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[From the Archive]

Riding the Night


All the way, at odd times, far off, with neither sense nor sequence, the guns have sounded almost like the noises of peace — blasting or pile-driving. Now, outside the village, as the ambulance comes out upon the hill, they sound for the first time like the noise of battle, much nearer and much more terrible. Now, too, far off, as the car runs in the open, the drivers see the star-shells going up and up, and bursting into white stars, and pausing and drifting slowly down, very, very slowly, pausing as they come, far apart, yet so many that there are always more than one aloft. They are the most beautiful things in modern war and almost the most terrible. Often they pause so long before dying that they look like the lights of peace in lighthouse and city beacon, or like planets in the sky.

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