Page:The War and the Future (Masefield, 1918).djvu/31

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The War and the Future

native troops there, Turcos, Indians, Senegalese, Moroccans, as well as Canadians, French and English. All the troops there were shaken by this unexpected and terrible death, against which they had no guard.

Then a few officers, whose names, perhaps, we may never know, gathered together the stragglers and the panic-stricken, and called to them to put handkerchiefs and caps and rags of blankets and strips of shirt in front of their faces, and with these as respirators they marched the men back into that cloud of death, and though many were killed in the attempt, enough survived to hold the line, and so we were saved for the third time.

All nations use gas now, but that was the first time it was used. It is a very terrible thing. I have seen many men dying of it. It rots the lungs and the victims gasp away their lives. There is a saying, "If you sell your soul to the Devil, be sure you get a good price." The use of that gas was a selling of the soul, and yet the price gotten in exchange was nothing. They had our line broken with it and for weeks they could have beaten us by it. It was weeks before our men had proper respirators in any number. I do not know why they didn't