In order to appraise the Italian operations on the Carso at their true value, it is necessary to go back to May, 1916, when the Archduke Frederick launched his great offensive from the Trentino. Now it must be kept constantly in mind, as I have tried to emphasize in preceding chapters, that when the war opened, the Italians had always to go up while the Austrians needed only to come down. The latter, intrenched high on that tremendous natural rampart formed by the Rhaetian and Tyrolean Alps, the Dolomites, the Carnic, Julian, and Dinaric ranges, had an immense superiority over their enemy on the plains below. The Austrian offensive in the Trentino was dictated by four reasons: first, to divert the Italians from their main objective, Trieste; second, to lessen the pressure which General Cadorna was exerting against the Austrian lines on the Isonzo; third, to smash through to Vicenza and Verona, thus cutting off and compelling the capitulation of the Italian armies operating in Venetia; and fourth, to so thoroughly discourage the Italians that they would consent to a separate peace.
The story of how this ambitious plan was foiled is soon told. By the first week in May the Austrians had massed upon the Trentino front a force of very nearly 400,000 men with 2,000 guns. Included in this tremendous accumulation of artillery were 26 batteries of 12-inch guns and several of the German giants, the famous 42-centimetre pieces, which brought down the pride of Antwerp and Namur. By the middle of May everything was ready for the onset to begin, and this avalanche of soldiery came rolling down the Asiago plateau, between the Adige and the Brenta. Below them, basking in the sunshine, stretched the alluring plains of Venetia, with their wealth, their women, and their wine. Pounded by an immensely superior artillery, overwhelmed by wave upon wave of infantry, the Italians sullenly fell back, leaving the greater part of the Sette Communi plateau and the upper portion of the Brenta valley in the hands of the Austrians. At the beginning of June a cloud of despondency and gloom hung over Italy, and men went about with sober faces, for it seemed all but certain that the enemy would succeed in breaking through to Vicenza, and by cutting the main east-and-west line of railway, would force the armies operating on the Isonzo and in the Carnia to surrender. But the soldiers of the Army of the Trentino, though outnumbered in men and guns, determined that the Austrians should pay a staggering price for every yard of ground they gained. They fought as must have fought their ancestors of the Roman legions. And, thanks to their tenacity and pluck, they held their opponents on the five-yard line. Then, just in the nick of time, the whistle blew. The game was over. The Austrians had to hurry home. They had staked everything on a sudden and overwhelming onslaught by which they hoped to smash the Italian defense and demoralize the Italian armies in time to permit at least half their eighteen divisions and nearly all of their heavy guns being withdrawn in a few weeks and rushed across Austria to the Galician front, where they were desperately needed to stay the Russian advance.
By the beginning of the last week in June the Austrian General Staff, recognizing that its plan for the overwhelming of northern Italy had failed disastrously, issued orders for a general retreat. The Austrians had planned to fall back on the positions which had been prepared in advance in the mountains and to establish themselves, with greatly reduced numbers, on this practically impregnable line, while the transfer of the divisions intended for the Carpathians was effected. But General Cadorna had no intention of letting the Austrians escape so easily. In less than a week he had collected from the garrisons and training camps and reserve battalions an army of 500,000 men. It was one of the most remarkable achievements of the war. From all parts of Italy he rushed those half million men to the Trentino front by train--and despite the immense strain put upon the Italian railways by the rapid movement of so great a body of troops, the regular passenger service was suspended for only three days. (At that same time the American Government was attempting to concentrate a force of only 150,000 men on the Mexican border; a comparison of Italian and American efficiency is instructive.) He formed that army into brigades and divisions, each complete with staff and supply trains and ammunition columns. He organized fresh bases of supply, including water, of which there is none on the Asiago plateau. He provided the stupendous quantity of stores and ammunition and equipment and transport required by such an army. (It is related how Cadorna's Chief of Transport wired the Fiat Company of Turin that he must have 545 additional motor-trucks within a week, and how that great company responded by delivering in the time specified 546--one over for good measure.) Almost in a night he transformed the rude mule-paths leading up onto the plateau into splendid military roads, wide enough and hard enough to bear the tremendous traffic to which they were suddenly subjected. And finally he rushed his troops up those roads in motor-cars and motor-trucks, afoot and on horse-back and astride of donkeys and flung them against the Austrians. So sudden and savage was the Italian onset that the Austrians did not dare to spare a man or gun for their Eastern Front--and meanwhile the Muscovite armies were pressing on toward the Dniester. It is no exaggeration to assert that the success of Brussiloff's offensive in Galicia was due in no small measure to the Italian counter-offensive in the Trentino. That adventure cost Austria at least 100,000 dead and wounded men.
