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The craftsman
Volume XXVII, Number 5 (February 1915)

Comfort, Will Levington
Vintage, nineteen fourteen: a story,   pp. 508-515 PDF (2.5 MB)


Page 512


VINTAGE, NINETEEN FOURTEEN
   His body was bent in the concussion from behind; the turf
with it. He turned and saw the middle stone abutment of the
bridge lifted from the stream, the whole background sky blac
dust and rock. Then, just as he thought of it, the west bridg(
He spoke before Boylan, and rather unerringly, as one does al
coming up from a dream.
   "They've trapped what they think they can handle--an(
the bridges by wire."
   Boylan said: "I can't call it German stupidity, because it
occur to me that the bridges were mined. . . . Oh, God, it'
another leisure spraying. We're in the slaughter-pen .....
man, look at the horses!"
   It had been too late to call back the cavalry. Darnton
followed Boylan's sweeping arm. The horsemen were in sk
and the emplacement adjoining which had kept their secret so wi
were now in a blur of sulphur from mitrailleuses turned upon i
cavalry charge. The whole line went down in the deluge-s
vanished under the hideous blat of the machines-whole rows
into the grapevines-a few beasts rising empty! shaking th(
.-A +   V.-11i- n wl--nn rildrs  Darnton turned to the infantry i
formation on the western slopes. The French fire was not lax n
not discouraged in the least, nor hysterical. It was cold-bloo
murder in gluttonous quantity.
      "ll ___l_ .. .        + +1,-4- - 1 ... P O TA --,a': lr ( r |,
onnt --.
V.
   BDoylani ad~l aLntUIIUI wU~J go i~. V .5
turned to the west and saw the poor men-beasts in rout. Even the
infantry comprehended the trick, and felt something superhuman'
behind it. They rushed back towards the river-swift, ugly with
white patches and unfordable, requiring a good swimmer .......
The eyes of Boylan turned back to the horse. He had always loved
the cavalry-ridden with the cavalry always by preference-but
Darnton was watching the river-the hands up from the center of
the river .........
   They were alone, and now the French machines were on the
German batteries not yet emplaced, none unlimbered. It was as if
the wind carried them the spray from the sweeping fountains, turned
from the horse to put out the guns. Darnton was hit and down-
hit again and the night slowly settled upon him, bringing the
bells.
    "Who are you?" someone piped sharply in French.
    "Two American correspondents. I can take care of this man."
    It was the voice of Boylan, very weary. Darnton felt the heavy,
hard hands that had been tugging at his flesh for hours.
5i2


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