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in the toil that had heaped those mounds of bleaching
sandbags, and even the ist of July had become an im-
probable memory, now that the dead bodies had been
cleared away. Rank thistles were already thriving
among the rusty rifles, torn clothing, and abandoned
equipment of those who had fallen a couple of weeks

That evening we heard that our Second Battalion
had bivouacked about half a mile from the camp.
Their Division had been brought down from Flanders
and was on its way up to Bazentin, Returning from an
after dinner stroll I found that several Second Bat-
talion officers had come to visit us. It was almost dark;
these officers were standing outside our tent with
Durley and the others, and it sounded as if they were
keeping up their courage with the volubility usual
among soldiers who knew that they would soon be in
an attack. Among them, big and impulsive, was
David Cromlech, who had been with our Battalion
for three months of the previous winter. As I ap-
proached the group I recognized his voice with a
shock of delighted surprise. He and I had never been
in the same Company, but we were close friends,
although somehow or other I have hitherto left him
out of my story. On this occasion his face was only
dimly discernible, so I will not describe it, though it
was a remarkable one. An instinct for aloofness which
is part of my character caused me to remain in the
background for a minute or two, and I now overhead
his desperately cheerful ejaculations with that inde-
finite pang of affection often felt by a detached ob-
server of such spontaneous behaviour. When I joined