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Action Front Boyd Cable

A General Action

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"And they must have been thinking with their boots when they dug it there," said Riley. "A trench on that side is open to enfilade fire. It should have been dug out from the left corner of that curve instead of the right."

"If you would speak to the O.C. about it, sorr," said Clancy, "he might be willing to let us dig it. The men is fresh, too, and won't harm for a bit of exercise."

"Very well," said the Captain carelessly, "we'll see about it to-morrow."

"Begging your pardon, sorr," said Clancy, "I was thinking it would be a good night tonight, seein' there's a strong wind blowing that would deaden the sound of the digging."

"That's true enough," the Captain said slowly. "I think it's an excellent idea, Clancy, and I'll speak to the O.C., and tell him you suggested it."

A few minutes after, an orderly brought a message that the O.C. was coming round the trenches to see the company commanders. The company commanders found him with rather a sharp edge to his temper, and Captain Conroy, to whom Riley and Brock had confided the secret of their plans, concluded the moment was not a happy one for explaining the ruse to the O.C. He, therefore, merely took his instructions for the detailing of a working party from his company, and the hour at which they were to commence.

"And remember," said the O.C. sharply, "you will stand no nonsense over this work. If you think any man is loafing or not doing his full share, make him a prisoner, or do anything else you think fit. I'll back you in it, whatever it is."

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Conroy murmured a "Very good, sir," and left it at that. When he returned to his company he made arrangements for the working party, implying subtly to Sergeant Clancy that the trench was to be started as the result of his, the sergeant's, arguments.

Clancy went back to the men in high feather:

"I suppose now," he said complacently, "there's some would be like to laugh if they were told that a blessed sergeant could be saying where and when he'd be having this trench or that trench dug or not dug; but there's more ways of killing a cat than choking it with butter, and Ould Prickles can take a hint as good as the next man when it's put to him right."

"Prickles," be it noted, being the fitting, if somewhat disrespectful, name which the O.C. carried in the Rifles.

"It's yourself has the tongue on ye," admitted Rifleman McRory admiringly, "though I'm wonnering how'll you be schamin' to get another trench dug from the listening-post out to the Gineral."

"'Twill take some scheming," agreed another rifleman, "but maybe we can get round the officer that's in the listening-post to-night to let us drive a sap out."

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Action Front
Boyd Cable

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