CAPT. R. W. CAMPBELL
Author of "Private Spud Tamson"
CASSELL AND COMPANY, LTD
London, New York, Toronto and Melbourne
First Published 1915
CONQUERORS OF ANZAC
MANY KIND FRIENDS I MET
AUSTRALASIA, EGYPT, AND THE DARDANELLES
I am not an Australasian, I am a Scot. Therefore, I hold no special brief for the folks down under. But I am an Imperialist—one filled with admiration for our overseas Dominions and the self-sacrifice of our colonial cousins. They have played the game. They have astonished the world. They have even exceeded our own expectations. Let us not stint our praise. Let us write deep in the annals of our literature and military history this supreme devotion, this noble heroism. And in the greater Councils of Empire let us see to it that these sons of the Motherland have a say in settling affairs.
And I can claim at least the right to write about our gallant Australasians. I have lived in Australia and New Zealand. I have served on a Sydney paper and with the New Zealand Herald. I have met every Premier (Federal and otherwise), from "Andrew" Fisher to "Bill" Massey. And, during my stay, I made it my duty to study the Citizen Army—a National Service organisation.
This was before the war. And this army was founded by "K" and the Governments of Australia and New Zealand. Did they see ahead? One is almost tempted to think so. In any case, the possession of a General Staff and the framework of a National Army ensured the rapid mobilisation of a voluntary force to assist the Motherland. This force was armed, clothed, equipped and staffed from the existing military organisations in Australia and New Zealand. You have heard of their courage at Anzac; you have read of how many have died.
Anzac is the cope-stone of Imperialism. It is the grim expression of a faith that is everlasting, of a love that shall endure the shocks of years, and all the cunning devilry of such as the Barbarous Huns. Hence this little book. It is an inspiration of the Dardanelles, where I met many of our Australasian friends. It is not an official history. I have, in my own way, endeavoured to picture what like these warring Bohemians are. The cloak of fiction has here and there been wound round temperamental things as well as around some glorious facts.
I hope I shall please all and offend none.
R. W. CAMPBELL, Capt.
1. A NOTABLE QUARTETTE 2. MELBOURNE VERSUS SYDNEY 3. THE LAND OF SIN 4. TREASURE TROVE 5. SYBIL, THE SQUATTER'S GIRL 6. THE WISDOM OF "K" 7. THE LANDING 8. "HELL-FIRE POST" 9. A BRAVE NEW ZEALANDER 10. VICTORY 11. WHAT LADY READERS LIKE
THE KANGAROO MARINES
A NOTABLE QUARTETTE
WANTED.—One Thousand cheerful toughs to enlist for the period of the war in the Kangaroo Marines. Boosers, scrimshankers and loonies barred. Gents with big waists and little hearts are warned off. Sharpshooters on the wallaby, able to live on condensed air and boiled snakes, are cordially invited. No parson's references are required. Jackaroos, cattlemen, rouseabouts, shearers—every sort of handy-man welcome. Pay, 6s. per day, and all the "jewels" in the Sultan's harem.
This is to be the crack corps of the Australian Force.
Hurry up and join.
(Signed) SAM KILLEM, Lt. Col. Commanding.
This alluring advertisement appeared on the front page of The Bushmen's Weekly, a Sydney production, renowned for its wit and originality. It was designed to tickle the sides of the horny-handed men of the Bush, and to rope in the best of them. For these men of the Never-Never Land are soldiers born and heroes in the toughest job. They think deep and know the way of things. If they appear wild and uncouth, they carry beneath that scrubby exterior the will of men and the open heart of the child.
Moreover, they love the Motherland. This was specially true of the four who tenanted a little shanty on the sheep station of "Old Graham," one of the wealthiest men in Australia. The quartette consisted of Bill Buster, a typical Cornstalk with a nut-brown face, twinkling eyes and a spice of the devil and the Lord in his soul. Next came Claud Dufair, a handsome remittance man with an eye-glass and a drawl. This fellow had personality. He insisted on wearing a white collar and using kid gloves when doing anything, from dung lifting to sheep shearing. Paddy Doolan was the third member. He was an Irishman by birth, but Australian by adoption. He had been in the Bush since he was a kid. A kind soul was Paddy, with the usual weakness—the craving for the "cratur." Fourth, and by no means least, was Sandy Brown, a Glasgow stoker, who had skipped away in a tramp from the Broomielaw because of another fellow's wife.
A mixed bunch, these four, you will agree. All with a history, part of it bad, but the main part certainly good. It takes a good heart to be a Bushman. Work is hard, the heat is trying, pleasures few, and the chances of wealth are only meagre. But the Australian Bush has a lure of its own. It calls the bravest and the best. It calls and holds the men primed for adventure, unafraid of death, and full of that innate charm and gallantry which is always the particular prerogative of the wanderer. No questions are asked in this land. A man's soul is never probed, nor is he expected to reveal his birth, or the cause of his being there. It is the place to hide a broken heart or mend an erring past. But it is only a place for men. And this quartette was full of the war. They were itching to fight. This advertisement, therefore, cheered their hearts and clinched their hopes.
"Well, boys," said Bill, "this is our call. We'd better join."
"Hear, hear!" remarked the others. That was all. They immediately packed their swag for the road. That afternoon they received their pay from the squatter. While Buster, Brown, and Doolan said good-bye to the master and mistress on the veranda, Claud was kissing Sybil, the charming daughter of the house, a tender farewell. For Sybil Graham loved the "English Johnny," as her friends called Claud. Her love was returned—not in the way he had treated some women in England, but with that reverence which is born out of true affection. This Englishman, despite his faults, had a veneration for the straightforward type which can be found in the Australian squatter's home.
"Come on, Claud—here's the coach," yelled Bill from the veranda. They embraced once more, then stepped out of doors.
"Good-bye, boys—God bless you!" said old Graham with a husky throat.
"Good-bye—Good-bye!" said his wife, with tears in her eyes, while Sybil had only strength to wave her arm to the fast disappearing figure of Claud as he drove with his friends to the railway station twenty miles beyond.
"You're queer lookin', Claud," said Sandy, as they went down the road.
"Shut up!" interjected Bill, who, like all Bushmen, had a true respect for the sentiment inspired by the dangers of war. However, the sadness of parting was soon forgotten. They were, also, cheered to see, coming over the plains, little groups of cookies, shearers and others, bent on their own errand.
"Sakes alive! where's all you mad fellows goin'?" inquired the wizened old stationmaster.
"Berlin," said Bill.
"Ach sure, stationmaster, we're goin' to kiss the little darlints in the Sultan's harem."
"Well, hurry up, boys; the train's ready."
With a wild whoop fifty of them dashed for tickets, some "tucker," and a bottle or two of Scotch. Into the train they jumped, and in a jiffy were rolling over the line to Sydney. Song and story helped to cheer the long and somewhat tiring journey. During a sort of lull in the proceedings Claud looked up and said: "Here, Bill, can't you recite us some of that impromptu sort of doggerel that you get into the Sydney weeklies now and then."
"Well—yes," said Bill, rising and clearing his throat.
"Order, order! ye sheep-eatin' blackguards," shouted Paddy, hitting a table with his riding-whip. The gathering ceased their chatter, and Bill rhymed out:
"We're the Kangaroo Marines, We're not Lager-fed machines, But Bushmen, Bushmen, Bushmen from the plains. We can ride, and we can cook, Ay, in shooting know our book, We're out to wipe off Kaiser Billy's stains.
"We're not trim—and not polite, And, perchance, get on the skite— We're Bushmen, Bushmen, Bushmen from the plains. Yet though we can't salute, We can bayonet and can boot The wily, wily Turk from our domains.
"So when we ride away, Off hats and shout 'Hooray' For Bushmen, Bushmen, Bushmen from the plains. And, parsons, say your prayers That we may pass "Upstairs" Should a nasty little bullet hit our veins.
"Now, boys, stand up and sing God save our good old King, And Bushmen, Bushmen, Bushmen from the plains."
"Good, Bill, good!" shouted Claud, gripping the rough rhymster by the hand.
"Hear, hear!" shouted the crowd.
"Rot! D—— rotten jingo slush! What the hades has the King done for you and me?" roared a red-faced passenger at the other end of the car. This was none other than Bill Neverwork, secretary of the Weary Willies' Union and Socialist M.P. for the town of Wearyville.
"Go an' boil yer old fat 'ead!" said Bill, calmly lighting his pipe.
"Ye turnip-faced spalpeen, oi'll cut yer dirty thrapple wid my gully knife."
"You beastly fellow!" said Claud, giving him a scornful look.
But this Socialist gentleman was not to be denied. He would speak. "Listen, boys," he roared above the din.
"All right, father—we'll listen," said Bill, giving the others a nod. Peace reigned, then Neverwork commenced.
"Boys, you've been fooled. Why should you fight for Hengland——"
"Britain, please—I'm a Scot," interjected Sandy.
"Well, what has Britain done for Australia? We don't want Hengland to hinterfere with our business and get hour boys killed. We've enough work 'ere to do. This is the working man's paradise. And we can make it a sight bigger paradise. We want more men like me."
"'Ave a banana," chirped Bill.
"Yes, mates; we want Socialism. We're going to get a Republic. We'll cut the painter. Curse England!"
"Britain, auld cock!" interjected Sandy again.
"Curse Britain—and you, ye porridge-faced hemigrant! It's the hemigrants that spoil this country. Kick them out, I say. Australia for Australians. That's my motto, mates. I know what I'm talking about. I'm Bill Neverwork——"
"B.F. for Wearyville," interjected Bill as he got up. "And now, you puddin'-headed red flagger, if you'll sit down, I'll have a cut in." The bucolic M.P. collapsed in his seat, wiping the perspiration off his beetled brow with the aid of a navvy's red handkerchief.
