Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
Action Front Boyd Cable

As Others See

Page 4 of 13

Table Of Contents: Action Front

Previous Page

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

"Children!" said Robinson. "Infants, eh? 'ealthy lookin' lot o' infants. There's one now--that six-foot chap with the Father Christmas whiskers; 'ow's that for a' infant?"

As the Frenchmen filed out some of them smiled and nodded and called cheery good-bys to our men, and 'Enery Irving turned to a man beside him. "This," he said, "is about where some appropriate music should come in the book. Exit to triumphant strains of martial music Buck up, Snapper! Can't you mouth-organ 'em the Mar-shall-aise?"

Snapper promptly produced his instrument and mouth-organed the opening bars, and the Towers joined in and sang the tune with vociferous "la-la-las." When they had finished, two or three of the Frenchmen, after a quick word together struck up "God Save the King." Instantly the others commenced to pick it up, but before they had sung three words 'Enery Irving, in tones of horror, demanded "The Mar-shall-aise again; quick, you idiot!" from Snapper, and himself swung off into a falsetto rendering of "Three Blind Mice." In a moment the Towers had in full swing their medley caricature of the French march singing, under which "God Save the King" was very completely drowned.

"What the devil d'you mean? Are you all mad?" demanded a wrathful subaltern, plunging round the traverse to where Snapper mouth-organed the "Marseillaise," 'Enery Irving lustily intoned his anthem of the Blind Mice, and Corporal Flannigan passed from the deep lowing of a cow to the clarion calls of the farmyard rooster.

"Beg pardon, sir," said 'Enery Irving with lofty dignity, "but if I 'adn't started this row the 'ole trenchful o' Frenchies would 'ave been 'owling our 'Gawd Save.' I saw that 'ud be a clean give-away, an' the order bein' to act so as to deceive----"

We have hundreds more books for your enjoyment. Read them all!

"Quite right," said the officer, "and a smart idea of yours to block it. But who was the crazy ass who started it by singing the 'Marseillaise'?" On this point, however, 'Enery was discreetly silent.

Before the French had cleared the trench the Germans opened a leisurely bombardment with a trench mortar. This delayed the proceeding somewhat, because it was reckoned wiser to halt the men and clear them from the crowded trench into the dug-outs. "With the double company of French and British, there was rather a tight squeeze in the shelters, wonderfully commodious as they were.

"Now this," said Corporal Flannigan, "is what I call something like a dug-out." He looked appreciatively round the square, smooth-walled chamber and up the steps to the small opening which gave admittance to it. "Good dodge, too, this sinking it deep underground. Even if a bomb dropped in the trench just outside, and pieces blew in the door, they'd only go over our heads. Something like, this is."

"I wonder," said another reflectively, "why we don't have dug-outs like this in our line?" He spoke in a slightly aggrieved tone, as if dugouts were things that were issued from the Quarter-Master's store, and therefore a legitimate cause for free complaint. He and his fellows would certainly have felt a good deal more aggrieved, however, if they had been set the labor of making such dug-outs.

Up above, such of the French and British as had been left in the trench were having quite a busy time with the bombs. The Frenchmen had rather a unique way of dodging these, which the Towers were quick to adopt. The whole length of the trench was divided up into compartments by strong traverses running back at right angles from the forward parapet, and in each of these compartments there were anything from four or five to a dozen men, all crowded to the backward end of the traverse, waiting and watching there to see the bomb come twirling slowly and clumsily over. As it reached the highest point of its curve and began to fall down towards the trench, it was as a rule fairly easy to say whether it would fall to right or left of the traverse. If it fell in the trench to the right, the men hurriedly plunged round the corner of the traverse to the left, and waited there till the bomb exploded. The crushing together at the angle of the traverse, the confused cries of warning or advice, or speculation as to which side a bomb would fall, the scuffling, tumbling rush to one side or the other, the cries of derision which greeted the ineffective explosion--all made up a sort of game. The Towers had had a good many unhappy experiences with bombs, and at first played the unknown game carefully and anxiously, and with some doubts as to its results. But they soon picked it up, and presently made quite merry at it, laughing and shouting noisily, tumbling and picking themselves up and laughing again like children.

Page 4 of 13 Previous Page   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
Action Front
Boyd Cable

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004