as I lit my pipe, and forgetting for the moment what a
mercy it had been when it brought me home myself.
Oh yes, I knew all about the Battle of the Somme,
and could assure them that we should be in Bapaume
by October. Replying to their tributary questions, I
felt that they envied me my experience.
While I was on niy way home, I felt elated at hav-
ing outgrown the parish boundaries of Butley. After
all, it was a big thing, to have been in the thick of a
European War, and my peace-time existence had been
idle and purposeless. It was bad luck on Protheroe
and the doctor; they must hate being left out of it.. ..
I suppose one must give this damned War its due, I
thought, as I sat in the schoolroom with one candle
burning. I felt comfortable, for Miss Protheroe had
made me a cup of cocoa. I took Durley's letter out of
my pocket and had another look at it; but it wasn't
easy to speculate on its implications. The War's all
right as long as one doesn't get killed or smashed up,
I decided, blowing out the candle so that I could
watch the moonlight which latticed the floor with
shadows of the leaded windows. Where the moon-
beams lay thickest they touched the litter of drying
lavender. I opened the window and sniffed the
autumn-smelling air. An owl hooted in the garden,
and I could hear a train going along the Weald.
Probably a hospital-train from Dover, I thought, as I
closed the window and creaked upstairs on tiptoe so
as not to disturb Aunt Evelyn.
About a week afterwards I received two letters from
Dottrell, written on consecutive days, but delivered
by the same post. The first one began: "The old Batt.
is having a rough time. We were up in the front a