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would have been serving in some more exalted place,
probably Corps Intelligence Headquarters. Anyhow,
at the end of an hour and a half the gaps were real
good ones, and Barton's red face and glittering pince-
nez were bobbing up and down beyond the parapet
with sotto-voce incitements to prudence. Soon after-
wards we dropped into the trench and the Man-
chesters began to arrive. It had been great fun,
I said, flourishing my wire-cutters.

Early in the afternoon the Doctor bustled up from
Battalion Headquarters to tell me that my M.C. had
come through. This gratifying little event increased
my blindness to the blood-stained future. Homeliness
and humanity beamed in Barton's congratulations;
and the little doctor, who would soon be dressing the
wounds of moaning men, unpicked his own faded
medal-ribbon, produced a needle and thread, and
sewed the white and purple portent on to my tunic.
For the rest of the day and, indeed, for the remainder
of my military career, the left side of my chest was
more often in my mind than the right—a habit which
was common to a multitude of wearers of Military
Cross ribbons. Books about war psychology ought to
contain a chapter on "medal-reflexes" and "decora-
tion complexes". Much might be written, even here,
about medals and their stimulating effect on those
who really risked their lives for them. But the safest
thing to be said is that nobody knew how much a de-
coration was worth except the man who received it.
Outwardly the distribution of them became more and
more fortuitous and debased as the Wax went on; and
no one knew it better than the infantry, who rightly