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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

nail-studded knobkerrie. Good old Durley wished
me luck and economically blew out the candle. As
we went along the road he remarked that it was lucky
the night was dark and rainy.

Entering the other dug-out I was slightly startled,
for I had forgotten that the raiders were to have
blacked faces (to avoid the danger of their mistaking
one another for Germans). Exchanging boisterous
jokes, they were putting the finishing touches to their
make-up with bits of burnt cork. Showing the
whites of their eyes and pretending not to recognize
one another, those twenty-five shiny-faced nigger
minstrels might almost have been getting ready for a
concert. Everyone seemed to expect the entertain-
ment to be a roaring success. But there were no
looking-glasses or banjos, and they were brandishing
knobkerries, stuffing Mills' bombs into their pockets
and hatchets into their belts, and "Who's for a Blighty
one to-night?" was the stock joke (if such a well-worn
wish could be called a joke).

At 10.30 there was a sudden silence, and Barton
told me to take the party up to Battalion Head-
quarters. It surprises me when I remember that I
set off without having had a drink, but I have always
disliked the flavour of whisky, and in those days the
helpfulness of alcohol in human affairs was a fact
which had not yet been brought home to me. The
raiders had been given only a small quantity, but it
was enough to hearten them as they sploshed up the
communication trench. None of us could know how
insignificant we were in the so-called "Great Adven-
ture" which was sending up its uneasy flares along the
Western Front. No doubt we thought ourselves some-
thing very special. But what we thought never mat-
tered; nor does it matter what sort of an inflated fool I

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