Fair Stood the Wind for France

Fair Stood the Wind for France

Fair Stood the Wind for France

Fair Stood the Wind for France

Excerpt

Sometimes the Alps lying below in the moonlight had the appearance of crisp folds of crumpled cloth. The glacial valleys were alternately shadowy and white as starch in the blank glare of the full moon; and then in the distances, in all directions, as far as it was possible to see, the high snow peaks were fluid and glistening as crests of misty water. Somewhere below, in peacetime, at Domo d'Ossola, Franklin remembered he had once waited for a train.

He held the mouthpiece of the intercomm to his mouth, dry now after all the hours of flying across France, across the Alps and into Italy, and called his crew.

"All set for France," he said. "Any complaints?"

"Home is where I long to be," the sergeant rear gunner said, "before I bust with boredom. What year is it?"

"We're Hannibal crossing the Alps," Godwin said. "The year is 218 B.C."

"It could be," O'Connor said. "It's all right for Sandy. He just sits and plays bloody patience."

"Patience hell," Sandy said. "I'm dying of excitement now."

Franklin listened rather dully, his mind flat with strain, to the talk of the crew. It was August and the papers were beginning to use once again, with slight agitation, the word "offensive." It did not mean very much to him. All through the winter the offensive had been mounted against Germany and had gone on, with some breaks in the late winter because of weather, into the third summer of the war. The New Year had come in again, as it had done the previous year and the year before that, with snow, and the spring had followed with bitter dry winds in May. There had been much east wind and sometimes that summer, with things going wrong again in Egypt and the summer seem-

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