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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

wire fence and walk in the clean-smelling pine-woods.
The surf-like sighing of the lofty colonnades could
tranquillize my thoughts after the boredom of the tent
and the chatter of the card players crouching by the
stove. The pine-trees are patiently waiting for the
guns to stop, I thought, and I felt less resentment
against the War than I had done since I left England.
. . . One afternoon I followed an alley which led
downhill to a big shuttered house. Blackbirds were
scolding among the bushes as I trespassed in the un-
tidy garden, and someone was chopping timber in a
brown copse below the house. A dog barked from the
stable-yard; hens clucked, and a cow lowed. Such
homely sounds were comforting when one was in the
exile of army life. I thought of the lengthening spring
twilights and the lovely wakening of the year, forgetful
of the "Spring Offensive". But it was only for a short
while, and the bitter reality returned to me as I
squeezed myself through the hospital's barbed wire
fence. I was losing my belief in the War, and I longed
for mental acquiescence—to be like young Patterson,
who had come out to fight for his country undoubt-
ing, who could still kneel by his bed and say his simple
prayers, steadfastly believing that he. was in the Field
Artillery to make the world a better place. I had
believed like that, once upon a time, but now the only
prayer which seemed worth uttering was Omar
Khayyam's:

For all the Sin wherewith the face of Man

Is blackened—Man's forgiveness give—and take.

B

ii

ACK AT the Infantry Base Depot after my ten
days of German measles, I stared at the notice
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