Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
  Blank Cartridges Ian Hay

Shooting Straight

Page 1 of 12

Table Of Contents: The First Hundred Thousand

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

"What for is the wee felly gaun' tae show us puctures?"

Second Lieutenant Bobby Little, assisted by a sergeant and two unhandy privates, is engaged in propping a large and highly-coloured work of art, mounted on a rough wooden frame and supported on two unsteady legs, against the wall of the barrack square. A half-platoon of A Company, seated upon an adjacent bank, chewing grass and enjoying the mellow autumn sunshine, regard the swaying masterpiece with frank curiosity. For the last fortnight they have been engaged in imbibing the science of musketry. They have learned to hold their rifles correctly, sitting, kneeling, standing, or lying; to bring their backsights and foresights into an undeviating straight line with the base of the bull's-eye; and to press the trigger in the manner laid down in the Musketry Regulations--without wriggling the body or "pulling-off."

They have also learned to adjust their sights, to perform the loading motions rapidly and correctly, and to obey such simple commands as--

"At them two, weemen"--officers' wives, probably--"proceeding from left tae right across the square, at five hundred yairds"

--they are really about fifteen yards away, covered with confusion--"five roonds, fire!"

But as yet they have discharged no shots from their rifles. It has all been make-believe, with dummy cartridges, and fictitious ranges, and snapping triggers. To be quite frank, they are getting just a little tired of musketry training--forgetting for the moment that a soldier who cannot use his rifle is merely an expense to his country and a free gift to the enemy. But the sight of Bobby Little's art gallery cheers them up. They contemplate the picture with childlike interest. It resembles nothing so much as one of those pleasing but imaginative posters by the display of which our Railway Companies seek to attract the tourist to the less remunerative portions of their systems.

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

"What for is the wee felly gaun' tae show us puctures?"

Thus Private Mucklewame. A pundit in the rear rank answers him.

"Yon's Gairmany."

"Gairmany ma auntie!" retorts Mucklewame. "There's no chumney-stalks in Gairmany."

"Maybe no; but there's wundmulls. See the wundmull there--on yon wee knowe!"

"There a pit-held!" exclaims another voice. This homely spectacle is received with an affectionate sigh. Until two months ago more than half the platoon had never been out of sight of at least half a dozen.

"See the kirk, in ablow the brae!" says some one else, in a pleased voice. "It has a nock in the steeple."

"I hear they Gairmans send signals wi' their kirk-nocks," remarks Private M'Micking, who, as one of the Battalion signallers--or "buzzers," as the vernacular has it, in imitation of the buzzing of the Morse instrument--regards himself as a sort of junior Staff Officer. "They jist semaphore with the haunds of the nock--"

"I wonder," remarks the dreamy voice of Private M'Leary, the humorist of the platoon, "did ever a Gairman buzzer pit the ba' through his ain goal in a fitba' match?"

This irrelevant reference to a regrettable incident of the previous Saturday afternoon is greeted with so much laughter that Bobby Little, who has at length fixed his picture in position, whips round.

Page 1 of 12 Previous Chapter   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
The First Hundred Thousand
Ian Hay

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2005