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morning exercises. I had just received a letter, and it
was lying on the grass beside me. It was from some-
one at the War Office whom I knew slightly; it
offered me a commission, with the rank of captain,
in the Remount Service. I had also got yesterday's
Times, which contained a piece of poetry by Thomas
Hardy. "What of the faith and fire within us, men
who march away ere the barn-cocks say night is
growing grey?" I did not need Hardy's "Song of the
Soldiers" to warn me that the Remounts was no
place for me. Also the idea of my being any sort of
officer in the Army seemed absurd. I had already
been offered a commission in my own Yeomanry,
but how could I have accepted it when everybody
was saying that the Germans might land at Dover
any day? I was safe in the Army, and that was all
I cared about.

I had slipped into the Downfield troop by enlisting
two days before the declaration of war. For me, so
far, the War had been a mounted infantry picnic in
perfect weather. The inaugural excitement had died
down, and I was agreeably relieved of all sense of
personal responsibility. Gockbird's welfare was my
main anxiety; apart from that, being in the Army was
very much like being back at school. My incompe-
tence, compared with the relative efficiency of my
associates, was causing me perturbed and flustered
moments. Getting on parade in time with myself and
Cockbird properly strapped and buckled was ticklish
work. But several of the officers had known me out
hunting with the Ringwell, and my presence in the
ranks was regarded as a bit of a joke, although in my
own mind my duties were no laughing matter and I
had serious aspirations to heroism in the field. Also
I had the advantage of being a better rider than a