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Spring arrived late that year. Or was it that spring
kept away from the front line as long as possible?
Up there it seemed as though the winter would last
for ever. On wet days the trees a mile away were
like ash-grey smoke rising from the naked ridges, and
it felt very much as if we were at the end of the world.
And so we were; for that enemy world (which by
daylight we saw through loopholes or from a hidden
observation post) had no relation to the landscape of
life. It had meant the end of the world for the man
whose helmet was still lying about the trench with a
jagged hole through it. Steel hats (which our Division
had begun to wear in February) couldn't keep out a

rifle bullet-----

By five o'clock on a frosty white morning it would
be daylight. Trees and broken roofs emerged here
and there from the folds of mist that drifted in a dense
blur; above them were the white shoals and chasms
of the sky flushed with the faint pink of dawn. Stand-
ing-to at dawn was a desolate affair. The men stamped
their feet and rats scurried along the crannied para-
pets. But we'd had our tot of rum, and we were to
be relieved that afternoon. . . . Dandelions had be-
gun to flower along the edges of the communication
trenches. This was a sign of spring, I thought, as we
filed down Canterbury Avenue, with the men making
jokes about the estaminet in Morlancourt. Estaminet!
What a memory evoking word! ... It was little
enough that they had to go back to.

As for me, I had more or less made up my mind to
die; the idea made things easier. In the circum-
stances there didn't seem to be anything else to be
done. I only mention the fact because it seems, now,
so strange that I should have felt like that when I had
so much of my life to lose. Strange, too, was the