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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

on purpose an irrelevant gesture for a platoon com-
mander. One couldn't choose one's own conditions
out in France. . . . Tyrrell had talked about "serving
the world by thinking independently". I must hang
on to that idea and remember the men for whom I
believed myself to be interceding, I tried to think in-
ternationally; the poor old Boches must be hating it
just as much as we did; but I couldn't propel my sym-
pathy as far as the Balkan States, Turks, Italians, and
all the rest of them; and somehow or other the French
were just the French and too busy fighting and selling
things to the troops to need my intervention. So I got
back to thinking about "all the good chaps who'd
been killed with the First and Second Battalions since
I left them". . . . Ormand, dying miserably out in a
shell-hole. ... I remembered his exact tone of voice
when saying that if his children ever asked what he
did in the Great War, his answer would be, "No
bullet ever went quick enough to catch me;" and how
he used to sing "Rock of ages cleft for me, let me hide
myself in thee," when we were being badly shelled. I
thought of the typical Flintshire "Fusilier at his best,
and the vast anonymity of courage and cheerfulness
which he represented as he sat in a front-line trench
cleaning his mess-tin. How could one connect him
with the gross profiteer whom I'd overheard in a
railway carriage remarking to an equally repulsive
companion that if the War lasted another eighteen
months he'd be able to retire from business? ... Ho\v
could I co-ordinate such diversion of human behav-
iour, or believe that heroism was its own reward?
Something must be put on paper, however, and I
re-scrutinized the rough notes I'd been making:
Fighting men are victims of conspiracy among (a) politicians;
(b) military caste; (c] people who are making money out oj

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