The Viet-Minh 7

But fifteen minutes later nothing happened. Another fifteen minutes passed and Dinh was getting nervous. The assault party would be there, he said, but undoubtedly hidden from us by some unseen dip in the terrain. And then a faint growling could be heard, the distorted ramblings of a radio set badly tuned in, or the unnatural bass of a gramophone ... Read More »

The Viet-Minh 6

The post had a prisoner they were very proud of. They excused themselves by saying that they had not had the chance to send him back to the army cage. But it was clear that they were really keeping him as long as they possibly could, and that he was regarded much as the pet boa constrictor had been in ... Read More »

The Viet-Minh 5

By the time we arrived all the personnel of the post, with the exception of the duty staff, were already in bed. Dinh explained that the last meal was taken at five o’clock, and after that parties went canoeing, swimming or walking, or to their improving labours in the villages. But for the last week they had all been virtually ... Read More »

The Viet-Minh 4

Little could be heard in fact along most of the reaches of water above the tremendous chirpings of frogs, which as we turned into narrow channels plopped into the water ahead of us in their hundreds. Twisting and turning through a maze of waterways we went on. The mosquitoes were very troublesome, biting through the three pairs of stockings I ... Read More »

The Viet-Minh 3

Next afternoon I left Saigon in the car belonging to a director of the engineering firm. It was driven by one of the junior employees who had just arrived from Europe, was not a Frenchman and knew nothing whatever of the political situation. It was he who had staggered the French in Saigon by his description of how he had ... Read More »

The Viet-Minh 2

‘In the maquis we only eat twice a day,’ she said, with austere satisfac¬tion. ‘A little fish with rice. Some of our brothers and sisters who have been used to over-indulgence find it difficult at first, but they soon get used to it. But then, the life is very healthy. We start the day at five with physical exercises. And, ... Read More »

The Viet-Minh

I BELIEVE that many political conspirators derive satisfaction from self-dramatisation and that this taste for situations based on fictional models often complicates their lives unnecessarily. As soon as I had returned to Saigon from Laos I was invited to meet an agent who had just come from the headquarters of Nguyen-Binh, the General in command of the Southern Viet-Minh armies. ... Read More »

Into the Meo Country 7

In the meanwhile, he said, it might help matters, if only as a tempo¬rary measure, for an acupuncture to be performed, which, however, would not be completely effective owing to the overcast sky. Instructing me to lie on my side on his couch, the doctor removed a short metal needle from a lacquered case, gazed at it affectionately, and telling ... Read More »

Into the Meo Country 6

I first put it down to the special kind of heat, to which even the natives of these countries never accustom themselves. It has greatly affected their history. The mountain peoples, attracted by the easy, abundant life of the hot river valleys came down, settled there and with the formidable gift of leisure, built, while their reserve of energy lasted, ... Read More »

Into the Meo Country 5

It remains to be said that such drums as have come into the owner¬ship of citizens of Luang Prabang, in sad and symbolical descent from their original high function, now serve as cocktail tables. It was fitting that at Luang Prabang the impetus of travel should have spent itself. Not even convoys ever came as far as this. Groups of ... Read More »