A Glibertarians Exclusive – Legionnaire II

by | Jul 4, 2022 | Fiction, History | 89 comments

A Glibertarians Exclusive – Legionnaire, Part II

Marseilles, France – 1911

“So, I found myself in Marseille,” Caleb Pettigrew said, slapping the table.  “Right here in this city.  I didn’t speak French.  Not a word.  I didn’t have any way to earn a living.  Oh, that ship captain, he gave me some shoes that didn’t fit and a couple of changes of clothes.  Henri, the guy I told you about at the dock in Norfolk, he told me they came from a guy who died of a fever on the trip over, and they’d just been sitting around since.  Captain also gave me a few francs to tide me over, which was more generous than I expected him to be.”

“Point is, I had nothing, and no prospects.  I wasn’t even in France legal; officially, I’d jumped ship.  So, I spent a few nights sleeping in the sand under a dock – trust me, I’d slept plenty worse places during the fighting.  Then I found an abandoned shack I could sleep in.  But I was out of money, my belly button was rubbin’ up against my backbone.  And then I heard tell of the Legion.  That’s where I first met her.”

“Her, eh?” Philip MacGraw grinned.  “Now it gets interesting.”


Marseilles, France, October 1865

“Aubagne?”  Caleb asked the policeman, who by a stroke of luck, spoke some English.  “How far is that?”

A Gallic shrug.  “Thirty kilometers,” the policeman said.  “A bit more.  A bit less.”

“And I have to go there to apply to join this, what did you call it?”

“The Légion étrangère.  You would say, the Foreign Legion.”

The policeman had stopped Caleb as he was mooching along a Marseille sidewalk in the early morning, hoping to stumble across some breakfast, trying to decide what to do next.  Fortunately, the flic seemed a kind-hearted sort; he was giving Caleb some advice, rather than just running him in for vagrancy, and had not (yet) asked for Caleb’s non-existent passport.

“And were you in this here Foreign Legion?”

Non.”  The flic shook his head.  “Me, I was regular French Army.  The Legion, it is foreign, you know?  For the not-French.  You go there, if they take you, you will be fed, housed, clothed, can learn French, even earn the…  La citoyenneté.  That’s good, oui?

“I reckon.”  Caleb looked around.  “Which way to Aubagne?”

“East,” the policeman gestured.  “In that direction.  Thirty kilometers, maybe.”

I wonder what that is in miles.  “All right,” Caleb said.  “Guess I’ll start walking.  Thanks, by the way – uh, merci.”  He had learned that much.

His good deed for the day – or perhaps the month – done, the policeman nodded, and sauntered off down the street.

“Well,” Caleb said to no one.  The conversation with the policeman was the longest exchange he had carried out with another human since leaving the ship in Marseille harbor; not being able to speak the language had badly hampered Caleb’s normally gregarious tendencies.

The abandoned shack where he had hidden his few possessions was only a block away, so it took only moments to go there, pick up the old knapsack where his clothes and other effects resided, and start walking.

Fortunately, the last few years had put Caleb in good shape for walking.  At least no damn heavy musket to tote along now, he thought, smiling to himself.  ‘Course I can’t hardly talk to anyone, either.  He looked down at his sleeve of his gray shirt – the last remnant of his time with the Army of Northern Virginia – his baggy canvas trousers, his cheap canvas shoes that were at least a size too big.  Well, I been on many a forced march in worse than this.

He set out in the direction the flic had pointed.  When he came to a fork in the road at the edge of town, he waited until an old man leading a donkey laden with firewood happened along.  “Aubagne?” Caleb asked, eyebrows raised in query.

The old man pointed.  “Là bas.”

Merci,” Caleb nodded and set off down the road.

The day grew warm as Caleb walked steadily on.  The road wound through farmland, past a few places with what Caleb assumed were grapevines, through several small villages.  In one village, an old woman hailed him.

Où allez-vous?” she asked

Caleb replied with one of the few phrases he had memorized.  “Je ne parle pas français.  Je suis Américain.”

