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outcome of my previous day's shopping.

Armed with Aunt Evelyn's membership ticket
(posted back to her afterwards) I had invaded the
Army and Navy Stores and procured a superb salmon,
two bottles of old brandy, an automatic pistol, and
two pairs of wire-cutters with rubber-covered handles.
The salmon was now my chief concern. I was con-
cerned about its future freshness, for I had overstayed
my leave by twenty-four hours. A rich restaurant
dinner followed by a mechanical drawing-room
comedy hadn't made the risk of Kinjack's displeasure
seem worth while; but I felt that the salmon spelt
safety at Battalion Headquarters. Probably the word
smelt also entered my apprehensive mind. The brandy
claimed that it had been born in 1838, so one day
more or less couldn't affect its condition, as long as I
kept an eye on it (for such bottles were liable to lose
themselves on a leave boat). The wire-cutters were
my private contribution to the Great Offensive. I
had often cursed the savage bluntness of our Com-
pany's wire-cutters, and it occurred to me, in the
Army and Navy Stores, that if we were going over the
top we might want to cut our own wire first, to say
nothing of the German wire (although our artillery
would have made holes in that, I hoped). So I
bought these very civilized ones, which looked almost
too good for the Front Line. The man in the Weapon
Department at the Stores had been persuasive about
a periscope (probably prismatic) but I came to the
conclusion that a periscope was a back number in my
case. I shouldn't be in the trench long enough to
need it. Apart from the wire-cutters and the pistol,
all other "trench requisites" appeared redundant. I
couldn't see myself leading my platoon with Mortle-
marfs Patent Sound Absorbers plugged in my ears, and a