He Was My Friend

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search


THE DIVIDED SOUL

By G. B. LANCASTER.

"YOU see," explained Garsia, "when one feels that one has to do a difficult thing, one usually realises at precisely the same instant that one's best chance is to do it straight off the bat, before one has time to worry over the difficulties."

Miss Ursula Venables looked consideringly at her buckled shoes where the sunlight struck them.

"That sentence seems as if it ought to add up, somehow," she remarked, and then Pat Venables laughed. It was a big, muscular kind of laugh, like the man himself, and Garsia looked at him.

"Lieutenant Venables," he said, "it is a physical impossibility for you to crush your superior in rank by such a windy method as laughter."

"But it is I who am doing the crushing," said Ursula. "Billy, please attend. I was saying that you could never write a report that was a report."

"No?" said Garsia reflectively. "When is a report not a report? When it's an explosion. When it's a miss-fire. When it's something written by an irresponsible person not at the Front for an irresponsible public at home. When it's the truth."

"Now you've got it," said Pat. "Murder will out, but truth won't. The whole energies of the Press throughout the War have been engaged in proving that. I'll bet you half-a-crown——"

"Taken," said Ursula. "I'm already ten pounds in debt on my last allowance, and every little helps."

"But you wouldn't win."

"Win? Of course I should win. I only bet to win, otherwise it's a waste of money. I bet that Billy couldn't write a perfectly true and coherent report of anything, if peace with Germany depended on it. Why, he couldn't tell one, and he doesn't have to spell when he's talking, nor to put in the stops."

"I'm particularly good at stops," said Garsia, "and at spelling, too, after a day on those scrubby hills under a horrid, torrid, florid sun. Eh, Pat?"

From her vantage on the slope of the broad, close-shaven terrace Ursula looked on the two men stretched at her feet. Both showed marks of the Gallipoli sun yet, as well as the pallor of recent illness, and both had a gravity below their jesting which used not to be there. These months had changed Billy and her cousin as centuries had not changed the terrace and the rose-walks and the peacocks in the yew hedge which hid all of the grey, long stone house but the battlements. For the Venables kept up the traditions of their ancestors at Briarcote, and peacocks clipped out of yew was one of them. Pat was another. Always the eldest hope of the Venables was a lean and long-limbed Patrick, devoted to luxuries—which he called necessities—and with no ambition to set the Thames on fire. Always this Patrick had entered the Army—Guards for preference, although one original had insisted on the Irish Fusiliers—and had retired on marriage. The Patrick of to-day was Royal Engineers, having an untraceable passion for mathematics, which was fostered by Garsia, who knew less about his profession and did infinitely more. Ursula, meditating, felt Pat's eyes on her with that new look which they had worn since morning, and rushed into speech.

"How many r's in florid? I should win my bet, Pat."

"Oh, of course, if you choose your subject——"

"I object to being called a subject," said Garsia, punching holes in the turf.

"He means object," explained Ursula.

"I object to object. How all the small fry of the Allies will love us if English becomes the only wear in schools! I shouldn't like to have to learn it myself."

"You never will," said Ursula consolingly, and stood up. "Good-bye."

"But this is so sudden," protested Pat. "Can't we at least say au revoir?"

"It doesn't sound as if you could," said Ursula critically. "And I must go. Auntie and I have two calls to pay before tea."

"Just observe a woman's ragged way of doing business," remarked Pat. "Now, all my securities are paid in full. War Loans. Imagine having to pay calls at any odd minute! In bed, perhaps, or your bath, or the middle of a sermon, or of a proposal!"

His blue eyes met Ursula's with that challenging possessive pride which brought her blushes as she stood, hatless, under the broad swathe of sunlight along the terrace. Her skin was pink and white, and faintly browned in the proper places; and, looking on the curves and dimples of her slim, round throat and chin, you almost forgot to seek further. But, once finding the eyes, with their grey, steady lustre below the straight brows, so many tones darker than the soft piles of hair, you were glad to have already discovered mouth and chin, for you would certainly never have looked for them after. Garsia, thinking this for about the millionth time in the last four years, glanced at Pat with sudden premonitory instinct, and momentarily saw something of that which Ursula was seeing. He stepped aside, propelled an empty chocolate box under cover of a lounge chair by slow, meditative kicks, thrust his hands deep in his pockets, and stared across the park where, between heavy foliage and grey old gnome-like trunks, bits of blue sky dazzled in living sapphire.

