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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

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The main characteristics of Camp 13 were mud and
smoke, Mud was everywhere. All the Company
officers lived in one long gloomy draughty hut with
an earth floor. Smoke was always drifting in from the
braziers of the adjoining kitchen. After dark we sat
and shivered in our "British Warm" coats, reading,
playing cards, and writing letters with watering eyes
by the feeble glimmer of guttering candles. Orderlies
brought in a clutter of tin mugs and plates, and
Maconochie stew was consumed in morose discom-
fort. It was an existence which suffocated all pleasant
thoughts; nothing survived except animal cravings
for warmth, food, and something to break the mono-
tony of Corps Rest routine.

The only compensation for me was that my body
became healthy, in spite of lesser discomforts such as
a continuous cold in the head. The landscape was a
compensation too, for I liked its heaving grey and
brown billows, dotted with corn-stacks, patched and
striped by plough and stubble and green crops, and
crossed by bridle tracks and lonely wandering roads.
Hares and partridges hurried away as I watched
them. Along the horizon the guns still boomed and
thudded, and bursting shells made tiny puffs of
smoke above ridges topped by processions of trees,
with here and there the dark line of woods. But from
some windy upland I looked down on villages, scat-
tered in the folds of hill and valley like handfuls of
pebbles, grey and dull red, and from such things I
got what consolation I could.

One Sunday afternoon T walked across to Heilly.
I'd been there for a few days with the First Battalion
last July, before we marched back to the Line in dust
and glare. The water still sang its undertones by the
bridge and went twinkling to the bend, passing the