In my hurried exodus from my billet at La
Chaussee, some of my belongings had been left be-
hind, and good old Flook had brought them to the
hospital next day. He had come treading in with
clumsy embarrassment to deposit the packful of odd-
ments by my bed, announcing in a hoarse undertone,
"AhVe brought the stoof," and telling me that the
lads in G Company were hoping to see me back soon.
Somehow Flook, with his rough and ready devotion,
had seemed my strongest link with the Battalion.
When I shook his hand and said good-bye, he winked
and advised me, confidentially, not to be in too much
of a hurry about getting back. A good rest would do
me no harm, he said; but as he tiptoed away I won-
dered when he himself would get a holiday, and
whether he would ever return to his signal-box on
The details of my journey to the Base were as
follows. First of all I was carried carefully down
the stairs on a stretcher (though I could easily have
walked to the ambulance, or even to the railway
station, if such an effort had been demanded of me).
Then the ambulance took me to Corbie, and from
there the train (with 450 casualties on board) rumbled
sedately to Rouen; we did the sixty miles in ten hours,
and at two o'clock in the morning I was carried into
No. 2 Red Cross Hospital. I remember that particu-
lar hospital with affection. During the morning a
genial doctor came along and had a look at me.
"Well, my lad, what's wrong with you?'3 he asked.
"They call it enteritis/' I replied, with an indefinite
grin. He had a newspaper in his hand as he glanced
at the descriptive chart behind my bed. My name
caused him to consult The Times. "Is this you?" he
asked. Sure enough, my name was there, in a list of