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ness of which may be imagined. But then, as always,
my sleeping-bag (or "flea-bag" as we called it) was a
good friend to me, and we were in clover compared
with the men (no one who was in the War need be
reminded of that unavoidable circumstance).

Barton (like all the battalion officers except the
C.O., the second-in-command, and the quarter-
master, and four or five subalterns from Sandhurst)
was a civilian. He was big, burly, good-natured, and
easy-going; had been at Harrow and, until the War,
had lived a comfortably married life on an adequate
unearned income. He was, in fact, a man of snug and
domesticated habits and his mere presence (wearing
pince-nez) in a front-line trench made one feel that
it ought, at any rate, to be cosy. Such an inherently
amicable man as Barton was a continual reminder of
the incongruity of war with everyday humanity. In
the meantime he was making gallant efforts to be-
have professionally, and keep his end up as a com-
pany commander. But that stove had no business to
be making the room uninhabitable with its suffoca-
ting fumes. It really wasn't fair on a chap like old
Barton, who had always been accustomed to a bright
fire and a really good glass of port. . . .

So my company received me; and for an infantry
subaltern the huge unhappy mechanism of the West-
ern Front always narrowed down to the company
he was in. My platoon accepted me apathetically. It
was a diminished and exhausted little platoon, and its
mind was occupied with anticipations of "Divisional

To revert to my earlier fact, "got to Bethune by
half-past ten", it may well be asked how I can state
the time of arrival so confidently. My authority is
the diary which I began to keep when I left England.