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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

carrying three rifles as well as his own. By two
o'clock they were all sitting on dirty straw in a sun-
chinked barn, with their boots and socks off. Their
feet were the most important part of them, I thought,
as I made my sympathetic inspection of sores and
blisters. The old soldiers grinned at me philosophic-
ally, puffing their Woodbines. It was all in the day's
work, and the War was the War. The newly-joined
men were different; white and jaded, they stared up
at me with stupid trusting eyes. I wished I could
make things easier for them, but I could do nothing
beyond sending a big batch of excruciating boots to
the Battalion boot-menders, knowing that they'd
come back roughly botched, if anything were done to
them at all. But one Company's blisters were a small
event in the procession of sore feet that was passing
through Villers-Bocage. The women in my billet told
me in broken English that troops had been going
through for fifteen days, never stopping more than
one night and always marching towards Doullens and
Arras. My only other recollection of Villers-Bocage
is the room in which our Company's officers dined
and slept. It contained an assortment of stuffed and
mouldy birds with outspread wings. There was a
stork, a jay, and a sparrow-hawk; also a pair of
squirrels. Lying awake on the tiled floor I could
watch a seagull suspended by a string from the ceil-
ing; very slowly it revolved in the draughty air; and
while it revolved I fell asleep, for the day had been a
long one.

Next day's march took us to Beauval, along a mono-
tonous eight-mile stretch of the main road from
Amiens to St. Pol. Wet snow was falling all the way.

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