But not for a moment did the Italians permit the Austrian offensive in the Trentino to distract them from their real objectives: Gorizia, the Carso, and Trieste. The "military experts," who from desks in newspaper offices tell the public how campaigns ought to be conducted, had announced confidently that Italy had so taxed her strength by her efforts in the Trentino that, for many months at least, nothing need be expected from her. But Italy showed the public that the "military experts" didn't know what they were talking about, for in little more than a month after the Italian guns had ceased to growl amid the Tyrolean peaks and passes, they were raining a storm of steel upon the Austrian positions on the Carso.
Imagine a vast limestone plateau, varying in height from 700 to 2,500 feet, which is as treeless and waterless as the deserts of Chihuahua, as desolate and forbidding as the Dakota Bad Lands, with a surface as torn and twisted and jagged as the lava beds of Utah, and with a summer climate like that of Death Valley in July. That is the Carso. This great table-land of rock, which begins at Gorizia, approaches close to the shores of the Adriatic between Monfalcone and Trieste, and runs southeastward into Istria, links the Alpine system with the Balkan ranges. Its surface of naked, sun-flayed rock is broken here and there with gigantic heaps of piled stone, with caves and caverns, with sombre marshes which sometimes become gloomy and forbidding lakes, and with peculiar crater-like depressions called dolinas, formed by centuries of erosion. Such scanty vegetation as there is is confined to these dolinas, which form the only oases in this barren and thirsty land. The whole region is swept by the Bora, a wind which is the enemy alike of plant and man. Save for the lizards that bask upon its furnace-like floors, the Carso is as lifeless as it is treeless and waterless. No bird and scarcely an insect can find nourishment over vast spaces of this sun-scorched solitude; even the hardy mountain grass withers and dies of a broken heart. So powerful is the sun that eggs can be cooked without a fire. Metal objects, such as rifles and equipment, when left exposed, quickly become too hot to touch. The bodies of the soldiers who fall on the Carso are not infrequently found to have been baked hard and mummified after lying for a day or two on that oven-like floor of stone.
The Carso is probably the strongest natural fortress in the world. Anything in the shape of defensive works which Nature had overlooked, the Austrians provided. For years before the war began the Austrian engineers were at work strengthening a place that already possessed superlative strength. The whole face of the plateau was honeycombed with trenches and tunnels and dugouts and gun emplacements which were blasted and drilled out of the solid rock with machinery similar to that used in driving the Simplon and the St. Gothard tunnels. The posts for the snipers were armored with inch-thick plates of steel cemented into the rock. The dolinas were converted into machine-gun pits and bomb-proof shelters. In one of these curious craters I saw a dugout--it was really a subterranean barracks--electrically lighted and with neatly whitewashed walls which had sleeping accommodation for a thousand men. To supply these positions, water was pumped up by oil-engines, but the Austrians took care to destroy the pipe-lines as they retired.
At the northern end of the Carso, in an angle formed by the junction of the Wippach and the Isonzo, the snowy towers and red-brown roofs of Gorizia rise above the foliage of its famous gardens. The town, which resembles Homburg or Baden-Baden and was a popular Austrian resort before the war, lies in the valley of the Wippach (Vippacco, the Italians call it), which separates the Carso from the southernmost spurs of the Julian Alps. Down this valley runs the railway leading to Trieste, Laibach, and Vienna. It will be seen, therefore, that Gorizia is really the gateway to Trieste, and a place of immense strategic importance.
On the slopes of the Carso, four or five miles to the southwest of the town, rises the enormously strong position of Monte San Michele, and a few miles farther down the Isonzo, the fortified hill-town of Sagrado. On the other side of the river, almost opposite Gorizia, are the equally strong positions of Podgora and Monte Sabotino. Their steep slopes were slashed with Austrian trenches and abristle with guns which commanded the roads leading to the river, the bridge-heads, and the town. To take Gorizia until these positions had been captured was obviously out of the question. Here, as elsewhere, Austria held the upper ground. In a memorandum issued by the Austrian General Staff to its officers at the beginning of the operations before Gorizia, the tremendous advantage of the Austrian position was made quite clear: "We have to retain possession of a terrain fortified by Nature. In front of us a great watercourse; behind us a ridge from which we can shoot as from a ten-story building."