The old woman shook her head sadly.  “Viens de la guerre,” she said.  Caleb shrugged, not understanding a word.  The old woman held up a finger, then pointed down.  That was clear enough:  Wait here.  Caleb waited as the old woman went into her little cottage and emerged again, bearing a chunk of coarse bread and a small wedge of cheese.

Por vou,” she said.

Caleb felt genuinely touched, for the first time in a long time.  He bowed.  “Thank you kindly, ma’am,” he said, then, remembering, “Merci.”  The old woman nodded, then went back inside.  Munching on the bread, Caleb walked on.  When he finished the gifted meal, a stream running along the road supplied water.  As the day grew warm, and the sun shone down, Caleb felt the lack of his old Confederate kepi, lost somewhere in the Atlantic, but all in all he was a comfortable as could be.

He arrived in Aubagne late in the day.  The town didn’t look much different than Marseille – no port, but otherwise, just another town where he had no place to stay and couldn’t talk to anyone or read anything.  But as the evening drew into night, Caleb located a military-looking compound; one doorway had a sign over it bearing the legend Légion étrangère.  Caleb remembered, back in Marseille, the policeman’s advice.  “Looks like this is the place,” he said to himself.

The office was shuttered for the night.  But that was all right; Caleb set down his knapsack, extracted an old, tattered sailor’s jacket, shrugged it on and settled down against the wall next to the door to wait out the night.

Caleb was awakened by a harsh voice, shouting at him in French.  He opened his eyes and looked up, to see a tall, lean man in what was presumably a French Army uniform leaning over him.

“English?” Caleb asked as he climbed to his feet.

“Yes,” the soldier snapped back  “I speak some English.  What is it you are doing, sleeping in front of our doorway?”

“Policeman in Marseille sent me this way.  I wanted to talk to someone about joining up.  I’ve been soldiering all over Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania the last four years.  Figure on keeping on doing what I know.”

“Ah,” the soldier said.  He looked Caleb over with a critical eye, evaluating his lean, hardened frame, the look in his eyes, the way he carried himself.  “So, you come from the American guerre civile, then?  And which side?  The losing one, I presume, else why would you be here?”

“That’s right,” Caleb said bitterly.  “The losing side.  Not so much that we lost, mind, as much as we were just outnumbered.”

“God always favors the side with the most battalions,” the Frenchman observed, sounding oddly like he was quoting someone.  Caleb shrugged.

The Frenchman went on.  “Well.  Come inside.  We will talk.  I will have coffee and croissant brought in if you like.  You will tell me about your war, I will tell you about the Legion, it may be that we can allow you to join.”  He unlocked the door, then looked over his shoulder at Caleb.

“I do not suppose you would have… eh, le passeport?”

Caleb was able to figure that out.  “No,” he said, a sheepish smile on his face.  “It, uh, got lost.  Somewhere along the way.”

Assurément,” the soldier said.  “Well.  Come in.  You may call me Adjudant sous-officier LeClaire.  And you are?”

“Caleb Pettigrew, Corporal, Army of Northern Virginia, as was.”

Bon.  Come in, then, Caporal Pettigrew.”

Note:  There are several versions of the song that inspired this story.

The lyrics here are from this version.

Not a word was spoke between us, there was no risk involved
Everything up to that point had been left unresolved
Try imagining a place where it’s always safe and warm
“Come in”, She said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm”

About The Author



Semi-notorious local political gadfly and general pain in the ass. I’m firmly convinced that the Earth and all its inhabitants were placed here for my personal amusement and entertainment, and I comport myself accordingly. Vote Animal/STEVE SMITH 2024!


  1. kinnath

    great story

    • Sean


      • cyto

        Well written…. pulled me in.

    • ron73440

      great story

      I agree.

  2. Tundra

    Thanks, Animal.

    I already like Caleb.

    • MikeS


  3. DEG

    I like it.

  4. Combat Wolf Furry

    So this is Glbertarians? Interesting.

    • Gender Traitor

      Welcome! Do you know the password?

      • cyto

        Not a single mention of Tulpa?

        This is how senility begins….

      • Gender Traitor

        Just trying to keep it clean in case CWF is a minor-type person. Family friendly, don’tcha know.

