ONCE AGAIN—THE FRENCH FOREIGN LEGION (continued)
"Living by Chance, Loving by Choice,
Killing by Profession"
motto of La Lègion Etrangére
(French Foreign Legion)
Due to my mother’s quaint habit of enlisting me in boarding schools too young—a terrible thing to do to a kid no matter how bright—I entered university at sixteen to do a four year course, and graduated at the age of twenty.
Quite how I graduated I will never know, because I spent most of my last year immersed in university politics. In contrast, my son, Bruff, actually worked and has graduated with a First (very hard to get) and a Gold Medal for Academic excellence (but that is another story).
The university in both our cases was Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland—established by Queen Elizabeth I to educate the local savages. Actually, I think she wanted to educate the landed aristocracy who administered Ireland on her behalf so they could collect taxes with improved accuracy. Either way, there it is in all its splendor. It is actually a rather marvelous institution in a decidedly eccentric way.
Upon graduating, my mother threw a truly splendid black tie party for me—and I fell in love. The situation was broadly akin to the movie THE GRADUATE except that no daughter was involved. The woman concerned, from a good family in Connecticut, and—tragically now dead—was Elizabeth Bennett (though everyone called her Bunny). She was tall, slinky, talented, tender, and drop-dead gorgeous. She was also about fifteen years older than me.
A little while later, Bunny and I were at a party when someone mentioned that the French Foreign Legion had been disbanded following the failed attempt to overthrow President De Gaulle.
I disagreed, and a vociferous debate followed. Shortly afterwards, Bunny and I set off to track down the French Foreign Legion which I had been reliably informed had left its famous quarters in Sidi Bel Abbes in Algeria and was now in Corsica—or much of it was.
Corsica is an island and the birthplace of Napoleon. How hard could it be to track down the legion there? Indeed, I had heard there were bandits there—and thought it might be fun to meet a few.
To be continued…