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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 132 pages of information about Best Short Stories.

ALAS!  TOO LATE!

The Englishman’s undying love for certain civilized things is thus portrayed by R. Richard Schayer in Life.

In a gorse bush a hundred yards beyond his trench lay Lieutenant Fitzhugh Throckmorton of the King’s Own Rifles, asleep at his post.  For hours he had lain there, searching the position of the enemy through his binoculars.  Overcome by fatigue, he had nodded, drowsed, and finally slumbered.

The sun hung low in the western mists when Throckmorton awoke.  He glanced at his wristwatch and sprang to his feet with an oath.  Regardless of peril, he turned and sprinted toward his trench.  His was not a nature to count the risk when duty, however delayed, called.  Every German sniper within range sent shot upon shot after the flying figure.  The enemy’s trenches took up the hunt and fairly blazed with rifle and machine gun fire.  The bullets hummed in Throckmorton’s ears like a swarm of savage hornets.  They snarled and bit at the turf about his feet like a pack of wolves.

With a last desperate burst of speed, his clothing tattered with bullet holes, the Lieutenant gained his trench and leaped down to its cover.  His face, wearing an expression of mingled hope and despair, he rushed to the bomb-proof dug-out where sat his Colonel and brother officers.  They looked up at him with cold eyes.  One glance and Throckmorton’s heart failed him.  He was too late.

They had finished tea.

WHO COULD TELL?

A Scottish doctor who was attending a laird had instructed the butler of the house in the art of taking and recording his master’s temperature with a thermometer.  On paying his usual morning call he was met by the butler, to whom he said:  “Well, John, I hope the laird’s temperature is not any higher to-day?”

The man looked puzzled for a minute, and then replied:  “Weel, I was just wonderin’ that mysel’.  Ye see, he deed at twal’ o’clock.”

HE COULDN’T HAVE MISSED IT

The average foreigner can rarely comprehend the geographical area of the United States, as was quite fully illustrated by the Englishman and his valet who had been traveling due west from Boston for five days.  At the end of the fifth day master and servant were seated in the smoking-car, and it was observed that the man was gazing steadily and thoughtfully out of the window.  Finally his companion became curious.  “William,” said he, “of what are you thinking?”

“I was just thinking, sir, about the discovery of Hamerica,” replied the valet.  “Columbus didn’t do such a wonderful thing, after all, when he found this country, did he, now, sir?  Hafter hall’s said an’ done, ’ow could ’e ’elp it?”

GUILTY

The sniper is ever prevalent on the western front.  A certain Colonel, who was by the way quite unpopular with his regiment, was one afternoon sitting in a shack, when a report was heard and a bullet whizzed over his head.

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