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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

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ality. But I had no assurance of ever seeing him again,
or of meeting anyone who could stir up my dormant
apprehensions as he did. Was it a mistake, I won-
dered, to try and keep intelligence alive when I could
no longer call my life my own? In the brown twilight
of the tent I sat pondering with my one golden candle
flame beside me. Last night's talk with David now
assumed a somewhat ghostlike character. The sky had
been starless and clouded and the air so still that a
lighted match needed no hand to shield it. Ghosts
don't strike matches, of course; and I knew that I'd
smoked my pipe, and watched David's face—sallow,
crooked, and whimsical—when he lit a cigarette.
There must have been the usual noises going on; but
they were as much a part of our surroundings as the
weather, and it was easy to imagine that the silence
had been unbroken by the banging of field batteries
and the remote tack-tack of rifles and machine-guns.
Had that sombre episode been some premonition of
our both getting killed? For the country had loomed
limitless and strange and sullenly imbued with the
Stygian significance of the War. And the soldiers who
slept around us in their hundreds—were they not like
the dead, among whom in some dim region where
time survived in ghostly remembrances, we two could
still cheat ourselves with hopes and forecasts of a
future exempt from antagonisms and perplexities? ...
On some such sonorous cadence as this my thoughts
halted. Well, poor old David was up in the battle;
perhaps my mind was somehow in touch with his
(though he would have disparaged my "fine style", I
thought). More rationally reflective, I looked at my
companions, rolled in their blankets, their faces turned
to the earth or hidden by the folds. I thought of the
doom that was always near them now, and how I