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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

PART NINE: HOSPITAL AND
CONVALESCENCE

I

THE FIRST few days were like lying in a boat.
Drifting, drifting, I watched the high sunlit
windows or the firelight that flickered and glowed on
the ceiling when the ward was falling asleep. Outside
the hospital a late spring was invading the home-
service world. Trees were misty green and sometimes
I could hear a blackbird singing. Even the screech
and rumble of electric trams was a friendly sound;
trams meant safety; the troops in the trenches thought
about trams with affection. With an exquisite sense
of languor and release I lifted my hand to touch the
narcissuses by my bed. They were symbols of an
immaculate spirit—creatures whose faces knew
nothing of War's demented language.

For a week, perhaps, I could dream that for me the
War was over, because Fd got a neat hole through me
and the nurse with her spongings forbade me to have
a bath. But I soon emerged from my mental immun-
ity; I began to think; and my thoughts warned me
that my second time out in France had altered my
outlook (if such a confused condition of mind could
be called an outlook). I began to feel that it was my
privilege to be bitter about my war experiences; and
my attitude toward civilians implied that they
couldn't understand and that it was no earthly use