“I don’t quite know yet,” I replied. “It doesn’t seem a bad idea, as I have to walk the round of all the guns the whole time; all I can and have to do is to hitch up in some central place, and this is just as central as that rotten trench we’ve just come from.”
“Of course it is,” he replied. “If I were you I’d come along and stay with me, and go to all your places from here. If an attack comes you’ll be able to get from one place to another much easier than if you were stuck in that trench. You’d never be able to move from there when an attack and bombardment had started.”
Having given the matter a little further consideration I decided to move from my dug-out to this cottage, so I left the village and went back across the field to the trench to see to the necessary arrangements.
I got back to my lair and shouted for my servant. “Here, Smith,” I said, “I’m going to fix up at one of the houses in the village. This place of ours here is no more central than the village, and any one of those houses is a damn sight better than this clay hole here. I want you to collect all my stuff and bring it along; I’ll show you the way.” So presently, all my few belongings having been collected, we set out for the village. That was my last of that fearful trench. A worse one I know could not be found. My new life in the village now started, and I soon saw that it had its advantages. For instance, there was a slight chance of fencing off some of the rain and water. But my knowledge of “front” by this time was such that I knew there were corresponding disadvantages, and my instinct told me that the village would present a fresh crop of dangers and troubles quite equal to those of the trench, though slightly different in style. I had now started off on my two months’ sojourn in the village of St. Yvon.
Hudson, myself, his servant and my servant, all crushed into that house that night. What a relief it was! We all slept in our greatcoats on the floor, which was as hard as most floors are, and dirtier than the generality; but being out of the water and able to stretch oneself at full length made up for all deficiencies. Hudson and I both slept in the perforated room; the servants in the larger chamber, near the fire bucket.
I got up just before dawn as usual, and taking advantage of the grey light, stole about the village and around the house, sizing up the locality and seeing how my position stood with regard to the various machine-gun emplacements. The dawn breaking, I had to skunk back into the house again, as it was imperative to us to keep up the effect of “Deserted house in village.” We had to lurk inside all day, or if we went out, creep about with enormous caution, and go off down a slight slope at the back until we got to the edge of the wood which we knew must be