holding the line

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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 Canada's War Camp WHEN we reached Valcartier no one in his wildest dreams would ever have associated us with soldiers, as a more motley-looking crowd would be hard to find. Here trudges a squat Scotchman, his freckled face a stream of perspiration, cursing the heat with a Doric accent you could cut with a shovel; next to him marches Big Bill Skerry, a tall Nova Scotian, as straight as the pine trees of his native province. Dear old Bill! he lies in the death trap at Ypres, dying as he had lived, afraid of nothing in human form, witty and dry of speech, quickest in repartee, and proud of his Irish-Canadian ancestry. And for all his profane mouth and caustic tongue, he was one of the best and bravest comrades a man could find with whom to share the trials and pleasures of active service. Marching with his usual air of detached boredom is Captain Innis Hopkins, the most ridiculed and, later, the best loved officer of all the gallant men who cursed us and nursed us and finally led us into France, as fine a bunch of men as ever stepped from a deck of a transport. At my immediate right proudly marched a handsome, rosy-cheeked boy, with a complexion a lady might have envied; tall, lithe, with the promise of a fine manhood, and with the frank blue eyes of him shining with good-natured deviltry, he was already winning the hearts of his future comrades. By his side tramped a squat, slightly bow-legged man, of swarthy skin and jet- black hair, streaked with gray, surmounted by a stubble of black beard. The contrast between those two was startling, and yet a friendship sprang up between them that no ordinary civilian ever will understand, a friendship cemented by sharing danger and suffering, sinking every selfish consideration for the well-being of the other. This wil...
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