"Now, boys, you know me."
"Good old Bill—give it him!"
"This gent, what is called M.P., is a worm. I'm a Union man—we're all Union men. Andy Fisher's a Union man, and so is Pearce, the chap that's defending Australia. But there's Union men and Union men. They're mainly good, but some are bad. That's one of the bad ones there. His name is Neverwork, and he never worked in his life. He's a blowhard, a gasbagger, a balloon full of curses and twaddle. This bloke thinks we're fools. He's kidded his Union on that he's a smart fellow—a sort of High Priest of Salvation. He's talked himself into a job, and he's drawing about five hundred a year out of another fellow's pockets. He's called a Socialist to-day, but he'd call himself a Jew, a nigger, a polecat to-morrow, if, by doing that, he'd get a hundred more. In short, mates, he's a politician—you know what that means. Now, Andy Fisher and Pearce don't shout like this thing here. They're men, they're Australians. They want us to fight side by side with the boys from the old country. That's why we're here. And we'll fight, and so much for a fat-headed M.P. that couldn't write his own name ten years ago. This chap's an insult to Australia."
"Hear, hear!" chorused all the Bushmen volunteers.
"Listen, boys! Listen!" roared the M.P. above the din; but they simply howled him down. In the middle of this row Claud rose up, and putting up his hand, asked for order. Again silence reigned.
"Well, gentlemen—I mean, boys," said Claud, fumbling with his eyeglass, "I wish to make a motion——"
"You're a new chum—sit down," roared Neverwork.
"And that's why I want to speak," said Claud, in such a quiet, cynical way that the M.P. almost choked. "I'm a new chum—yes. And I am, also, one of the boys. I'm in the Shearers' Union, too. I have been treated well here—don't cher know, and here are my good friends. And we're all going to fight, for what——"
"For financiers and Jews," roared the M.P.
"No, my apoplectic friend! We're going to fight for Australia—not Britain—and we're going to fight to prevent fools like you handing this land over to German or Yellow men. It's the proper thing, don't cher know. Now, gentlemen——"
"Not so much of the gentlemen," shouted Neverwork.
"My dear friend, you were not included in the term. I am addressing these gentlemen from the Bush. You're too beastly dirty and lazy to be a Bushman," said Claud, adjusting his eyeglass and surveying the squat figure of the M.P. as if he were examining a maggot.
"My motion, boys, is simply this, that we stop the train by pulling the communication cord, and hold the driver up for ten minutes. Meantime, we might seize our political gasbag, secure him with a few bits of rope, hoist him out of the carriage, and tie him up to one of the signal posts, leaving a suitable inscription attached to his corporation, so that all the world shall know what a delightful idiot this gentleman—I mean politician—is."
"Carried, be jabers!" roared Paddy Doolan, pulling the communication cord, while Bill, Sandy and some more, seized the Socialist. He kicked, cursed, bit, screamed and wriggled, but to no purpose. As the train slowed down, Bill jumped out, and, running along to the driver, held him up with a masonic wink and a Scotch refreshment. The trussed form of the M.P. was then carried out of the train. He was still cursing. But the Bushmen quietly tied him to a signal post. This completed, Claud pinned a great white sheet of paper with an inscription on it.
"Good-bye, old cock," shouted the Bushmen, jumping into the train again. The whistle blew, and as the train went slowly past the enraged captive, the eyes of all read the notice fixed to his waist:
"THIS IS NOT AN AUSTRALIAN, HE'S A D—— FOOL. (Signed) KANGAROO MARINES."
MELBOURNE VERSUS SYDNEY
Sam Killem, Commanding Officer of the Kangaroo Marines, sat in his Recruiting Office chewing a cigar in the usual Australian style. Now and again he looked at his recruiting figures and smiled. "Five hundred men in three days," he mused. "Not bad for you, Sam; and good stuff at that"—for Sam was a judge of men. He was a squatter and as rich as Croesus. His big, bony frame spoke of strength, while his eye and face told the tale of shrewdness and resource. He was forty, and successful. Three hundred miles of land was chartered as his own. His sheep were counted in thousands, and his brand as familiar as a postage stamp. Yet, in all his struggles for success, Sam had found time to be a patriot. He had served as a Tommy in the African War, and since then had commanded a corps of mounted men in the back of beyond. He was the fairest yet fiercest, the most faithful and fearless man in the force. A man who disobeyed his orders always received a knock-out blow, for Sam boxed like a pro. and hit like a hammer.
"Some more recruits, sir," said his sergeant-major, opening the door.
"Right, Jones; show them in."
The door closed on the now famous quartette—Claud, Bill, Paddy, and Sandy. They were still in their rough bush-whacking clothes, while their eyes told the tale of a merry night before.
"Well, boys—glad to see you."
"We've met before, Sam," said Bill.
"Guess we have, but cut out the 'Sam,' click your heels together, say 'sir,' when you answer, and salute when you meet me. I'm bossing this show. And we can't have sheep-shearing familiarities—understand!"
"Bit sudden like!" smiled Bill, trying to comply.
"Not so sudden as death, or a shrapnel. Now, to business. You fellows look fit. What's your names?"
"Bill Buster's mine."
"About thirty—that's near enough."
"Ain't got any."
"That means you're officially C. of E."
"What's that, Sam—eh—sir?"
"Church of England—they father queer birds like you."
"Now, your father and mother?"
"I was found as a kid on the Woolamaloo Road, with a newspaper for a bellyband and a rubber tit in my mouth. The old woman who found me said I dropped from heaven."
"The other's the most likely place. Now, sign.
Paddy Doolan described himself as an Irishman, born in Kerry, and an egg-merchant by trade.
"Your religion?" asked Sam.
"Sure, I'm a Catholic."
"When were you at Confession last?"
"It's a long time now, yer riverance; but if yis'll lend me a pound I'll have something worth confessing by early Mass to-morrow."
"Your name, now?"
"The place whaur they mak' gunboats an' bailies."
"Coal merchant—I mean stoker."
A few more questions settled Sandy. Then Claud came forward, adjusting his eyeglass.
"Better take that window out of your face, young fellow. What's your name?"
"You're the goods, young fellow. Now, do you think you can stand up to me for five rounds?"
"Boxing's a beastly bore, sir; but I would have a go—certainly."
"Right! I'll make you corporal. We've need of your brains. By the way, why did you leave home—women and wine, eh?"
"Human failing—we're all like that," soliloquised Sam, who had been one of the lads in his day. "Now, boys, about turn, and off for your uniform—good day."
"Good day, sir," replied the four, attempting to salute.
"Good lads—good lads!" muttered Sam to himself as they stumbled through the door.
Three days afterwards Sam had his thousand men. He quartered them in tents, selected some old soldiers for instructors, and commenced to train for war. Sergeant-Major Jones, an ex-Imperial Army man, was the terror of the show. This warrant officer realised what he was up against—a thousand rebels against convention, hypocrisies, and shams. They called a spade a spade. "Red tape" they cursed, and stupid officialdom they loathed. They were freemen, Bohemians of the plains. In the Bush they had learned to fight, cook, scheme, and generally look after themselves. Pioneers of the toughest kind. The type that has made our Empire what it is to-day. In drink they were like savages, ready to shoot the men they hated, ready to give a drunken embrace to the men they liked and respected.
And few of them were fools. Many could rip off Shakespeare by the yard; others could recite, in a feeling way, the best of Byron, Tennyson, Kipling, and Burns. The lonely plains and self-communion had given each a soul. Indeed, they were the oddest bunch of daring, devilry, romance, and villainy that had ever gathered for war. For such men there is only one type of leader, that is—the gentleman. Not the gentleman who says, "Please," like a drawing-room lady; but the gentleman who says, "Come on, boys—here's a job," in a kindly, but firm manner, with that touch of authority in the words which spells the master and the man, and reveals to the skunk that if he refuses a great fist will crack right under his chin and lay him out. Sergeant-Major Jones was, therefore, the gentleman required. He represented the finest virtues of the British N.C.O.—a class which has made the British Army what it is to-day, and a class meanly paid and shockingly neglected by the Governments of the past.
Sergeant-Major Jones had a breast of medals. He knew his job. Now that was important to these Australians. Australians are always up against what they call "the imported man." But if the imported man is what they call "a good fellow," and knows his job better than they do, they are fair enough to shake him by the hand and call him "friend." And the sergeant-major knew that he had to find an opportunity in the first week to show that he was the sergeant-major and that they were there to be disciplined. The opportunity came on the third day. A weak-looking sergeant, with a shrill, piping voice, was moving a squad up and down.
"Left—rights-left—— Stop your talking, Private Grouse," he shouted to a tall, burly-built and dour-looking man in his squad.
"Wot the deuce are you chippin' at?"
"Hold your tongue."
"Swank," replied the insolent man.
Sergeant-Major Jones heard him. "Halt!" he bellowed to the squad.
"Now, young fellow, what do you mean?"
"Just 'aving a little lark, major," he answered casually.
"Stand to attention, and 'sir' me when you speak."
"You'll make us laugh," said the man in a familiar way. The other Bushmen craned their necks. They were interested. They knew that Grouse had gone over the score, and they waited to see the stuff that the sergeant-major was made of. It was, in fact, the psychological moment which makes or mars the reputation of a sergeant-major in such a corps. The sergeant-major knew it.
"Look here, young man, I make great allowance for inexperience, for none of you have been soldiers before, but I make no allowance for insolence. Take off your coat."
