Skip to main content

Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

See other formats

IVe been waiting eighteen months for it, and now I
can go home." I told him we'd get him away on a
stretcher soon, and then he muttered: "Mick
O'Brien's somewhere down in the craters."

All this had been quick work and not at all what
I'd expected. Things were slowing down now. The
excitement was finished, and O'Brien was somewhere
down in the craters. The bombing and rifle fire had
slackened when I started out to look for him. I went
mechanically, as though I were drowning myself in
the darkness. This is no fun at all, was my only
thought as I groped my way down the soft clogging
side of the left-hand crater; no fun at all, for they
were still chucking an occasional bomb and firing cir-
cumspectly. I could hear the reloading click of rifle
bolts on the lip of the crater above me as I crawled
along with mud-clogged fingers, or crouched and held
my breath painfully. Bullets hit the water and little
showers of earth pattered down from the banks. I
knew that nothing in my previous experience of
patrolling had ever been so grim as this, and I lay
quite still for a bit, miserably wondering whether my
number was up; then I remembered that I was wear-
ing my pre-war raincoat; I could feel the pipe and
tobacco pouch in my pocket and somehow this made
me less forlorn, though life seemed much further away
than the low mumble of voices in our trench. A flare
would have helped rny searchings, but they had
stopped sending them up; pawing the loose earth and
dragging my legs after me, I worked my way round
the crater. O'Brien wasn't there, so I got across into
the other one, which was even more precipitous and
squashy. Down there I discovered him. Another
man was crouching beside him, wounded in one arm
and patiently waiting for help. O'Brien moaned