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Newspaper Page Text
"THE HUMAN SLAUGHTER HOUSE!"
(Copyright, 1913, by the Frederic A.
The whole of that morning we had
been marching in the eye of the sun
without coming across a drop of
water, for the country was not well
watered and there had been no rain
Our tongues were parched; our
throats were burning. When about
midday we passed through a farm
yard where we found a last remain
ing drop of dirty liquid it seemed a9 if
the water evaporated on the tongue
before it ever reached our throats.
Then we had been marched on inter
minably so that it was almost with a
sense of relief that we heard the first
sound of the guns rolling up to meet
The firing grew hotter, and we
soon left the main road and turned
down a blue lane. We were pushed
on at a smart pace. Our faces were--
glowing from thirst and heat. The
column was enveloped in a thick
cloud of dust. The taste of dust in
stead of water was on our tongues.
The dust was lying thick as a layer
of flour on our cheeks.
And we hurried on without a word.
A quickset hedge barred the view on
either side. Nothing but heavy foot
falls, walking packs, black, clattering
pannikins, rifles at the slope hustle
and dust. Then some one blun
dered over a stone in his way, and
looked as if he were going to fall into
the back of a man in front of him
but no shout of laughter
greets it we are pushing on almost
at the double at times, when a gap
in the hedge slips past, we can catch
glimpses of the line of skirmishers
advancing over open country now
at length comes a check. Halt!
order arms! and I am scramb
ling through a gap in the hedge on
Jo the open fields open-order
at five paces distance. The
long-drawn line of skirmishers ad
vances, rifles at the ready in
front of us nothing but green fields
in sight. In the heart of them gleams
the crude yellow of a field of mustard.
Ahead of us, just opposite our front,
a dark wood not a trace of the
enemy in sight On our right they
have already pushed on the' advance
line. On our left the skirmishers are
just breaking through the hedge and
opening out to extend our line of at
tack. The heavy noise in the air is in
cessant. I can't see where they are firing,
and I can't see what they are firing at
The air is heavy with iron thunder.
It closes like a ring round my chest.
I am distinctly conscious that my
chest is 'reverberating like a tense
What on earth is that?
A sound like the cracking of whips
from somewhere or other the
s&und is so sharp, so distant, so inter
mittent, as if it were coming from
Then by my side a man falls
down, falls on his rifle, and lies still,
never stirs again shot through
the head, clean through the brain
that's what the cracking of
whips means; it's coming from over
there, out of the wood. Somewhere
over there the enemy's sharp-shooters
are lying and lining its edge ano
opening fire on us.
What's the next thing?
Lie down Mark distance Cover!
Put no order comes. We push on
toward the wood undeterred, as if
these bullets did not concern us in
any way. The sharpshooters' fire is
not hot enough as yet; we have not,
so far, got into sufficiently close
touch-with the enemy.
As I move forward, I turn my head
and look back. Behind me I see new
lines of skirmishers advancing' one
behind the other supports- to bo