"Take off your coat," said the sergeant-major with emphasis, at the same time throwing off his own. The man followed suit.
"Now step out here, and we'll decide who's going to run this show."
Then the unexpected happened. The man shoved out his hand. "Shake, sir; you're a good fellow. I'm afeard of no man, but I won't fight you, for I'm in the wrong."
"Well, you're a man, anyway," said Jones, shaking him cordially by the hand, while the whole squad gave out a thrilling cheer.
Colonel Sam Killem had watched it all from the corner of the parade ground. For him it was an anxious moment. He was a broad-minded Australian who realised the need of experienced Britishers like Jones for the training of his men. But he was also aware of the national prejudice against the imported man. If Jones had adopted the usual way in the British regiment, that is, clapping the offender in the guard room and formally charging him with "insubordination in the ranks," Sam knew that his prestige as a sergeant-major would have dropped fifty per cent. However, he was well pleased to see him handle the man in the Australian manner.
"Made good that time, Jones," said the colonel with a dry grin as the sergeant-major came forward.
"That's the only way with these men, sir."
"Glad you know it. By the way, I know that man. He half killed one of the Mounted Police two years ago. He's three-quarters blackguard and one-quarter of a good fellow; but we'll make a man of him. Put him in orders to-night for the lance stripe. I always believe in making N.C.O.'s out of these rascals."
"Splendid idea, sir," said the sergeant-major, saluting and falling out.
Next day Lance-Corporal Grouse commenced a new career—that of a gallant soldier and an Australian gentleman.
Another interesting incident occurred during the training. Side by side with the Kangaroo Marines lay the Melbourne Nuts, a battalion of superior persons. You see, the Kangaroo Marines were nominally a Sydney crowd. Therefore the Melbourne boys showered on them all the envy which Melbourne has for Sydney. To understand this point thoroughly you must have lived in Australia. Between Melbourne and Sydney there exists a feud as fierce as an Italian vendetta. This animosity crystallises the more general hatred of the respective States—Victoria and New South Wales. Both sides think they are the Lord's Anointed. A Governor-General in any speech must be careful to whitewash both States with the same degree of eyewash. Friendships, fortunes, and reputations have been lost in this really amusing controversy. Indeed, they are like the farmers of Kerry—they go to law if a hen roosts for a second in the enemy's barnyard.
Picture the scene then—two corps side by side, and imagine the language. The first trouble arose through a pioneer of the Kangaroos dropping a shovelful of dirt in the lines of the Melbourne men. The offender was Bill Buster.
"Get out of this, ye Sydney rattlesnake," chirped a youth, looking out of his tent.
"Worm!" exclaimed Bill contemptuously.
"Ye dirty-necked beachcomber, I'll split yer pumpkin head."
"Take that," shouted Bill, throwing a shovelful of manure into the tent of his aggressor. Honour, of course, had to be satisfied after that. The Melbourne man got a broken nose, and Bill had two lovely black eyes.
Both regiments decided to have revenge, and, for that purpose, secret meetings were called. The Melbourne boys decided to leave their affairs in the hands of Happy Harry, a local comedian. He was given liberty to spend anything up to twenty pounds on a scheme of revenge. In the case of the Kangaroos it was decided by ballot that Bill would plan out something to stagger the Melbourne crowd. Meantime, armed neutrality reigned; yet the air seemed charged with the spirit of friction and the feeling of secret preparation. Remarkable to relate, both schemes panned out on the morning of the same day. The Melbourne Nuts woke up to see, in great, black, varnished letters, across their huge dining-tent, the following:
MELBOURNE IS A ONE-EYED TOWN FULL OF SNIVELLING SNOBS, PAWNSHOPS, AND GROG SALOONS.
This was a good stroke for the Sydney men, but the Melbourne men had, also, a neat revenge. That morning, an old broken-down donkey was found wandering in the Kangaroos' lines, with placards flapping at his sides, on which the Sydney men saw:
THIS IS THE FATHER OF SYDNEY AND THE KANGAROO MARINES.
The battle of wits was a drawn affair. But, that night, more trouble ensued. While the famous quartette were casually strolling through the town a Melbourne man jostled Sandy.
"Wha are ye pushin'?" he inquired.
"I'll push yer face for you—you bag of haggis," replied the cool Melbourne lad.
"Ye daur meddle wi' me," said Sandy, leering at him, for he had tasted deep of the national fluid. "Hit me!" he roared, baring his chest towards his aggressor. "Ma fit is on ma native heath, an' ma name's M'Greegor," continued the fierce, red-whiskered Scot.
"Here's one for you, M'Greegor!" And the Melbourne man let fly. Poor Sandy, he buckled up and fell gasping to the ground. Bill now set to, but in a minute he, Claud, and Paddy were surrounded by a gang of Melbourne hands.
"Ye miserable spalpeens," said Paddy, laying to with a great big stick, and between times whipping the treasures from the pockets of fallen men. Claud had his monocle smashed and his nose burst, while poor old Bill was severely winded just as reinforcements arrived from the Kangaroos. It was a bloody combat. Indeed, it might have been a serious riot had Sam Killem not doubled up a company with buckets of water to throw over the antagonists.
Then the bugle call to assembly ended the first and last fight between these two corps. Afterwards they were loyal friends, and, in action, died nobly side by side.
THE LAND OF SIN
Egypt is the land of heroes and engineers—also the land of mystery, the abode of intrigue, the cockpit of puerile nationalism, and the soul of all things topsy-turvy and contrary. It is a land for a brave soldier, a skilful engineer, or the tourist in search of Rameses' shin-bones.
It is a country wet with British blood and paved with British gold. The noblest things in Egypt are British; the vilest are the products of aliens who have dodged justice and cleanness through the vagaries of "The Capitulations" (an international treaty which makes John Bull pay for the privilege of entertaining alien murderers, white slavers, forgers, assassins, corrupt financiers, and legal twisters). But it is a land worth holding, not so much for any riches it may possess, but for the Suez Canal, which links us to our Indian Empire.
The Egyptians, on the whole, are an industrious and harmless people. For centuries they have been slaves to Greeks, Romans, Persians, Turks, and Crusaders from every land. They have been doomed to serve because of their inability to lead and control. They are content to serve so long as justice reigns. Egypt to-day is better governed, more prosperous, happier than it has ever been in its history. Cromer, Kitchener, the Tommy, the Engineer, and the men of the "Egyptian Civil" have given their noblest efforts to crush corruption, to kill decay, to make the native full-fed and serene.
Discontent in Egypt is the work of a few who have cast off their native garments, donned the clothes of the Westerner, and acquired a smattering of things. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. These young effendis are the fools who would step where angels fear to tread. These malcontents spurred and led Arabi Pasha (a true patriot) to his doom. The self-same type have recently sent a Khedive into shame and exile. These so-called "Nationalists" were the willing tools of German and Austrian agents who aimed at capturing Egypt and dominating the route to India. Before the war there was a German spy in every town from Alexandria to Khartoum. These spies even supped at the table of the late Khedive. While they went their way they smiled and called us fools. Eagerly they lived for the day when Enver Pasha (the well-paid Moslem adventurer) would lead his deluded Turks against the British host.
The great dream of the Khedive, his Nationalists and German agents failed because of the courage and shrewdness of "K" and his men. While the world waited for the Holy War and the fall of Egypt, the great Australian host was quietly landing on Egypt's shores. In this army were such men as the Kangaroo Marines—fearless, tireless, and ready for adventure. The tramp, tramp of their feet made traitors shiver and flee; their physique, their chins, their corded arms spread over the Delta and the desert a sense of might and courage.
"There can be no rebellion. The Australians are too big, too strong. Allah is against us," said the wise men in the little hamlets by the Nile.
"These are white men—not black," muttered an effendi to his friend, as the Australians marched through intriguing Cairo. Like many Egyptians, he had imagined Australians to be of a nigger mould.
"Yes, infidels and sons of dogs," growled a priestly fanatic.
"What men—what guns—Allah preserve us!" said many more who had talked revolution for a while. This, truly, was a bloodless climax to the schemes of Germany, Turkey, and the Khedive.
Along the sun-baked road to Mena marched the Australians. They were treading a road made by a great Khedive for the Empress Eugenie to see the Pyramids in comfort. When they halted they were beneath the shade of the historic piles of stones. Napoleon's soldiers had been there, so had Gordon's and Kitchener's heroes. Now these sons of the Motherland found themselves at the beginning of another historic mission.
"There's been a lot of overtime on that job," said Bill Buster to his pals when nearing the Pyramids.
"Wha built them?" inquired Sandy of Claud.
"Rameses built one."
"To keep his fellows from getting tired."
"Sure now," said Paddy, "there's a dog wid a woman's head."
"That's a Sphinx," remarked Claud with a smile.
These ancient things and the general surroundings made all open their eyes in wonder, and feel that there were more things on earth than their own little cabbage patch.
They settled down quickly, and having received an enormous haul of cash in the form of arrears of pay, the Kangaroo Marines and every other corps set out on donkeys, motor-cars, cabs, camels and carts to see the sights of Cairo.
"Gee whiz! this is some town," said Bill, on reaching the gay and dazzling city. The wide streets, oriental buildings, the weird bazaars, gaily-lit cafes, and veiled women, amazed these simple Bushmen. It was like "The Arabian Nights," wonderful, alluring, seductive and strange. All were gripped by the subtle atmosphere of things. Their blood tingled with the sensuous aroma of the East. Cheap wine in the cafes of the Greeks let the devil loose, and so they fell an easy prey to the lures of the bold and handsome wantons of Cairo. Thus many were duped and robbed.