      • Toxteth O'Grady

        GT must be the sweetest of all Glibs. S.O.W., I have some trifling recommendations for you, lass.

    • Toxteth O'Grady

      Who sent you?

      • Swiss Servator

        “We don’t want nobody, that nobody sent.”

        /Chicago ward boss

      • Zwak, who swallowed your pain, and is asking for more.

        “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

        -Pogo ‘Possum

      • Toxteth O'Grady

        I meant that in a neutral “Who referred you?” sense. But now that I think about it, please step closer for the gentle noogies.

    • MikeS

      You think you can just stroll in here and start asking all kinds of questions?

    • Gustave Lytton

      Sorry, Glbertarians is down the hall.

      • cyto

        “Oh, you want argument. No, this is abuse….”

    • The Bearded Hobbit

      You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.

    • westernsloper

      Fuck off Tulpa.

      • Ted S.

        Damn your nimble fingers!

    • Ted S.

      Well, since nobody’s said it:

      Fuck off, Tulpa.

    • Not Adahn

      Who’s the new Fed?

    • UnCivilServant

      We mean all of the ‘Fuck off’ comments in the nicest, most welcoming sense.

  5. westernsloper

    Good stuff Animal.

  6. Grosspatzer

    Excellent! Something’s off, though. Am I supposed to believe that there was a time when private actors, even policemen, committed acts of charity without government assistance?

    • Grosspatzer


    • MikeS

      At least one little kid shot.

      Fuck, I hate people.

      • EvilSheldon

        You have a generous definition of ‘people.’

      • Sean

        It’s gonna be a commie leftist.

    • Tundra

      One of the other stories is that 57 people were shit since Friday in Chicago.

      This is getting old, but I think it’s just getting warmed up

      • Tundra

        Shot even.

        Autocorrect knows me too well

      • Ted S.

        Most Chicagoans are shit, with apologies to the Glibs who live in Chicagoland.

    • Dr. Fronkensteen

      Not that far from me. I have an alibi. They canceled the parade in my town. Fair number of Jewish people in that town. But I, like everyone else is speculating.

      • Grosspatzer

        No need to speculate. Some evil, crazy motherfucker acted out his bizarre fantasy. Eventually we will find out the specifics of the evil and crazy, which will then be used to push someone’s agenda.

      • Sensei

        And there will be a ridiculous amount of press about it. Which will in no way encourage anybody else to do the same.

      • cyto

        Unless there is a particular demographic involved. Then the whole thing will go down the same memory hole that the red SUV drove down at Christmastime.

      • Ted S.

        What ever happened in Las Vegas?

      • DrOtto

        “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” – the press

      • Not an Economist

        Based off the location, my guess is the final trigger was political. Not sure what the affiliation was but we all know if a certain demographic or political affiliation is involved we will never hear of it again.

      • cyto

        Speaking of agenda pushing…. A discussion of this shooting on another site lead someone to post the stat that 72% of all shootings happen in states where you can legally get a gun. (?). “That number goes up even more if you exclude gang related violence. That takes out places like Chicago and Los Angeles”

      • Ted S.

        In which states can’t you get a gun legally?

      • UnCivilServant

        Well, they’re certainly trying to make it as impossible as possible…

      • cyto

        That was one of my questions

    • westernsloper

      [deletes comment]

      • Gustave Lytton

        Someday I want to see the complete list of deleted comments.

    • Toxteth O'Grady

      At least Beetlejuice isn’t their mayor.

    • Not an Economist

      A twitter link, no idea if accurate.

      Supposedly a white male, 18-20, thinnish build, longer dark hair.

      • cyto

        Wife was saying that… Sounds like license to declare him a white supremacist Trumpist and therefore all Republicans are guilty

      • DrOtto

        To be fair, it was previously declared MAGA country.

  7. dbleagle

    Happy Independence Day to the mainland!

    The document that proclaimed our freedom is still music to the ears.

    My Gadsen Flag is flying and I am fully cognizant that of the four rights listed in the DoI only one is mentioned twice and listed as a duty.

    Tonight is our fireworks display. !00% volunteer conducted and with all funds donated by the residents of our community.

