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The shooting, fortunately, was not very accurate, no doubt because, by the light of the flares, it was difficult for the German observers to direct their fire. But the hint was enough for the Tearaways, and they knew that daybreak would bring more accurate and more constant artillery fire upon the new position.

"About them fifty thousand francs, sorr," said the messman, cunningly, "or five thousand, was it?" That both Riley and Brock, as well as the Captain, professed their profound ignorance of the tale only served, as they well knew, to strengthen the Tearaways Rifles' belief in it, and after the man had gone they imparted their plan with huge delight and joyful anticipation to the Captain.

Now that the new parapet had been heightened and strengthened, the casualties behind it had almost ceased, and the Tearaways were quite reasonably flattering themselves on the worst of the work being done and the worst of the dangers over.

There were plenty of flares being thrown up from the German lines and a more or less erratic rifle fire was crackling up and down the trenches on both sides, the Tearaways taking care to keep their bullets clear of the working party, to fire no more than enough to allay any German suspicions of a job being in hand, and not to provoke any extra hostility.

The rifles and maxims of the Tearaways had from the main trench kept up a steady volume of fire on the German parapet, in an endeavor to keep down its fire. They shot from the main trench in comparative safety, because the German fire was directed almost exclusively on the new trench.

It was the day when the Tearaways moved into the new position, and the O.C. had been instructed that he was expected to commence digging operations as soon as it was dark that night, the method and manner of digging being left entirely in his own hand. The Major, the Adjutant, and a couple of Captains conferred gloomily over the prospective task.

It was particularly unfortunate that just about this time the winter issue of a regular rum ration had ceased, and that, immediately before they moved in, a number of the Tearaways had been put under stoppages of pay for an escapade with which this story need have no concern.

As soon as the Tearaways were established in the new position, the O.C. and the adjutant made a tour of their lines, carefully reconnoitering through their periscopes the open ground which had been pointed out to them on the map as the line of the new trench which they were to commence digging.

It's no pleasure in life they leave us at all, at all. They'll be afther stopping the fighting next." Of that last, however, there was comparatively little fear at the moment. A brisk action had opened some days before the Tearaways were brought up from the reserve, and the forward line which they were now sent in to occupy had been a German trench less than a week before.