Page:The War and the Future (Masefield, 1918).djvu/92

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The War and the Future

killed. You run out telephone wires and the wires are cut, as fast as they are laid, by shells or bullets. You send back carrier pigeons and the carrier pigeons are killed. During the Battle of the Somme a friend of mine was up in a tree correcting the fire of his battery. He had a telephone and a telescope. He watched the bursting of the shells and then telephoned back to the guns to correct their fire. While he was doing this, he glanced back at the English lines, and saw a great enemy barrage bursting between himself and his friends, in a kind of wall of explosion. And hopping along through this barrage came one solitary English soldier, who paid no more attention to the shells than if they had been hail. He looked to see this man blown to pieces, but he wasn't blown to pieces; and then he saw that it was his own servant bringing a letter. He wondered what kind of a letter could be brought under such conditions, and what stirring thing made it necessary, so he climbed down the tree and took the letter and read it. The letter ran: "The Veterinary Surgeon-Major begs to report, that your old mare is suffering from a fit of the strangles." The servant saluted and said: "Any answer, sir?" And my friend said: