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(1) THE FIELD OF FIRE. [BY LIEUT. J. B. MORTON.] You can't come 'ere." Who said? I said." "Who are you?" Never you mind who I am. You can't come 'ere." "I never did mind who you were, an' I can come 'ere." Get along." Why can't I, any way? Anyone with 'alf a black eye could see as the bay was crammed full fit to bust already. Must 'ave elbow-room." Well, you can't fire proper from the other. You can see all over the ground 'ere." That's why I'm 'ere." An' that's why I'm comin', see? Let 'im come, Dick." "What! an' spoil sport. Not me. Don't get round me that way, son." Tom went round the traverse to his own bay, disconcerted. The Germans were shelling the sector heavily, and everyone felt that something would happen soon. Tom had suddenly discovered, while rest- ing on his spade, that there was a better field of fire from the next bay. But Dick took his fighting very seriously at times, and liked plenty of room. We couldn't have had another 'ere," he said, when Tom had gone; not even old Tom. He's never 'appy unless he can see to fire all over the Western Front." During the argument the shells had been falling pretty close, and the men had their work cut out to build the parapet up. Every now and then a fresh portion was blown in. But they stuck to the work patiently, chaffing each other and humming their songs. Presently an officer came down the trench. He held a muddy spade in his hand, and his tunic was ripped to ribbons down one side. Hurry up and get that built up," he said; we shall most likely have to stand- to in a little while. They're up to some- thing over there." The work was almost finished, when it was all undone again. Dick's firestep was carried away. He stood back and looked at it ruefully. If they was to come now I couldn't even get a shot at 'em," he said, and started to dig feverishly. He was relieved by another man. Putting his spade down, he walked round the traverse into the next bay. Tom was hard at work. Tom, old man he began. Yes." I didn't kind o' mean it nasty just now." "Well?" Fact is—I—I wonder if you've got any room 'ere. My blinkin' firestep is done in. They might come any second. I'll 'ave to find a place somewhere." That's your look-out, mate." Can't I ? Not if the moon turns pink." II Not for a bit 1 Not a second." Stand-to! Fetch your rifle, mate," said Tom, relenting. "You mean it? Course I do. Get a move on." Dick dashed back to his own bay, and returned with his rifle. He mounted a firestep by the side of Tom. Tom, I'm real grateful. Any time you want a place along o' me The remainder of the sentence was drowned in a rending explosion. The two men stood up side by side, gripping their rifles, eyes intent on No- Man's-Land, forgetting everything except that the Germans were coming, and that they were quite ready for them.

(2) M.M.

- Random Jottings about Men…






(2) M.M.