a life at stake

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER III THE TERROR BY NIGHT When they arrived at their quarters, the hangar in the Rue St. Paul, Jean let his bundle drop, sat on the first palliasse he came to, and wiped his forehead. Thus disburdened, he scanned with inquisitive and ironical eye the composition of the detachment with which he was setting off. Besides himself there was one other wounded in the war—Habert, a sickly outcast, who had received a piece of shell in his back at Perthes, and hobbled lamentably. What would they do down yonder with a man whom they had had to give up as useless even at the depot? For the most part the others were auxiliaries of the young classes, who had not been under fire. Jean did not look at them without some slight contempt— thick-headed clodhoppers, Mortas, Yvonnat, and Poitou. There was Prestrot, Mascard's orderly, whom the commandant was sending away because the captain had someone for the place. There were four who always stuck together, four Bretons of the Draught Corps, arrived that morning from Quimper. Cazenave, a clerk in the DiscountBank, contrasted strongly with his surroundings. How many departures had he not dodged since the beginning—always under the overbearing protection and favour of Bineff, who had just suddenly failed him! Cazenave was the first to talk of injustice and demand his rigid right to be employed in an office. He had been away for some minutes and just reappeared with an anxious air. Quartermaster Lemaire, who had been at Dunkerque for eight months, had just outlined for him a sinister picture of the life one led down there: "It isn't so much the hard work, because, as for that, if one gets on good terms with the major " "What then?" Jean asked. "Ah, the bombardments!" "Pooh!" "Pooh? There's nothing to pooh about!" Cazenave ...
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