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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

would have been glad if he could have gone to the
Front himself, things being as they were; but he
would have regarded it as a greater tragedy if he had
seen me shirking my responsibility. To him, as to
me, the War was inevitable and justifiable. Courage
remained a virtue. And that exploitation of courage,
if I may be allowed to say a thing so obvious, was the
essential tragedy of the War, which, as everyone now
agrees, was a crime against humanity.

Luckily for my peace of mind, I had no such
intuitions when I walked across the fields to Butley
that afternoon, with four o'clock striking in mellow
tones from the grey church tower, the village children
straggling home from school, and the agricultural
serenity of the Weald widespread in the delicate hazy
sunshine. In the tall trees near Captain Huxtable's
house the rooks were holding some sort of conference,
and it was with a light heart that I turned in at his
gate. It happened that as I rang the front-door bell
an airship droned its way over the house. Every
afternoon that airship passed over our parish, on its
way, so it was said, to France. The Captain came
out now to watch it from his doorstep, and when it
had disappeared he led me into his sanctum and
showed me a careful pencil drawing of it, which he
had made the first time its lustrous body appeared
above his garden. Under the stiff little sketch he had
written, "airship over our house", and the date. It
was his way of "putting on record" a significant event*
Sixteen months afterwards he probably jotted down
some such memorandum as this: "Between n and
12 this morning, while we were getting in the last
load of hay, I distinctly heard the guns in France. A
very faint thudding noise but quite continuous as long
as it was audible." But he wasn't able to make a

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