The difficulties which the Italians had to overcome in their advance were enormous. From their mountain nests the Austrian guns were able to maintain a murderous fire on the Italian lines of communication, thus preventing the bringing up of men and supplies. It therefore became necessary for the Italians to build new roads which would not be thus exposed to enemy fire, and in cases where this was impossible, the existing roads were masked for miles on end with artificial hedges and screens of grass matting. In many places it was found necessary to screen the roads overhead as well as on the sides, so that the Italians could move up their heavy guns without attracting the attention of the enemy's observers stationed on the highest mountain peaks, or of the Austrian airmen. But this was not all, or nearly all. An army is ever a hungry monster, so slaughter-houses and bakeries and field-kitchens, to say nothing of incredible quantities of food-stuffs, had to be provided. Fighting being a thirsty business, it was necessary to arrange for piping up water, for great tanks to hold that water, and for water-carts, hundreds and hundreds of them, to peddle it among the panting troops. A prize-fighter cannot sleep out in the open, on the bare ground, and keep in condition for the ring, and a soldier, who is likewise a fighting-man but from a different motive, must be made comfortable of nights if he is to keep in fighting-trim. So millions of feet of lumber had to be brought up, along roads already overcrowded with traffic, and that lumber had to be transformed into temporary huts and barrackments--a city of them. But the preparations did not end even there. To insure the co-ordination and co-operation of the various divisions of the army, an elaborate system of field telegraphs and telephones had to be installed, and, in order to provide against the lines being cut by shell-fire and the whole complex organism paralyzed, the wires were laid in groups of four. Then there had to be repair-stations for the broken machinery, and other repair-stations--with Red Cross flags flying over them--for the broken men. So in the rear of the sector where the Italians planned to give battle on a front of thirty miles, a series of great base hospitals were established, and, nearer the front, a series of clearing-hospitals, and, still closer up, field-hospitals, and in the immediate rear of the fighting-line, hundreds of dressing-stations and first-aid posts were located in dugouts and bomb-proof shelters. And along the roads stretched endless caravans of gray ambulances, for it promised to be a bloody business. In other words, it was necessary, before the battle could be fought with any hope of success, to build what was to all intents and purposes a great modern city, a city of half a million inhabitants, with many miles of macadamized thoroughfares, with water and telephone and telegraph systems, with a highly efficient sanitary service, with railways, with huge warehouses filled with food and clothing, with more hospitals than any city ever had before, with butcher-shops and bakeries and machine-shops and tailors and boot-menders--in fact, with everything necessary to meet the demands of 500,000 men. Yet Mr. Bryan and his fellow-members of the Order of the Dove and Olive-Branch would have us believe that all that is necessary in order to win a modern battle is to take the trusty target-rifle from the closet under the stairs, dump a box of cartridges into our pockets, and sally forth, whereupon the enemy, decimated by the deadliness of our fire, will be only too glad to surrender.
The most formidable task which confronted the Italians was that of constructing the vast system of trenches through which the troops could be moved forward in comparative safety to the positions from which would be launched the final assault. This presented no exceptional difficulties in the rich alluvial soil on the Isonzo's western bank, but once the Italians had crossed the river they found themselves on the Carso, through whose solid rock the trenches could be driven only with pneumatic drills and dynamite. All of the Italian trenches that I saw showed a very high skill in engineering. Instead of keeping the earthen walls from crumbling and caving by the use of the wicker-work revetments so general on the Western Front, the Italians use a sort of steel trellis which is easily put in place, and is not readily damaged by shell-fire. Other trenches which I saw (though not on the Carso, of course) were built of solid concrete with steel shields for the riflemen cemented into the parapets.
During these weeks of preparation the Italian aviators, observers, and spies had been busy collecting information concerning the strength of the Gorizia defenses and the disposition of the Austrian batteries and troops. By means of thousands of photographs taken from airplanes, enlarged, and then pieced together, the Italians had as accurate and detailed a map of the Austrian lines of defense as was possessed by the Austrian General Staff itself. Thanks to the data thus obtained, the Italian gunners were able to locate their targets and estimate their ranges with absolute precision. They knew which building in Gorizia was the headquarters of the Austrian commander; they had discovered where his telephone and telegraph stations were located; and they had spotted his observation posts. Indeed, so highly developed was the Italian intelligence service that the Austrians were not able to transfer a battalion or change the position of a battery without the knowledge of General Cadorna.
