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I had written to Dixon, telling him all about my
new job, and I now received a reply. We were,
apparently, in the same army corps, so he couldn't
be so very many miles away.

"I have been wondering, sir," he wrote, "whether
it might possibly be fixed up for me to exchange into
your battalion as transport-sergeant. You say your
sergeant has been in France since the beginning, so
he's done his bit all right! It would be quite like
old times for me to be your transport-sergeant. That
was a rotten business about Mr. Golwood being killed,
sir. We shall all miss him very much when this War is

Dkon's letter sent me off into pleasant imaginings;
to have him near me would make all the difference,
I thought. Everything I had known before the War
seemed to be withering away and falling to pieces:
Denis seldom wrote to me, and he was trying to get a
job on the Staff; but with Dixon to talk to I should
still feel that the past was holding its own with the
War; and I wanted the past to survive and to begin
again; the idea was like daylight on the other side of
this bad weather in which life and death had come
so close to one another. I couldn't get used to the
idea of Stephen being dead. And Denis had become
so remote that I seldom remembered him, though I
couldn't say why it was.

So, by the time I was showing Dottrell the letter,
I had made up my mind that Dixon's exchange was
as good as settled. Joe read the letter through twice,
"Your old groom must be a good sport," he remarked,
pouring himself out a couple of inches of O.V.H. and
adding a similar amount of water. "But it would take
a deal of wangling to work his exchange. And if
you want my private opinion, young George, he'd