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  • Topic: Siege, Madrid, Artillery
  • Pages : 2 (625 words )
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  • Published : May 16, 2013
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29. They say you never hear the one that hits you. That is true of bullets because if you hear them they are already past. I heard the last shell that hit this hotel. Heard it start from the battery, then come with a whistling incoming roar like a subway train, to crash against a cornice and shower the room with broken glass and plaster. And while the glass still tinkled down and you listened for the next one to start, you realized that now finally you were back in Madrid. Madrid is quiet now. Aragon is the active front. There is little fighting around Madrid except mining and countermining, trench raiding, trench mortar strafing and sniping in the stalemate of constant siege warfare going on in Carabanchel, Usera and University City. The cities are shelled very little. Some days there is no shelling and the weather is beautiful and the streets crowded. Shops full of clothing, jewelry stores, camera shops, picture dealers, antiquarians are all open and cafes and bars are crowded. Beer is scarce and whisky is almost unobtainable. The store windows are full of Spanish imitations of all cordials, whiskys, vermouths. These are not recommended for internal use though I am employing something called Milords Ecosses Whisky on my face after shaving. It swarts a little but feels very hygienic. I believe it would be a possible cure for athlete’s foot, but one must be very careful not to spill it on one’s clothes because it eats wool. The crowds are cheerful and the sandbagged-fronted cinemas are crowded every afternoon. The nearer one gets to the front, the more cheerful and optimistic the people are. At the front itself optimism reaches such a point that, very much against my good judgement, I was induced to go swimming in a small river forming No Man’s Land on the Guenca. The river was a fast flowing stream, very chilly and completely dominated by the Fascist positions, which made me even chiller. I became so chilly at the idea of swimming in the river at all under the...
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