10 NOVEMBER 1939, Page 14

* * * * Striking also was the quality of

the discipline which pre- vailed. It recalled to us the discipline, not of some military unit, but of some well-organised hospital. The General who accompanied us spoke to the men in an intimately paternal manner, and they replied to him with the respect which medical students pay to a famous doctor. I remarked on this to the Commandant who controlled this particular fortress. He was delighted that we had noticed the differ- ence. " It's a new thing," he said. " It has a great value. We call it l'esprit de beton,' the cement spirit.' We feel that we are all members here of the same crew." And as he said so the sound of dynamos buzzing reached us again. The upper darkness seemed almost impenetrable after that blaze of subterranean light. We drove back cauti..usly ; a few screened torches flickering on wet roads.