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We shall now explain the means by which this extraordinary feat is accomplished.
“A narrow ribbon of paper is wound on a roller, and placed on an axis, on which it is capable of turning, so as to be regularly unrolled. This ribbon of paper is passed between rollers under a small punch, which, striking upon it, makes a small hole at its centre. This punch is worked by a simple mechanism so rapidly, that when it is allowed to operate without interruption on the paper passing before it, the holes it produces are so close together as to leave no unperforated space between them, and thus is produced a continuous perforated line. Means, however, are provided by which the agent who superintends the process can, by a touch of the finger, suspend the action of the punch on the paper, so as to allow a longer interval to elapse between its successive strokes upon the paper. In this manner a succession of holes are perforated in the ribbon of paper, separated by unperforated spaces. The manipulator, by allowing the action of the punch to continue uninterrupted for two or more successive strokes, can make a linear perforation of greater or less length on the ribbon; and by suspending the action of the punch, these linear perforations may be separated by unperforated spaces. “Thus it it is evident, that being provided with a preparatory apparatus of this kind, an expert agent will be able to produce on the ribbon of paper as it unrolls, a series of perforated dots and lines, and that these dots and lines may be made to correspond with those of the telegraphic alphabet already described. “Let us imagine then the agent at tho station of departure preparing to despatch a message. Preparatory to doing so it will be necessary to inscribe it in the perforated telegraphic characters on the ribbon of paper just described. “He places for this purpose before him the message in ordinary writing, and he transfers it to the ribbon in perforated characters by means of the punching apparatus. By praetice he is enabled to execute this in less time than it would be requisite for an expert compositor to set it up in common printing type. “The punching apparatus for inscribing in perforated characters the despatches on ribbons of paper is so arranged, that several agents may simultaneously write in this manner different messages, so that the celerity with which the messages are inscribed on the perforated paper may be rendered commensurate with the rapidity of their transmission, by merely multiplying the inscribing agents. “Let us now imagine the message thus completely inscribed on the perforated ribbon of paper. This ribbon is again rolled as at first upon a roller, and it is now placed on
an axle attached to the machinery of the telegraph. “The extremity of the perforated ribbon at which the message commences is now carried over a metallic roller which is in connexion with the positive pole of the galvanic battery. It is pressed upon this roller by a small metallic spring terminating in points like the teeth of a comb, the breadth of which is less than that of the perforations in the paper. This metallic spring is connected with the conducting wire which passes from the station of departure to the stations of arrival. When the metallic spring falls into the perforations of the ribbon of paper as the latter passes over the roller, the galvanic circuit is completed by the metallic contact of the spring with the roller, but when those parts of the ribbon which are not perforated pass between the spring and the roller, the galvanic circuit is broken and the current is interrupted. “A motion of rotation, the speed of which can be regulated at discretion, is imparted to the metallic roller by clock work, so that the ribbon of paper is made to pass rapidly between it and the metallic spring, and as it passes this metallic spring falls successively into the perforations on the paper. By this means the galvanic circuit is alternately completed and broken, and the current passes during intervals corresponding precisely to the perforations in the paper. In this manner the successive intervals of the transmission of the current are made to correspond precisely with the perforated characters expressive of the message, and the same succession of intervals of transmission and suspension will affect the writing apparatus at the stations of arrival in the manner already described. “Now there is no limit to the speed with which this process can be executed, nor can there be an error, provided only that the characters have been correctly marked on the perforated paper; but this correctness is secured by the ribbon of perforated paper being examined after the perforation is completed, and deliberately compared with the written message. Absolute accuracy and unlimited celerity are thus attained at the station of departure. To the celerity with which the despatch can be written at the station of arrival, there is no other limit than the time which is necessary for the electric current to produce the decomposition of the chemical solution with which the prepared paper is saturated.” Such are the means by which these extraordinary effects are produced; and we have been the more willing to give them with some detail, because the memoir from which they are obtained is still unpublished, and the reader would in vain seek for this information elsewhere.
