Continue, my son."
"Well, then," Pierre went on, his voice deepening and his face growing more tense, "then we were sent to Verdun. That was the hottest place of all. It was at the top of the big German drive. The whole sea rushed and fell on us--big guns, little guns, poison-gas, hand-grenades, liquid fire, bayonets, knives, and trench-clubs. Fort after fort went down. The whole pack of hell was loose and raging. I thought of that crazy, chinless Crown Prince sitting in his safe little cottage hidden in the woods somewhere--they say he had flowers and vines planted around it--drinking stolen champagne and sicking on his dogs of death. He was in no danger. I cursed him in my heart, that blood-lord! The shells rained on Verdun. The houses were riddled; the cathedral was pierced in a dozen places; a hundred fires broke out. The old citadel held good. The outer forts to the north and east were taken. Only the last ring was left. We common soldiers did not know much about what was happening. The big battl
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