Page:The War and the Future (Masefield, 1918).djvu/82

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The War and the Future

the ground, though full of holes, is littered with little bits of brick, and you realize that you are standing in a town.

If you go on a little further, you notice that the mud is a little fresher. You come to a deafening noise, which bursts in a succession of shattering crashes, followed by long wailing shrieks, partly like gigantic cats making love, and partly as though the sky were linen being ripped across. The noise makes you sick and dizzy.

If you go on a little further you come to a place where the ground is being whirled aloft in clods and shards, amid clouds of dust and smoke and powdered brick. Screaming shells pass over you or crash beside you, and you realize then that you are at the front. Like Voltaire, you say, "I am among men, because they are fighting. I am among civilized men because they are doing it so savagely." And when the smoke and dust of the shells clear away, you see no men, civilized or savage, nothing but a vast expanse of mud, with a dead mule or two, and great black and white devils of smoke where shells are bursting.

In parts of that strip of France, especially in the broadest part, you come upon places