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Men, Women and Guns   By: (1888-1937)

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First Page:

MEN, WOMEN AND GUNS

"SAPPER"

MEN, WOMEN AND GUNS

BY "SAPPER" AUTHOR OF "MICHAEL CASSIDY, SERGEANT"

NEW YORK GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY

COPYRIGHT, 1916, BY GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

TO MY WIFE

CONTENTS

PAGE PROLOGUE xi

PART ONE CHAPTER I. THE MOTOR GUN 23 II. PRIVATE MEYRICK COMPANY IDIOT 49 III. SPUD TREVOR OF THE RED HUSSARS 77 IV. THE FATAL SECOND 99 V. JIM BRENT'S V.C. 121 VI. RETRIBUTION 155 VII. THE DEATH GRIP 183 VIII. JAMES HENRY 211

PART TWO THE LAND OF THE TOPSY TURVY I. THE GREY HOUSE 237 II. THE WOMEN AND THE MEN 243 III. THE WOMAN AND THE MAN 249 IV. "THE REGIMENT" 257 V. THE CONTRAST 265 VI. BLACK, WHITE, AND GREY 271 VII. ARCHIE AND OTHERS 287 VIII. ON THE STAFF 291 IX. NO ANSWER 299 X. THE MADNESS 305 XI. THE GREY HOUSE AGAIN 311

PROLOGUE

PROLOGUE

Two days ago a dear old aunt of mine asked me to describe to her what shrapnel was like.

"What does it feel like to be shelled?" she demanded. "Explain it to me."

Under the influence of my deceased uncle's most excellent port I did so. Soothed and in that expansive frame of mind induced by the old and bold, I drew her a picture vivid, startling, wonderful. And when I had finished, the dear old lady looked at me.

"Dreadful!" she murmured. "Did I ever tell you of the terrible experience I had on the front at Eastbourne, when my bath chair attendant became inebriated and upset me?"

Slowly and sorrowfully I finished the decanter and went to bed.

But seriously, my masters, it is a hard thing that my aunt asked of me. There are many things worse than shelling the tea party you find in progress on your arrival on leave; the utterances of war experts; the non arrival of the whisky from England. But all of those can be imagined by people who have not suffered; they have a standard, a measure of comparison. Shelling no.

The explosion of a howitzer shell near you is a definite, actual fact which is unlike any other fact in the world, except the explosion of another howitzer shell still nearer. Many have attempted to describe the noise it makes as the most explainable part about it. And then you're no wiser.

Listen. Stand with me at the Menin Gate of Ypres and listen. Through a cutting a train is roaring on its way. Rapidly it rises in a great swelling crescendo as it dashes into the open, and then its journey stops on some giant battlement stops in a peal of deafening thunder just overhead. The shell has burst, and the echoes in that town of death die slowly away reverberating like a sullen sea that lashes against a rock bound coast.

And yet what does it convey to anyone who patronises inebriated bath chair men? ...

Similarly shrapnel! "The Germans were searching the road with 'whizz bangs.'" A common remark, an ordinary utterance in a letter, taken by fond parents as an unpleasing affair such as the cook giving notice.

Come with me to a spot near Ypres; come, and we will take our evening walk together.

"They're a bit lively farther up the road, sir." The corporal of military police stands gloomily at a cross roads, his back against a small wayside shrine. A passing shell unroofed it many weeks ago; it stands there surrounded by d├ębris the image of the Virgin, chipped and broken. Just a little monument of desolation in a ruined country, but pleasant to lean against when it's between you and German guns.

Let us go on, it's some way yet before we reach the dug out by the third dead horse. In front of us stretches a long, straight road, flanked on each side by poplars... Continue reading book >>




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