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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

The speaker continues to enunciate his opinion
in a rather too well-bred voice. The War—always
the War—and world politics, plus a few other mat-
ters of supreme importance, are being discussed,
quite informally, by a small group of staff-officers.
(I know it is unreasonable, but I am prejudiced
against staff-officers—they are so damned well
dressed and superior!) After a while they drift away,
and their superior talk is superseded by & jingle of
knives, forks, and spoons; the stewards are preparing
the long tables for our next meal.

S.S. Malwa (not a name that inspires confidence
—I don't know why), cleaving the level water with
a perturbed throbbing vibration, carries us steadily
away from the unheeding warmth and mystery of
Egypt. Leaving nothing behind us, we arc bound
for the heavily-rumoured grimness of the battles in
France. The troops are herded on the lower decks in
stifling, dim-lit messrooms, piled and hung with litter
of equipment. Unlike the Staff, they have no smart
uniforms, no bottles of hair-oil, and no confidential
information with which to make their chatter impor-
tant and intriguing. John Bull and ginger beer are
their chief facilities for passing the time pleasantly.
They do not complain that the champagne on board
is inferior and the food only moderate. In fact they
make me feel that Dickens was right when he wrote
so warm-heartedly about "the poor". They are only
a part of the huge dun-coloured mass of victims which
passes through the shambles of war into the gloom of
death where even generals "automatically revert to
the rank of private". But in the patience and sim-
plicity of their outward showing they seem like one
soul. They are the tradition of human suffering and
endurance, stripped of all the silly self-glorifications

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