He was at war.
Then, as now, cannon case-shot bombardment was nearly as effective at killing one’s own infantry as the enemy’s. Drosselmeier and the astronomer scrambled down into the remnants of a cellar stair as death whistled by. Thunder followed; dust poured down.
“You know, I studied quite hard in order to never join an army,” panted the astronomer.
“Chin up, head down,” said Drosselmeier. “Between the Chinkapin and the Chestnut lies a matter of honor and long history. We are privileged to join their fight.”
“Whose side are we on again?”
“I do not entirely remember,” Drosselmeier said.