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Resolved to make the most of my last day at the
Base, I went down to Rouen early in the afternoon
without having wasted any time in applying for leave
from the Adjutant. A tram took me most of the way;
the city looked fine as we crossed the river. There
wasn't so very much to be done when I got there, but
the first thing was to have a hair-cut. I'd had one a
week ago, but this one might have to last me a longish
while, for I wasn't keen on Battalion barbers. So I
told the man to cut off as much as he could, and while
he clipped and snipped I gazed gloomily at myself in
the glass, speculating prosaically on the probabilities
of my head of hair ever needing another trim up. A
captain in the next chair had been through the whole
repertoire—hair-cut, shave, shampoo, face-massage,
and friction. "Now I feel a quid better," he remarked
when he got up to go. He was wearing trench boots
and was evidently on his way to the Line. I had heard
him treating the barber, who spoke English, to a pane-
gyric on the prospects of an Allied success in the
Spring. " We're going to give them the knock all right
this journey!" The barber asked him about a long
scar which seamed his head. He smiled: "A souvenir
of Devil's Wood." I wondered how much longer he
would retain his enthusiasm for the Western Front.
Personally I preferred rambling around Rouen and
pretending that I was an ordinary peace-time tourist.
In the old quarters of the town one could stroll about
without meeting many English soldiers.

Later on I was going to the Hotel de la Poste for a
valedictory bath and dinner. In the meantime I was
content to stare at shop-windows and explore side
streets. It was a Saturday afternoon and the people
were busy marketing. At the end of my wanderings I
went into the Cathedral, leaving behind me the bust-