Then Ursula ran swiftly up stone steps with the click of high-heeled shoes, and Pat, whistling softly, began to cut and light a cigar.

Silence still continued when the cigar was safely going. Pat glanced at the somewhat stocky motionless figure in flannels and straw hat. Garsia had done rather well during those three days before he got the bullet through his neck, but he never looked the part of a hero, not even in uniform. Pat did, and knew it, although pneumonia in Alexandria was as near as he had come to the real thing yet. He glanced again at Garsia. Still silence. Then he knew that Garsia had seen and was waiting, and he plunged.

"I've—spoken to her, Bill."

Garsia jerked all over—slightly, like a fish just feeling the hook.

"Yes?" he said, watching the glittering sky.

"I'm—hang it all, I'm the happiest man on earth—or should be, if you——"

"Then you're engaged?" Garsia took out cigarette case and matches with an elaborate calm which brought pity into Pat's eyes.

"Since eleven-thirty this morning," he said.

"Ah! You hid it well. I—didn't guess, till just now."

"Why"—Pat laughed shamefacedly—"we don't want to proclaim it, you see. Not a soul is to know till I come back again. I promised her that. But, of course, you had to. That was—in the bargain."

Garsia said nothing. Pat looked uneasy.

"You know, I did suggest that we should throw again for who had first chance with her," he said, "but you insisted that we should stand by our luck."

Garsia swung round. His heavy brown face was redder than usual, and his brown eyes had the reddish light which Pat suspected they had worn in battle.

"What difference d'you suppose first and last would make in this?" he said roughly. "She'd never have had me in a thousand years. Her taking you proves that. You don't imagine she'd be moved by anything but love, do you?"

"But she likes you."

Pat could afford to be magnanimous now. Last night he had considered the possible extent of Ursula's liking for this man, who had intimately known them both during four years of fishing and shooting and dances and other things, with a cold perspiration and a hot heart.

"She likes you immensely—always did," he repeated. And then Garsia suddenly went white as he had been red.

"You—never gave her any idea—she doesn't guess?" he stammered.

"Heavens, no! She just looks on you as a good pal of her own and mine. It's lucky for me that you never had courage to ask her long ago, before I made up my mind."

"I would rather she didn't know," said Garsia! He held his hand out. "Good luck, old man," he said. "As it couldn't be me, I'm glad it's you. And—as I am not supposed to know——"

"Don't congratulate her, for goodness' sake!" Pat wrung the hand hard. He could save Garsia on this point, if no further. "And I wish——"

"Yes, yes, that's all right." Garsia backed away hurriedly. "I'm going for a walk, I think. Tell 'em, if I'm not back for tea, that I—I've gone for a walk."

Pat strolled slowly back to the house, thinking more deeply than was usual with him. In Bill's place he, too, would have taken the thing decently, of course, but in how far would he have been able to stand the intimate time that was coming for them? How could he have borne to see among Garsia's mail, on those holy nights when letters came to the trenches, a dozen envelopes in Ursula's black, piquant writing? How could he have borne to lie shoulder to shoulder with his chum, knowing that over the other man's heart lay the picture of the girl both loved? How could he have borne to see Garsia take it out and look at it, mutter a swift prayer to it, as so many men did on going into action? Bill would have to bear all that, so long as Fate kept them together—that and a thousand things else. Pat ran up the last steps because the flick of a blue gown past an open door looked like Ursula's.

"Still discounting bills?" he said to himself, with a grin. Then remorsefully: "The devil's in it that we both had to love the same girl. But, good Heavens, what should I have done if she'd chosen him?"

Garsia found upon the uplands a field of gorse and rabbit-holes that sloped to a sunset which ran a perilous and breath-taking course through the primary colours into the mauve and silver tones of a perfect dusk. Then, when the bushes were black and mysterious, and the night creatures scampered noiseless, and the last lark dropped silent to its nest, he came back, purged of the spirit that had gone out with him. After dinner they strolled on the terrace as always, and talked nonsense, and Ursula smoked a cigarette, with one hand on. Pat's arm and the other on Garsia's. Then Pat was called away for a moment by his father, and Ursula turned down beside the rose pergola, where moonlight was clear. Laughter had been on her lips, but it seemed to go with Pat. She stopped suddenly, facing Garsia, and out of her close pale gown her delicate head and shoulders rose like the corolla of some flower grown from fairy seed. But the shaken tones of her voice were pure womanly.

