French PoWs in to Selkirk

This is some more from Highways & Byways on the Border.

On a certain occasion they heard of of a great French success in Russia. Two prisoners concealed themselves and were locked up in the church one Sunday after evening service; about midnight these men admitted their comrades and together the roused sleeping Selkirk by a terrific joy-peal of bells.honours were easy between two nations, I think. Both acted under strong feeling.

Except on this …occasion,and one other, when the French officers with some difficulty had induced certain of the townsfolk to drink to the health of the Emperor, and to shout “Vivre l’Empereur,” friendly relations were unbroken. But the later unpleasantness at one time had threatened to ripe into a  very ugly affair. Bloodshed was narrowly averted. Friendship, however, was restored, and the prisoners continued to make the best of their situation. They obtained a billiard table from Edinburgh; they started a cafe; they opened a theatre, with an excellent orchestra of 25 performers “superior to all those to which the echoes of our Scottish residence had ever till then resounded”. This theatre was established in a barn which then belonged to the writer’s grandfather. Frescoes on the walls, which had been painted by the prisoners, were still fairly fresh in colour though hopelessly obscure as to design, when the writer saw them in his early boyhood.


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