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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 172 pages of information about Adventures of a Despatch Rider.

Huggie once arrived at the house of the “hairpin” bend simultaneously with a shell.  The shell hit the house, the house did not hit Huggie, and the sniper forgot to snipe.  So every one was pleased.

On my last journey I passed a bunch of wounded Sikhs.  They were clinging to all their kit.  One man was wounded in both his feet.  He was being carried by two of his fellows.  In his hands he clutched his boots.

The men did not know where to go or what to do.  I could not make them understand, but I tried by gestures to show them where the ambulance was.

I saw two others—­they were slightly wounded—­talking fiercely together.  At last they grasped their rifles firmly, and swinging round, limped back towards the line.

Huggie did most of the work that day, because during the greater part of the afternoon I was kept back at brigade headquarters.

In the evening I went out in the car to fetch the general.  The car, which was old but stout, had been left behind by the Germans.  The driver of it was a reservist who had been taken from his battalion.  Day and night he tended and coaxed that car.  He tied it together when it fell to pieces.  At all times and in all places he drove that car, for he had no wish at all to return to the trenches.

On the following day Huggie and I were relieved.  When we returned to our good old musty quarters at Beuvry men talked of a move.  There were rumours of hard fighting in Ypres.  Soon the Lahore Division came down towards our line and began to take over from us.  The 14th Brigade was left to strengthen them.  The 15th and 13th began to move north.

Early on the morning of October 29 we started, riding first along the canal by Bethune.  As for Festubert, Givenchy, Violaines, Rue de Marais, Quinque Rue, and La Bassee, we never want to see them again.

[Illustration:  YPRES TO LA BASSEE]

FOOTNOTES: 

[17] The letters were written on the 14th October et seq. The censor was kind.

[18] Dorsets, I think.

[19] I do not say this paragraph is true.  It is what I thought on 15th October 1914.  The weather was depressing.

[20] Optimist!

[21] After nine months at the Front—­six and a half months as a despatch rider and two and a half months as a cyclist officer—­I have decided that the English language has no superlative sufficient to describe our infantry.

CHAPTER X.

THE BEGINNING OF WINTER.

Before we came, Givenchy had been a little forgettable village upon a hill, Violaines a pleasant afternoon’s walk for the working men in La Bassee, Festubert a gathering-place for the people who lived in the filthy farms around.  We left Givenchy a jumble of shuttered houses and barricaded cellars.  A few Germans were encamped upon the site of Violaines.  The great clock of Festubert rusted quickly against a tavern wall.  We hated La Bassee, because against La Bassee the Division had been broken.  There are some square miles of earth that, like criminals, should not live.

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