"Because you're going out with him, I'll have to tell you," she said, very low. "Billy, I'm going to marry him some day—if he comes back. Pat, you know."

For the moment it took all Garsia's command to meet her eyes. He had no leisure for words. Her fine brows drew together.

"I thought you'd be pleased," she said, half hurt.

"So I am. S-so I was. Awfully. But I was surprised. That's it. Surprised. I—you—how was I to guess? You kept it dark as coal-holes, and you weren't any ruder to each other than usual."

"Dear old Bill!" She laughed. "We are hiding it well, aren't we? I—don't want to be pitied when he is gone. You understand?"

"Yes," said Garsia, "I understand."

"But you're going with him. So—— You're his captain, Billy, and I want you——"

"Ursula, this isn't a cotton-wool job. I can't promise to keep him out of danger."

"Oh, I know, Billy, I know! B-but—if there was dangerous work, and you had to choose—— Yes, I know the other man might have an Ursula, too."

"He couldn't—there's only one Ursula!"

"How dear of you! Then, Billy—you'll remember that I want him back. Will you just remember that when—if you can——"

Her voice broke, and she was dabbing furtively at her eyes. All his life Garsia had never been able to bear seeing a woman cry. Just now nothing but: the sharp memory of what that vigil by flaming gorse and burning sky had taught him could have helped. He patted her shoulder lightly.

"Yes. Poor little girl! Yes, I'll remember. Pat is yours, and you want him returned in good condition, this side up, with care. I'll do it if it's in the power of mortal man. Leave it all to your Uncle Stalky. He'll arrange for the V.C.'s and D.S.O.'s and things. If there's any you have a special fancy for——"

"I should like a laurel wreath tied with tricolour ribbons," she said, dimpling through her tears. "It would suit him so—if we curled his hair, you know. Oh, Billy——"

"He shall have it," promised Garsia, patting her again. "Anything else? I'll bring him home safe and glorious, and happy and victorious, if I have to write him up in dispatches myself. 'The modest young hero, blushing effulgently under the blaze of his multitudinous honours——'"

She looked up with quivering lips and dewy eyes, and in all that old garden of wandering sweet scents and evening mists among the clustered blooms none was so sweet to Garsia as herself.

"Dear old Billy!" she said. "What a comfort you are to me! I don't really believe that I could send him with anyone else."

And those words were a comfort to Garsia, until the time came when they were a probe in a raw wound.


II.

All along the hillside the scrub smelt like a privet hedge at home just before the flowers come out, and the little hard leaves and twigs tickled Garsia's chin as he wriggled back from a ridge-top, clutching his periscope and rucking up his shirt on the loose stones and rough rock. Where the hill bent to the right, a wide sap was being driven forward in all haste to connect two points of the communication trench, because a small and apparently new fort over the hill had of late become intolerably troublesome. Aeroplanes had tried to locate that fort. Scouts had gone out—like Garsia—and had not returned. Closely-examined fuse-tops of exploded shells had given the approximate range, but along that tumbled scarp of scrub oak and desolation there was no sign to tell which particular collection of live rock dazzling in the sunlight was vomiting howitzer shells, and which smoked machine-guns and rifle-fire only. Pertinacity and more luck than often attends it had told Garsia. He had taken such bearings as were possible, longing for Pat's genius in the craft, and had retired with all the strategy and speed which a man moving flat on his stomach may command, edging ever downwards and to the right. And even in this position he so stirred the bushes that an interested sniper in this No Man's Land sent an inquiring bullet past his shoulder.

He was dripping and extremely dirty when he dropped at last into the trench, sand-bagged and barricaded into comparative safety, shook himself, got some of his breath back, and went in search of the C.O. Ten minutes later he returned, with that red in his eyes which Pat had seen at Briarcote, and called up a sapper who came out of the hillside with a sack of earth.

"Lieutenant Venables in there? Tell him I want to see him," he said, and retreated to an undercut corner, beyond where some luxurious person had made a further shelter of latticed branches. Here he spread his note-book and some pencilled bits of thumbed paper on his knees, and went to work in that calm haste which was natural to him.

