OCR Interpretation


The Rio Grande rattler. ([McAllen], Hidalgo County, Tex.) 1916-1917, December 22, 1917, Image 10

Image and text provided by New York State Military History Museum

Persistent link: http://www.nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn87030234/1917-12-22/ed-1/seq-10/


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8 THE WADSWORTH GAS ATTACK a n d RIO GRANDE RATTLER 1TH1LBURT JELLYBACK, PRI­ VATE, GOES ON GUARD. A L e tter to the Editor. D ear E d itor: Do you recall th a t bitter cold Sunday night—the ninth* I think it was? D e a r me, the w e a ther was egregious! And I, Ethel- bu rt Jellyback, Private, was forced to go on guard—I, the scion of one of the first fam ilies in the country, of gentle breeding and im ­ pregnable social position. Mind you, I express no dislike a t being kept up a t all hours of the night. Back in New York I often did it and enjoyed it, w h a t w ith dinner dances th a t lasted until breakfast, and not infrequently I kept Jam es w a iting at Delmonico’s w ith the lim o u sine until dawn came over the roof-tops of the g iant structures. Isn’t F if th Avenue won­ derful at dawn? Dawn and reveille are one and the same thing, in point of tim e, and yet w h a t a world of difference between them ! T h ere is som ething lovely, som ething th a t appeals to my soul in the word “dawn,” but as for “reveille,”—well, as I started to tell you, dear E d itor, I was on guard th a t coldest of all cold nights. H ad to Sleep in the Guardhouse. Fancy my exasperation in finding th a t I had to sleep in the guardhouse, a tent im ­ properly fortified against the w eather. I told the sergeant of the guard th a t I pre­ ferred sleeping in my own tent, and th a t as far as my being accessible whenever he wished to call me, I would be w illing to hire a messenger boy from town to go on duty all night and to carry m e ssages from the sergeant a t the guardhouse to me at my tent. But, strange to say, the sergeant de­ clined to accept my proposal. It w a sn’t regulation, he said. B u t it was convenient, you m u st adm it that. Of course, my guard duty began w ith a tw o -hour pacing of my post in the afternoon. It was a lonely two hours, and I am not fond of loneliness. I like company. Noth­ ing appeals to me so much as to sit down w ith another dear chappie and have a good old ch a t for two or three hours. I t ’s com­ panionable, you know. The Bewildered Lady. W hile w a lking my. post a lady, who looked unhappy and bewildered, got out of an auto­ mobile and came up to me. She was look­ ing for her son, she said, and she couldn’t find the regim e n t he was in or the com­ pany. I , liked the well-bred tones of her voice, and my sym p athies w e n t out to her a t once. She begged me to go in search of her son, and volunteered to w atch my post while I w as away. I went. W hen I came back the officer of the day was w a iting for me, stern and denuncia­ tory. In no uncertain tones he rebuked me for having gone on my altruistic mission. I told him th a t the lady had been very insistent th a t I find her son. He replied th a t th a t had nothing to do w ith it. I re­ torted, w ith my usual self-possession: “Any gentlem an would give up his post to a lady.” The officer of the day w e n t away m u tter- ■ng. i It sounded as if he said som ething about being “against the rule.” But a by­ stander said his words were: “The damn fool!” Of course, the bystander didn’t catch his words correctly. He M u st Have His Bath! Going back to the guardhouse th a t even­ ing, I told the sergeant th a t I desired to bathe. He wouldn’t let me leave the guard­ house. B u t I outw itted the horrid fellow. I have one of those little cans of Sterno canned-heat, you know, w ith its tripod, and over this I heated a sufficient am o u n t of w a ter to achieve a superficial bath. I re­ moved my upper garm e n ts and, w hile the other men in the guardhouse sat on their cots looking at me intently, I flipped the w arm drops over my shoulders and torso. The men openly marvelled a t my courage, bathing in such weather. B u t I realize th a t im p roving all sanitary conditions w h erever possible is next to Godliness. He Denounces the Wind. My turns on guard at night cam e from 10 p. m. to mid-night, and from 4 a. m. to 6 a. m. W h a t untold agony I suffered. I w o u ldn’t have minded it so much if I hadn’t been betrayed by that seductive slogan “The Sunny South,” or if the night had been w arm and moonlit, for then I could have passed the hours composing one of those exquisite little poems which I now and then dash off. B u t one can’t w rite poetry w ith good m e ter and regular feet when one’s own feet are cold. Tfie wind—how I denounced it! It had none of those soft, gray tones such as one hears in the music of Chopin. It bit and cut, and the blasts were ice-coated. I wore my W inter underw ear, two O. D. shirts, two Bed Cross sw eaters, a blouse, and an overcoat. But even then I was rapidly succum bing to the w intry elements, had it not been for a unique scheme which I h it upon. I got a portable oil stove, and, grasping it by the handle, I carried it sw inging by my side as I walked my post in m ilitary m anner, keeping always on the MAKE THE 27TH CHAMPION OF ALL DIVISIONS. By Sergeant Jam e s W. Beckman, 102d U. S. Engineers. To be a champion you first have to have the qualities th a t m ake a champion. Then you m u s t have the will to whip those qual­ ities into championship shape and the spirit and determ ination to win. The 27th Division has all the qualities th a t m ake champions. It has ju s t as keen brains, just as sound bone, and just as lithe and powerful muscle as any other arm y in the world. These raw products can be moulded and turned and ham m e red into a finished product th a t will eclipse the best we will have to face. The responsibility for the success of the 27th Division, so far as you are concerned, rests squarely upon the shoulders of one man, and th a t is the m an rig h t under your own hat. The Commanding General and your officers can plan and prescribe regula­ tions and training for you, but unless you yourself get into the w ork w ith dead earnestness and determ ination to win, you will simply be one of those near cham p ions who never arrive. Don’t depend altogether upon the men in command to make this Division the greatest in the world w ithout your fullest support. Take the m e asure of yourself, or the Ger­ m ans will, and see how far short you fall from doing your share. W hen every man does his part, the officers will have an or­ ganization which can not be shattered by how itzers or hardships. Let this be the slogan of every m an in the Division: MAKE TH E 27TH T H E CHAMPION OF ALL DIVISIONS! Then stake your life on living up to it, or you will likely give your life if you don’t. alert and observing th a t the stove was con­ stantly burning. He Loses the Stove. At the tim e the stove was handed to m e by a thoughtful fellow -private, who said he w anted to do me a favor, I had no idea th a t it w a sn’t his to dispose of. W h a t was my surprise to be confronted by the officer of the day at 3:15 a. m., dem anding w h a t in hell I was doing w ith his stove? I told him I was unaw are th a t it was his. H e then took it aw ay from me and gave m e so m any new orders th a t they perplexed me to the extent of my forgetting them all. And I am said, by my friends, to be un­ usually intellectual. My life since th a t night has been one of num erous punishm ents. Oh, if I had only known th a t the officer of the day was going to come bothering me like that. As I said to my chum and tent-m ate, Dickie darling, w h a t business has an officer of the day to be snooping around at night? Yours truly, ETHELBURT JELLYBACK, Pvt. —C. D.

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