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tain didn't look likely to be amused by it. He seemed
a bit fussed, which caused me to feel rather confident
and efficient in an unobtrusive way.

He was a decent little chap, and I got a laugh out
of him by telling him that a bishop had told our
battalion, only yesterday, that the Huns were getting
weaker every week. Over a mug of tea he confided
in me that his company would be doing a small raid,
in about half an hour, and he was evidently worrying
about it, though he didn't say so.

This, however, was more in my line than scribbling
down what time water cart would be sent up to ration
dump and how many food-containers and water tins
would be taken over from out-going battalion, and it
seemed much more to the point when I followed him
up to the Front Line to get an idea of what the sector
was like and see how the show went off. The front-
line defences were still in their infancy compared
with the Canadian trenches I'd visited a month be-
fore. A series of breast-high sentry-posts were con-
nected by a shallow ditch, and no-man's-land was a
cornfield which still seemed to be doing quite well. I
was told that there was very little wire out in front.
One felt that recent occupants of the sector had erred
in the direction of a laissez-faire policy. It was a quiet
moonless night, and the raiding-party, about a dozen
strong, were assembled, and appeared to be doing
their best to let the Germans know that they intended
to come over. Stage whispers in broad Lancashire
accents were making the best of an unhopeful situa-
tion, and I suspected that a double rum ration had
been prematurely issued. (Rum rations should not
precede raids.)

Why weren't they slipping across from some place
where the trench was shallow, I wondered—instead