Generals Die In Bed – Chapter 7, Bethune
Darien Frost & Ben Digges
The Soldiers are marching to the city of Bethune. A dirty, squat, coal smudged city. The city is just within range of heavy artillery fire, but no shells scream into town and aeroplanes fly harmlessly over it.
“Bethune is a haven, a soldier’s haven.”
Bethune is a few miles behind the Canadian front, a place of rest for the Canadian soldiers tired and trench weary.
Seven hundred men, tough and war bitten march towards the city singing songs of war, letting the artillery boom behind them.
“Oh the generals have a bloody good time,
fifty feet behind the line,
Hinky, dinky, parley voo!”
The next day they polish the green brass buttons and oil their rifles and march off to a field to be inspected by the chief of staff. On the march back they talk about how generals die in bed.
“ ‘...a little runt, aint he?’
‘With a cushy job, too.’
‘Bet he’s got a hundred batmen to shine his leather.’
‘He’s got fifty medals...’
‘Yeah but he’ll never die in a trench like Brownie and them did.’
‘God no. Generals die in bed.’
‘Well that’s a pretty nice place to die.’ “
Later that night the narrator explores the town on his own to get a little peace and quiet and stumbles on the door step of an old man, who lets him stay the night in exchange for tobacco, the next morning the narrator discovers that he has been put on leave.
Old Man – Remains nameless in the book, speaks little English and is a scab when it comes to tobacco but allows the narrator to stay the night.
Old Man’s Daughter – Remains nameless in the book, is around the age of 18. She is dark skinned like most Northerners and has olive, ruddy cheeks, sparkling eyes and black shiny hair. She sleeps with the narrator but it is not said if anything happens between them.
Fear/bravery: As the artillery march down the streets of Bethune singing " dirty marching songs," the narrator...