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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

definite personal possession to be lived up to, I
thought. I watched the men dozing in odd ungainly
attitudes, half listened to their talk about the souvenirs
they'd picked up in the German trenches, or stared
at some captured guns being brought down the line
which led to Mametz.

A few of the men were wandering about, and my
meditations were disturbed by Kinjack, who^had
given orders that everyone was to rest all day. "Tell
those men to lie down/' he shouted, adding—as he
returned to his bivouac on the slope—"The bastards'll
be glad to before they're much older." It was believed
that his brusque manners had prevented him getting
promotion, but everyone knew that it would be a bad
day for the Battalion when Kinjack got his Brigade.

Evening fell calm and overcast, with a blurred
orange sunset. Sitting among rank grass and thistles I
stared pensively down at the four battalions grouped
in the hollow. Thin smoke rose from the little bivouac
fires which had been used for tea making; among the
gruff murmuring which came up with the smoke, the
nasal chant of a mouth organ did its best to "keep the
home fires burning". In front of the hollow the open
ground sloped treeless to Bazentin Ridge, dull green
and stripped with seams of trenches cut in the chalky
soil. Field-guns were firing on the right and some
aeroplanes hummed overhead. Beyond that hill our
future awaited us. There would be no turning back
from it. ... I would have liked Flook to bring me
an orange, but he was away with Jenkins and the
carrying-party, and oranges were almost as remote
as the sunset. Poor Flook will be awfully worried
about not being with his officer bloke, I thought,
imagining his stolid red face puffing along under a
box of ammunition. ... I went down the hill just

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