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- The Martial Adventures of Henry and Me - 1/31 -


THE MARTIAL ADVENTURES OF HENRY AND ME

BY WILLIAM ALLEN WHITE

Author of "A Certain Rich Man," etc.

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY TONY SARG

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I IN WHICH WE BEGIN OUR SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY

II IN WHICH WE OBSERVE THE "ROCKET'S RED GLARE"

III IN WHICH WE ENCOUNTER "BOMBS BURSTING IN AIR"

IV WHEREIN WE FIND THAT "OUR FLAG IS STILL THERE"

V IN WHICH WE DISCERN THINGS "BY THE DAWN'S EARLY LIGHT"

VI WHEREIN WE BECOME A TRIO AND JOURNEY TO ITALY

VII WHEREIN WE CONSIDER THE WOMAN PROPOSITION

VIII IN WHICH WE DISCOVER "A NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH"

IX IN WHICH WE RETURN TO "THE LAND OF THE FREE"

ILLUSTRATIONS

Frontispiece

And at that it seems a lot of money to pay for a rig which can be worn at most only two months

"You'll have to put out that cigar, sir"

She often paced the rounds of the deck between us

"Col-o-nel, will you please carry my books?"

So we waved back at them so long as they were in sight

"Donnez moi some soap here and be mighty blame toot sweet about it!"

Eight inches short in one waistband is a catastrophe

One of our party climbed to the roof of the dugout

"Come on! Let's go to the abri!"

So we went back--me holding those khaki trousers up by sheer force of will and both hands!

He had some trouble lighting his cigarette and was irritated for a second at his inconvenience

"Oh, yes," answered the Eager Soul to our enquiring eyes. "Mrs. Chessman--this is practically her hospital"

He was a rare bird; this American going on a big drunk on water

Henry puffed on his dreadnaught pipe and left the lady from Oklahoma City to me

And he sat cross-legged

As we sat in the car he came down the street beating a snare drum

They were standing on the running board all this time with the train going forty miles an hour

"What part of the States do you Canadians come from?"

He told us what happened impersonally as one who is listening to another man's story in his own mouth

A fat man can't wear the modern American army uniform without looking like a sack of meal

He wore a scarlet coat of unimaginable vividness, a cutaway coat of glaring scarlet broadcloth

We thought he might be testing us out as potential spies

And we felt like prize boobs suddenly kidnapped from a tacky party and dropped into a grand ball

"Well now, sir, you wouldn't be wearing those brown shoes to Lord Bryce's tea, would you, Mr. White?"

THE MARTIAL ADVENTURES OF HENRY AND ME

CHAPTER I

IN WHICH WE BEGIN OUR SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY

By rights Henry, being the hero of this story, should be introduced in the first line. But really there isn't so much to say about Henry--Henry J. Allen for short, as we say in Kansas--Henry J. Allen, editor and owner of the Wichita Beacon. And to make the dramatis personae complete, we may consider me as the editor of the Emporia Gazette, and the two of us as short, fat, bald, middle-aged, inland Americans, from fresh water colleges in our youth and arrived at New York by way of an often devious, yet altogether happy route, leading through politics where it was rough going and unprofitable for years; through business where we still find it easy to sign, possible to float and hard to pay a ninety-day note, and through two country towns; one somewhat less than one hundred thousand population, and Emporia slightly above ten thousand.

We are discovered in the prologue to the play in New York City wearing our new silk suits to give New York a treat on a hot August day. Not that we or any one else ever wears silk suits in any Wichita or Emporia; silk suits are bought by Wichita people and Emporians all over the earth to paralyse the natives of the various New Yorks.

In our pockets we hold commissions from the American Red Cross. These commissions are sending us to Europe as inspectors with a view to publicity later, one to speak for the Red Cross, the other to write for it in America. We have been told by the Red Cross authorities in Washington that we shall go immediately to the front in France and that it will be necessary to have the protective colouring of some kind of an army uniform. The curtain rises on a store in 43rd Street in New York--perhaps the "Palace" or the "Hub" or the "Model" or the "Army and Navy," where a young man is trying to sell us a khaki coat, and shirt and trousers for $17.48. And at that it seems a lot of money to pay for a rig which can be worn at most only two months. But we compromise by making him throw in another shirt and a service hat and we take the lot for $17.93 and go away holding in low esteem the "pride, pomp and circumstance of glorious war" as exemplified by these military duds. In our hearts as we go off at R. U. E. will be seen a hatred for uniforms as such, and particularly for phoney uniforms that mean nothing and cost $18.00 in particular.

[Illustration with caption: And at that it seems a lot of money to pay for a rig which can be worn at most only two months]

And then, with a quick curtain, the good ship Espagne, a French liner, is discovered in New York harbour the next day with Henry and me aboard her, trying to distinguish as she crawfishes out of the dock, the faces of our waving friends from the group upon the pier.

The good ship Espagne is all steamed up and scooting through the night, with two or three hundred others of the cast of characters aboard; and there is Europe and the war in the cast of characters, and the Boche, and Fritzie and the Hun, that diabolic trinity of evil, and just back of the boat on the scenery of the first act, splattered like guinea freckles all over the American map for three thousand miles north, south, east and west, are a thousand replicas of Wichita and Emporia. So it really is not of arms and the man that this story is written, nor of Henry and me, and the war; but it is the eternal Wichita and Emporia in the American heart that we shall celebrate hereinafter as we unfold our tale. Of course, that makes it provincial. And people living in New York or Boston, or Philadelphia (but not Chicago, for half of the people there have just come to town and the other half is just ready to leave town) may not understand this story. For in some respects New York is larger than Wichita and Emporia; but not so much larger; for mere numbers of population amount to little. There is always an angle of the particular from which one can see it as a part of the universal; and seen properly the finite is always infinite. And that brings us back naturally to Henry and me, looking out at the scurrying stars in the ocean as we hurried through the black night on the good ship Espagne. We had just folded away a fine Sunday dinner, a French Sunday dinner, beginning with onion soup which was strange; and as ominous of our journey into the Latin world as a blast of trumpets opening a Wagnerian overture. Indeed that onion soup was threaded through our whole trip like a motif. Our dinner that night ended in cheese and everything. It was our first meal aboard the boat. During two or three courses, we had considered the value of food as a two-way commodity--going down and coming up--but later in the dinner we ordered our food on its merits as a one-way luxury, with small thought as to its other uses. So we leaned against the rail in the night and thought large thoughts about Wichita and


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