It was abnormally hot in the trench, and, after the tremendous cannonade of morning and early afternoon, abnormally silent. Further off to the right, some of the naval guns were doing something intermittently, and now and again someone up the hill waxed irritable in answer. The men at the loopholes were drowsy, and the chest-grunts of those who dragged the loaded sacks out of the bowels of the earth and heaved them up on the parapets were their only contribution to conversation. The silence seemed solid as water. So did the heat. Garsia glanced once down hill, where some epicure was hunting wild thyme to flavour the cooking-pot, and a fatigue party was digging a well. The slab heads of mules showed a moment as they rounded the corner of the trench, bringing up stores. A bird sang sheer overhead, and there was the constant crick-crick of seeds opening in the sun, and always the smell of the privet. Garsia leaned forward to peer through a loophole. This was the kind of off day which came sometimes—a day of sweet scents and calm, when men's nerves relax a little after the long tension of agonies. Brilliant heat was shimmering along the hillside, where rock struck off glinting facets and daisies made patches of white. Now and again little round puffs like dandelion seed bloomed above the scrub and evaporated. Now and then a shell screeched over, to burst up hill or down hill in a smother of yellow smoke. Once or twice a kind of orange-and-grey umbrella pushed up over the ridge and floated off into the staring blue of the sky. Then the enormous hush and the sense of waiting settled down again.

It was not unlike a day among the grouse at home. Garsia remembered his last shoot on the moors, with Ursula in the shelter beside him, and a cool wind blowing. She had worn a grey tam-o'-shanter that day, and her grey eyes, with their long lashes—those black, long lashes with their trick of an upward curl—— Pat came round the corner and dropped down, mopping a scarlet face.

"Well?" he skid; "Got a smoke?"

"I've found that fort," said Garsia unemotionally, and passed over his case.

"Rot!" Pat sat up eagerly. "Where, then?"

"I worked out directions and elevations as well as I could. Look here!"

[Illustration: "'D'you imagine I never laid a fuse or fired before?'"]

They bent together over the scrawled figures and lines. Suddenly Pat gasped.

"Supposing you're just approximately right, and, taking the present trend of the sap——"

"I know. I Went along to the C.O. and suggested it. We can run out a lead from this point"—Garsia put a thick finger on a line—"and blow the whole bally thing to glory by to-morrow night. The C.O. is agreeable, so long as my calculations prove satisfactory when checked."

"You can tell him from me that they'll pass. Bill, we'll do it. I've got 'bout half a regiment in that sap now—hour shifts. Human flesh won't stand it longer in this heat, though the merry blighters will try. Can you rake up another detachment from somewhere, and we'll get on to it right away."

He gave back the cigarette case, and, where the sleeve drew up, Garsia saw a slender circlet of twisted bronze wires clipped round the forearm, Pat laughed, noting the look.

"Ursula sent it," he said. "Came in my mail last night. She says it's a charm to keep me from harm, and bring me fame instead of shame. There's more of that, but I forget. It was worth exactly twopence farthing—until she kissed it."

He went away, and it was the next sunset before Garsia again held anything approaching conversation with him. The hours in between had been strenuous down in the sap, and more or less uneasy above-ground. Several times the fort guns had got the range of the communication trench, and wiped out a few transport mules or a length of parapet with the men behind it. Once the forward trenches had sent out a bayonet charge, and all day the naval guns had roared against the heads of the hills, but, owing to the rising ground between, had failed to damage the fort. This, with its short-nosed howitzers, worried the communication trench and threatened the ridge where the charge had dug itself in. Down in the sap men had worked fiercely, with dead-white faces that sweated in light of the electric torches, and naked skin which burnt to the touch. In laying off for the lead from the sap, a deep-sunk flange of rock had almost baulked Garsia's purpose. Twenty yards to the right, where the ground dropped sharply, he had finally tunnelled out into a thicket of scrub oak, and from thence driven the lead through the angle of the hill. This had lengthened the work by, perhaps, an hour, and necessitated exactly one and a half minutes of danger in the thicket. But Garsia had taught his men and himself to suit man to circumstance, and this was not the thing which troubled him as he crawled out of the tunnel and met Pat on hands and knees in the scrub oak.

"How long now?" he said. "We've been running reinforcements along the sap for the last couple of hours."

"Should be up before midnight. But it's only a one-man job, you know, and this earth has been heated for centuries. So have I, I think."

