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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

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I am feeling pleased with myself about this. Now
and again a leisurely five-nine shell passes overhead
in the blue air where the larks are singing. The
sound of the shell is like water trickling into a can.
The curve of its trajectory sounds peaceful until the
culminating crash. A little weasel runs past my out-
stretched feet, glancing at me with tiny bright eyes,
apparently unafraid. One of our shrapnel shells,
whizzing over to the enemy lines, bursts with a
hollow crash. Against the clear morning sky a cloud
of dark smoke expands and drifts away. Slowly its
dingy wrestling vapours take the form of a hooded
giant with clumsy expostulating arms. Then, with
a gradual gesture of acquiescence, it lolls sideways,
falling over into the attitude of a swimmer on his side.
And so it dissolves into nothingness. Perhaps the
shell has killed someone. Whether it has or whether
it hasn't, I continue to scrape my puttees, and the
weasel goes about his business. The sun strikes the
glinting wings of an aeroplane, forging away west-
ward. Somewhere on the slope behind me a par-
tridge makes its unmilitary noise—down there where
Dick was buried a few weeks ago. Dick's father was
a very good man with a gun, so Dick used to say.. . .

Down in the reserve line I was sitting in the gloom
of the steel hut (like being inside a boiler) reading a
novel by candlelight while Barton and Mansfield
snored on their beds and my servant Flook sang
"Dixieland" in some adjoining cubby-hole. Being
in reserve was a sluggish business; in the front line
we were much less morose. Outside there was a
remote rumble going on, like heavy furniture being