"They were digging in front of Bois Fran£ais Trench
again last night/' I remarked.
Barton had just received a message from battalion
headquarters saying that the company front was to
be thoroughly patrolled.
'Til take O'Brien out with me to-night/51 added.
Barton's ruddy face had resumed the worried
expression which it wore when messages came from
Kinjack or the Adjutant.
"All right, Kangar; but do be careful. It puts the
fear of God into me when you're out there and I'm
waiting for you to come in."
It put the fear of God into me too, but it was the
only escape into freedom which I could contrive, up
in those trenches opposite Fricourt and Mametz. And
I was angry with the War.
Memory eliminates the realities of bodily discom-
fort which made the texture of trench-life what it was.
Mental activity was clogged and hindered by gross
physical actualities. It was these details of discomfort
which constituted the humanity of an infantryman's
existence. Being in the trenches meant among other
things having a "trench-mouth".
I can see myself sitting in the sun in a nook among
the sandbags and chalky debris behind the support
line. There is a strong smell of chloride of lime. I am
scraping the caked mud off my wire-torn puttees with
a rusty entrenching tool. Last night I was out patrol-
ling with Private O'Brien, who used to be a dock
labourer at Cardiff. We threw a few Mills'bombs at a
German working-party who were putting up some
wire and had no wish to do us any harm. Probably