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At length we did again move forward,
now an hour behind our time, dragging the
slow length of our enormous train along
till we reached Rastadt. Rastadt, as all
the world knows, is an important German
fortress, held for many years past by
Prussia, on behalf of the Bund, though in
the territory of Baden. And there it
needed but a glance to see that Rastadt
was very unmistakably looking like the
time. Troops were hurrying about in all
directions, to the uninstructed civilian eye
with the incomprehensible bustle of ants
in a disturbed ant-hill. One process in
progress was, at all events, intelligible.
Swarms of men were bringing out vast
masses of knapsacks and military clothing
from a casemate, and were loading them
on waggons, and dragging them (without
the aid of horses) to the side of the railroad,
to be there put into baggage waggons.

At Rastadt, too, there was (visible, but
not audible) talk between military officers
and our conductors, and terrible momentary
misgiving arising thence. However, we
moved on again and shortly reached Oos.
Oos is the station at which the short line
to Baden-Baden branches off. And here, as
we had expected, the scene was worse than
at Heidelberg. All the crowd of pleasure-
seekers and gamblers were running as if
for their lives. A crowd, mainly French,
eager in any case to get out of the enemy's
territory. No French go to Heidelberg
nay, do not quit the asphalte of the Boulevards
for mountains, forests, streams, or
scenery, however lovely. But they throng
to Baden-Baden, and the crowd, which
now swarmed upon the Oos platform, had
very markedly the Parisian cachet. That
might have been expected from the nature
of the place from which they came.

There were the menone knows the
look of them so wellall wearing the
goatee beard, all with light-coloured kid
gloves, and many of them with Parisian
theatrical mock mountain gear about their
feet, thin boots, which one climb to the
Alte Schloss would have torn to ribbons,
and smart gaiters unstained by any drop
of morning dew. And women, hard-eyed
and painted, trooping back to the dovecots
of Paris, evidently quite as capable as any
of the men of looking oat for themselves;
not timid by any means, but hard and
sharp-looking, noisily demanding what they
wanted, and showing trim ankles in the
bustling pursuit of it.

Noisily demanding, but in very many
cases not getting, what they wanted, for
there was by no means accommodation
enough in the train to carry away all who
desired to go. And it was observable that,
despite objurgations and despair, and the
really pressing necessities of the case, in
no instance would the steady German
conductors allow one more than the stated
regulation number to enter any of the
carriages, either first, second, or third class.
With us, as we know to our cost, this often
takes place in cases of urgency of very far
inferior moment. But the German
conductor knows nothing but his rule.

And, accordingly, a considerable number
of gesticulating, grimacing, screaming, and
otherwise rage-expressing Badenites of both
sexes were left on the Oos platform, some
stretching out eloquent but futile arms
towards the inexorable train as it moved out
of the station, some sitting doggedly on
their boxes, and some vehemently detailing
their grievances to each other.

Shortly afterwards, however, it became
very questionable whether those who had
been thus left lamenting, or those who had
succeeded in getting places in the train, were
the worst off. For when we reached the
station of Appenweier, where the short line
branches off that runs to Kehl and across the
Rhine to Strasbourg in France, it was
ascertained that the Rhine bridge was no longer
passable! The movable portion (soon afterwards
blown up by the Prussians) had been
opened so as to cut off all communication.
It was still possible, we were told, to pass
by means of small boats. But there were
only two or three of these available; the
operation was a very slow one; only two
or three persons could pass at a time; and
the crowd, who were anxious to find
themselves once more within the borders of
their native France, were warned that there
was very little possibility of their succeeding
in crossing the river. So little was
any such exploit achievable on any large
scale that the trains from Appenweier to
Kehl had ceased running.

Here, then, was gnashing of teeth and
fierce sacr-r-r-r-éing everything in heaven
above or on earth below, worse than had
been the case at Oos! What were these
unhappy ones to do, thus shut out from
their patrie, whose undulating hills were
visible scarcely a gunshot to the left of us?
Appenweier is a mere roadside station.
No accommodation to be had there! At last
most of the fugitivesall of them, I believe
made up their minds to go on to Bâle,
where at least shelter, if not, as might yet
be hoped, ingress into France was to be had.