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scuffle; one had the other's head under his arm. Why
should I remember that and forget so much else?
Wednesday morning was miserably wet. Junior
officers, being at a loss to know where to put them-
selves, were continually meeting one another along
the muddy street, and gathering in groups to exchange
cheerful remarks; there was little else to be done, and
solitude produced the sinking sensation appropriate
to the circumstances. The men were in their billets,
and they too were keeping their spirits up as vocally
as they could. At noon Barton came back from the
Colonel's final conference of company commanders.
A couple of hours later the anti-climax arrived. We
were told that all arrangements for the show were in
temporary abeyance. A popular song, All dressed up
and nowhere to go, provided the obvious comment,
and our confidence in Operation Orders oozed away.
Was it the wet weather, we wondered, or had the
artillery preparation been inadequate? Uncertainty
ended with an inanimate message; we were to go up
to the line that evening. The attack was postponed
forty-eight hours. No one knew why.
At five o'clock C Company fell in, about eighty
strong. The men were without packs; they carried
extra ammunition, two Mills' bombs, two smoke hel-
mets, and a waterproof sheet with a jersey rolled in-
side; their emergency rations consisted of two tins of
bully beef, eight hard biscuits, and canteen packed
with grocery ration. In spite of the anti-climax (which
had made us feel that perhaps this was only going to
be a second edition of the Battle of Loos) my personal
impression was that we were setting out for the other