Looking round the room at the enlarged photo-
graphs of my hunters, I began to realize that my past
was wearing a bit thin. The War seemed to have
made up its mind to obliterate all those early adven-
tures of mine. Point-to-point cups shone, but without
conviction. And Dixon was dead. . . .
Perhaps, after all, it was better to be back with the
battalion. The only way to forget about the War was
to be on the other side of the Channel. But the fire
burnt brightly and the kettle was hissing on the hob.
It was nice to be wearing my old civilian clothes, and
to make myself a cup of tea. Old Joe will be on his
way home with the transport now, I thought, con-
trasting my comfort with him joggling along the
Bray road in this awful weather. His bronchitis had
been bad lately, too. Dick was a thought which I
repressed. He would be getting his leave soon, any-
how. . . . The Rector said we were fighting for right
and truth; but it was no use trying to think it all out
now. There were those things to take back for the
others—a bottle of old brandy for Dottrell and some
smoked salmon for "C" company mess—I mustn't
make any mistake about that when I get to town in
the morning, I thought. . . .
And the next evening I was on the boat at South-
ampton; the weather had turned mild again; it was
a quiet evening; I watched the red and green lights
across the harbour, and listened to the creaking cries
of the gulls, like the sound of windlasses and pulleys,
as they swooped in circles or settled on the smooth
dusk of the water. From the town came the note of
a bugle, a remote call, like the last thought of home.
And then we were churning across the dark sea, to
find France still under snow.