I Followed the soldiers as they marched beyond the outer boulevard, and gained the open country. Many of the idlers drop off here; others accompanied us a little further; but at length, when the drums ceased to beat, and were slung in marching order on the backs of the drummers, when the men broke into the open order that French soldiers instinctively assume on a march, the curiosity of the gazers appeared to have nothing more to feed upon, and one by one they returned to the capital, leaving me the only lingerer. To any one accustomed to military display, there was little to attract notice in the column, which consisted of detachments from various corps, horse, foot, and artillery; some were returning to their regiments after a furlough; some had just issued from the hospitals, and were seated in charettes, or countryears; and others, again, were peasant boys only a few days before drawn in the conscription. There was every variety of uniform, and, I may add, of raggedness, too—a coarse blouse and a £ of worn shoes, with a red or blue andkerchief on the head, being the dress of many among them. The Republic was not rich in those days, and cared little for the costume in which her victories were won. The artillery alone seemed to preserve anything like uniformity in dress. They wore a plain uniform of blue, with long white gaiters coming half way up the thigh; a low cocked hat, without feather, but with the tricoloured cockade in front. They were mostly men middle-aged, or past the prime of life, bronzed, weather-beaten, hardy-looking fellows, whose white moustaches contrasted well with their sun-burned faces. All their weapons and equipments were of a superior kind, and showed the care bestowed upon an arm whose efficiency was the first discovery of the republican generals. The greater number of these were Bretons, and several of them had served in the fleet, still bearing in their looks and carriage some
thing of that air which seems inherent in the seaman. They were grave, serious, and almost stern in manner, and very unlike the young cavalry soldiers, who, mostly recruited from the south of France, many of them Gascons, had all the high-hearted gaiety and reckless levity of their own peculiar land. A campaign to these fellows seemed a pleasant excursion; they made a jest of everything, from the wan faces of the invalids, to the black bread of the “Commissary;” they quizzed the new “Tourleroux,” as the recruits were styled, and the old “Grumblers,” as it was the fashion to call the veterans of the army; they passed their jokes on the Republic, and even their own officers came in for a share of their ridicule. The Grenadiers, however, were those who especially were made the subject of their sarcasm. They were generally from the north of France, and the frontier country toward Flanders, whence they probably imbibed a portion of that phlegm and moroseness so very unlike the £ of French nature; and when assailed by such adversaries, were perfectly incapable of reply or retaliation. They all belonged to the army of the “Sambre et Meuse,” which, although at the beginning of the campaign highly distinguished for its successes, had been latterly eclipsed by the extraordinary victories on the Upper Rhine and in Western Germany; and it was curious to hear with what intelligence and interest the greatest questions of strategy were discussed by those who carried their packs as common soldiers in the ranks. Movements and manoeuvres were criticised, attacked, defended, ridiculed, and condemned, with a degree of acuteness and knowledge that showed the enormous progress the nation had made in military science, and with what ease the Republic could recruither officers from the ranks of her armies. At noon the column halted in the wood of Belleville; and while the men were resting, an express arrived announcing that a fresh body of troops would soon arrive, and ordering the others to delay their march till they came up. The orderly who brought the tidings could only say that he believed some £ news had come from Germany, for before he left Paris the rappel was beating in different quarters, and the rumour ran that reinforcements were to set out for Strasbourg with the utumost despatch. “And what troops are coming to join us?” said an old artillery sergeant, in evident disbelief of the tidings. “Two batteries of artillery and the voltigeurs of the 4th, I know for certain are coming,” said the orderly, “and they spoke of a battalion of grenadiers.” “What I do these Germans need another lesson,” said the cannonier, “I thought Fleurus has taught them what our troops were made of ?” “How you talk of Fleurus,” interrupted a young hussar of the south; “I have just come from the army of Italy, and, ma foi! we should never have mentioned such a battle as Fleurus in a despatch. Campaigning amongst dykes and hedges—fighting, with a river on one flank and a fortress on t'other—parademanoeuvres—where, at the first check, the enemy retreats, and leaves you free, for the whole afternoon, to write off your successes to the Directory. Had you seen our fellows scaling the Alps, with avalanches of snow descending at every fire of the great guns—forcing pass after pass against an enemy, posted on every cliff and crag above us–cutting our way to victory by roads the hardiest hunter had seldom trod; I call that war.” “And I call it the skirmish of an outpost !” said the gruff veteran, as he smoked away, in thorough contempt for the enthusiasm of the other. “I have served under Kleber, Hoche, and Moreau, and I believe they are the first generals of France.” “There is a name greater than them all,” cried the hussar, with eagerness. “Let us hear it, then—you mean Pichegru, perhaps, or Massena?” “No, I mean Bonapartel" said the hussar, triumphantly. “A good officer, and one of us,” said the artilleryman, touching his belt to intimate the arm of the service the general belonged to. “He commanded the siege-train at Toulon.” “He belongs to all,” said the other.
