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Better to be in the trenches with those whose experi-
ence I had shared and understood than with this
medley of civilians who, when one generalized about
them intolerantly, seemed either being broken by the
War or enriched and made important by it. Whatever
the soldiers might be as individuals, they seemed a
more impressive spectacle as a whole in their endur-
ance of what was imposed on them. But then there
was my freedom to be considered. After all I had
been under no one's orders lately, and at the best of
times a platoon commander's life was just one damned
thing after another. It's got to be done, I thought.
That was about all Pd got to keep me up to scratch.,
and I went through some fairly murky moments in
that little room of mine. It was, in fact, not at all
unlike a renunciation of life and all that it had to
offer me. As regards being dead, however, one of my
main consolations has always been that I have the
strongest intention of being an extremely active ghost,
Let nobody make any mistake about that.

It must have been just before my medical board
was due to take place that the great administrative
crisis occurred at Slateford. The details of this event
were as follows. The commandant (or head doctor),
who had won the gratitude and affection of everyone
whose opinion was worth anything, \vas duly notified,
several weeks in advance, that the chief medical man-
darin from the War Office would inspect the hospital.
This, of course, signified automatically that elaborate
efforts must be made to ensure that he should see
Slateford as it had never been before and never would
be again. The spit and polish process should, I sup-