Garsia nodded. He had burrowed enough in these Gallipoli foothills to understand the wickedness of the sandy soil, and the unease of working under conditions which required careful disposition of it over the face of earth.

"The high explosives have been brought up to the mouth of the tunnel," he said. "You'll have to fix the business now, old man. I'm wanted back on the coast somewhere, worse luck!"

In the white moonlight he saw a sudden quiver run over Pat's white, earth-smudged face, and it made his heart jump. For a man who was just an ordinary good fellow, Pat had so far done well. He had met fairly searching tests quite decently, and there was no reason to suppose that when it came to ticklish work—work requiring such nicety of hand and brain as this—that he would fail. And yet—why did he look like that?

"Sanders went down to the base with a smashed shoulder this morning, and you're the next man, as I can't do it——"

"What the devil——" Pat went suddenly red. "D'you imagine I never laid a fuse or fired a mine before?"

"Don't be an old ass, Paddy." The high voice had told even more of nerves than the face did. "Come along back till we see if we've panned it out all right."

In the gleam of the electric torch they talked technicalities for three minutes. Then Garsia rose up.

"That'll do. Give 'em a good dose, and don't make any miscalculations."

"You teach your grandmother, Billy——"

"Um?" Garsia was already on the far side of the boxes of explosives.

"Oh, nothing. Ta-ta, old thing!"

"Oh, ta-ta!" said Garsia crossly, and tramped off with his head low. If Pat lost his head and messed things up! But he couldn't! When so much depended on it, he couldn't! Ursula's voice seemed in his ears, with that broken catch in it: "Remember that I want him back. If you can send another man——" Well, he couldn't send another man, and if Pat rotted, he didn't deserve to go back, anyway. Garsia pushed out of the sap, negotiated the dangerous angle of the trench, where the shells where now coming too often about the sand-bags and casements, and went to his work. A few hours after he had gone, the fort got the range of that trench corner with absolute exactitude, raining shell after shell into it until the startled night was filled with death and flying splinters of red-hot iron and columns of foul smoke and spouting earth. Parapets were laid flat above men and mules, dug-outs, and strutted observation posts.

Where blue flares sailed and scarlet wickering flashes tore the smoke, things unspeakable showed; and Pat, working in white-hot haste to transfer the little boxes of high explosive from tunnel to lead, considered what would happen if one of those belching missives fell short. It was not quite midnight when Garsia, some miles off, heard the bellowing heart of the little fort go skyward in a column of flame, and felt the earth shake. A hush followed, which seemed to leave earth trembling, and he lit a cigarette with unsteady hands.

"Good business," he said only to the man next him. But the heart in him tugged like a leashed dog to get back to the sap again. It was dawn when he came clambering over the ruins of the trench, where men were excavating, and laying aside their dead to make way for the living. A gay dawn, full of rosy clouds and blue sky and birds singing. But the smell of blood took the place of the privet scent now, and the patch of white daisies just beyond the trench was red.

"Where's Venables?" he asked. And again, of a subaltern in the sap: "Where's Venables?"

The subaltern, clutching a torch, was gulping, and he looked many years older than he had done yesterday.

"We've had an awful time," he said. "Oh, an awful time, Garsia!"

"Yes, yes, I can see that it was pretty hot. But they're cooked. Where's Yen——"

"They—they're trying to dig him out—he and Matheson. Of course, it's no use, you know. What? Yes. They had got most of the stuff in, working like mad, for they knew what a doing we were getting. Then a bullet from somewhere struck the last box in the scrub. Oh, Heavens!"

"Where's Venables?" repeated Garsia for the fiftieth time.

"T-the explosion brought down the face of the lead. Blocked it. Venables must have known. But he—they—must have run straight on. Didn't wait for the chance of being dug out. He knew that, if they wiped out much more of the trench, we couldn't hold the line. So he didn't even make a time-fuse of it. Just blew up the fort and himself. Oh, don't talk! I'm sick——"

He went stumbling and sobbing away. Garsia scrambled out of the broken tunnel and directed operations until the mouth of the lead was cleared, and the foul air poured slowly out. Then he lay down, wriggling into the breach, even as Pat had wriggled to his death. Within two yards he came on a body, stripped by the blast, blackened beyond recognition by it. The clenched fists were full of earth, as though the man had tried to tear his way out.

