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felt inclined to be interested in one another, since none
of them were there for more than a few days. They
agreed in grumbling about the alcoholic R.C. padre
who managed the mess; the food was bad, and four
and threepence a day was considered an exorbitant
charge. When they weren't on the training ground
(known as "the Bull Ring") officers sat about in the
Mess Room playing cards, cursing the cold weather,
and talking tediously about the War with an admix-
ture of ineffective cynicism which hadn't existed
twelve months before. I watched them crowding
round the notice board after a paper had been pinned
to it. They were looking to see if their names were on
the list of those going up to the Line next day. Those
who were on the list laughed harshly and sat down,
with simulated unconcern, to read a stale picture
paper. On the same notice board were the names of
three private soldiers who had been shot for cowardice
since the end of January. "The sentence was duly
carried out...." In the meantime we could just hear
the grumbling of the guns and there was the Spring
Offensive to look forward to.

I was feeling as if I'd got a touch of fever, and next
morning the doctor told me I'd got German measles.
So I transferred myself ingloriously to No. 25 Station-
ary Hospital, which was a compound of tents with a
barbed wire fence round it, about 300 yards from the
Camp. There were six in the tent already and my
arrival wasn't popular. An extra bed had to be
brought in, and the four card players huddled against
a smoky stove were interrupted by a gust of Arctic
wind. There was snow on the ground and the tent
was none too warm at the best of times. "Now, Mr.
Parkins, Fm afraid you must shift round a bit to make
room for the new patient," said the nurse. While my