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Part 2 In The Breton Land Chapter 6

One day Sylvestre was summoned before the officer of his company; andthey told him he was among those ordered out to China--in the squadronfor Formosa. He had been pretty well expecting it for some time, as hehad heard those who read the papers say that out there the war seemednever-ending.

  And because of the urgency of the departure, he was informed at thesame time that he would not be able to have the customary leave forhis home farewells; in five days' time he would have to pack up and beoff.

  Then a bitter pain came over him; though charmed at the idea of far-off travels amid the unknown and of the war. There also was agony atthe thought of leaving all he knew and loved, with the vagueapprehension that he might never more return.

  A thousand noises rang in his head. Around was the bustle of thebarrack-rooms, where hundreds of others were called up, like himself,chosen for the Chinese squadron. And rapidly he wrote to his oldgrandmother, with a stump of pencil, crouching on the floor, alone inhis own feverish dream, though in the thick of the continual hurry andhubbub amidst all the young sailors hurried away like himself.



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