Now the Austrians, like the newspaper experts, were convinced that the Italians had their hands full in the Trentino without courting trouble on the Isonzo. And if there was to be an attack along the Isonzo front--which they doubted--they believed that it would almost certainly develop in the Monfalcone sector, next the sea. And of this belief the Italians took care not to disabuse them. Here again was exemplified the vital necessity of having control of the air. If, during the latter half of July, the Austrian fliers had been able to get over the Italian lines, they could not have failed to observe the enormous preparations which were in progress, and when the Italians advanced, the Austrians would have been ready for them. But the Italians kept control of the air (during my entire trip on the Italian front I can recall having seen only one Austrian airplane), the Austrians had no means of learning what was impending, and were, therefore, quite unprepared for the attack when it came--and Gorizia fell.
By the 4th of August, 1916, all was ready for the Big Push. On the morning of that day brisk fighting began on the Monfalcone sector. Convinced that this was the danger-point, the Austrian commander rushed his reserves southward to strengthen his threatened line. This was precisely what the Italians wanted. They had succeeded in distracting his attention from their real objective--Gorizia. Now the battle of Gorizia was really not fought at Gorizia at all. What happened was the brilliant and bloody storming of the Austrian positions on Podgora and Monte Sabotino, a simultaneous crossing of the Isonzo opposite Gorizia and at Sagrado, and a splendid rush up to and across the plateau of the Carso which culminated in the taking of Monte San Michele. Gorizia itself was not organized for defense, and so astounded was its garrison at the capture in rapid succession of the city's defending positions, which had been deemed impregnable, that no serious resistance was offered.
On the morning of August 6 a hurricane of steel suddenly broke upon Gorizia. But the Italian gunners had received careful instructions, and instead of blowing the city off the map, as they could easily have done, they confined their efforts to the destruction of the enemy's headquarters, observation posts, and telephone-stations, thus destroying his means of communication and effectually disrupting his entire organization. Other batteries turned their attention to the railway-station, the railway-yards, and the roads, dropping such a curtain of shell-fire behind the town that the Austrians were unable to bring up reinforcements. Care was taken, however, to do as little damage as possible to the city itself, as the Italians wanted it for themselves.
The most difficult, as it was the most spectacular, phase of the attack was the storming of the Sabotino, a mountain two thousand feet high, which, it was generally believed, could never be taken with the bayonet. The Italians, realizing that no troops in the world could hope to reach the summit of those steep slopes in the face of barbed wire, rifles, and machine-guns, had, unknown to the enemy, driven a tunnel, a mile and a quarter long, into the very heart of this position. When the assault was ordered, therefore, the first lines of Italian infantry suddenly appeared from out of the ground within a few yards of the Austrian trenches. Amid a storm of vivas the gray wave, with its crest of glistening steel, surged up the few remaining yards of glacis, topped the parapet, and overwhelmed the defenders. Monte Sabotino, the key to the bridge-head and the city, was in the hands of the Italians. But the Austrians intrenched on Hill 240, the highest summit of the Podgora range, still held out, and it took several hours of savage fighting to dislodge them. This last stronghold taken, the gray-clad infantry suddenly debouched from the sheltering ravines and went swarming down to the Isonzo. Almost simultaneously another division crossed the river several miles below, at Sagrado. Into the stream they went, their rifles held high above their heads, chanting the splendid hymn of Garibaldi. The Austrian shrapnel churned the river into foam, its waters turned from blue to crimson, but the insistent bugles pealed the charge, and the lines of gray swept on. Pausing on the eastern bank only long enough to re-form, the lines again rolled forward. White disks carried high above the heads of the men showed the Italian gunners how far the infantry had advanced and enabled them to gauge their protecting curtain of fire. Though smothered with shells, and swept by machine-guns, nothing could stop them. "Avanti Savoia!" they roared. "Viva! Eviva Italia!"
Meanwhile, under a heavy fire, the Italian engineers were repairing the iron bridge which carried the railway from Milan and Udine across the Isonzo to Gorizia and so to Trieste and Vienna. The great stone bridge over the river had been destroyed the day before beyond the possibility of immediate repair. In an amazingly short time the work was done and the Italian field-batteries went tearing over the bridge at a gallop to unlimber on the opposite bank and send a shower of shrapnel after the retreating Austrians. Close behind the guns poured Carabinieri, Alpini, Bersaglieri, infantry of the line and squadron after squadron of cavalry riding under thickets of lances. A strong force of Carabinieri were the first troops to enter the city, and not until they had taken complete possession and had assumed the reins of the local government, were the line troops permitted to come in.
