Of silence, and the two speakers would be on common ground when the native indicated by the name bwirri his cudgel, flung whirring through the air at a flock of birds, or when the native described as a jakkal-yakkal the bird called by the foreigner a cockatoo.
At his side were his accomplices, men ready for anything, whose only hopes were bound up with his fortunes, such as Morny and Rouher; his paid publicists, such as Romieu the originator of the "red spectre"; his cudgel-bearers, the "Ratapoils" immortalized by Daumier, who terrorized the republicans.
The fencer who demanded a contest according to the rules of fencing was the French army; his opponent who threw away the rapier and snatched up the cudgel was the Russian people; those who try to explain the matter according to the rules of fencing are the historians who have described the event.
Napoleon felt this, and from the time he took up the correct fencing attitude in Moscow and instead of his opponent's rapier saw a cudgel raised above his head, he did not cease to complain to Kutuzov and to the Emperor Alexander that the war was being carried on contrary to all the rules--as if there were any rules for killing people.
Denis Davydov, with his Russian instinct, was the first to recognize the value of this terrible cudgel which regardless of the rules of military science destroyed the French, and to him belongs the credit for taking the first step toward regularizing this method of warfare.