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cut at the wire, which I now regarded with personal
enmity, enjoying at the same time a self-admiring
belief that much depended on my efforts. Worgan
stayed behind with me. Kendle was unwilling to be
left out of the adventure, but two of us would be less
conspicuous than three, and my feeling for Kendle
was somewhat protective. It was queer to be in an
empty front-line trench on a fine morning, with every-
thing quite peaceful after a violent early bombard-
ment. Queerer still to be creeping about in the long
grass (which might well have been longer, I thought),
and shearing savagely at the tangles which had be-
wildered us in the dark but were now at our mercy.
As Worgan said, we were giving it a proper hair-cut
this journey.

Lying on my stomach I glanced now and again at
the hostile slope which overlooked us, wondering
whether anyone would take a pot-shot at us, or specu-
lating on a possible visitation of machine-gun bullets
from Wing Corner. Barton's ignorance of what we
were doing made it seem like an escapade, and the
excitement was by no means disagreeable. It was
rather like going out to weed a neglected garden after
being warned that there might be a tiger among the
gooseberry bushes. I should have been astonished if
someone could have told me that I was an interesting
example of human egotism. Yet such was the truth.
I was cutting the wire by daylight because common-
sense warned me that the lives of several hundred
soldiers might depend on it being done properly. I
was excited and pleased with myself while I was doing
it. And I had entirely forgotten that to-morrow six
Army Corps would attack, and whatever else hap-
pened, a tragic slaughter was inevitable. But if I had
been intelligent enough to realize all that, my talents