St. Floris away on the left—a factory chimney rising
from a huddle of mysterious roofs—mysterious only
because they were on the edge of no-man's-land.
Aloof from our concerns, another day \vas begin-
ning, and there seemed no special reason why the
War should command us to keep our heads down.
The country, as I said before, looked innocent; the
morning air was like life's elixir, and hope went sing-
ing skyward with the lark.
Refreshed by a few hours' sleep, I was up in the
Front Line an hour or two after midday, gazing at the
incalculable country beyond the cornfield. My map
told me that the town of Mervillc was about three
miles away from me, but the level landscape pre-
vented it from being visible. Our long-range gunners
knew a lot about Mervillc, no doubt, but it was
beyond my horizon, and I couldn't hear so much as
a rumble of wheels coming from that direction. The
outlook was sunlit and completely silent, for it was
the quietest time of day.
I was half-way between two sentry-posts, on the
extreme left of our sector, where no-man's-land was
narrowest. The longer I stared at the cornfield the
more I wanted to know what was on the other side,
and this inquisitiveness gradually developed into a
determination. Discarding all my obligations as Com-
pany Commander (my main obligation being to re-
main inside the trench and get it deepened by those
120 shovels, which we'd taken over) I took of Fall my
equipment, strolled along to the nearest sentry, bor-
rowed his bayonet, and told him that I was going out
to have a look at the wire. Returning to my cquip-