But, as Stephen might have said (if he'd been
capable of relaxing his admirable loyalty to his god-
father), "The dear old Colonel's always bucking
about Leicestershire, but I don't suppose he's had
half a dozen days there since he was foaled!" And
when the Colonel asked one to dine at "the Club"
("You'll always find me in town in Ascot week, my
dear boy"), "the Club" (he had two) wasn't quite up
to the standard he set himself, since instead of being
that full-blown fogeydom "The Naval and Military",
it had to face things out as merely ("Capital Club!
Lot of nice young chaps there!") "the Junior".
On this special Sunday, however, I could still
estimate the Colonel's importance as being equivalent
to twenty-seven pairs of top-boots. In fact, I thought
him a terrific swell, and it wouldn't have surprised
me to hear that he'd won the Grand National when
he was a gallant young subaltern. At luncheon
(roast beef and apple tart) he was the most attentive
of hosts, and by the time we had finished our port—
("I think you'll find this a nice light-bodied wine.
I get it through the Club")—he had given most of
his favourite anecdotes an airing. While the decanter
was on its way round Stephen tackled him about the
miseries of learning to be a chartered accountant.
The lament was well received, and when he said,
"I've been wondering, Colonel, whether I couldn't
possibly get into the Gunners through the Special
Reserve," the idea was considered a capital one.
The Colonel's face lit up: "I tell you what, my
boy, I'll write at once to an old friend of mine at the
War Office. Excellent officer—used to be in the
'Twenty-Third'. Very useful man on a horse, too."
Warmed up by the thought of Stephen getting a
commission, he asked me whether I was in the