line of battle. Only the distant thud of gun-fire dis-
turbed the silence—like someone kicking footballs—a
soft bumping, miles away. Walking along by the river
I passed the horse-lines of the Indian cavalry; the
barley field above couldn't raise a rustle, so still was
the air. Low in the west, pale orange beams were
streaming down on the country that receded with a
sort of rich regretful beauty, like the background of a
painted masterpiece. For me that evening expressed
the indeterminate tragedy which was moving, with
agony on agony, toward the autumn.
I leant on a wooden bridge, gazing down into the
dark green glooms of the weedy little river, but my
thoughts were powerless against unhappiness so huge.
I couldn't alter European history, or order the ar-
tillery to stop firing. I could stare at the War as I
stared at the sultry sky, longing for life and freedom
and vaguely altruistic about my fellow-victims. But a
second-lieutenant could attempt nothing—except to
satisfy his superior officers; and altogether, I con-
cluded, Armageddon was too immense for my solitary
understanding. Then the sun came out for a last red-
dening look at the War, and I turned back to the camp
with its clustering tents and crackling fires. I finished
the day jawing to young Fernby about fox-hunting.
The Division had now been in action for a week.
Next day they were to be relieved. Late in the after-
noon Dottrell moved the Transport back about three
miles, to a hill above Dernancourt. Thankful for
something to do at last, I busied myself with the put-
ting up of tents. When that was done I watched the
sun going down in glory beyond the main road to
Amiens. The horizon trees were dark blue against the