The Silken East ^
tribal raids and the necessity for meting out punishment ; the soldier in command of the frontier battalion looks with small pleasure at the prospect of a trifling expedition ; these men, now going up there to fight, are all thinking only of their empty stomachs, and the supreme need of staying their hunger ; but the spectator, called up in the stilly night, perceives that events are afoot. For him the veil of the commonplace is lifted, and the beating heart of the empire sounds in the night watches. "War," say the sailors on the ships, and the idlers on the shore, and the word is a moving one. Stray men wTho have seen the passing spectacle go home with a new-found reverence in their hearts for the mysterious entity under whose shadow they live. As the night wears on, the fires of the bivouac die down ; the bearded men fall into deep sleep ; and the late moon, as she moves from mid-heaven to the shadowy west, looks down upon rows of white sleepers, who might be dead men, stretched here upon the shore of the immortal river.