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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

pending battle there had been active lately. As
second-in-command of the Company I went along
behind it, rather at my ease. Watching the men as
they plodded patiently on under their packs, I felt as
if my own identity was becoming merged in the Bat-
talion. We were on the move and the same future
awaited all of us (though most of the men had bad
boots and mine were quite comfortable).

More light-hearted than Fd been for some time, I
contemplated my Company Commander, who was
in undisputed occupation of a horse which looked
scarcely.up to his weight. Captain Leake had begun
by being rude to me. I never discovered the reason.
But he had been a Special Reserve officer before the
War, and he couldn't get certain regimental traditions
out of his head. In the good old days, all second-
lieutenants had been called "warts'5, and for their
first six months a senior officer never spoke to them,
except on parade. Leake evidently liked the idea, for
he was a man who enjoyed standing on his dignity;
but such behaviour was inappropriate to active ser-
vice, and six months at the Front usually sufficed to
finish the career of a second-lieutenant. On my
second morning at Camp 13 Leake had remarked (for
my special benefit) that "these newly joined warts
were getting too big for their boots'*. This was incor-
rect, for I was bemoaning the loss of my valise, and the
M.O. had just given me my anti-typhoid injection.
Leake also resented the fact that I had served with the
First Battalion, which he appeared to regard as a
hated rival. He thawed gradually after my first week,
and was now verging on cordiality, which I did my
best to encourage. The other Company Commanders
had been friendly from the first, for I had known
them at Clitherland in 1915.

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