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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

could for men who had paid a heavy price for their
freedom. My egocentricity diminished among all that
agony.  I remember listening to an emotional padre
who was painfully aware that he could do nothing
except stand about and feel sympathetic. The con-
solations of the Church of England weren't much in
demand at an Advance Dressing Station. I was there
myself merely to go through the formality of being
labelled "walking wounded". I was told to go on to a
place called "B. Echelon", which meant another
three miles of muddy walking. Beat to the world, I
reached B. Echelon, and found our Quartermaster in
a tent with several officers newly arrived from the
Base and one or two back from leave. Stimulated by
a few gulps of whisky and water, I renewed my volu-
bility and talked nineteen to the dozen until the kind
Quartermaster put me into the mess-cart which
carried me to a crossroad where I waited for a
motor bus. There, after a long wait, I shook hands
with my servant, and the handshake seemed to epito-
mize my good-bye to the Second Battalion. I thanked
him for looking after me so well; but one couldn't
wish a man luck when he was going back to the
Hindenburg Trench.   It may be objected that my
attitude towards the Western Front was too intimate;
but this was a question of two human beings, one of
whom was getting out of it comfortably while the
other went back to take his chance in the world's
worst war. ... In the bus, wedged among "walking
wounded", I was aware that I had talked quite
enough.   For an hour and a half we bumped and
swayed  along ruined roads till we came to the
Casualty Clearing Station at Warlencourt.   It was
seven o'clock and all I got that night was a cup of
Bovril and an anti-tetanus injection.