old houses, with a book of anthems under our arms
—preferably on a mild evening toward the end of
October. (In his civilian days Barton had attended
race meetings regularly; his musical experience had
been confined to musical comedy.)
The mail that evening had brought me a parcel
from Aunt Evelyn, which contained two pots of
specially good jam. Ration jam was usually in tins,
and of tins it tasted. Barton gazed affectionately at
the coloured label, which represented a cherry-
growing landscape. The label was a talisman which
carried his mind safely to the home counties of
England. He spoke of railway travelling. "Do you
remember the five-thirty from Paddington? What a
dear old train it was!" Helping himself to a spoonful
of cherry jam he mentally passed through Maiden-
head in a Pullman carriage. . . . The mail had also
brought me the balance sheet of the Ringwell Hunt.
These Hunt accounts made me feel homesick. And it
appeared that the late Mr. S. Colwood had sub-
scribed ten pounds. He must have sent it early in
September, just before he was killed. No doubt he
wrote the cheque in a day dream about hunting. . . .
In the meantime we were down in that frowsty
smelling dug-out, listening to the cautious nibbling
of rats behind the wooden walls; and above ground
there was the muffled boom of something bursting.
And two more officers had been killed. Not in our
company though. The Germans had put up another
mine that afternoon without doing us any damage.
Their trenches were only a hundred and fifty yards
from ours; in some places less than fifty. It was a
sector of the line which specialized in mines; more
than half of our 75O-yard frontage was pitted with
mine-craters, some of them fifty feet deep. . . .