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SITTING IN the sunshine one morning early in
September, I ruminated on my five weeks' ser-
vice as a trooper in the Yeomanry. Healthier than
I'd ever been before, I sat on the slope of a meadow a
few miles from Canterbury, polishing acavalry saddle
and wondering how it was that I'd never learned
more about that sort of thing from Dixon. Below me,
somewhere in the horse-lines, stood Gockbird, picketed
to a peg in the ground by a rope which was already
giving him a sore pastern. Had I been near enough
to study his facial expression I should have seen what
I already knew, that Cockbird definitely disliked
being a trooper's charger. He was regretting Dixon
and resenting mobilization. He didn't even belong
to me now, for I had been obliged to sell him to
the Government for a perfunctory fifty pounds, and
I was lucky not to have lost sight of him altogether.
Apart from the fact that for forty-five months he
had been my most prized possession in the world, he
was now my only tangible link with the peaceful past
which had provided us both with a roof over our
heads every night.

My present habitation was a bivouac, rigged up
out of a rick-cloth and some posts, which I shared
with eleven other troopers. Outside the bivouac I
sat, with much equipment still uncleaned after our