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One of the many things I love about John O'Hara's writing skills is his ability with a few words to give me the impression that I really see what he describes, I'm really there.

In From the Terrace Alfred Eaton is at his room at Princeton. It is December 1917, the day before Christmas break. The country has entered World War One. He has just read a newspaper report of the death of his mistress Norma Budd as the result of a murder-suicide.

"Alfred re-read the newspaper and put it down and looked out the window and saw nothing but what there was to see: the hard ground, some of it dug up for trench warfare exercises; the leafless trees; the young men in civilian clothing and some in the uniform of the officers' training units; the corners of dormitories; the tops of towers; the groundkeeper's wagon...He noticed a man with a Krag slung from his shoulder; an older, Regular Army man, a sergeant, who was probably on his way to teach some younger men to shoot."

A Krag is a rifle.

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