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With an unsoldierly sigh I picked up my packages
and plodded on in search of C Company, who were
billeted in some buildings round a friendly farmhouse.
There I found Flook and despatched him to Kinjack's
Headquarters with the hamper and a bottle of
brandy. Barton, to whom I entrusted the second
bottle, told me that I was a cunning old Kangaroo,
and then regaled me with all the rumours about next
week's operations. "The bombardment begins on
Saturday/5 he said, "so we're having Battalion
Sports to-morrow, in case we get moved back to
Morlancourt." Then Durley came in with Jenkins,
one of the new officers who had been posted to the
Battalion while I was away. Fewnings, the gentle ex-
schoolmaster, had been appointed Lewis gun officer,
but he still messed with us; he now entered with the
air of a man who had been teaching Euclid and
Algebra all day. The Brigadier, he remarked, had
ticked him off that afternoon, because he was wearing
a light-coloured shirt; but no fault had been found
with his Lewis gun team organization, and, as he re-
marked, it wouldn't make much odds what sort of
shirt he was wearing in a week or two. Neither
Durley nor I had ever been favoured with a word
from our Brigadier, perhaps because our shirts were
the orthodox colour. It was odd, how seldom those
graduated autocrats found time to realize that a few
kind words could make a platoon commander con-
sider them jolly good Generals.

But there was harmony in our Company Mess, as if
our certainty of a volcanic future had put an end to
the occasional squabblings which occurred when we
were on one another's nerves. A rank animal healthi-
ness pervaded our existence during those days of busy
living and inward foreboding. The behaviour of our

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