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250   DAYS OF PREPARATION

strange, almost unreal. Some of the songs most beloved were terribly prophetic.

"And I and my true love will never meet again

On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond."

God knows how true' it was, for these were to be the giants of Langemarck and St. Julien. Down by the river's rim, among the dark shrubbery the fiveflies flared and went out. There and everywhere the incandescent lights struggled ineffectually to pierce the nightly gloom. Now while a young officer from the West stood by his horse, the bridle rein over his arm, saying good-bye to a gallant little woman—who smiled cheerily in his face—one could hear the men singing

"And for bonnie Annie Laurie

I'd lay me down and dee."

These were serious times in our first and greatest Canadian camp.

Surprisingly few of the men were ever out of hand. The mere adventurers had been tamed by the stories from Belgium. The old soldiers knew that they were bound to a place where the pains of hell gat hold upon men. There was an extraordinary atmosphere in the camp. A mixture of cheerfulness and gravity formed it, and no man who had opportunity to see and feel that atmosphere could ever forget it. There was the Canadian spirit in concrete demonstration, and the cavalry band playing The Red White and Blue on the far knoll gave that spirit melodious and harmonious voice.

Yet some discontent was found in camp. Officers who could not get appointments soon fell foul of the Minister of Militia. But the saw-edged tongue of that soldier-statesman knew no friend. When four hundred lieutenants and captains and even majors of militia were applying for twelve vacant subaltern positions three hundred and eighty-eight were sure to have a grievance and express it vigorously. Politicians who "dropped in" to speak a word in favour of some candidate for a commission were not kindly received. It


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