Format: Single

The place was still in the making, and stood some five or six feet above the metalled road, which it flanked for hundred yards. Culverts across a deep ditch served for entrances through the unfinished boundary wall. She climbed a few wooden-faced earthen steps and then met the entire crowded level of the thing in one held breath. She did not know Hagenzeele Third counted twenty-one thousand dead already. All she saw was a merciless sea of black crosses, bearing little strips of stamped tin at all angles across their faces.


This is from “The Gardener”, collected in Debits and Credits. Not long after the war, Helen Turrell, a single woman, goes to see the grave of her ‘nephew’, in fact her son, who has been killed in action on the Western Front. She is appalled by the sight of the cemetery. Next day she goes to find his grave, and sees a man planting flowers on the graves. She asks him where to find her nephew: ‘Come with me,’ he said, ‘and I will show you where your son lies.’ When she leaves, she sees him at work again, and goes away, “supposing him to be the gardener.”