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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

in the farmhouse with the officers. The men in my
troop included two or three bank clerks, several
farmers and small tradesmen's sons, a professional
steeplechase jockey, and the son of the local M.P.
(who had joined at the outbreak of war). They were
all quite young. Discipline was not rigorous, but
their conduct was exemplary. I soon found out,
however, that they were by no means as efficient as I
had expected. The annual training had been little
more than a three weeks9 outing. "Solidarity on
parade" was not an impressive element in the Service
Squadron, and squadron drill was an unsymmetrical
affair. Nevertheless, we talked impressively among
ourselves as though being ordered abroad was only a
matter of weeks or even days, and our officers regaled
us with optimistic news from the Western Front.
Many of us believed that the Russians would occupy
Berlin (and, perhaps, capture the Kaiser) before
Christmas. The newspapers informed us that German
soldiers crucified Belgian babies. Stories of that kind
were taken for granted; to have disbelieved them
would have been unpatriotic.

When Aunt Evelyn came over to see me one hot
Sunday afternoon I assured her that we should soon
be going to the Front. Her private feelings about
"men who march away" had to be sacrificed to my
reputability as a cavalryman. She brought with her
some unnecessarily thick shirts and the news from
Butley, where I was, I surmised, regarded as some-
thing of a hero. Enlistment in the Army had not yet
become an inevitability. Everyone thought it splen-
did of me to set such an example. I shared their
opinion as we went along the horse-lines to look at
Cockbird. Aunt Evelyn was bearing up bravely about
it all, but it W33 no good pretending that the War had

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