The long June twilight faded into night. Dublin lay covered in mist
and enveloped in darkness but for the dim light of the moon that
glazed through fleecy clouds, casting a pale light approaching dawn
over the streets and the dark waters of the Lake. Around the deserted
Four Courts the heavy guns roared. Here and there through the city,
machine guns and rifles broke the silence of the night, like dogs
barking on lone farms. Republicans and Free Staters were waging civil
On a rooftop near O'Connell Bridge, a Republican sniper lay watching.
Beside him lay his rifle and over his shoulders was slung a pair of
field glasses. His face was the face of a student, thin and revering,
but his eyes had the cold gleam of the fanatic. They were deep and
thoughtful, the eyes of a man who is used to looking at death.
He was eating a sandwich hungrily. He had eaten nothing since morning.
He had been too excited to eat. He finished the sandwich, and, taking
a flask of whisky from his pocket, he took a short drought. Then he
returned the flask to his pocket. He paused for a moment, considering
whether he should take a smoke. It was dangerous. The flash might be
seen in the darkness, and there were enemies watching. He decided to
take the risk.
Placing a cigarette between his lips, he struck a match, inhaled the
smoke hurriedly and put out the light. Almost immediately, a bullet
flattened itself against the parapet of the roof. The sniper took
another whiff and put out the cigarette. Then he swore softly and
crawled away to the left.
Cautiously he raised himself and peered over the parapet. There was a ...
... middle of paper ...
...rawled down through the skylight to the house
When the sniper reached the laneway on the street level, he felt a
sudden curiosity as to the identity of the enemy sniper whom he had
killed. He decided that he was a good shot, whoever he was. He
wondered did he know him. Perhaps he had been in his own company
before the split in the army. He decided to risk going over to have a
look at him. He peered around the corner into O'Connell Street. In the
upper part of the street there was heavy firing, but around here all
The sniper darted across the street. A machine gun tore up the ground
around him with a hail of bullets, but he escaped. He threw himself
face downward beside the corpse. The machine gun stopped.
Then the sniper turned over the dead body and looked into his father's
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