Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free

In Association with
Live Rounds Ian Hay

"Dirty Work At The Cross-Roads To-Night"

Page 6 of 6

Table Of Contents: The First Hundred Thousand

Previous Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

"Have you been here long?" inquired Bobby Little, who had come across the road for a change of air.

"Long enough! But I'm not on duty continuously. I am Box. Cox takes over to-morrow." He rose to his feet and looked at his watch.

"You ought to move off by half-past one, sir," he said to Blaikie. "It begins to get light after that, and the Bosches have three shells for that cross-road over there down in their time-table at two-fifteen. They're a hide-bound lot, but punctual!"

"Thanks," said Blaikie. "I shall not neglect your advice. It is half-past eleven now. Come along, Bobby, and we'll see how old Ayling is getting on."

* * * * *

Steadily, hour by hour, in absolute silence, the work went on. There was no talking, but (under extenuating circumstances) smoking was permitted. Periodically, as the star-shells burst into brilliance overhead, the workers sank down behind a parapet, or, if there was no time, stood rigid--the one thing to avoid upon these occasions is movement of any kind--and gave the snipers a chance. It was not pleasant, but it was duty; and the word duty has become a mighty force in "K(1)" these days. No one was hit, which was remarkable, when you consider what an artist a German sniper is. Possibly the light of the star-shells was deceptive, or possibly there is some truth in the general rumour that the Saxons, who hold this part of the line, are well-disposed towards us, and conduct their offensive operations with a tactful blend of constant firing and bad shooting, which, while it satisfies the Prussians, causes no serious inconvenience to Thomas Atkins.

Tired of reading? Add this page to your Bookmarks or Favorites and finish it later.

At a quarter-past one a subdued order ran round the trenches; the men fell in on the sheltered side of the plantation; picks and shovels were checked; rifles and equipment were resumed; and the party stole silently away to the cross-road, where the three shells were timed to arrive at two-fifteen. When they did so, with true Teutonic punctuality, an hour later, our friends were well on their way home to billets and bed--with the dawn breaking behind them, the larks getting to work overhead, and all the infected air of the German graveyard swept out of their lungs by the dew of the morning.

As for that imperturbable philosopher, Box, he sat down with a cigarette, and waited for Cox.

Page 6 of 6 Previous Page   Next Chapter
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