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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

by the churchyard being burnt to the ground—was it
forty years ago? I remembered Captain Huxtable
telling me that the catastrophe was supposed to have
been started by the flaring up of a pot of glue which a
Journeyman joiner had left on a fire while he went to
the tap-room for a mug of beer. The burning of the
old Bull Inn had been quite a big event for the
neighbourhood; but it wouldn't be thought much of
in these days; and my mind reverted to the de-
molished churches along the Western Front, and the
sunlit inferno of the first day of the Somme Battle.
There wouldn't be much Gray's Elegy atmosphere
if Butley were in the Fourth Army area!

Gazing across the old rifle butts—now a grassy
indentation on the hillside half a mile away—I remem-
bered the volunteers whose torchlight march-past had
made such a glowing impression on my nursery-
window mind, in the good old days before the Boer
War. Twenty years ago there had been an almost
national significance in the fact of a few Butley men
doing target practice on summer evenings.

Meanwiiile my meditations had dispelled my heavy-
heartedness, and as I went home I recovered some-
thing of the exultation I'd felt when first forming my
resolution. I knew that no right-minded Butley man
could take it upon himself to affirm that a European
war was being needlessly prolonged by those who
had the power to end it. They would tap their fore-
heads and sympathetically assume that I'd seen more
of the fighting than was good for me. But I felt the
desire to suffer, and once again I had a glimpse of
something beyond and above my present troubles—
as though I could, by cutting myself off from my
previous existence, gain some new spiritual freedom
and live as I had never lived before.

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