Page:The War and the Future (Masefield, 1918).djvu/94

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The War and the Future

ing to carry this bloody poultry any longer."

I have said something about the dulness and the dirtiness of the life, but there is a kind of dirtiness to which I have not yet alluded. On your way up to the front you are struck by the number of soldiers sitting on the doorsteps of ruined houses studying the tails of their shirts as though they were precious manuscripts. When you are at the front you notice that the men have an uneasy way with their shoulders as though they wished to be scraping along brick walls, and when you have slept one night at the front you realize what the soldier meant when he wrote home to say: "This war isn't a very bloody war, so far as I've seen it, but it does tickle at night." I would like to ask all those who are sending packets of clothing to their friends at the front always to include the strongest insecticide they can find, because, though no insecticide is really strong enough to kill the creatures, a good strong insecticide will take the edge off them. The condition of needing insecticide is known as being "chatty." Not long ago an English actress was playing to the soldiers in a base camp. She was playing a play of Barrie's, in which a lady says of her husband that he was so nice and "chatty."