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increased. Outwardly it was a pleasant place to be
lazy in. Morning sunshine slanted through the tall
windows, brightening the grey-green walls and the
forty beds. Daffodils and tulips made spots of colour
under three red-draped lamps which hung from the
ceiling. Some officers lay humped in bed, smoking
and reading newspapers; others loafed about in dress-
ing-gowns, going to and from the washing room where
they scraped the bristles from their contented faces.
A raucous gramophone continually ground out pop-
ular tunes. In the morning it was rag-time—Every"
body's Doing it and At the Fox-Trot Ball. (Somewhere a
Voice is calling, God send you back to me, and such-like
sentimental songs were reserved for the evening
hours.) Before midday no one had enough energy to
begin talking war shop, but after that I could always
hear scraps of conversation from around the two fire-
places. My eyes were reading one of Lamb's Essays,
but my mind was continually distracted by such
phrases as "Barrage lifted at the first objective",
"shelled us with heavy stuff", "couldn't raise enough
decent N.C.O.s", "first wave got held up by machine-
guns", and "bombed them out of a sap".

There were no serious cases in the ward, only flesh
wounds and sick. These were the lucky ones, already
washed clean of squalor and misery and strain. They
were lifting their faces to the sunlight, warming their
legs by the fire; but there wasn't much to talk about
except the War*

In the evenings they played cards at a table oppo-
site my bed; the blinds were drawn, the electric light
was on, and a huge fire glowed on walls and ceiling.
Glancing irritably up from my book I criticized the
faces of the card-players and those who stood watching
the game. There was a lean airman in a grey dressing-