“He is a dragoon, a voltigeur, an artillerist, a pontonièr—what you will—he knows everything, as know my horse's saddle, and cloak-bag.” Both parties now grew warm; and as each was not only an eager partisan, but well acquainted with the leading events of the two campaigns they undertook to defend, the dispute attracted a large circle of listeners, who, either seated on the greensward, or lying at full length, formed a picturesque group under the shadow of the spreading oak trees. Meanwhile, the cooking went speedily forward, and the camp-kettles smoked with a steam whose savoury odour was not a little tantalising to one who, like myself, felt that he did not belong to the company. “What's thy mess, boy?” said an old grenadier to me, as I sat at a little distance off, and affecting—but I fear very ill—a total indifference to what went forward. “He is asking to what corps thou belong'st?” said another, seeing that the question puzzled me. £ I have none,” said I. “I merely followed the march for curiosity.” “And thy father and mother, child—what will they say to thee on thy return home?” “I have neither father, mother, nor home,” said I, promptly. “Just like myself,” said an old redwhiskered sapeur; “ or if I ever had parents, they never had the grace to own me. Come over here, child, and take share of my dinner.” “No, parbleu ! I'll have him for my comrade," cried the young hussar. “I was made a corporal yesterday, and have a larger ration. Sithere, my boy, and tell us how art called.” “Maurice Tierney.” “Maurice will do; few of us care for more than one name, except in the dead muster they like to have it in full. Help thyself, my lad, and here's the wine-flask beside thee.” “How comes it thou hast this old uniform, boy,” said he, pointing to my sleeve. “It was one they gave me in the Temple,” said I. “I was a “rat du prison for some time.” “Thunder of war!” exclaimed the cannonier, “I had rather stand a whole latoon fire than see what thou must ave seen, child.”
“And hast heart to go back there, boy,” said the corporal, “and live the same life again?” “No, I'll never go back,” said I. “I’ll be a soldier.” “Well said, mon brave–thou'lt be a hussar, I know.” “If nature has given thee a good head, and a quick eye, my boy, thou might even do better; and in time, perhaps, wear a coat like mine,” said the cannonier. “Sacre bleu !” cried a little fellow, whose age might have been anything from boyhood to manhood—for while small of stature, he was shrivelled and wrinkled like a mummy—“why not be satisfied with the coat he wears?” “And be a drummer, like thee,” said the cannonier. “Just so, like me, and like Massena—he was a drummer, too.” “No, no!” cried a dozen voices together, “that's not true.” “He's right; Massena was a drummerin the Eighth,” said the cannonier; “I remember him when he was like that boy yonder.” “To be sure,” said the little fellow, who, I now perceived, wore the dress of a “tambour;” “and is it a disgrace to be the first to face the enemy?” “And the first to turn his back to him, comrade,” cried another. “Not always—not always”—said the little fellow, regardless of the laugh against him. “Had it been so, I had not gained the battle of Grandrengs on the Sambre.” “Thou gain a battle !” shouted halfa-dozen, in derisive laughter. “What, Petit Pierre gained the day at Grandrengs!” said the cannonier; “why, I was there myself, and never heard of that till now.” “I can believe it well," replied Pierre; “many a man's merits go unacknowledged: and Kleber got all the credit that belonged to Pièrre Canot.” “Let us hear about it Pièrre, for even thy victory is unknown by name to us, poor devils of the army of Italy. How call'st thou the place?” “Grandrengs," said Pierre, proudly. “It's a name will live as long, perhaps, as many of those high-sounding ones you have favoured us with. Mayhap, thou hast heard of Cambray?" “Never!” said the hussar, shaking his head. “Nor of ‘Mons, either, I'll be sworn ?” continued Pièrre.
