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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

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region which from far away had threatened us with
the blink and growl of its bombardments. Now we
were groping and stumbling along a deep ditch to the
place appointed for us in the zone of inhuman havoc.
There must have been some hazy moonlight, for I re-
member the figures of men huddled against the sides
of communication trenches; seeing them in some sort
of ghastly glimmer' (was it, perhaps, the diffused
whiteness of a sinking flare beyond the ridge?) I was
doubtful whether they were asleep or dead, for the
attitudes of many were like death, grotesque and dis-
torted. But this is nothing new to write about, you
will say; just a weary company, squeezing past dead
or drowsing men while it sloshes and stumbles to a
front-line trench. Nevertheless that night relief had
its significance for me, though in human experience it
had been multiplied a millionfold. I, a single human
being with my little stock of earthly experience in my
head, was entering once again the veritable gloom and
disaster of the thing called Armageddon. And I saw
it then, as I see it now—a dreadful place, a place of
horror and desolation which no imagination could
have invented. Also it was a place where a man of
strong spirit might know himself utterly powerless
against death and destruction, and yet stand up and
defy gross darkness and stupefying shell-fire, discover-
ing in himself the invincible resistance of an animal or
an insect, and an endurance which he might, in after
days, forget or disbelieve.

Anyhow, there I was, leading that little procession
of Flintshire Fusiliers many of whom had never seen
a front-line trench before. At that juncture they asked
no compensation for their efforts except a mug of hot
tea. The tea would have been a miracle, and we
didn't get it till next morning, but there was some