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ONE EVENING about a fortnight later I was down
in that too familiar front-line dug-out with Bar-
ton, who had just returned from leave and was un-
able to disguise his depression. I wasn't feeling over
bright myself after tramping to and fro in the gluey
trenches all day. A little rain made a big difference to
life up there, and the weather had been wet enough to
make the duckboards wobble when one stepped on
them. Fd got sore feet and a trench mouth and food
tasted filthy. And the Boche trench-mortars had
been strafing us more than usual that evening. Prob-
ably I've been smoking too much lately, I thought,
knocking my pipe out against one of the wooden
props which held up the cramped little den, and star-
ing irritably at my mud-encumbered boots, for I was
always trying to keep squalor at bay, and the discom-
fort of feeling dirty and tickly all over was almost as
bad as a bombardment. It certainly wasn't much of a
place to be low-spirited in, so I tried reading the
paper which the Company-Sergeant-Major had just
delivered when he came down for the rum ration.
The rum jar lived under Barton's bed; having been
poured into some tin receptacle, the rum was carried
cautiously upstairs to be tipped into the men's tea-
"Fancy Kitchener being drowned in the North