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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

endured. I was looking westward, away from the
war, and the evening star twinkled serenely. Guns
were grumbling miles away. Cartwheels could be
heard on the roads behind Fricourt; it still made me
feel strange when I remembered that they were
German cartwheels.

Moments like those are unreproduceable when I
look back and try to recover their living texture.
One's mind eliminates boredom and physical dis-
comfort, retaining an incomplete impression of a
strange, intense, and unique experience. If there be
such a thing as ghostly revisitation of this earth, and if
ghosts can traverse time and choose their ground, I
would return to the Bois Francjais sector as it was then.
But since I always assume that spectral presences
have lost their sense of smell (and I am equally un-
certain about their auditory equipment) such haunt-
ings might be as inadequate as those which now ab-
sorb my mental energy. For trench life was an
existence saturated by the external senses; and al-
though our actions were domineered over by military
discipline, our animal instincts were always upper-
most. While I stood there then, I had no desire to
diagnose my environment. Freedom from its oppres-
siveness was what I longed for. Listening to the Ger-
man cartwheels rumbling remotely, I thought of an
old German governess I had known, and how she
used to talk about "dear old Moltke and Bismarck3'
and her quiet home in Westphalia where her father
had been a Protestant pastor. I wondered what sort
of a place Westphalia was, and wished I'd seen more
of the world before it became so busy with bloodshed.
For until I came out to the war I had only the haziest
notion of anything outside England.

Well, here I was, and my incomplete life might end
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