Page:The War and the Future (Masefield, 1918).djvu/39

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The War and the Future

racks of immense strength and capacity. These were, the tunnel at St. Pierre Divion, dug into the chalk, so that some thousands of men could live under ground within one-quarter mile of the front line, in perfect safety; the barracks at the Y Ravine, about a mile further north, and the barracks in Quarry Gulley, near the Y Ravine. In all these immense underground works, the enemy had elaborate homes, lit with electricity, hung with cretonne and panelled with wood. Little stairs led from these dwellings to neat machine gun posts overlooking the front line. In one of these elaborate underground dwellings there were cots for children and children's toys, and some lady's clothes. It was thought that the artillery general who lived there had had his family there for the week end.

Behind all these works, were support and reserve trenches of equal strength, often fully wired in, but with fewer dugouts. Then about a mile or two miles behind the front line, on a great crest or table of high chalk downland, was the second line, stronger than the front line, on even more difficult ground, where you cannot walk a yard without treading on dust of English blood.

Words cannot describe the strength of that