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THE HELL-GATE OF SOISSONS

My name is Darin,i, the port. You have heard? Oui, Coiucclic Francaisc. Pcrchanco it has happened, moil ami, you. know of my unworthy lays Ah, Hen, you must guoss how my lingers arc itching to talk (o a pen; For was at dnireons. and saw it, the death of tho twelve Englishmen. My leg, malheoreuiiouicm, I left it,, behind on the banks of tho Aisne. Regret? 1 would pay with the other to witness their valor again. A trifle, indeed. I assure you, to give for the honor to tell How that, handful of British, nndaun<cd, went into the Gateway of Kell. Lot mo draw you a plan of tho battle. Here wo French and your Engineers stood; Over there a detachment of German sharpshooters lay hid iu a wood. A mitrailleuse batten.- planted ou top of this well-chosen ridge, Held tho road for the Prussians and covered tho direct approach to the bridge. It was madness (o dare the. devise murder that spewed from those ghastly machines. (Only those who have danced to its music can know what tho mitrailleuse means.) But tho bridge on the Aisne, whs a menace; our safety demanded its fall; “ Engineers—volunteers!” In a body, the Kovals stood out at the call. Death at best, was tho fat-o of that mission—. to their glory not one was dismayed. A party was chosen—and seven survived till tho powder was laid. And they died with their fuses uulighied. Another delachnfonb! Again A sortie is made—all too vainly. The bridge still commanded the Ai-ue. Wo were fighting two foes—Time, and Prussia —tho moments were worth more than i roopa. Wo mist blow up tho bridge. A lone, soldier darts out from tho Kovals and swoops For the fuse! Fate scorns with us. We cheer him; he miMvers—our hopes arc reborn\ A. ball rips his visor—his khaki shows red where another lias torn. Will he lire—will ho last—will ho make ii? Hclas! And eo near to the goal! A second, ho dies! Then a third cue! A fourth! Still the Germans take toll! A fifth, magu-ifiquo! It is magic! How docs ho escape them ? Ke may . . . Yes, he does I Wc-?, the match flares! A rifle rings out from the wood and says ‘- Nay!”

Six, seven, eight, nine take their places, six seven, eight, nine, brave their hail-. Six, seven, eight,, nine-—3tow we count them! Hut tho sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth fail i A tenth! Sacre nom I But these .English aro soldiers.—they know how to try; (Ho fumbles tho place where his jaw was) —they show, too, how heroes can die. Ten wo count —ten who ventured imquailmg —ten there wore—and the ten are no more I Yet another salutes and superbly essays where the ten failed before. God of Battles, look down and protect him! Lord, his heart is as Thine—let him live! ( But the mitrailleuses sputters and stutters, and riddles him into a sieve. Thou I thought, of my sins, and sat. waiting the charge that we could nob withstand. And I thought of my beautiful Paris, and gave a last look at tho land, At, France, ma belle. France, in her glory of blue sky and green field and wood.* Death with honor. Vat never surrender. And to die with such men—if. was good. They are forming—the bugles arc blaring—they will cross in a. moment, and then . . When out of tho line of the Royals (your island, moil ami, breeds men). Burst a private, a tawny-haired giant—it was hopeless, but ciol, how he ran; Bon Dieu, please remember ih« pattern, and make many more on his plan! No cheer from our ranks, and the Germans, they halted in wonderment, too; 1 Soo, he reaches tho bridge; ohl he lights it! I am dreaming, it, cannot bo true. Screams of rage! Fusillade! They hava : killed him! Too late though, the good : work is done. Ey the. valor of twelve English martyrs, the Hell-Gate of Soissons is won! * ; —Herbert Kaufman, m the * Song of the 1 Oun»-‘ -G

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19150113.2.72

Bibliographic details

THE HELL-GATE OF SOISSONS, Evening Star, Issue 15699, 13 January 1915

Word Count
676

THE HELL-GATE OF SOISSONS Evening Star, Issue 15699, 13 January 1915

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