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قراءة كتاب Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 153, July 11, 1917

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‏اللغة: English
Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 153, July 11, 1917

Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 153, July 11, 1917

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 4


Two subalterns ran forward, followed by a trio of N.C.O.'s. All along the line men lifted their weary heads from the ground and saw the tiny figure on the ridge silhouetted against the red east.

"Oo's that blinkin' fool?"

"The Padre."

"Wot's 'e doin' of?"

"Gawd knows."

A man rose to his knees, from his knees to his feet, and stumbled forward, mumbling, "'E give me a packet of fags when I was broke." "Me too," growled another, and followed his chum. "They'll shoot 'im in a minute," a voice shouted, suddenly frightened. "'Ere, this ain't war, this is blasted baby-killin'."

In another five seconds the whole line was up and jogging forward at a lurching double. "And a little child shall lead them," murmured the Colonel happily, as he put his best foot forwards; a miracle had happened, and his dear ruffians would go down in glory.

But as they topped the hill crest came the shrill of a whistle from the opposite ridge, and there was half a battalion of the Rutlands back-casting for the enemy that had broken through their posts. With wild yells both parties charged downwards into the sunken road.

When the tumult and shouting had died Patrick went in quest of the little Padre.

He discovered him sitting on the wreck of his bivouac of the night; he was clasping some small article to his bosom, and the look in his face was that of a man who had found his heart's desire.

Patrick sat himself down on a box of bombs, and looked humbly at the Reverend Paul. It is an awful thing for a man suddenly to find he has been entertaining a hero unawares.

"Oh, Dicky Bird, Dicky Bird, why did you do it?" he inquired softly.

The Padre cocked his head on one side and commenced to ooze apologies from every pore.

"Oh dear—you know how absurdly absent-minded I am; well, I suddenly remembered I had left my teeth behind."


Old Lady. "And what regiment are you in?"

The Sub. "7th Blankshires. But I'm attached to the 9th Wessex."

Old Lady. "Really! Now do tell me why the officers get so fond of regiments with aren't their own."

"At Nottingham on Saturday the damages ranging from £7 10s. to £3 were ordered to be paid by a number of miners for absenteeism. It was stated that, although absolved from military obligations by reason of their occupation, there had been glaring neglect of responsibility, some men having lost three ships a week."—Western Morning News.

These mines are very tricky things.


The French, always so quick to give things names—and so liberal about it that, to the embarrassment and undoing of the unhappy foreigner, they sometimes invent fifty names for one thing—have added so many words to the vocabulary since August, 1914, that a glossary, and perhaps more than one, has been published to enshrine them. Without the assistance of this glossary it is almost impossible to read some of the numerous novels of poilu life.

So far as I am aware the latest creation is the infinitesimal word "as," or rather, it is a case of adaptation. Yesterday "as des carreaux" (to give the full form) stood simply for ace of diamonds. To-day all France, with that swift assimilation which has ever been one of its many mysteries, knows its new meaning and applies it.

And what is this new "as"? I gather, without having had the advantage of cross-examining a French soldier, that an "as" is an obscure hero, one of the men, and they are by no means rare, who do wonderful things but do not get into the papers or receive medals or any mention in despatches. We all know that many of the finest deeds performed in war escape recognition. One does not want to suggest that V.C.'s and D.S.O.'s and Military Crosses and all the other desirable tokens of valour are conferred wrongly. Nothing of the kind. They are nobly deserved. But probably there never was a recipient of the V.C. or the D.S.O. or the Military Cross who could not—and did not wish to—tell his Sovereign, when the coveted honour was being pinned to His breast, of some other soldier not less worthy than himself of being decorated, whose deed of gallantry was performed under less noticeable conditions. The performer of such a deed is an "as" and it is his luck to be a not public hero. But why ace of diamonds? That I cannot explain.

The "as" can be found in every branch of the Army, and he is recognised as one by his comrades, even although the world at large is ignorant. Perhaps we shall find a word for his British correlative, who must be numerically very strong too. The letter A alone might do it, signifying anonymous. "Voila, un as!" says the French soldier, indicating one of these brave modest fellows who chances to be passing. "You see that chap," one of our soldiers would say; "he's an A."

All that I know of the "as" I have gathered from the French satirical paper, a child of the War, La Baïonette. This paper comes out every week and devotes itself, as its forerunner, L'Assiette au Beurre, used to do, to one theme at a time, one phase or facet of the struggle, usually in the army, but also in civil life, where changes due to the War steadily occur. In the number dedicated to the glory of the "as" I find recorded an incident of the French Army so moving that I want to tell it here, very freely, in English. It was, says the writer, before the attack at Carency, and he vouches for the accuracy of his report, for he was himself present. In the little village of Camblain-l'Abbé a regiment was assembled, and to them spoke their Captain. The scene was the yard of a farm. I know so well what it was like. The great manure heap in the middle; the carts under cover, with perhaps one or two American reapers and binders among them; fowls pecking here and there; a thin predatory dog nosing about; a cart-horse peering from his stable and now and then scraping his hoofs; a very wide woman at the dwelling-house door; the old farmer in blue linen looking on; and there, drawn up, listening to their Captain, row on row of blue-coated men, all hard-bitten, weary, all rather cynical, all weather-stained and frayed, and all ready to go on for ever.

This is what the Captain said—a tall thin man of about thirty, speaking calmly and naturally as though he was reading a book. "I have just seen the Colonel," he said; "he has been in conference with the Commandant, and this is what has been settled. In a day or two it is up to us to attack. You know the place and what it all means. At such and such an hour we shall begin. Very well. Now this is what will happen. I shall be the first to leave the trench and go over the top, and I shall be killed at once. So far so good. I have arranged with the two lieutenants for the elder of them to take my place. He also will almost certainly be killed. Then the younger will lead, and after him the sergeants in turn, according to their age, beginning with the oldest who was with me at Saida before the War. What will be left by the time you have reached the point I cannot say, but you must be prepared for trouble, as there is a lot of ground to cover, under fire. But you will take the point and hold it. Fall out."

That captain was an "as."



Domestic Intelligence.

"Owing to doctor's orders Mrs. ——