Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Josephine Paolucci, Tom
Allen, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.
THE FALSE FACES
FURTHER ADVENTURES FROM THE HISTORY OF THE LONE WOLF
BY LOUIS JOSEPH VANCE
I Out of No Man’s Land
II From a British Port
III In the Barred Zone
IV In Deep Waters
V On the Banks
VI Under Suspicion
VII In Stateroom 29
VIII Off Nantucket
IX Sub Sea
X At Base
XI Under the Rose
XVI Au Printemps
XVIII Danse Macabre
XIX Force Majeure
OUT OF NO MAN’S LAND
On the muddy verge of a shallow little pool the man lay prone and still, as
still as those poor dead whose broken bodies rested all about him, where
they had fallen, months or days, hours or weeks ago, in those grim contests
which the quick were wont insensately to wage for a few charnel yards of
that debatable ground.
Alone of all that awful company this man lived and, though he ached with
the misery of hunger and cold and rain-drenched garments, was unharmed.
Ever since nightfall and a brisk skirmish had made practicable an
undetected escape through the German lines, he had been in the open,
alternately creeping toward the British trenches under cover of darkness
and resting in deathlike immobility, as he now rested, while pistol-lights
and star-shells flamed overhead, flooding the night with ghastly glare
and disclosing in pitiless detail that two-hundred-yard ribbon of earth,
littered with indescribable abominations, which set apart the combatants.
When this happened, the living had no other choice than to ape the dead,
lest the least movement, detected by eyes that peered without rest through
loopholes in the sandbag parapets, invite a bullet’s blow.
Now it was midnight, and lights were flaring less frequently, even as
rifle-fire had grown more intermittent … as if many waters might quench
out hate in the heart of man!
For it was raining hard—a dogged, dreary downpour drilling through a heavy