Page:The War and the Future (Masefield, 1918).djvu/88

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The War and the Future

it up to the waist, fast asleep, and I daresay you have seen that picture of the two soldiers standing in it up to the chin, one of them saying to the other: "If we stay here much longer we shall be submarined." There is nothing like this mud for breaking men's hearts. Any soldier on the Western front will tell you that the mud is the real enemy. The task of carrying up supplies across that mud, becomes by much the most difficult task which soldiers are called upon to do.

In spite of the danger and the occasional mud, the life at the front is lived with cheerfulness. There is much joking, though many of the jokes are about death and the dead. Very strange and romantic things happen continually, and there are strange escapes. I have not seen any escape quite so wonderful as that escape vouched for during your Civil War. The story goes that a soldier was sitting on the ground eating his supper. Between two mouthfuls he suddenly leaped into the air. While he was in the air, so the story goes, a cannon ball struck the ground where he had been sitting. He could not explain afterwards why it was that he jumped. I daresay that story is true. I have not seen anything quite so wonderful as