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And now he might be sending a five-nine shell over
at us for all we, or he, knew. It was eleven o'clock
when I got back to Morlancourt. Dottrell was having
a glass of rum and hot water before turning in. He
had already found out all the details which I had
scribbled in my notebook.


MORLANCOURT WAS tucked away among the
fold of long slopes and bare ridges of plough-
land. Five roads entered the village and each road, in
its friendly convergence with the others, had its little
crop of houses. There was a church with a slated
tower and a gilt vane, round which birds wheeled
and clacked. In the hollow ground in the middle,
where the five roads met, there was a congregation
of farm buildings round an open space with a pond
on one side of it. It seemed a comfortable village
when one looked down on its red and grey roofs and
its drab and ochre walls.

The long lines of the high ground hid the rest of the
world: on the ridge one saw a few straggling trees, a
team of greys ploughing or dredging, and some horse-
men or a hooded farm-cart moving along the white
edge of the skyline. The wind piped across the open,
combing the thorn bushes which grew under high
banks, and soughing in isolated plane trees and
aspens. It was a spacious landscape of distant objects
delicately defined under an immense sky. The light
swept across it in a noble progress of wind and cloud,
and evening brought it mystery and sadness. At night
the whole region became a dusk of looming slopes
with lights of village and bivouac picked out here and