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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

glare, and the dust of the road floated in wreaths;
motor-lorries crept continuously by, while the long
shadows of trees made a sort of mirage on the golden
haze of the dust. The country along the river swarmed
with camps, but the low sun made it all seem pleasant
and peaceful. After nightfall the landscape glowed
and glinted with camp-fires, and a red half-moon ap-
peared to bless the combatant armies with neutral
beams. Then we were told to shift the tents higher up
the hill and I became active again; for the Battalion
was expected about midnight. After this little emer-
gency scramble I went down to the crossroads with
Dottrell, and there we waited hour after hour. The
Quartermaster was in a state of subdued anxiety, for
he'd been unable to get up to Battalion Headquarters
for the last two days. We sat among some barley on
the bank above the road, and as time passed we con-
versed companionably, keeping ourselves awake with
an occasional drop of rum from his flask. I always en-
joyed being with Dottrell, and that night the husky-
voiced old campaigner was more eloquent than he
realized. In the simplicity of his talk there was a uni-
versal tone which seemed to be summing up all the
enduring experience of an Infantry Division. For
him it was a big thing for the Battalion to be coming
back from a battle, though, as he said, it was a new
Battalion every few months now.

An hour before dawn the road was still an empty
picture of moonlight. The distant gun-fire had
crashed and rumbled all night, muffled and terrific
with immense flashes, like waves of some tumult of
water rolling along the horizon. Now there came an
interval of silence in which I heard a horse neigh,
shrill and scared and lonely. Then the procession of
the returning troops began. The camp-fires were

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