alert­ness of the Bri­ton, and yet has a very spe­cial dash and fire of its own, peered over by a very pleas­ing and unas­sum­ing man­ner. Lon­don has not yet for­got­ten Du­rando of Marathon fame. He was just such an­other easy smil­ing youth as I now see ev­ery­where around me. Yet there came a day when 100,000 Lon­don­ers hung upon his ev­ery move­ment – when strong men gasped and women wept at his in­vin­ci­ble but un­avail­ing spirit. When he had fallen sense­less in that his­toric race on the very thresh­old of his goal, so high was the de­ter­mi­na­tion within him that while he floun­dered on the track like a bro­ken-backed horse, with the senses gone out of him, his legs still con­tin­ued to drum upon the cin­der path. Then when, by pure will power, he stag­gered to his feet and drove his dazed body across the line it was an ex­hi­bi­tion of pluck which put the lit­tle sun­burned baker straight-way among Lon­don’s he­roes. Du­rando’s spirit is alive to-day, I see thou­sands of him all around me. A thou­sand such, led by a few young gen­tle­men of the type who oc­ca­sion­ally give us ob­ject-lessons in how to ride at Olympia, make no mean bat­tal­ion. It has been a war of most des­per­ate ven­tures, but never once has there been a lack of vol­un­teers. The Ty­rolese are good men – too good to be fight­ing in so rot­ten a cause. But from the first to last the Alpini have had the as­cen­dency in the hill fight­ing, as the line reg­i­ments have against the Kaiserlics upon the plain. Cæsar told how the big Ger­mans used to laugh at his lit­tle men un­til they had been at hand­grips with them. The Aus­tri­ans could tell the same tale. The spirit in the ranks is some­thing mar­vel­lous. There have been oc­ca­sions when ev­ery of­fi­cer has fallen, and yet the men have pushed on, have taken a po­si­tion, and then waited for of­fi­cial di­rec­tions.

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