store-room was just round the corner, he said. After
groping about in the dark and tripping over tent
ropes I was beginning to lose my temper when I
opened a door and found myself in a Guard Room. A
man, naked to the waist, was kneeling in the middle
of the floor, clutching at his chest and weeping un-
controllably. The Guard were standing around with
embarrassed looks, and the Sergeant was beside him,
patient and unpitying. While he was leading me to
the blanket store I asked him what was wrong.
"Why, sir, the man's been under detention for as-
saulting the military police, and now 'e's just 'ad
news of his brother being killed. Seems to take it to
'eart more than most would. 'Arf crazy, 'e's been,
tearing 'is clothes off and cursing the War and the
Fritzes. Almost like a shell-shock case, *e seems. It's
his third time out. A Blighty one don't last a man
long nowadays, sir." As I went off into the gloom I
could still hear the uncouth howlings.
"Well, well; this is a damned depressing spot to
arrive at!" I thought, while I lay awake trying to
keep warm and munching a bit of chocolate, in a
narrow segment of a canvas shed about four feet high.
Beyond the army-blanket which served as a partition,
two officers were chattering interminably in rapid
Welsh voices. They were comparing their experiences
at some squalid pleasure house in Rouen, and their
disclosures didn't make the War seem any jollier. It
was, in fact, the most disgusting little conversation
Fd ever listened to* But what right had I to blame the
poor devils for trying to have a good time before they
went up to the Line? . . . Nevertheless, the War
seemed to be doing its best to make me feel unheroic.
Next day I found the 5th I.B.D. Mess dispiriting.
I knew nobody, and it wasn't a place where people