The Life of Captain Gareth Caernarvon: Missing Piece

The following is a piece of my story The Life of Captain Gareth Caernarvon that was edited out of the version published in McSweeney’s. I don’t think the editor was necessarily wrong in cutting it . . . I really don’t know, as it is hard to have an opinion on what one writes (for me). Anyhow, here it is:

The Life of Captain Gareth Caernarvon: Missing Xth Section

He saw active service in India, in Ashanti, on the Congo, and in Egypt. Most notable however was the part he played in the Anglo-Boer war.

“Hunting Boers is like hunting quail,” he once said. “Man-shooting is the finest sport of all. It’s easy to become infatuated with it. The more you kill the more you want to kill.”

He burned farms, confiscated food, arrested women and children.

The British were being hammered away with artillery and rifle fire. The enemy had Krupp rapid fire howitzers, Vickers-Maxim pom-poms, and a Long Tom.

There was much carnage.

Finally, to Caernarvon’s delight, a number of 12-pounder Armstrong breech loaders arrived to his aid.

“Shell them to blazes!” he cried.

Still however the British were at a decided disadvantage.

“Our boys will have to make a dash for it and take care of those puppies.”     

“We might lose a few men,” Lieutenant Percy Scott ventured.

“It’s all part of the show,” Caernarvon said simply.

. . . a death charge . . . . . .

A number of stretcher-carriers scurried by, their burdens bloody lumps of pounded meat, others snaked their way forward, faces white . . .

He watched in delight the effect of the fire; not only his but the enemy’s as well; as men were blown to bits, as the earth around him became littered with body parts, covered with gobbets of flesh.

An explosion to his right.

“You alright Percy?”

“I believe they have taken off my legs Captain.”

“It does damned well look that way my boy!”

“Yes, I am afraid this will most certainly put an end to my cricket game.”

“Well, pluck up, at least it isn’t raining.”

. . . He despised squeamishness and petty cowardice.

It was a killed-equals-saved-the-trouble-of-going-forward-we-had-jam-and-cocoa-for-dinner sort of day.

 

 

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