    • Mojeaux

      No step on snek.

    • kinnath

      Thanks for that.

      • Tundra


        We are going backwards, fast.

      • Tundra


        Johnny is so much cooler than Moz.

      • Toxteth O'Grady

        Oh, I dunno. Moz has always stated his mind (and his many faults are obvious), versus Marr to David Cameron: “I forbid you to like The Smiths.” OTOH, apparently Marr composed the riffs first and Moz wrote lyrics around them.

      • Zwak, who swallowed your pain, and is asking for more.

        Well, it was David Cameron…

        But, that is how Chino of the ‘Tones composed some songs, also.

    • westernsloper

      Damn hippy music.

    • Ted S.

      Also, happy Calvin Coolidge birthday!

      • Toxteth O'Grady

        “Who could tell?”

      • Dr. Fronkensteen

        Favorite part of that

        It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.

      • cyto


  8. Not an Economist

    On the light side of the news a very, very, proud LGQTB+ was fired from his job recently. He claimed he was fired because of his anti-employer emails he had sent to everyone. The company claims they fired him because he didn’t do his job.

    • dbleagle

      Thank you for that bit of good news. It is heartening to see some companies remember they exist the exchange services for money among voluntary participants- and not as social signaling entities.

      • Not Adahn

        Lopez then went on to explain that each Friday “one of my tasks was to process reports for upcoming releases” and then to email his work to 275 people.

        But instead of doing the usual process reports, he wrote an email that read: “I didn’t do them today.”

        “I’m in mourning due to the attack on people with uteruses in the US. Federally guaranteed access to abortion is gone,” the email continued.

        “Last Friday, like countless other folks, I was devastated by the news of the supreme court’s [sic] attack on abortion rights,” Lopez wrote.
        “Vivendi and Universal Music Group must stop donating to anti-abortion, anti-queer and anti-trans politicians. Politicians like Marsha Blackburn, Ken Buck, Victoria Spartz, etc. Or expect more unproductive days,” he wrote, signing off with “Yours in fury, Michael Lopez.”

        Stunning and brave. Stunning, and brave.

      • kinnath

        He should have been fired just for being that stupid.

    • Not Adahn

      Michael Lopez, a production coordinator at Universal Music Enterprises, blasted the company as “anti-gay” for terminating a “queer brown person” during Pride Month

      And you can’t fire African-Americans during February or you’re a racist too!

      • UnCivilServant

        you can’t fire African-Americans during February or you’re a racist


    • Zwak, who swallowed your pain, and is asking for more.

      From the article:

      Another straight-shooting critic pointed out: “You made a stand based upon principle. But such stands come with consequences — that’s what makes them brave…I respect your decision to withhold your labor as a form of protest, but you left your employer little choice.”

  9. dbleagle

    I discovered that I have two bottles of JCB sparkling burgundy (aka champagne from the wrong side of the river) that must be consumed. I believe that I am up to the challenge.

    Buffalo steak and corn on the cob will be grilled for dinner. But for now I will do my hill walk and when I get to the summit I will check to see if Molokai is still there.

    • Tundra

      Excellent. I was gonna take the day off, but I am gonna grab my pack and do a little ruckin’ before the drinkin’ and grillin’.

    • cyto

      Underselling it by quite a bit too…

    • Don escaped Texas

      The Attack on Norms and Customs

      The War Against Institutions

      The article is full of apt observations, but conservatarians always lose me with appeals to norms instead of defense of rights. Today we celebrate attacks on norms and customs and a revolution against institutions. Greatness comes from rejecting rules and flipping the table of the moneychangers.

      • cyto


    • cyto

      Now I want to drive that road.

      Do they have a race there? Looks like a good spot for something like Goodwood or Pikes Peak.

      • Zwak, who swallowed your pain, and is asking for more.

        This is the road my dad used to live off of, which is one of the best motorcycle roads in California

  10. Timeloose

    I just stopped in to say Happy Independence Day everyone.

    Also Animal, I really love this story and what more.

  11. juris imprudent

    Passports? Sorry to say those are an artifact of a different, later war.

  12. Lackadaisical

    Awesome job Animal


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