Generic War Cry

Sergeant Destouches [Céline], May 1914…And up on the bridge, not giving a damn, the masters of the ship are enjoying God’s fresh air with lovely pink ladies drenched in perfume sitting on their knees. They have you up on deck. Then they put on their top-hats and let fly at you as follows:

” ‘See here, you set of sods!’ they say. ‘War’s declared. You’re going to board the bastards on Country Number 2 yonder and you’re going to smash them to bits! Now get on with it. There’s all the stuff you’ll need aboard. All together now. Let’s have it – as loud as you can make it: “God Save Country Number 1!” You’ve got to make them hear you a long way off. There’s a medal and a coughdrop for the man who shouts the loudest! God in heaven! And if there’s any of you who don’t want to die at sea, of course, you can go and die on land, where it takes even less time than it does here.’ ”

Louis-Ferdinand Céline
Journey to the End of the Night (1932)

Photo: Sergeant Louis Destouches [Céline] in dress uniform, May 1914

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