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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.