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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

Reality was on the other side of the Channel, surely.
After dinner I went straight up to my room as
usual, intending to go on with Barbusse's book which
I was reading in the English translation. I will not
describe the effect it was creating in my mind; I need
only say that it was a deeply stimulating one. Some-
one was really revealing the truth about the Front
Line. But that evening I failed to settle down to Under
Fire. The room felt cheerless and uncomfortable; the
unshaded light from the ceiling annoyed my eyes;
very soon I found myself becoming internally exas-
perated with everything, myself included. It was one
of those occasions when one positively enjoys hating
something. So I sat there indulging in acute antagon-
ism toward anyone whose attitude to the War was
what I called "complacent55—people who just ac-
cepted it as inevitable and then proceeded to do well
out of it, or who smugly performed the patriotic jobs
which enabled them to congratulate themselves on
being part of the National Effort.

At this point the nurse on duty whisked into the
room to make sure that everything was all right and
that I was keeping cheerful. She too was part of the
national effort to remain bright and not give way to
war neuroses. Continuing my disgruntled rumina-
tions, I decided that I didn't dislike violent Jingos as
much as acquiescent moderates, though my pacifism
was strong enough to make me willing to punch the
nose of anyone who disagreed with me. (Was that
steamed pudding disagreeing with the boiled beef,
by the way?) I thought, with ill-humoured gratitude,
of the people who were contending against the cant
which was current about the War, comparing their
unconformity with the aggravating omniscience of
the novelist whose letter had assured me that "for

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