Skip to main content

Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

See other formats

be an almost stimulating experience. Though banished
to the backs of our minds, those automatic utterances
can still be recalled; but who can restore Clitherland
Gamp and its counterparts all over the country?
Most of them were constructed on waste land; and
to waste land they have relapsed. I cannot imagine
any ex-soldier revisiting Clitherland in pensive pil-
grimage. Apart from its deadening associations, it
was in an unattractive neighbourhood. The district
was industrial. Half a mile away were the chimneys
of Bryant's Match Factory. - Considerably closer was
a hissing and throbbing inferno, which incessantly
concocted the form of high explosive known as T.N.T.;
when the wind was in the east the Camp got the
benefit of the fumes, which caused everyone to cough.
Adjoining the Camp, on the other side, was a large
Roman Catholic cemetery. Frequent funeral pro-
cessions cheered up the troops. The surrounding
country, with its stunted dwelling-houses, dingy trees,
disconsolate canal, and flat root-fields, was corres-
pondingly unlikeable.

Unrolling my valise in a comfortless hut on that
first afternoon, I was completely cut off from any-
thing I had done before. Not a soul in the Camp
had ever set eyes on me until to-day* And I was
totally ignorant of all that I had to learn before I was
fit to go to the Front. Fixing up my folding bed, in
which I managed to pinch my finger, I listened to
what this new world had to tell me. A bugle call
was blownórather out of tuneóbut what event it
signalized I couldn't say. An officer's servant was
whistling cheerfully, probably to a pair of brown
shoes. A door banged and his army boots thumped
hastily along the passage. Then a sedate tread passed
along on the boards, evidently some senior officer,