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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 193 pages of information about Action Front.
khaki figures that stirred about every farm building in sight, the row of gray-painted motor-omnibuses, drawn up in a long line on a side road.  The countryside that under a first look slept peacefully in the afternoon sunlight, that drowsed calmly in the easy quiet of an uneventful field and farm existence, proved under the closer searching look to be a teeming hive of activity, a close-packed camp of well-armed fighting men, a widespread net and chain of men and guns and horses.  The peaceful countryside was overflowing with men and bristling with bayonets; every village was a crammed-full military cantonment, every barn stuffed with soldiers like an overfilled barracks.

The Adjutant whistled softly.  “This,” he said, and nodded again and again to the plain below, “this looks like business—­at last.”

“Yes,” said the Colonel, “at last.  It’s going to be a very different story this time, when we begin to push things.”

“Hark at the guns,” said the Adjutant, and both stood silent a moment listening to the long, deep, rolling thunder that boomed steady and unbroken as surf on a distant beach.  “And they’re our guns too, mostly,” went on the Adjutant.  “I suppose we’re firing more shells in an ordinary trench-war-routine day now than we dared fire in a month this time last year.  Last year we were short of shells, the year before we were short of guns and shells and men.  Now hear the guns and look down there at a few of the men.”

Through the still air rose from below them the shrill crow of a farmyard rooster, the placid mooing of a cow, the calls and laughter of some romping children.

But the two on the hillside had no ear for these sounds of peace.  They heard only that distant sullen boom of the rumbling guns, the throbbing foot-beats of the marching battalions below them, the plop-plopping hoofs and rattling wheels of wagons passing on their way up to the firing line with food for the guns.

“Our turn coming,” said the Adjutant—­“at last.”

“Yes,” the Colonel said, and repeated grimly—­“at last.”

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