The fighting continued for three days, the Austrians, though discouraged and to some extent demoralized, making a brave resistance. In one dolina which had been fortified, an officer and a handful of men fought so pluckily against overwhelming odds that, when at length the survivors came out and surrendered, the Italians presented arms to them as a mark of respect and admiration. By the evening of the 9th of August the attack, "one of the most important and violent onslaughts on fortified positions that the European War has yet seen," had been completely successful, and the city of Gorizia, together with the heights that guarded it, including the northern end of the Carso plateau, were in Italian hands. The cost to Italy was 20,000 dead men. It was a high price but, on the other hand, she captured 19,000 prisoners, 67 pieces of artillery, and scores of trench mortars and machine-guns. The moral and strategic results were of incalculable value. The first line of the Austrian defense, deemed one of the strongest on any front, had collapsed beneath the Italian assaults; though the crest of the Carso still remained in Austrian hands, the gateway to Trieste had been opened; and most important of all, the Italian people had gained the self-confidence which they had long lacked and which comes only from military achievement.
In order to reach Gorizia we had to motor for some miles along a road exposed to enemy fire, for the hills dominating the city to the south and east were still in Austrian hands. The danger was minimized as much as possible by screening the roads in the manner I have already described, so, as the officer who accompanied me took pains to explain, if we happened to be hit by a shell, it would be one fired at random. I could see no reason, however, why a random shell wouldn't end my career just as effectually as a shell intended specially for me. Although, thanks to the tunnels of matting, the Austrians cannot see the traffic on the roads, they know that it must cross the bridges, so on them they keep up a continuous rain of projectiles, and there you have to take your chance. The Gorizia bridge-head was not a place where I should have cared to loiter.
It is not a simple matter to obtain permission to visit Gorizia (it is much easier to visit Verdun), for the city is shelled with more or less regularity, and to have visitors about under such conditions is a nuisance. Hence, one cannot get into Gorizia unless bearing a special pass issued by the Comando Supremo. So rigid are the precautions against unauthorized visitors that, though accompanied by two officers of the Staff and travelling in a staff-car, we were halted by the Carabinieri and our papers examined seven times. To this famous force of constabulary has been given the work of policing the occupied regions, and indeed, the entire zone of the armies. With their huge cocked hats, which, since the war began, have been covered with gray linen, their rosy faces, so pink-and-white that they look as though they had been rouged and powdered, and their little upturned waxed mustaches, the Carabinieri always remind me of the gendarmes in comic operas. But the only thing comic about them is their hats. They are the sternest and most uncompromising guardians of the law that I know. You can expostulate with a London bobbie, you can argue with a Paris gendarme, you can on occasion reason mildly with a New York policeman, but not with an Italian carbineer. To give them back talk is to invite immediate and serious trouble. They are supreme in the war zone, for they take orders from no one save their own officers and have the authority to turn back or arrest any one, no matter what his rank. Our chauffeur, who, being attached to the Comando Supremo, had become so accustomed to driving generals and cabinet ministers that he blagued the military sentries, and quite openly sneered at the orders of the Udine police, would jam on his brakes so suddenly that we would almost go through the wind-shield if a carbineer held up his hand.
Gorizia is, or was before the war, a place of some 40,000 inhabitants. It has broad streets, lined by fine white buildings and lovely gardens, and outside the town are excellent medicinal baths. It will, I think, prove a very popular summer resort with the Italians. Though for many months prior to its capture it was within range of the Italian guns, which could have blown it to smithereens, they refrained from doing so because it was desired, if possible, to take the place intact. That, indeed, has been the Italian policy throughout the war: to do as little unnecessary damage as possible. Now the Austrians, who look down on their lost city from the heights to the eastward, refrain from destroying it, as they easily could do, because they cling to the hope that they may get it back again. So, though the bridge-heads are shelled constantly, and though considerable damage has been inflicted on the suburbs, no serious harm has been done to the city itself. By this I do not mean to imply that the Austrians never shell it, for they do, but only in a desultory, half-hearted fashion. During the day that I spent in Gorizia the deserted streets echoed about every five minutes to the screech-bang of an Austrian arrivé or the bang-screech of an Italian départ.
