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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

I had been told to do. It did not occur to my simple
mind that by to-morrow afternoon our quartermaster
would probably know quite as much about the essen-
tial facts as I should. Details of organization in the
army always scared and over-impressed me. Such
things seemed so much easier when one was actually
doing them than when they were being conferred
about and put on paper in the mysterious language
of the military profession.

This anxious devotion to duty probably prevented
me from acquiring a permanent mental picture of
my surroundings while I was nearing the end of my
ride. The fact remains that I can now only see myself
as "a solitary horseman" crossing theLaBassee Canal
in the dusk and then going on another two miles to
battalion headquarters, which were in what appeared
to be a fairly well-preserved farmhouse. There I was
given food, drink, and technical enlightenment, and
sent on to the Front Line.

Communication-trenches were non-existent. My
guide led me along a footpath among damaged crops
and looming willows, past the dug-outs of the sup-
port-company, until we arrived at an enormous shell-
hole which contained a company headquarters. In a
sort of rabbit-hole, with just enough room for three
people in it, I was welcomed by two East Lancashire
officers, and forthwith I scribbled five pages of rough
notes in my Field Message Book. I could reproduce
these notes in full, for the book is on my table now;
but I will restrict myself to a single entry.

"Battalion code-word. ZELU. No messages by buz-
zer except through an officer. Relief word. JAMA, (To
be confirmed by runner.)" "To be confirmed by
rumour" was what I actually thought as I wrote it
down, but I kept the witticism to myself as the cap-

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