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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

preserved. And each of those twenty years had been
as stereotyped as his ideas. The notions on which
he had patterned himself were part regimental and
part sporting. As a military man he was saturated
with the Balaclava spirit, and one could also imagine
him saying, "Women and children first" on a
foundering troopship (was it the Warren Hastings
which went down in the early 'nineties?). But the
Boer War had arrived seven years too late for him,
and the gist of the matter was that he'd never seen
any active service. And somehow, when one came
to know him well, one couldn't quite imagine him in
the Charge of the Light Brigade: but this may have
been because, in spite of the dashing light-cavalry
tone of his talk, he had served in a line regiment, and
not at all a smart one either. (His affluence dated
from the day when he had married where money
was.)

As a sportsman he had modelled himself on what I
may call the Whyte-Melville standard. His conver-
sational behaviour echoed the sentiments and sky-
larking .vivacities of mid-Victorian sporting novels
and the coloured prints of a slightly earlier period.
And yet one could no more imagine him participating
in a moonlight steeplechase than one could visualize
him being shot through the Bible in his breast pocket
in a death or glory attack. Like many chivalrous
spirits, he could never quite live up to the ideal he
aimed at. He was always talking about "Brooksby",
a hard-riding journalist who, in the Colonel's heyday,
had written regularly for The Field. He had several
volumes of these lively scribblings and he had read
and re-read them in his solitary evenings until he
knew the name of every gorse-covert and woodland
in the Shires.