Australians when wronged must have revenge. An eye for an eye is the law of the bush. The revenge came in an unexpected way. In one of the streets where the wantons live an injustice had been done to one of the boys. The exact reason was never told. But Cairo was soon alarmed by the shrieks of women, the shouts of fire, and the galloping of mounted police. Through the glare and smoke could be seen a little army of men wreaking revenge. Windows were being smashed, a piano was crashed from above to the ground, doors were torn down, crockery clattered into the street.
"Allah! Allah! Save us, save us! The mad Australians! The mad Australians!" cried the cowardly effendis as they fled.
"Help! Help!" screamed the wantons, as they ran like maddened hares. But the wrecking went on, despite the charging pickets and hoarse commands from officers and police.
"Here's the fire brigade, boys, capture them," yelled a great hulking fellow. And they did. With a wild haloo, they captured the engines, cut the pipes, and terrified the poor gippy firemen out of their lives. It was an ugly time. And the riot was only quelled by armed pickets sent from other corps.
"It's a great pity we interfered at all," said a Cairo dignitary that night.
"Why?" inquired his friend.
"They would have burned the whole dirty place down, and that would have been the greatest blessing to Cairo."
"Then you don't blame them?"
"No. I think Cairo has been cursed with the vilest creatures God ever made. Yes, I admit, the Capitulations have hitherto tied our hands. Thank Heaven Egypt is now a Protectorate. We can clean out these filthy dens after the war."
"Yes, it is a queer hole, but East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet," chipped in another member of the club. "It's a wonder they didn't kill that fellow Hassein."
"A rotter who dresses as a woman and runs a crowd of white slaves. And, by Jove! he looks like a woman too—all scented and faked."
"Oh, he's a law-abiding merchant of sin," said a gippy officer. "There's a worse person than he here."
"Madame Mysterious, who owns dozens of these low shows in Cairo."
"Isn't that the woman who used to buy and sell wives to the rich effendis and gippy pashas?"
"The same. That old Pasha down near Alex is one of her patrons. He's a proper old rascal. Do you know that he has got women in his harem who have been educated in some of our greatest schools in England?"
"Not English women, surely?"
"No. Gippy girls, daughters of rich fellows."
"And why shouldn't he?" interjected an old gippy warrior who defended the customs of the East. "We have no right to force our Western morals down an Oriental's throat. It is easy to be a moralist in a freezing climate like ours. The snow makes for virtue; the sun always warps morality. The harem is as ancient as the sun. And the harem will remain. It's no good of you fellows hoping to alter it. And, after all, the Oriental is, at least, honest. He has a harem, the world knows he has a harem. He is not ashamed of the fact. But what of our Mayfair bloods, who have their secret 'wives,' and who hunt everybody else's wife. The Oriental is straight about it—we Westerners are hypocritical."
"I offer no defence of the harem," said a doctor, "but I've found it a mighty interesting place when visiting there in a professional capacity. Do you fellows know that I have met some of the most intellectual women there. Strange to say, they like the life. And, after all, they are well cared for. They have money—heaps of it—beautiful clothes, lovely rooms, servants, carriages, and motors. They see everything, they do almost everything, and since the revolution in Turkey they have had greater freedom. Why, they travel abroad now without their eunuchs. What more does a woman want? Money, clothes and comfort are everything to an Easterner. In my humble opinion there is no virtue in an eastern climate. There can never be."
"We've got off the track altogether," said the father of this discussion. "I am liberal-minded so far as the Egyptians are concerned. In their own way they are virtuous. And I agree that it is ridiculous to suggest that we should interfere with any of their social or religious arrangements. But this riot has again proved to us that Cairo is a pretty rotten show. We ought to clean it up, and we shall do so after the war. It will pay us. Let us make Cairo a cleaner and more charming place. It means health and business to the community. Why should Cairo be the cesspool of European iniquity? Personally, as I said before, I'm very sorry the Australians did not burn the whole of that rotten quarter down."
"Look here, men," said Colonel Killem, "I want to talk to you about some interesting things, especially your conduct towards Mohammedans. First of all, Doolan, tell me what a Mohammedan means?"
"Sure, sir, it manes a nigger who jabbers 'Allah' when yis put a bayonet in his guts."
"Not exactly; but what would you shout if you got a bayonet in your tummy."
"A gill of the best, sir."
"Well, now, a Mohammedan's a sort of eastern fanatic who thinks he'll get a 'corner lot' in Paradise if he reads the Koran and dies on the edge of your bayonets. Mecca is his holy shrine, and the old Sultan acts as a sort of elder or high priest who takes up the collections. We meet 'em ourselves—religious beggars who're always passing round the hat for ninepence to make up another shilling. Religion is always an expensive business, except in Scotland, where you get free seats to support the Kirk and Government. Isn't that so, Brown?"
"Jist in the Auld Kirk, sir, but I belang tae the Wee Frees."
"Who are the Wee Frees?"
"The Wee Frees were started by a lot o' Hielan-men oot o' a job."
"What were they after?"
The Colonel grinned. Continuing, he said, "Now, men, these Mohammedans are very touchy. You've got to be careful how you treat them. For example, their headgear is sacred. Don't touch it. And when you get a little of home-brewed Scotch into you, don't knock their head-dress off. They'll probably knife you. It isn't a pleasant thing to get a rusty blade stuck into your kidneys. Bad for the health, I assure you.
"Tell me something else you must not do?" inquired the Colonel, assuming the role of regimental schoolmaster.
"They hate pigs, sir," said Sandy Brown. "When I wis a stoker on a ship gaun East I flung a bit o' fried pork at a coolie. He nearly knocked ma lichts oot wi' a big hammer."
"Yes, pigs are regarded by these fellows as unclean beasts. To offer them pork is, as Brown says, a great insult, so be careful of that. Another important point is his carpet. This is sacred. He kneels on that and offers up his prayers to Allah. When you walk into his house, don't wipe your feet and spit on it. Give him a chance to remove it. Can anyone tell me what those buildings in Cairo are with the big domes on them?"
"Harems," piped Bill.
"Chapels," said Doolan.
"No, they are called mosques, or temples. Watch what you do there. Mohammedans always take off their shoes before entering. Inside is holy ground. If you go into them you must put a pair of shoes over your boots. These are kept for the purpose. Of course, don't walk away with the shoes, or there will be trouble. I have, also, a list here of other things regarded as sacred either in the town or country.
"Trees with rags tied to them.
"Stones with inscriptions on them.
"Isolated clumps of trees on hill tops.
"Be careful, now, of all these things. They look nothing to you, but they are very important to them. You see, we are all Christians—or supposed to be—and a Christian is regarded by them as an infidel and son of a dog.
"Next thing is the ladies. We all love the ladies. What do you know about them?" said the Colonel, suddenly pointing to a grinning youth.
"And very nice too, sir," replied this youngster.
"If it wasn't for their veils," said another.
"Sure, sor, they've always a big, fat nigger trotting after them," remarked Doolan.
"Yes, Doolan, and be very careful of the big fellow behind. He's what is called a eunuch—a sort of guardian. If you give these ladies the 'glad eye,' or attempt to touch them, he'll probably slit your throat with a razor. These women are veiled to all men except their husbands and nearest relations. Many of them are harem women. Out here, a native can have two or three wives and as many concubines as he likes. For example, the late Khedive had about a hundred women in his harem, and they say the Sultan of Turkey has over five hundred. Some of these women are very beautiful, others are quite ugly. I heard of one man who followed a veiled lady for about three miles, thinking she was some wonderful Circassian beauty. He managed to talk to her too, but when she lifted her veil he was dumbstruck. Instead of being young and charming, she was old, haggard, toothless and revolting. All is not gold that glitters, and beauty is not always found beneath the veil.
"Yes, that reminds me, I've been hearing of one or two queer things which they say our fellows have been doing. In a certain part of Cairo the ladies of the harems frequently ride in carriages, taking the evening air. They often drive alone and use their eyes in the most inviting way. Some of our boys have jumped into the carriages and had a most pleasant and interesting drive with these ladies. That's risky, men; don't do it. It may come off ninety-nine times out of a hundred, but on the hundredth occasion it may end in a knife and a bullet. And quite right too. We have no right to interfere with the preserves of an Egyptian Pasha. Now I think that is all I have to say to you just now. Fall out, please."
When the Colonel had departed, the men formed up into little groups and discussed some of the points that had been raised.
"Old Sam's pulling our leg a bit about these holy places. I ain't had any bother, and I've found it quite a paying game digging up these old niggers' bones. Look here, boys, this is what I've found," said Sambo, a big-boned bushman from Queensland, showing Bill and his cronies a handful of old coins, rings and a bracelet.
"Some curios!" said Bill.
"Worth money, too," remarked Sandy.
"Where did you get them?" asked Claud, his interest roused in these wonderful old jewels of the East.
"Down in the Dead City on the other side of Cairo—behind the Citadel. I dig them up at nights. I can give you a cargo of shin bones and skulls if you want them."
"Is it safe?"
"I reckon so. You see, a lot of these are ancient graves. Nobody has a claim on them, so we can jump them."
"Do you want some partners?" asked Claud.
"Yes, a few of us could get something. I've had my eye on an old tomb there for some time."
"What about to-night?"
"That will do. Bring your entrenching tools in a parcel, nobody sees them. We can get an old cab or motor to go in."
"Right-ho!" agreed Claud, who also arranged with Paddy, Bill and Sandy to form part of the exploring squad. This digging for ancient treasures in the graves of the dead is an old game in Egypt. It is comparatively safe where there are no natives with an interest in the business. And it is really remarkable what interesting finds are made. Rings, bangles, necklaces, brassware, beads, and jewels are often found in these old graveyards.