Finding that the big Hotel du Parc, which is the city's leading hostelry, was closed, we lunched at the more modest Hotel de la Poste. Our luncheon was served us in the kitchen, as, shortly before our arrival, the dining-room had been wrecked by an Austrian shell. Though this had naturally somewhat upset things, we had a really excellent meal: minestrone, which, so far as I could discover, is the only variety of soup known to the Italians, mutton, vegetables, a pudding, fruit, the best coffee I have had in Europe since the war began, and a bottle of fine old Austrian wine, which, like the German vintages, is no longer procurable in the restaurants of civilized Europe. While we ate, there was a brisk exchange of compliments between the Italian and Austrian batteries in progress above the roofs of the town. The table at which we sat was pushed close up against one of the thick masonry columns which supported the kitchen ceiling. It probably would not have been much of a protection had a shell chanced to drop in on us, but it was wonderfully comforting.
I was accompanied on my visit to Gorizia by Signor Ugo Ojetti, the noted Florentine connoisseur who has been charged with the preservation of all the historical monuments and works of art in the war zone. About this charming and cultured gentleman I was told a characteristic story. In the outskirts of Gorizia stands the château of an Austrian nobleman who was the possessor of a famous collection of paintings. Now it is Signor Ojetti's business to save from injury or destruction all works of art which are worth saving, and, after ticketing and cataloguing them, to ship them to a place of safety to be kept until the war is over, when they will be restored to their respective owners. Though the château in question was within the Italian lines, the windows of the ballroom, in which hung the best of the pictures, were within easy range of the Austrian snipers, who, whenever they saw any one moving about inside, would promptly open a brisk rifle fire. Scarcely had Ojetti and his assistant set foot within the room when ping came an Austrian bullet through the window, shattering the crystal chandelier over their heads. Then was presented the extraordinary spectacle of the greatest art critic in Italy crawling on hands and knees over a ballroom floor, taking care to keep as close to that floor as possible, and pausing now and then to make a careful scrutiny of the canvases that hung on the walls above him. "That's probably an Allori," he would call to his assistant. "Remember to take that down after it gets dark. The one next to it is good too--looks like a Bordone, though I can't be certain in this light. But don't bother about that picture over the fire-place--it's only a copy and not worth saving. Let the Austrians have it if they want it." And they told me that through it all he never once lost his dignity or his monocle.
Another interesting figure who joined our little party in Gorizia was a monk who had served as a regimental chaplain since the beginning of the war. He was a broad-shouldered, brown-bearded fellow and, had it not been for the scarlet cross on the breast of his uniform, I should have taken him for a fine type of the Italian fighting man. I rather suspect, though, that when the bugles pealed the signal for the attack, he quite forgot that the wearers of the Red Cross are supposed to be non-combatants. During the Austrian offensive in the Trentino, an Italian army chaplain was awarded the gold medal for valor, the highest military decoration, because he rallied the men of his regiment after all the officers had fallen and led them in the storming of an Austrian position held by a greatly superior force. Another chaplain who had likewise assumed command of officerless troops was awarded the silver medal for valor. As the duties of the army chaplains are supposed to be confined to giving the men spiritual advice, the doubt arose as to whether they were justified in actually fighting, thus risking the loss of their character as non-combatants. This puzzling question was, therefore, submitted to the Pope, who decided that chaplains assuming command of troops who had lost their officers in battle were merely discharging their duty, as they encouraged the men to resist in self-defense. In addition to the regimental chaplains there are, so I was told, thousands of priests and monks serving in the ranks of the Italian armies. Whether, after leading the exciting and adventurous life of a soldier, these men will be content to resume the sandals and the woollen robe, and to go back to the sheltered and monotonous existence of the monastic orders, I very strongly doubt. In any event, their sympathies will have been deepened and their outlook on life immensely broadened.
It rained in torrents during my stay in Gorizia, but, as we recrossed the Isonzo onto the Friulian plain, the sinking sun burst through a rift in the leaden clouds and turned into a huge block of rosy coral the red rampart of the Carso. Beyond that wall, scarce a dozen miles as the airplane flies, but many times that distance as the big gun travels, lies Trieste. It will be a long road, a hard road, a bloody road which the Italians must follow to attain their City of Desire, and before that journey is ended the red rocks of the Carso will be redder still. But they will finish the journey, I think. For these iron-hard, brown-faced men, remember, are the stuff from which was made those ever-victorious legions that built the Roman Empire--and it is the dream of founding another Empire which is beckoning them on.