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CHAPTER XVIII I AM ENTRUSTED WITH A DELICATE MISSION
Although the fortunes of war turned out for the benefit of Japan in general, this was not the case with the troops among which I found myself.

When I had seen the general studying the map so intently I had concluded that he had good reason to be so serious. Frankly, I understood very little of what was going on, but Fiam knew all about it perfectly, and he didn’t always explain it to me, because he said it was dangerous to tell everything to foreigners by the Haji of the wire. But I felt from his looks that important events were taking place.

He was restless. He seemed to be cherishing a secret sorrow. During the fighting, while he watched from my hat, he was beside himself with excitement and ran around the brim crying:

“No, no! The great thunder to the right, the little thunder to the center! Quick! Whatever are they doing! To the right, I said. Stop! It is a mistake.”

[140]

But he wouldn’t tell me of what error he was speaking. To me it seemed as if things might be going very well. The enemy was withdrawing into a mountainous region, and we followed them without hindrance. What more could be desired?

The mountains grew nearer and nearer. As we approached them we came to a deep valley, long and dark, which from a distance could be seen swarming with the enemy in the midst of clouds of dust raised by the cannon, by the baggage and the columns of marching soldiers.

One evening, after Fiam had been shouting “Halt!” from every side of my hat, he said to me:

“Listen. I will tell you an important secret. If we enter that valley we are lost.”

[141]

“Truly,” I observ............
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