felt keen; as we marched down to Morlancourt a
flock of pigeons circled above the roofs with the light
shining through their wings. It was a village which
had not suffered from shell-fire. Its turn came rather
more than two years afterwards.
We were all kept busy that afternoon: Barton and
the other company commanders were harassed by
continuous "chits" from battalion H.Q,. and, as
young Ormand remarked when he came to leave his
gramophone in my care, "everyone had fairly got the
breeze up". The only person who showed no sign of
irritability was the Quartermaster, who continued to
chaff M. Perrineau, with whom he stumped about the
village mollifying everyone and putting difficulties to
Late in the evening I was sent off to a hamlet a
mile away to find out (from the billeting officer of the
New Army battalion we were relieving next day)
certain details of routine connected with the transport
of rations to the Line. This billeting officer recog-
nized me before I remembered who he was. His
name was Regel (which he now pronounced Regal).
I had forgotten his existence since we were at school
together. He now dictated his methodical informa-
tion, and when I had finished scribbling notes about
"water-trolley horses", "mule-stable just beyond first
barricade", and so on, we talked for a while about
"How's your cousin Willie?" I asked, for want of
anything else to say. His chubby face looked em-
barrassed, and he replied (in a low voice, for there
were two other officers in the room): "He's on the
other side—in the artillery." . . .
I remembered then that Willie (a very nice boy)
had always gone home to Hanover for the holidays.