Page:The War and the Future (Masefield, 1918).djvu/80

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
The War and the Future

show, it would all be dark except that the darkness would glitter in many places with little flashes of fire.

And if one comes to that strip by any of the roads which lead to it, one sees, at first, simply the normal French landscape, which is tidy, well-cultivated land, on a big scale, with little neat woods and little, compact villages. One notices that many houses are closed, and that very few men are about. Presently one comes to a village, where one or two of the houses are roofless, and perhaps the church tower has a hole in it. And if you ask, you hear, "No, the enemy never got so far as here, but they shelled it." A little further on, you come to a village where every other house is a burnt-out shell, all down the street. And if you ask how this came about, that every other house should be destroyed, you hear, "O, the enemy occupied this place and burnt every other house for punishment." And if you ask, punishment for what? You hear, "O, some of the enemy got drunk here and fired at each other, and they said we did it, so they shot the Maire and burnt every other house."

Then, a little further on, you come to a village where there are no roofs nor any big part