It was interesting how things by habit ceased to be frightening. Young Prussian sutlers and canteen girls came to our camp every day throughout the whole siege, bringing bread, vodka, cherries, and spiced confectionaries. Since our trenches were first dug, we were gradually advancing and the dangers increased with proximity, but with the same punctuality they found us every morning, crouching  slightly as shot whistled overhead and telling jokes while the iron potatoes showered the earth around us. With good cheer they told us the latest news and did not depart until their entire stock was depleted. The village boys often amused us with their daring. Not letting the enemy’s shots go to waste, they pulled them out of the ground and, depending on the calibre, distributed them across our batteries so we could return-ship them to their home addresses. For each recovered ball they were paid a Groschen (approximately seven kopecks), and this labour usually involved the boys from the neighbouring villages. It was quite a sight to see them all standing impatiently under fire waiting for the balls to land. As soon as one slammed into the earth, they immediately ran over and pried it out. We shouted at them in vain to wait a little, because many of the shots were hollowed balls filled with charges that would explode and kill with their fragments, but it never stopped the young boys. They wanted to quickly earn their coin and buy themselves something sweet.