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of mastery over the experience which it shared with
those dead and sleeping multitudes, of whom young
Howitt was the visible representation.

I wanted to know—to understand—before it was
too late, whether there was any meaning in this
human tragedy which sprawled across France, while
those who planned yet further slaughter were like
puppets directing operations on which the unknown
gods hacL turned their backs in boredom with our
blundering bombardments. I wanted to know the
reason why Corporal Griffiths was being what he
was in quiet fortitude.

And I felt a great longing to be liberated from these
few hundred yards of ant-like activity—to travel all
the way along the Western Front—to learn through
my eyes and with my heart the organism of this
monstrous drama which my mind had not the power
to envision as a whole. But my mind could see no
further than the walls of that dug-out with its one
wobbling candle which now burnt low, Universaliza-
tion of military experience fizzled out in my thinking
that some day we should look back on these St. Floris
trenches as a sort of Paradise compared with places
in which we had afterwards found ourselves. Unlike
those ditches and earthworks which had become
fetid with recurrent human catastrophes—hum-
mocks and slag-heaps and morasses whose names
would live for ever in war histories—our's was an
almost innocent sector, still recognizable as culti-
vated farmland. I could recognize that innocence
when Bond had made me some tea, and I had
emerged into the peace of daybreak. The pollard
willows loomed somewhat strange and ominous
against the sky, but before long I was looking out
over the parapet at an immaculate morning, with