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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

to-day—and after I'd been along to all the sentry-posts
a second time, I went back to the headquarter rabbit-
hole to find Velmore dozing, with Flcckcr's poems
fallen from his hand, and the sturdy little sergeant-
major dozing likewise in his own little rabbit-hole
near by, while the signaller brooded over the buzzer.
Away from the shell-hole there was another dug-out
—larger, but not very deep—where we slept and had
our food. Everything seems to be going on fluite well,
I thought, groping my way in, to sit there, tired and
wakeful, and soaked and muddy from my patrol,
while one candle made unsteady brown shadows in
the gloom, and young Howitt lay dead beat and
asleep in an ungainly attitude, with that queer half-
sullen look on his face.

The thought of that candle haunts me now; I don't
know why, except that it seems to symbolize the
weary end of a night at the War, and that unforget-
table remoteness from the ordinary existences which
we might have been leading; Howitt going to an
office in the morning; and Velmore down from that
idyllic pre-war Oxford with an honours degree; and
all those men in the company still unmobilizcd from
farms and factories and wherever else it was they had
earned a living,

I seem to be in that stuffy dug-out now, with
Howitt snoring, and my wakeful watch ticking on
the wrist which supported my head, and the deathly
map of France and Flanders all around me in huge
darkness receding to the distant boom of a big gun.
I seem to be back in my mind as it then was—a mind
whose haggard vigilance had the power to deny its
body rest, while with the clairvoyance of sleepless-
ness it strove to be detached from clogging discomfort
and to achieve, in its individual isolation, some sort
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