The route to this particular place lay through Cairo. It was already dark when they started on a rattling old motor-car. Down the Mena Road they were whirled into the dazzling streets. The traffic sent the car slower through a long, narrow native quarter. This was lined with dirty shops, selling everything, from mouldy Turkish delight to poisonous-looking firewater called native wine. At the door of these places the proud owners lounged on chairs or squatted on the ground, haggling and dealing with the fellah (the peasant Egyptian, and the finest type in Egypt). In Egypt everybody is in business. You can find merchants dealing in broken bottles, merchants in discarded "fags," merchants in the manure from the streets, merchants in rags and bones, egg shells and cabbage stalks. They'll do anything but work. Work to an Easterner is designed for women and oxen.
Leaving the lighted streets behind, the motor at length turned round into a long, darkened road.
"This is the show," said Sambo, pointing to a wide field of little domes, tombs, and broken-down buildings just visible in the murky light.
"It's a gey queer place," said Sandy, with a tremor in his voice.
"It is, and there's sure to be ghosts in this ould world?" muttered Mick, crossing himself.
"There's diamonds, too—and tons of gold," remarked Claud.
"Paddy, you'll be a rich man after to-night," laughed Sambo.
"If I'm not a dead wan," said the Irishman, who, for the moment had become seized with a dread of the supernatural.
"Well, boys, here we are!" exclaimed the leader of the party as they neared a dark bend of the road. "Jump out!" The car was backed out of sight, and the driver told to wait.
"This way," and into the darkness plunged the Queenslander. They followed close at his heels, stumbling over graves, stones and old enclosures.
"What's that?" screamed Paddy, as he kicked a white-looking thing at his feet.
"It's a skull, man," said Sandy, picking up the bleached headpiece of an ancient.
"Mother of Jasus, preserve us," murmured the Irishman, crossing himself again.
"Now, boys, here we are. Get out your tools and start digging. Here's a little torch to use, now and again, to see what you've got. You fellows can pan out this show here, I'm going over a bit to do some prospecting."
"Right you are, I'll run this bit of the business," said Claud, as the Queenslander went off into the darkness. For a long time they picked and shovelled out the soft brown earth.
"What's this?" whispered Sandy, holding something in his hand. Claud switched the light on.
"It's a shin bone."
"Here's the goods," shouted Bill, holding up a bracelet crusted with earth and mildew.
"It's gold, too," said Claud, fingering it.
"And here's some quids," Paddy said, spreading some coins out in his hand.
"Coppers, you mean."
Resuming their task, they soon collected skulls, shin bones, thigh bones, some old brassware, a ring, some coppers, and many other things of an Eastern kind.
"Wonderful! Wonderful!" soliloquised Claud, as he occasionally surveyed the finds with the aid of his monocle and flash lamp. But the greatest find was a large brass urn of beautiful workmanship.
"Looks like old Rameses' whisky jar," said Bill, turning the urn round under the light of the lamp.
Things were really going well till the Irishman happened to look up. His eyes at once caught a moving spectre of white advancing slowly towards them.
"Holy Mary, there's a ghost," said he, crossing himself and gripping Claud by the arm. They all looked up, and, sure enough, there was something white and weird moving slowly across the plain of the dead. Their eyes riveted on it. Paddy muttered a prayer; Bill eloquently wondered what the white thing was; Sandy, remarkably cool, picked up the bracelet, coins and other trinkets and placed them in his pocket. He did this, as he explained afterwards, "in case the ghost wid get them."
"It's mighty funny," muttered Claud, frequently adjusting his eyeglass to see the dread apparition more clearly.
"It's a ghost, boys, I tell ye. My ould father has seen them when he lived in Kerry. Heaven preserve us!" he ejaculated, crossing himself for about the fiftieth time.
"Ghost or no ghost, Paddy Doolan, I'm going after it," Bill said. Quietly picking up his tool, he walked forward to the weird, white thing still advancing. He reached it, then turned with it towards the crouching grave wreckers. Halting about ten yards from them, Bill shouted, "Paddy Doolan."
"Yis, Bill," was the timorous reply.
"It's an Irish ghost—a Kerry one."
"What is it?" said Claud, rising and shaking off the supernatural fear which had held him for a moment.
"It's a white donkey on the loose," answered Bill, bursting into laughter. Paddy recovered instantly and joined with the others in the admiration of the innocent ass which had strayed from its usual haunts. After sniffing its new-found friends, the donkey let out a terrible bray, flung up its heels and departed into the night.
They recommenced their digging operations; so engrossed were they with their discoveries that they did not hear the approach of some chattering natives. These dusky gents were within fifty yards of them when Bill whispered, "Keep still—lie down." They obeyed, and lying flat on the ground saw some Arabs go by. They could just see their figures against the sky, and had time to note that they carried shovels.
"On the same game," whispered Bill.
"Yes," said Claud, "I believe they make a speciality of digging up these dead folks. Glad they weren't Kerry ghosts, anyway."
"Be aisy, boys, you'll meet a ghost yet before ye die."
The work was resumed once more. About 2 A.M., when all thought they had had enough of this body-snatching, they were startled with the cry of, "Help, boys! Help! They're killing me."
"By Jove! That's the Queenslander. These niggers are at him. Come on, boys," shouted Claud, lifting his entrenching tool and running towards the place from whence came the cry for help.
"Help! Help!" rang out the cry again, this time it was more muffled and weak.
"Where are you, Sambo?"
"In here," came a faint reply.
The sound came from a square building, the door of which was open. Claud dashed in, flashing his light as he went. Turning a corner, he was amazed by a strange and striking spectacle.
Sambo lay struggling and kicking surrounded by four great hulking Arabs, who had been beating, kicking and biting him in a furious struggle. The faces of all were bleeding and bruised, and blood was splashed over the white sort of overall that the natives wear. To the left of Sambo Claud saw an open tomb. Inside he could just see a kind of coffin arrangement, and on the ground, near at hand, the most varied collection of brass and other beautiful Eastern wares. This was the cause of the bother.
Crack! went Claud's fist into the eyes of the nearest Arab.
"Take that, ye son of a sea cook," chimed in Bill, giving another the knock-out blow.
"Here's one from Paddy Doolan," shouted the Hibernian as he, too, hit his man. The fourth one was dealt with by Claud. With shrieks and yells of "Allah, Allah!" the Arabs turned, and, jumping a low wall, fled off into the night. Sambo was at once released. Meantime, Sandy, as the unofficial cashier of the expedition, made an inventory of the treasure trove. It appears that Sambo had scented out in a strange way a very ancient and dilapidated tomb, which these Arab robbers had intended to despoil at the same time.
"Here, boys," said Sandy, "it's time we were hame. I've had enough o' skulls, shin banes and brass beer bottles."
"An' I've had enough of ghosts," growled Paddy, as they staggered down the road with their load of curios. The car whisked them back to Mena Camp again. Stealthily creeping through the lines, they arrived at their tents. All crept to bed, weary and wiser men. Claud was the last one to fall asleep. He was thinking of Sybil, the girl from the Bush. At last Morpheus claimed him. As he was slipping away into the dreamy unknown he heard Doolan muttering, "Ghosts! Be Jasus! Ghosts!"
SYBIL, THE SQUATTER'S GIRL
"By Jove! What a stunning girl. She's a peach!" whispered a Yeomanry subaltern to his Australian friend as a beautiful girl entered the spacious dining-room of Shepheard's Hotel in Cairo.
"Why, that's Sybil Graham—haven't seen her since she was a kid. My word, she is a beauty now," said the Australian officer.
"Who is she?"
"One of our squatter's girls. That's her father and mother with her. They've got miles of land, plenty of sheep and heaps of tin. He'll be a lucky fellow who gets her."
"You know, old chap, I never thought you produced women like that in Australia. No offence, you know. What I really mean is that the sun, the want of what we call society, and the lack of cultured institutions such as we have at home, must be a great handicap in bringing up a girl."
"Young man, you're talking through your hat," was the blunt reply. "We have ladies in Australia just as we have at home. And can you guess what we haven't got?"
"Snobs! No time for all your damned conventions—'At Home' scandals and Society calls. These girls of the bush are natural, jolly, unconventional, but not loose. So far and no farther is their attitude to mankind. And they've got an independence of character which knocks you fellows sick when you meet them. They don't want any of these insidious palavers and hollow attentions, and they'll tell a man pretty quick what they think. My word! can't they choke a Johnny off."
"But, my dear fellow, all my friends who have visited Australia say they haven't got manners, and all have a cockney twang. When they open their mouths they always spoil the picture."
"I expect your friends have been dealing with the Pitt Street toughs or Manly larrikins. By the way you speak, I don't suppose they have ever been in the bush or visited some of our squatters' homes. Do you know that some of these squatters are descendants of some of the finest families in England. Apart from that, you will find better ladies on a squatter's veranda than you will in Park Lane. I have been in London, young fellow; in fact, I'm English, although I've been a long time in Australia. So don't say I'm biased. But I am speaking from an intimate knowledge of the people—not from a superficial glance which a hen-brained tourist gets. It isn't affectation, trinkets, dresses and a Society drawl that makes a lady. That's your standard. Society at home—at least, in certain circles, is the most hollow and unhappy creation I know. Everyone is in it, because they've got to be, but every real white man or woman knows that it's the rottenest show on earth. We don't stand for all that sort of thing out there. They accept folks for what they are worth—I mean, if a person is decent, law-abiding, cheerful and ambitious, the door of the Premier, squatter and merchant is open to him."
