what exists within the narrow bivouac of my philo-
sophy, lit by the single lantern-candle of my belief
in things like War and Peace and The Woodlanders.
Since last year I seem to be getting outside of things
a bit better. Recognizing the futility of war as much
as ever, I dimly realize the human weakness which
makes it possible, For I spend my time with people
who are, most of them, too indolent-minded to think
for themselves. Selfishly, I long for escape from the
burden that is so much more difficult than it was two
or three years ago. But the patience and simple
decency which I find in the ordinary soldier, these
make it possible to go on somehow. I feel sorry for
them—that's what it is.
For in our Division considerably more than half
the N.C.O.s and men have been on active service
without leave since September 1915, when they went
to Gallipoli. And now, as a nice change of air, they
are being shipped back to the Western Front to help
check the new German offensives. Obviously they
have sound reasons for feeling a bit fed-up.
"Of course they have! That is why we are so grate-
ful to them and so proud of them" reply the people at
home. What else do they get, besides this vague grati-
tude? Company football matches, beer in the can-
teens, and one mail in three weeks.
I felt all this very strongly a few evenings ago when
a Concert Party gave an entertainment to the troops.
It wasn't much; a canvas awning; a few footlights;
two blue-chinned actors in soft felt hats—one of them
jangling ragtime tunes on a worn-out upright; three
women in short silk skirts singing the old, old, soppy
popular songs; and all five of them doing their best
with their little repertoire.
They were unconscious, it seemed to me, of the