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One Man's Initiation-1917

John Dos Passos

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .came a voice from the floor of the barn.

"We'd better go over to the quarry."

"Oh, hell, I was sound asleep!"

A vicious shriek overhead and a shaking snort of explosion.

"Gee, that was in the house behind us...."

"I smell gas."

"Ye damn fool, it's carbide."

"One of the Frenchmen said it was gas."

"All right, fellers, put on your masks."

Outside there was a sickly rough smell in the air that mingled strangely with the perfume of the cool night, musical with the gurgling of the stream through the little valley where their barn was. They crouched in a quarry by the roadside, a straggling, half-naked group, and watched the flashes in the sky northward, where artillery along the [32]lines kept up a continuous hammering drumbeat. Over their heads shells shrieked at two-minute intervals, to explode with a rattling ripping sound in the village on the other side of the valley.

"Damn fooli. . . Read More