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this sort of thing was going to last. Kitchener had
told the country that it would be three years. "Three
years or the duration" was what I had enlisted for.
My heart sank to my boots (which were too wide for
my stirrups) as I thought of those three years of
imprisonment and dreary discomfort. The mellow
happy looking afternoon and the comfortable Kentish
landscape made it worse. It wouldn't have been so
bad if I'd been doing something definite. But there
was nothing to write home about in this sort of
existence. Raking up horse-dung before breakfast
had ceased to be a new experience- And the jokes
and jollity of my companions had likewise lost fresh-
ness. They were very good chaps, but young Nun-
burne had been the only one I could really talk to
about things which used to happen before the War
began. But there was burly Bob Jenner, son of a big
farmer in the Ringwell Hunt; he was in my section,
and had failed to get a commission on account of his
having lost the sight of one eye. What I should have
done without him to talk to I couldn't imagine. I
had known him out hunting, so there were a good
many simple memories which we could share. . . .
Escape came unexpectedly. It came about a week
later. My horse was still lame and I had been going
out on the chargers of various men who had special
jobs in the squadron, such as the quartermaster-
sergeant. One fortunate morning the farrier-sergeant
asked me to take his horse out; he said the horse
needed sharpening up. We went out for some field-
work, and, as usual, I was detailed to act as ground
scout. My notion of acting as ground scout was to go
several hundred yards ahead of the troop and look
for jumpable fences. But the ground was still hard
and the hedges were blind with summer vegetation,