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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

to higher planes of existence, and when I petulantly
enquired what he thought about conscripted popu-
lations slaughtering one another, on the great stair-
way, in order to safeguard democracy and liberty, he
merely replied: "Ah, Sherston, that is the Celestial
Surgeon at work upon humanity." "Look here," I
answered with unusual brilliance, "you say that you
won a lot of prizes with your Labradors. Did the
president of Cruft's Dog Show encourage all the ex-
hibits to bite one another to death?"

This irreverent repartee reduced him to a dignified
silence, after which he made a prolonged scrutiny of
his front teeth in the shaving glass. Next day, no
doubt, I made (and he accepted with old-world cour-
tesy) what he would have called the "amende hon-
orable".

Autumn was asserting itself, and a gale got up that
night. I lay awake listening to its melancholy surgings
and rumblings as it buffeted the big building. The
longer I lay awake the more I was reminded of the
troops in the line. There they were, stoically endur-
ing their roofless discomfort while I was safe and
warm. The storm sounded like a vast lament and the
rain was coming down in torrents* I thought of the
Ypres salient, that morass of misery and doom. I'd
never been there, but I almost wished I was there
now. It was, of course, only an emotional idea in-
duced by the equinoctial gale; it was, however, an
idea that had its origins in significant experience.
One didn't feel like that for nothing.

It meant that the reality of the War had still got its
grip on me. Those men, so strangely isolated from

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