A fairly recent addition to the ever-growing library here at Field Punishment No. 1: a very good copy of the first edition of Canon Frederick George Scott’s The Great War As I Saw It (1922). There is some soiling, a touch of foxing, and there is a tear in the front hinge. Alas, the book is also missing the dustjacket.
When I hold the book in my left hand and allow it to open under its own weight, it does so to pages 78-79, where the following anecdote appears:
It was at Robecq, that I had my first sight of General Haig. I was standing in the Square one afternoon when I saw the men on the opposite side spring suddenly to attention. I felt that something was going to happen. To my astonishment, I saw a man ride up carrying a flag on a lance. He was followed by several other mounted men. It was so like a pageant that I said to myself, “Hello, here comes Joan of Arc.” Then a general appeared with his brilliant staff. The General advanced and we all saluted, but he, spying my chaplain’s collar, rode over to me and shook hands and asked if I had come over with the Canadians. I told him I had. Then he said, “I am so glad you have all come into my Army.” I did not know who he was or what army we were in, or in fact what the phrase meant, but I thought it was wise to say nice things to a general, so I told him we were all very glad too. He seemed gratified and rode off in all the pomp and circumstance of war. I heard afterwards that he was General Haig, who at that time commanded the First Army. He had from the start, the respect of all in the British Expeditionary Force.
A clue to the curious sign of wear on these pages is pasted to the inside front cover, in the form of a book plate:
Unfortunately, there is no marginalia.