University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture

Page View

The craftsman
Volume XXVII, Number 5 (February 1915)

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


Page 513


VINTAGE, NINETEEN FOURTEEN
   The Frenchman said: "American correspondents .... search
      if true, conduct them to the English camp."
   Then Boylan's voice. "Yes, he's hard hit and heavy as hell.
Passports in hip-pocket ....... .I'll carry him ..... .thanks -"
   It seemed part of an eternal night. Darnton only knew, and that
from time to time, that he had messages to carry.
   "There's no other way-I've got to get through the lines -
   "Quite right," Boylan panted.
   "I don't want to fail. She wouldn't look twice at a man who
failed -"
   "Hell, child, sit still. She'd look twice if you failed a thousand
times ...... Hai, don't tear open a man's bridle-arm. What is it?"
   "He was humpbacked-no lips-teeth like a dog-and the trooper
shot him."
   "I know, but he's dead. His back is straight now-don't look
any worse now than ten thousand other ........ .
   Boylan was trudging after a French sentry-the English camp
ahead. They passed sentry after sentry each time deadly waiting.
   "Hai, you," he called at last to the soldier, "I can't
go any further.
"Send a wagon. Tell the English two American correspondents are
sitting out here-one with a bullet or two through his chest."
   He sank down with Darnton, badly bandaged across his lap.
   "I never knew it to fail," he muttered. "The man who wins
a
woman gets the steel when it's anywhere in the air, but bullets fly
wide and knives curve about a lonely maverick who has lost all his
heart winnings."
   They found Boylan so, the jaw clenched, the huge scarred head
bare and covered with night dew, his friend breathing. It was all
on the wire that night.
COME unique thing. Boylan that rock of a man, had found in
"It-arntoF--For seven days and nights-(though broken with
    incredible fatigues, a yellow line of bone-color showing across
his nose under his eyes)-Boylan sat by in cars and ambulances until
they reached the city of the womenfolk and a regular Parisian bed.
What he gave to Darnton was clear, what he took from a man down,
and a woman's property at best, is not known. Perhaps in the great
strains and pressures of the campaign he had seen Darnton's soul,
the mechanism and light effects appertaining, and found it true. It
may be that Boylan had never been quite sure that a man-soul could
be true, and having found one, was ready to go the limit. That's
only a hazard.
   Darnton himself didn't know. He was a lump-one little red
513


Go up to Top of Page