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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

end of nowhere. I had slipped a book into my haver-
sack and it was a comfort to be carrying it, for Thomas
Hardy's England was between its covers. But if any
familiar quotation was in my mind during the bustle
of departure, it may well have been "we brought no-
thing into this world, and it is certain we can carry
nothing out of it". We had trudged that way up to
the Citadel and 71. North many times before; but
never in such a blood-red light as now, when we
halted with the sunset behind us and the whole sky
mountainous with the magnificence of retreating rain-
clouds. Tours of trenches had been routine, with an
ordinary chance of casualties. But this time we
seemed to have left Morlancourt behind us for ever,
and even a single company of Flintshire Fusiliers
(with a ten minute interval between it and B and D
Companies) was justified in feeling that the eyes of
Europe were upon it. As for myself, I felt nothing
worth recording—merely a sense of being irrevocably
involved in something bigger than had ever happened
before. And the symbolism of the sunset was wasted
on the rank and file, who were concerned with the not
infrequent badness of their boots, the discomfort
caused by perspiration, and the toils and troubles of
keeping pace with what was required of them till
further notice. By nine o'clock we had relieved the
Border Regiment. The mud was bad, but the sky was
clear. The bombardment went on steadily, with
periods of intensity; but that infernal shindy was
taken for granted and was an aid to optimism. I felt
rather lonely without Durley, who had been left
behind with the dozen officers who were in reserve.
New Trench, which we took over, had been a good
deal knocked about, but we passed an unharassed
night. We were opposite Sunken Road Trench, which