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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

I decided to write to old Colonel Hesmon about it.
I went up to the schoolroom to do this; rummaging
in a drawer for some note-paper, I discovered a little
pocket mirror—a relic of my days in the ranks of the
Yeomanry. Handling it absent-mindedly, I found
myself using it to decipher the blotting paper, which
had evidently been on the table some time, for the
handwriting was Stephen Colwood's. "P*S The Old
Guvnor is squaring up my annual indebtedness. Isrit he a
brick?" Stephen must have scribbled that when he
was staying with us in the summer of 1914. Probably
he had been writing to his soldier brother in Ireland.
I imagined him adding the postscript and blotting it
quickly. Queer how the past crops up, I thought,
sadly, for my experience of such poignant associations
was "still in its infancy", as someone had said of
Poison Gas when lecturing to cannon-fodder at the
Army School.

Remembering myself at that particular moment, I
realize the difficulty of recapturing war-time atmos-
phere as it was in England then. A war historian
would inform us that "the earlier excitement and sus-
pense had now abated, and the nation had settled
down to its organization of man-power and munition
making". I want to recover something more intimate
than that, but I can't swear to anything unusual at
Butley except a derelict cricket field, the absence of
most of the younger inhabitants, and a certain amount
of talk about food prospects for the winter. Two of
our nearest neighbours had lost their only sons, and
with them their main interest in life; but such tra-
gedies as those remained intimate and unobtrusive.
Ladies worked at the Local Hospital and elderly
gentlemen superintended Recruiting Centres and Tri-
bunals; but there was little outward change and no