Cover

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Title Page, Series Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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A Note on the Text and Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

This book reproduces the first edition of Points of Honor, published by Charles Scribner’s Sons in 1925. I have corrected several obvious errors, but retained Boyd’s original archaic spellings and eccentric contractions. The latter appear most frequently in passages of dialogue...

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Introduction

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pp. ix-xxxvi

Timed to coincide with the one-hundredth anniversary of American participation in World War I, this new edition of Thomas Boyd’s short story collection, Points of Honor (1925), rescues from obscurity a vivid, kaleidoscopic vision of American soldiers, US Marines mostly...

Points of Honor

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pp. 1-4

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Foreword

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pp. 5-6

These stories, perhaps the last upon the war that I shall publish, were written in an effort toward completion of one scene of the late war— the scene of which “Through the Wheat” served as groundwork. Now obviously the heart of war is to be found in actual combat, and as such...

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I. Unadorned

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pp. 7-21

After they had returned from one of those practice manoeuvres which had kept them standing in mud, viscous as court-plaster, for hours through the cold, black, soundless night; chilled and with that flat, dusty taste in their mouths which comes with early morning, it was...

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II. The Kentucky Boy

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pp. 22-37

The letters S O S, so grouped, have a multitude of meanings. Coming from a ship at sea they are a signal of distress and a plea for help; used in common speech they apply to subjects which have become distasteful through repetition. But to John Goodwin those letters described...

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III. Responsibility

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pp. 38-52

During the day the Marne was green, but at twilight the soft haze of falling evening obscured its face with a film of blue, like smoke from an autumn bonfire. Lighter, though soaked in the same shade, the houses of Nanteuil were quiet in the July dusk; the windows were...

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IV. “Sound Adjutant’s Call”

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pp. 53-69

Perhaps nearly every American— to limit a meandering generality to one nation—some time before he has passed into middle age has felt the desire to be a soldier. Not an enlisted man who sews his own buttons on his tunic and has fifteen dollars a month to spend, who is...

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V. Rintintin

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pp. 70-86

I do not know whether you remember them or not, or even whether you ever saw them—those strange little dolls which some of the French soldiers carried in the pockets of their tunics or wore about their uniforms? They were inconspicuous enough, no longer than your finger...

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VI. A Little Gall

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pp. 87-99

It was late November. But whether the hour was morning, noon, or nearly night could not have been told without a watch. For the vicinity of Saint Nazaire, this was not unusual. In the absence of a discouraged sun the shorn trees were sweating coldly on the hillside...

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VII. The Ribbon Counter

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pp. 100-112

They were all the same—no difference at all between one and another so long as each wore a tin hat, an olive drab uniform, and a gasmask slung around his neck; all the same under the steel Stetson—like hell! —MacMahon was following out a generalization he had read in a...

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VIII. The Nine Days’ Kitten

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pp. 113-127

From the farther and better-lighted end of the long, tarred paper bunk-house sounded the voices of the company quartette: Goodwin, Everett, Enright, and Riley Crookes. It was their favorite song that they were singing, and in it they unbosomed all of their loneliness...

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IX. The Long Shot

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pp. 128-151

Duncan Milner was a good shot, an expert rifleman. For this distinction the government had given him a medal and, each month, allowed him an extra five dollars to spend in whatever way he pleased. Being a qualified marksman he had been chosen to be one of the four in the...

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X. Uninvited

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pp. 152-159

You may be of the opinion that such a job as that of field worker in the United States Registration of Graves Service is a very peculiar one to have. Not only that, but a singular topic to speak of in the beginning of a story. Who knows? Perhaps you hold an irrefragable prejudice...

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XI. Semper Fidelis

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pp. 160-166

My excuse for presenting this actual tale is that the first half of it was written by Stephen Crane and—of necessity—left by him unfinished, since the latter part did not take place until eighteen years after Crane was dead. It is about a man whom Crane once saw and...

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Explanatory Notes

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pp. 167-180

John A. Hughes: Nicknamed “Johnny the Hard,” Major John A. Hughes (1880–1942) commanded Thomas Boyd’s unit—the First Battalion, Sixth Marines—throughout its service in the Great War. An experienced professional soldier, Hughes received the Medal of Honor for courageous...