"Look here, old chap, you can't chuck convention overboard entirely; it's impossible."
"Rot! You speak as if Australia was a primitive land, without schools and culture. You're entirely mistaken. We can educate and create a most charming and distinctive type. I grant you that some of our people may be narrow-visioned and have one-eyed views. I admit you will find a few folks who think Britain is a land of peers, publicans and paupers. But haven't you got in Britain the same narrow folks, the same crude, ill-informed men and women who ignorantly air their views to the disgust of every Colonial?"
"Yes, there's something in that, I agree. We have got them, but I've heard Australian officers talk as if Australia was the only place on God's earth," the subaltern ejaculated a little warmly.
"You condemn a nation for a few. Young man, you haven't travelled far enough. And you make me tired to hear you talk in that way. You're a nice fellow spoiled, I reckon. Why, where I live there's dozens of English public school men working as cockies and jackaroos. They wouldn't go back home if you paid them. They like the life. Everybody makes them at home, and many of them have married our Australian girls. These women can milk, bake, ride, drive, sew and rear the most charming children. And they can meet you in a drawing-room with a natural grace that is their own. Intellectually, too, they are pleasant to meet, for the loneliness has given them time to think and read. Look at that girl there, doesn't she look a lady?"
"Isn't she absolutely perfect?"
"Does her dress fit?"
"Do you think her table manners are awkward?"
"Isn't there something easy and natural, no false pose, a sort of innate grace of mind and body?"
"Certainly, but is this not some strange exception, just as you find in many parts?"
"No, my boy. You still seem to be unconvinced. Hang it all, there's only one way to convince you. As they are rising from the table now, get up and I'll introduce you."
"Hallo, Sybil, how are you?" said the Australian officer going forward.
"What—Jack Gordon!" she said, shaking hands. "I haven't seen you since I was at school."
"How do, Jack?" said old Graham, in his blunt way. Then Mrs. Graham accorded him the same warm welcome.
"Let me introduce Lieutenant Gore-Jones of the Yeomanry. Take him in hand, Sybil. He's a good fellow spoiled."
"All right, Jack," said Sybil, smiling, and stepping towards the wide veranda with her new-found friend. Gordon remained behind with the parents to talk of old times.
"This is a pleasure," said Jones as they sat down. "I never thought of meeting such a charming person from down under."
Sybil frowned a little, then looking straight into his eyes said, "I don't like honey, Mr. Jones, it's too sweet, and sweet things are often sickly."
"I—I—I beg your pardon," he stammered, blushing a little.
"I'm afraid you expected to meet an aborigine, didn't you?" she said more kindly, remembering the cue she had received from Jack Gordon.
"Not exactly—I'm afraid I have not met any Australians except the troops."
"And what do you think of them? I'm rather interested, and like other people's views."
"You're not super-sensitive, I hope," he remarked, "because some of your fellows seem to be awfully touchy."
"Many Australians are; I'm not, now go on."
"Well, I like your men for their wonderful physique. They are as tough as the oldest soldiers. But they're not very respectful, you know. I mean, they don't salute; they stalk past with an air of equality and even contempt. That's a bad sign in a soldier."
"Yes?" said Sybil, daintily lighting a neat cigarette and settling down in her cosy chair.
"The officers, I hear, are excellent leaders, but, somehow, they don't quite look the part—sort of mixed, don't you know. Somehow, their build and clothes don't give them that distinctive touch which is the hall-mark of the British officer. I suppose it's really a question of breeding. They say in England it takes five generations to turn out a gentleman. Americans seem the same as Australians. In fact, I've read that all young and democratic countries are alike. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying they are not gentlemen. The life, I suppose, knocks off the fine points."
"I see," said Sybil, turning her face towards him. "Then your conception of a leader is a thin-waisted, well-corseted man, all hair wash and side—a most perfect and arrogant dandy. I can't believe that the tailor, manicurist and barber produce the leader. And you say that our boys have not the fine touch about them. Do you think that really counts in war? I think a Tommy wants a man to lead him whether he looks a Caesar or Bill Sikes. You really infer that the Australian blood is coarse and unrefined. Is that so, Mr. Jones?"
"Not exactly. But look over there. See these two Australian officers. They seem ungainly in their clothes, and, apparently, feel awkward and ill at ease in this show. They don't respect the polite conventions of Society, and would turn the place into a sort of cowboy saloon if left alone."
"What nonsense, Mr. Jones. And if I didn't feel that there was a hope of you knowing us better, I would leave you. What I think you are suffering from is the conservatism of the Britisher, a truly appalling defect, as well as a lack of perception. I grant you that our Australian tailors are absolutely the limit in turning out a man. Still, I believe a man can die as gallantly in a flour sack as in a Bond Street khaki suit. You say they seem ill at ease, and don't lounge in their chairs as if to the manner born. You don't realise that these men are men of action. Their life is spent in a hustling way. They are workers, not idlers. Anything suggestive of luxurious ease is interpreted by them as effeminate."
Her companion made as though to speak. But the girl went on:
"Now, look here, Mr. Jones, I'll lay an even bet with you that they'll ride, jump and slice the lemon better than any of your troops in Cairo. They're practical people, not dreamers who worry about etiquette and the fine points. Now just you take a good look at their faces. You'll note that they're bronzed, strong, with a cleft in the chin, and a jaw-bone which speaks volumes. In fact, their whole make-up suggests a sort of rude strength, which can face the rough and tumble of life. They get that from their fathers, who, like my dear old dad, were the pioneers of Australia. These men landed poor and had to fight drought, aborigines, bushrangers, misfortune after misfortune. They were up against it all the time. They built their houses from the trees, dug their wells, fenced their land, scraped their pennies to get the shillings to buy their stock. In the midst of success, disease often struck them bare. Yet they stuck to it. Gradually the hard times passed away, and to-day many are wealthy. My dad is one. I'm not proud of his money, but I am proud of the grit and courage that has made him rich. These are just the qualities that the soldier must have."
"Oh, certainly," interjected Jones, fascinated by the radiant glow on the animated features of this most charming girl. His logic was being battered to death. He felt his position weakening. It began to dawn on him that he was a conservative Britisher, who had simply been uttering the parrot talk of hide-bound Tories. "You know, Miss Graham, you're beginning to make me feel that I should go to Australia."
"If we were there now I would just whisk you away in my car and show you the Bush. I do love to convince people, especially folks from the old land. Then, Mr. Jones, you would see how free, how charming life is in the Bush. We have all got beautiful homes, plenty of horses, motors, even electric light on some of the stations. In fact, I know of one old squatter who can produce a butler and footmen in breeches. You can have joy rides on motors, picnics miles from civilisation, and dances with the jolliest band of girls and boys I've seen. Everything is natural, all is delightful. I love Australia. I'm awfully proud of it. And I'm proud of those boys over there and all the others who have come to help the old land. Don't judge them by trivial things, Mr. Jones. If they're unconventional, and not good at saluting, they'll stick to any man who can lead them through. In fact, they can fight just as the Tommies did at Waterloo and Mons."
"Well," said Jones with a gasp, "you're an absolute revelation. I have never quite met your type before."
"I'm different—Australian, eh?"
"And very nice too. That's honey, as you call it. But I have said it and you needn't protest," he said with boyish enthusiasm. "Do you think the girls would be kind to me if I went to Australia?"
"They'd spoil you; they spoil all Englishmen."
"Because they like them. They don't pick holes in them as you pick holes in us."
"I'm sorry, really I'm sorry. I had no intention to offend."
"You're a good fellow spoiled, as Jack Gordon said."
"Thanks," said Mr. Jones, secretly pleased.
"You know, Mr. Jones, I know a most charming Englishman. He was our Jackaroo. A public school man, he landed at our door and asked for a job. He had a glass eye and insisted on wearing that and a white indiarubber collar when working round the show. They ragged him, but he stood it all. When they went too far he simply took off his jacket and punched them soft. No matter what dirty job he got, he did it and never whined. He had no airs, and never trumpeted his family lineage or his school. He was just a dear, lovable English gentleman, who'd been a bit foolish at home. He is here in the Australian contingent; in fact, he's coming to see me to-night. Ah! here he is," she gleefully exclaimed, as a tall, well-built soldier, with a monocle, casually stepped on to the veranda. "Come and be introduced?"
"What! To a Tommy," said the surprised subaltern.
"Yes—and a gentleman," Sybil emphasised.
"Hallo, dear boy!"
"Well, Sybil, what a surprise when I got your wire."
"Let me introduce Mr. Jones of the Yeomanry—Private Dufair."
Claud solemnly saluted. There was a twinkle in his eye as the surprised subaltern started back, exclaiming, "What—Claud Dufair? You were at Rugby with me!"
"The same, sir," said Claud, standing rigidly to attention, full of suppressed mirth.
"Well, shake, old boy! How the devil are you? And, Tommy or no Tommy, you must have a bottle of fizz with me to-morrow night. Now, I'm not going to spoil sport. I've had an awful wigging from Miss Graham."
"My fiancee," interjected Claud.
"Lucky dog—put me down as your next-of-kin when you make your will. Good night."
"Good night," said the happy couple, passing on to the shade of the palms, where they renewed that love which is mightier than the sword.
THE WISDOM OF "K"
It was a sweltering heat—a day to drink squash and be on a cool veranda. But war has no respect for feelings or conditions, so the Australian, New Zealander, and Lancashire men had to hoof it across the sun-baked desert. The troops were divided into three columns, each striking for a different point. They were bent on a combined scheme in which the "General Idea," "Special Idea," and other vague military terms figured large.