"Matheson," said someone, when the body was laid in the light. "Funked it, pore chap! It was the Lootenant as did it, then, love 'im!"

Garsia crawled on until the débris shoaled down, blocking him. Then he wriggled back. The quest had been hopeless from the first. For the man who fired that mine must have gone aloft with it, and the tremendous funeral pyre was no more than worthy of the man. Ursula's face in the garden was all that he saw as he came to the light again. Ursula's voice, pleading and shaken, was all that he heard. Then he stooped reverently over the charred, unrecognisable mass which the men were wrapping in a blanket, straightened suddenly, and blundered down into the sap as though the dogs of hell were after him. For, bitten deep into the flesh of the right arm, he had seen the fused metal circlet which Ursula had sent to Pat.

Someone else had carried the word to the O.C., and when the usual afternoon lull came, the O.C. sauntered along the trench and asked Garsia to write out the report of the operation.

"You know most about it," he said. "Pitch it as strong as you like. Venables was your friend, and he deserved a V.C. Not married, was he? Engaged, then? Ah, well, she'll be proud of him. God pity all women these times!"

An hour later Garsia roused to the understanding that not one word was written. The sun blazed on him, and someone had put bread and cold tea beside him. But Garsia was on a rack that left no time for corporeal comforts. Was it a laurel wreath that Ursula had asked for? Did she not remember that such is given to the dead in these days, and not to the living? A laurel wreath had men given to Pat already. Only Garsia could take it from him. Only Garsia believed of his chum what not one of the men had believed. Pat and Matheson were much of the same build. But that had not confused them. Instinctively they had placed the crown of leadership where it rightfully belonged. Only Garsia could take it away.

Garsia had been under great physical strain all night, but it was the mental strain which made him tremble now like a frightened child. Who was Matheson? Was he the heir of a Briarcote, where each little last thing that was his would be held sacred for ever? Was he the lover of an Ursula who—as Garsia should choose—would think of him with loathing or with pride all her days? Had he a chum who would have given the living soul out of his body to have been able to write this report of a dead man as it should be written? And then, like sudden sunlight across darkness, came flashing memory of a summer day at Briarcote, and Pat's half-crown bet that Garsia could not write a true report. Garsia leaned back and laughed until the tears ran down the furrows of his hard, bronzed face, and his head reeled. Men passing by turned aside in sympathy.

"Great pals they was, him an' Mr. Venables," said one. "Pore chap!"

Later it was forced again on Garsia's consciousness that the report had to be written, and that soon. There had never been anything small or weak about this clumsy, hard-working engineer. If damning a dead man's name would have given him Ursula to-morrow, he would not have taken her. It was Pat's right to be mourned, and hers to mourn him. Her right! And it could be her pride. Who was Matheson, anyway? A lonely man who never got any letters—a dour man. And Pat . … Garsia began to write in curt, chopped-up sentences. There was no room for verbiage here. Who was Matheson? A man with a name of his own. A common man who had done what his superior in blood and training dared not do. A man with rights still, blown to fragments though he was. A man. …

Beyond the pile of sand-bags some young subalterns were laughing over their breakfast. One laughed rather like Pat—a big rollicking laugh, the laugh of a brave man and a lover. … Garsia went on writing. At length he snapped his pocket-book and stood up. Through a loophole he saw vague splotches of the black havoc up the hill, with shadows running in sunlight from the aeroplanes circling overhead. For a little he stood with lips pressed close. Then he swung round the angle to the breakfasters. One boy, sitting on his heels, reached up to him.

"Know anything about this, sir?" he asked. "Your men took it off that sapper they buried just now, and asked me to give it to you."

The fused circlet was in Garsia's hand before he knew. It burnt like fire, and it seemed to cling as a snake would. He spoke thickly.

"Why should I know anything of Matheson's belongings?" he said.

"But I understand this isn't his. The men said he picked it up just before he went into the sap, and put it on for luck, poor beggar! They thought it might be yours—or Lieutenant Venables', perhaps. I say, won't you have some more tea, or anything?"

"No. No, thanks," said Garsia, and his voice sounded strange in his own ears. "I've—got everything I want."

And then he climbed out of the trench and went down the hill to give his report to the officer commanding.

Copyright 1917, by G, B. Lancaster, in the United States of America.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1925.


The author died in 1945, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.