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An’ then I saw—I tell you I saw—Auntie Armine herself standin’ by the old dressin’station door where first I’d thought I’d seen her….An’ ’e was lookin’ at ’er as though he could ’ave et ’er, an’ she was lookin’ at ’im the same way, out of ’er eyes. …An’ I saw ’er half hold out her arms to ’im in that perishin’ cold. An’ she nearer fifty than forty


This is from “A Madonna of the Trenches“, collected in Debits and Credits. Clem Strangwick, a disturbed young soldier, recalls the horrors he ha s known in the trenches, but admits that the cause of his trouble was not these but the suicide of Sergeant Godsoe, a father figure in his childhood.

Clem tells that Godsoe and his aunt had been deeply in love, though married to others. He had only found this out when the aunt died of breast cancer and her ghost appeared to Clem and “Uncle John” in a remote trench, by an empty dug-out. Godsoe had taken two charcoal braziers, gone into the dug-out with the ghost, wedged up the door, and stifled to death.