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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

he was suffering from martial religious mania. In July
1918 everyone took it for granted that we should hold
on till the winter and then wait for the "1919 offen-
sive" which staff-officers on the boat from Alexandria
had discussed with such professional earnestness. It is
worth remembering that the German collapse in the
autumn came as a complete surprise to the armies in
France. They knew nothing and had become ex-
tremely sceptical about everything they w^ere told.

On that fine summer morning the bishop, like a
one-armed sign-post pointing westward, directed us
on the road to victory. But he did it without knowing
that his optimism was to be justified by future events.


THE VILLAGE of St. Hilaire was at that time about
nine miles from the line to which the British
army had retreated during the German offensive in
April. In the late afternoon of the following day I
found myself riding up there on the company charger,
a quadruped who has left me no describable memory,
except that he suffered from string-halt and his hind-
leg action was the only lively thing about him. Well
primed with map-references and urgent instructions
from Orderly Room, I was going up to obtain all pos-
sible information from the battalion we were to relieve
next day. Jogging along the pav£ road from Lillers to
St. Venant I felt agreeably excited, though anxious
lest I might fail to grasp (and jot down) the entire
situation when I arrived there. As was usual in such
emergencies, I assumed that everything would go
wrong with the "relief" if I made the slightest mis-
take, and I felt no certainty that I could achieve what