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coining back in a few days, and I'd genuinely felt as if
I wanted to. But they took my fortitude away with
them, and now I was foreseeing that another night's
rest would make me look indecently healthy for a man
in a hospital. "I suppose they'll all think I'm swinging
the lead/' I thought. Turning the last few months
over in my mind, I argued with myself that I had done
all that was expected of me. "Oh God/' I prayed,
"do get me sent down to the Base!" (How often was
that petition whispered during the War?) To-day I
had seen young Allgood's name in the Roll of Honour
a bit of news which had slammed the door on my
four weeks at the Army School and provided me with a
secondary sorrow, for I was already feeling sufficiently
miserable about my friend Cromlech. I sympathized
with myself about Allgood, for I had been fond of him.
But he was only one among thousands of promising
young men who had gone west since the ist of July.
Sooner or later I should probably get killed too. A
breath of wind stirred the curtains, blowing them in-
ward from the tall windows with a rustling sigh. The
wind came from the direction of the Somme, and I
could hear the remote thudding of the guns. Every-
one in the ward seemed to be asleep except the boy
whose bed had screens round it. The screens were red
and a light glowed through them. Ever since he was
brought in he'd been continually calling to the nurse
on duty. Throughout the day this had gradually got
on everyone's nerves, for the ward was already full of
uncontrollable gasps and groans. Once I had caught
a glimpse of his white face and miserable eyes. What-
ever sort of wound he'd got he was making the most of
it, had been the opinion of the man next to me (who
had himself got more than he wanted, in both legs).
But he must be jolly bad, I thought now, as the Sister