"Ain't the heat hellish? My nose is feeling like a banana, and my shirt's glued to my back! Wish I had joined the Camel Corps or Donkey Brigade. Gravel crushing's no good to me," growled Bill, changing his rifle for the hundredth time.
"We're suffering for the sins of our predecessors," remarked Claud, shifting his eyeglass to look at the Pyramids.
"In South Africa the Australians went any old way. They fought well, but, as Roberts said, they lacked discipline. That's why you and I are here. They're going to grind the insubordination out of us. They'll march us and sweat us to death. 'Trouble maketh a strong man, Pain maketh a true man,' so some old wag has said."
"Wish ould Kitchener had me thirst, an' this ould pack on his back," growled Doolan.
"Ay, an' these damnt moskeetes are ay chowin' ma face off," said Sandy.
"Couldn't we have been trained in Australia instead of this confounded hole?" added Bill, who was in a nasty mood that day.
"Too many pubs, too many ma's, and too many politicians about for that," Claud answered. "Besides, Kitchener's a smart fellow. He knows his job. We're here to keep these bally niggers in order, and, at the same time, train for war. You can't push it on to 'K'; he's too mighty quick for you an' me."
"But when the blazes are we goin' to the war? I'm thirstin' to cut some fellow's throat, but all I gets is march and sweat—sweat and march—and fourteen days C.B. if I look sideways at these officer blokes. No good to me, boys. I'm here for killin', not for road punchin'. I've got a head like a barrel and feet like boiled tomatoes."
"Ye shouldna' drink beer," piped Sandy.
"Wot should I drink then?"
"Proosic acid," Doolan muttered, giving Claud a nudge.
"You've got a bad liver to-day, Bill. I think you've been drinking the Gippies' firewater. I thought the old parson had got you to sign the pledge."
"Who could sign the pledge in an 'ole like this? It's sand and flies, flies and sand, C.B., bully beef, jam, and No. 9 pills. Wot a life!" concluded Bill, relapsing into silence. They left him alone. It was Bill's "off day." He would come round again.
Bill's attitude at that period of the war represented the feelings of many a Tommy in the Australian and New Zealand forces. These men, accustomed to the life of freedom, action, and the daily use of initiative, cursed the seemingly endless days of drill, shooting, marching, manoeuvring, with the firm discipline and immediate punishment when rules were ignored. Eight long months of this was their lot, and during that time there seemed little prospect of their seeing war. It was a hard test.
To them it seemed a cruel test. The younger and more inexperienced thought it useless and a waste of time, but the officers understood the reason why. It was Kitchener's way. "K" knew that these men were the finest fighters in the world. But to get the fullest value for their courage he realised that training and discipline, discipline, discipline was absolutely essential. Every officer of the General Staff expected them to curse and kick. The Staff also assumed that, in the end, the Australians' true sense of justice would compel them to admit that all this "suffering" would make them infinitely superior to any Australian units which had hitherto shared in fighting for the Motherland. This is exactly what did occur. Kitchener was, therefore, right! Kitchener is always right.
* * * * *
The Australian column had reached its rendezvous. While the men were resting, General Fearless, the Australian G.O.C., was issuing his orders to the Brigade Commanders.
"Gentlemen," he said, "the General Idea is that the Red Force, composed of the Lancashire Division, holds the ridge of sand hills which dominate the road to Cairo. We, who represent the Blue Force, have orders to make a reconnaissance in force. That means that we must so manoeuvre our units as to draw the enemy's fire, and, if possible, reveal his position, his strength, and the weakest point in his line. This, let me tell you, is not exactly an offensive movement. It is a drawing game. That must be distinctly understood. Of course, in such a reconnaissance, if a G.O.C. saw something which would justify his assuming a vigorous offensive, then the game might develop into a general action. That, however, is a matter for me, not for an individual brigadier. Now, to-day, I want the Bushmen's Brigade to cover our advance, the remaining brigades will act as in my operation orders. Remember, too, gentlemen, that units must keep up communication. Don't let the show develop into a sort of Donnybrook, where each little unit is fighting for its own band. That is all—fall out, please."
The Brigadiers saluted, and returned to their units. The scheme was again explained. Ten minutes afterwards the brigades moved into position. The Bushmen's Brigade took post away in front; in the centre of this front line was the Kangaroo Marines. Covering the whole advance was a screen of men, and in front of the screen, little patrols with scouts ahead. When all were in the position the G.O.C. signalled "Advance." An army on the move is a fascinating sight. It is like an octopus—the main body with a thousand tendrils, or arms, thrown out. These recoil as they touch the enemy, telling the brain that danger is near.
In selecting the Bushmen's Brigade for the advanced guard, the G.O.C. was right. They were born scouts, especially the Kangaroo Marines. These valiants wriggled, crawled, and occasionally doubled across the burning sands. It was hard work—mighty hard work—but they didn't mind. They were doing something useful, and as long as a Bushman is doing that he is all alive and interested.
Bang! went a rifle ahead of them. Bang! Bang! Bang! went the reply. The fight had commenced. Bill, who was in command of Doolan and Sandy, was right ahead. Claud was away on his right with another little squad. But it was Bill's keen eyes which had first seen little groups of the enemy ahead. One little group, grown tired of waiting, was snoozing peacefully on a sandy hollow. Bill and his cronies crept on their stomachs towards them. Nearer they drew, then, with a yell, leaped down on them.
"Hands up, boys; we've got you."
"Who are ye kiddin'?" said a Lancashire lad, jumping up with his pals.
"There's no kiddin' about this business," said Bill. "Chuck them rifles over here."
"All right, lad; thou can 'ave 'em—give us a fag," said the leader, glad to be out of the hurly-burly.
They were sent to the rear.
Meantime, the firing had become stronger. Away ahead, Bill's party saw a long line of men lying about on a ridge of sand. They were firing furiously at the advancing scouts.
"I reckon that's a patrol. We'd better scatter them," ordered Bill, going forward in the most brazen manner to capture about twenty men. According to the rules of war this was impossible. Hence the sudden appearance of a "Brass Hat" with a white band on his arm.
"Here—you!" he shouted to Bill and his men.
"Well, matey—what's wrong?"
"You're out of action—clear out," said the officer, a little annoyed at the term "matey."
"Hands up," said Bill, shoving in a round of blank and presenting his rifle at the man on the horse.
"Confound your cheek—how dare you——"
"No lip, old cock. Get off that gee-gee."
"Don't you know who I am? I'm Colonel Redtabs——"
"And I'm Bill Buster, boss of this scoutin' show. You can't fool me—I'm an Australian."
"Hang it all! Don't you know I'm an umpire?"
"Look here, this ain't a cricket match. Get off, or I'll blow you off," said Bill, fingering his trigger. The old colonel, realising that he was dealing with a too zealous scout, unacquainted with the rules of mimic warfare, jumped off his horse.
"Now, Sandy, get on that horse."
"What?" said Sandy, a little confused.
"Get on that horse or I'll blow you on," ordered Bill, somewhat annoyed at the waste of time.
Sandy jumped up.
"Now, take this bloke back to Colonel Killem. Tell him he's a poor fellow wot's wrong in his head, an' thinks he's at a cricket match."
The captured umpire, who was a sportsman with a real sense of humour, laughed heartily as he was led away.
"Knew he was mad," commented Bill, as he watched him go. "Now, Paddy, that patrol has scooted; let's get after them."
The attack was now well into the first stage. The scouts of the Lancashires were fighting a running action with the scouts and patrols of the Australians. From knoll to knoll they were pressed, both sides skilfully using every fold in the ground. Bill, by this time, had increased his army to about twenty men. Using the most original adjectives and assuming a superior air, he ordered his command about like some old fire-eating colonel. His vigorous pursuit kept the enemy busy, but eventually they pulled him up in front of a roughly-made sangar. This was a strong detached post thrown out in front of the outpost line. The defenders gave his little army a fierce fusillade of blank.
"That's up you, Buffalo Bill," said the mischievous Doolan.
"Silence in the ranks," roared Bill, who was taking himself very seriously. He carefully surveyed the position, which held fifty men. They were not to be moved, that was evident. Bill determined to do so.
"Fix bayonets!" he shouted.
"Ain't allowed," said a stripling at his side.
"Fix bayonets!" he ordered again.
"I tell you it ain't allowed at these sham shows. Colonel's orders."
"Look 'ere, you take Bill Buster's orders, or you'll get a thick ear." That settled the matter.
"Charge!" roared the leader, jumping up and leading the twenty full-blooded desperadoes up to the redoubt.
"Halt, you fellows! Halt!" roared a Lancashire subaltern, jumping up. "Are you off your bally heads?"
"'Ere, mate, you're supposed to be dead," said Bill, panting and blowing, but holding a bayonet at his chest. The remainder of his party were, meantime, tickling the fast retreating Lancashire lads with the points of their bayonets.
"Don't you know who I am?" said the indignant subaltern.
"Look 'ere, young fellow, you're supposed to be dead."
"How dare you—I'm an officer!"
"I'm Bill Buster. Now will you lie down an' kid you're dead. That's wot you've got to do at these shows."
"Don't be a bally ass!"
"All right, cocky; hand me that sword."
As Bill's bayonet looked rather unpleasant, the officer complied. Then Bill sat down. Pulling a black stump of a pencil out of his pocket, he proceed to write a dispatch. It was as follows:
"DEAR CURNEL,—Paddy Doolan an' I, with twenty boys, just captured enemy's position. Enemy running like blazes. The officer bloke refuses to be dead. I'm sending him to you. We're just goin' off to try an' capture a general.—Yours,
"P.S.—Did you get that mad fellow wot thinks we're playin' cricket? Pore chap!"
