Notes Of A War Correspondent By Richard Harding Davis

 -   It is only when the figure on the
stretcher lies under a blanket that the tumult and push and
sweltering - Page 110
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It Is Only When The Figure On The Stretcher Lies Under A Blanket That The Tumult And Push And Sweltering Mass Comes To A Quick Pause, While The Dead Man's Comrade Stands At Attention, And The Officer Raises His Fingers To His Helmet.

Then the mass surges on again, with cracking of whips and shouts and imprecations, while the yellow dust rises in thick clouds and buries the picture in a glaring fog.

This moving, struggling mass, that fights for the right of way along the road, is within easy distance of the shells. Those from their own guns pass over them with a shrill crescendo, those from the enemy burst among them at rare intervals, or sink impotently in the soft soil. And a dozen Tommies rush to dig them out as keepsakes. Up at the front, brown and yellow regiments are lying crouched behind brown and yellow rocks and stones. As far as you can see, the hills are sown with them. With a glass you distinguish them against the sky-line of every hill, for over three miles away. Sometimes the men rise and fire, and there is a feverish flutter of musketry; sometimes they lie motionless for hours while the guns make the ways straight.

Any one who has seen Epsom Downs on a Derby day, with its thousands of vans and tents and lines of horses and moving mobs, can form some idea of what it is like. But while at the Derby all is interest and excitement, and every one is pushing and struggling, and the air palpitates with the intoxication of a great event, the winning of a horse-race - here, where men are killed every hour and no one of them knows when his turn may come, the fact that most impresses you is their indifference to it all.

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