“Quite true, I never heard of it before.” “Voila!” exclaimed Pièrre, in contemptuous triumph. “And these are the fellows pretend to feel their country's glory, and take pride in her conquests. Where hast thou been, lad, not to hear of places that every child syllables now-a-days?” “I will tell you where I've been,” said the hussar, haughtily, and dropping at the same time the familiar “thee" and “thou” of soldier intercourse“I've been at Montenotte, at Millesimo, at Mondove ** “Allons, done! with your disputes,” broke in an old grenadier; “as if France was not victorious whether the enemies were English or German. Let us hear how Pièrre won his battle at—at ** “At Grandrengs,” said Pièrre. “They call it in the despatch the ‘action of the Sambre, because Kleber came up there—and Kleber being a great man, and Pièrre Canot a little
one, you understand, the glory at
taches to the place where the bullion epaulettes are found—just as the old King of Prussia used to say, ‘Dieu est toujours a cotè de gros bataillons.” “I see we'll never come to this same victory of Grandrengs, with all these turnings and twistings,” muttered the artillery sergeant. “Thou art very near it now, comrade, if thou'lt listen,” said Pièrre, as he wiped his mouth after a long draught of the wine-flask. “I’ll not weary the honourable company with any description of the battle generally, but just confine myself to that part of it, in which I was myself in action. It is well known, that though we claimed the victory of the 10th May, we did little more than keep our own, and were obliged to cross the Sambre, and be satisfied with such a position as enabled us to hold the two bridges over the river—and there we remained for four days: some said preparing for a fresh attack upon aunitz, who commanded the allies; some, and I believe they were right, alleging that our generals were squabbling all day, and all night, too, with two Commissaries that the Government had sent down to teach us how to win battles. Ma foi! we had had some experience in that way ourselves, without earning the art from two citizens with tricoloured scarfs round their waists, and yellow tops to their boots! However that might be, early on the morning of the 20th we received orders to cross the river in two strong columns, and form on the opposite side; at the same time that a division was to pass the stream by boat two miles higher up, and, concealing themselves in a pine wood, be ready to take the enemy in flank, when they believed that all the force was in the front.” “Sacre tonnerre ! I believe that our armies of the Sambre and the Rhine never have any other notion of battles than that eternal flank movement l” cried a young sergeant of the Voltigeurs, who had just come up from the army of Italy. “Our general used to split the enemy by the centre, cut him piecemeal by attack in columns, and then head him down with artillery at short range—not leaving him time for a retreat in heavy masses—” “Silence, silence, and let us hear Petit Pierre,” shouted a dozen voices, who cared far more for an incident, than a scientific discussion about manoeuWres. “The plan I speak of was General Moreau's,” continued Pierre ; “and I fancy that your Bonaparte has something to learn ere he be his equall” This rebuke seeming to have engaged the suffrages of the company, he went on: “The boat division consisted of four battalions of infantry, two batteries of light-artillery, and a voltigeur company of the ‘Regiment de Marboeuf'—to which I was then, for the time, attached as ‘Tambour en chef. What fellows they were—the greatest devils in the whole army! They came from the Faubourg St. Antoine, and were as reckless and undisciplined as when they strutted the streets of Paris. When they were thrown out to skirmish, they used to play as many tricks as school-boys: sometimes they'd run up to the roof of a cabin or a hut—and they could climb like cats—and, sitting down on the chimney, begin firing away at the enemy, as coolly as if from a battery; sometimes they'd capture half-a-dozen asses, and ride forward as if to charge, and then, affecting to tumble off, the fellows would pick down any of the enemy's officers that were fools enough to come near—scampering back to the cover of the line, laughing and joking as if the whole were sport. I saw one—when his wrist was shattered by
a shot, and he couldn't fire-take a comrade on his back and caper away like a horse, just to tempt the Germans to come out of their lines. It was with these blessed youths I was now to serve, for the Tambour of the Marboeuf was drowned in crossing the Sambre a few days before.– Well—we passed the river safely, and, unperceived by the enemy, gained the pine wood, where we formed in two columns, one of attack, and the other of support—the voltigeurs about five £ paces in advance of the leading files. The morning was dull and hazy, for a heavy rain had fallen during the night; and the country is flat, and so much intersected with drains, and dykes, and ditches, that, after rain, the vapour is too thick to see twenty yards on any side. Our business was to make a counter-march to the right, and, guided by the noise of the cannonade, to come down upon the enemy's flank in the thickest of the engagement. As we advanced, we found ourselves in a kind of marshy plain, planted with willows, and so thick, that it was often difficult for three men to march abreast. This extended for a considerable distance; and, on escaping from it, we saw that we were not above a mile from the enemy's left, which rested on a little village.” “I know it well,” broke in the cannonier; “it’s called Huyningen.” “Just so. There was a formidable battery in position there; and part of the place was stockaded, as if they expected an attack. Still, there were no videttes, nor any look-out party, so far as we could see; and our commanding officer did nt well know what to make of it, whether it was a point of concealed strength, or a position they were about to withdraw from. At all events, it required caution; and, although the battle had already begun on the right—as a loud cannonade, and a heavy smoke told us—he halted the brigade in the wood, and held a council of his officers to see what was to be done. The resolution come to was, that the voltigeurs should advance alone to explore the way, the rest of the force remaining in ambush. We were to go out in sections of companies, and spreading over a wide surface, see what we could of the place. “Scarcely was the order given, when away we went-and it was now a race