This letter and the prisoner were dispatched under escort to Colonel Killem in rear. Bill again proceeded to join the long line of scouts which now faced the outposts of the enemy. This was the second stage of the attack. The "screen" now came up and thickened the Australian line. Many officers came with it, so Bill, without protest, vacated the post of "general."
"Bang, bang, bang!" went the rifles. "Z-r-r-p-rip-rip!" went the machine-guns, while the sullen boom of the field artillery in rear indicated that matters were becoming interesting.
"Advance by rushes," ordered the senior Australian officer in the front line.
"Why don't you let us give 'em the bayonet?" muttered Bill, disagreeing with the tactics of his superior.
"Shut up," ordered an old sergeant.
"All right, funny-face."
"Consider yourself a prisoner," was the final word of the N.C.O. as they went forward on the rush. Bill wished for more than a round of blank.
Section after section took up a new line. Then the rushes started again. All the time the rifles were spitting out their fire. They reached within fifty yards of the outpost line. As this was simply a protective screen, and not the line of resistance, the enemy's outpost companies commenced to fade away systematically in the direction of their main body.
"Prepare to charge," ordered the officer.
"With bayonets?" queried Bill.
"No," he snapped.
"Wot's a bloomin' bayonet for?" asked Bill when the officer was out of hearing.
"For openin' jam tins, ye fathead," said Paddy.
"Charge!" The long line rose like one man. With a great cheer they swept away the remnants of the outpost companies and occupied the ridge. This gave the Australians a complete view of the main position. Both flanks rested on impassable obstacles. The front was secured by imaginary entanglements, backed up by a series of trenches and an array of Maxims and guns. This was the information required by the Australian G.O.C. The reconnaissance had served its purpose. The "Assembly" was sounded, and the field day seemed done.
But war is full of surprises, and it is the surprises which make or mar a general's name. While General Fearless and his force were rallying for lunch all were suddenly surprised by a fearful roll of musketry on the right.
"By gad, sir—we're trapped!" said the Chief of Staff, jumping up. "Shall I order the brigades to form to the right, and meet this attack?"
"No," said Fearless, coolly eating his sandwich. "Get me some information."
"But they may decimate us in the meantime, sir."
"Get me information, please," was the quiet and more firm command.
Two aides-de-camp were sent at the gallop towards the mysterious force which had suddenly appeared and was furiously firing blank. They found the New Zealanders pressing on in three separate lines towards them.
"It's a proper trap," said one of the gallopers. "And look to our rear. There's more there. This flank business is a feint. They're trying to smash us behind, and they're 'cute enough not to fire a shot from that direction. Say, Brown, gallop back and tell the general, and I'll try and bluff this front line here." Away went the messenger while the other young staff officer galloped into the front line of New Zealanders.
"The New Zealanders will cease fire," said the daring galloper. His staff cap commanded the respect of an innocent subaltern. He blew his whistle. More whistles were heard. In two minutes all was comparatively still.
"You will commence firing again in fifteen minutes. Pass it along." Down the line went the false order. Smiling inwardly, the shrewd aide-de-camp galloped away. Meantime the Australian G.O.C. had acted vigorously. Throwing out two regiments to hold the feinting force on his right, he then turned the other brigades about. These were deployed at the double, sent forward with a rush, and, in three minutes, dug shelter trenches in the sand. They were ordered to keep low until the main body of the New Zealanders pressed the attack well home. It was an exciting moment. And the Maorilanders expected an easy win. On they came in their long skirmishing lines. At last they were within fifty yards of the hidden Australians.
Bang! Zrrrp—Boom! Boom! Boom! crashed rifles, Maxims, and guns. The New Zealanders were startled. Before they had recovered from their surprise, Fearless ordered the "Charge!" Like deerhounds, his men rose up and dashed pell-mell into the panic-stricken host. There was a shock, a wavering, and then a pell-mell rush to the rear. The Australians had won. They had not been surprised.
"Cease fire! Sound the 'Officers' Call,'" ordered the chief umpire, galloping up. From far and near came the leaders to the pow-wow.
* * * * *
"Well, gentlemen," said the umpire (the Commander-in-Chief), "I've seen much to-day. There has been little to deplore and a great deal to commend. Throughout the whole show there has been shown skill, enthusiasm, and dash. Leadership was good, communication fair, and nothing very rash was done. Your eight months' training has improved you beyond recognition.
"To-day I tested our Australian friends. I planned to trick them, to throw them into confusion, and to cause a general panic by a sudden onslaught while they were resting and apparently finished for the day. The trap failed because General Fearless was cool and appreciated the situation. That, to me, is an important point. The surprises of war are the things which make us or break us. Surprises in South Africa smashed more reputations than anything else. It is perfectly easy at manoeuvres to carry out a scheme laid down. It is not easy suddenly to meet a dramatic development or side issue.
"Now for another point. Our colonial friends still suffer from an abundance of vitality and the too daring use of the initiative. That is a good fault, and yet a bad one. In guerilla warfare it would be a tremendous asset. In a concerted scheme it might prove disastrous. No matter how daring and clever the individual soldier or officer, if he forgets that there are men, sections, regiments, and brigades to his right or left—if he fails to appreciate the full value of co-ordination and co-operation, he is a danger to himself and his force. Of course, gentlemen, I fully appreciate that this charming recklessness of our overseas cousins is due to temperament, not to intent or a desire to be big at the expense of their fellows. That is why we have trained you so hard. Without any desire to give offence, I say boldly that the Australians and New Zealanders are an infinitely better trained, better disciplined, and, therefore, a more useful body of men than was sent by these Dominions to South Africa.
"It has been a very long, weary road, gentlemen. Your men, I am sure, have cursed me often. But grousing is the privilege of the soldier. Indeed, I always suspect the man who doesn't grouse. He is either too meek, or else he is like a Quaker—far too respectable. And this great camp of ours would, indeed, be dull without the original adjectives of our Australasians.
"That is all, gentlemen, except this—and it is important—in a few weeks you will be in active service. We expect great things of the Australasians, the Twenty-ninth Division, and our Lancashire men; and I know that we shall receive of your best. Good-day, gentlemen." And off rode the handsome courtier and soldier with a rousing cheer ringing in his ears. There's nothing like brains; and there's a great deal in tact. Ask a colonial.
A great convoy of transports, guarded by destroyers, ploughed silently through the waters which lap the European side of the Gallipoli Peninsula. The ships had the Australian force on board, and the destroyers were there to assist them in one of the most daring missions in modern war.
All lights were out and strict silence was observed. Each man had, therefore, time to commune with the spirits of those nine thousand miles away. It was not a time for the buffoon; they were faced with all the dread perils of war.
Nearer and nearer the ships drew to their objective. At last they reached the point assigned them by the Staff. A quiet signal was given. Destroyers, pinnaces, and row boats were placed at the sides of the transports, rough gangways thrown out, and the command to move quietly was passed along. Noiselessly they stepped from the transports; but all the while there was an electric-like feeling around the heart—that peculiar something which only the soldier knows. However, there wasn't time to romance or moralise. War rules out sentiment and fears. There was a job to be done.
When each boat was packed with its human freight, the gangways were slipped, cables thrown off, and all were quietly towed to the shore. It was still dark—one hour, in fact, before the dawn. When close inshore, the hand of Providence proved kind. This took the form of a strong current—so strong, in fact, that it pressed the boats away from the point previously assigned for the landing and washed them into a safer part for the historic encounter.
That current saved thousands of Australian lives; indeed, it may have ensured the success of the mission. Had the Australians landed at the point decided on, it is doubtful whether the landing would have been so thoroughly effective as it proved on the other beach.
"Not much doing—eh?" said Colonel Killem to his adjutant as he peered through the darkness to the shore. Indeed, it seemed that the enemy had left this shore unguarded. But the Turks are wily soldiers. They allowed the boats to near the shore, then opened up a murderous rifle and machine-gun fire.
"Gad! Boys, I'm hit!" said a subaltern, falling, his blood spurting in a stream all over his clothes.
"So'm I!" said another youngster with a ping in his arm.
"Holy Father, preserve us!" muttered Doolan, crossing himself, as they grated on the shore.
"Jump, boys, jump!" shouted the colonel. There was no need to tell them, no need to show the lead. They leaped pluckily from their boats and dashed up the beach. There was a pause while a few collected.
Then, seeing the Turks firing furiously from a trench ahead, somebody yelled out, "Charge!" A cheer electrified the chilling dawn as they rushed on. Some were killed; some fell, wounded, on the way; the others pressed forward, their faces grim, their eyes alert, and the muscles of their arms all taut with the fierce gripping of the rifles in their hands. It was their first charge; but they did it like the veterans of Corunna and Waterloo.
"Allah! Allah!" shouted the Turks as they neared the trenches.
"Too late, old cock," said Bill, plunging his bayonet home.
"That's one for Paddy Doolan."
"Help, Paddy; this big deevil's got me," yelled Sandy, who had been struck by a Turk. Crash went the Irishman's butt on the Turk's skull, and he fell back dead. Sandy's wound was dressed, and he was sent to the rear. Meantime some supports had come up.
Seeing the Turks fleeing into another trench some fifty yards up the slope, the colonel ordered them to charge again. The Australians' blood was up. They had seen red and had felt success. They wanted more. Throwing off their cumbersome packs, they charged forward again.
"They've got me," shouted an officer, throwing up his arms and letting out the awful shriek of death. But this withering fire did not appal these young Australians. The sight of their comrades, dead and wounded, roused them more. Revenge set their faces hard, and with many a fierce and terrible oath they leaped into the second trench.