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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

place had improved since I last saw it; the horse-
chestnut in front of the house was in flower and there
were a few peonies and pink roses in the neglected
little garden at the back.

Dusk had fallen when I returned from a stroll in
the fields; the candles were lit, there was a smell of
cooking, and the servants were clattering tin plates in
the sizzling kitchen. Durley, Birdie Mansfield, and
young Ormand were sitting round the table, with a
new officer who was meekly reading the newspaper
which served as tablecloth. They all looked glum,
but my advent caused some pumped-up cheeriness,
and I was introduced to the newcomer whose name
was Fewnings. (He wore spectacles and in private
life had been a schoolmaster.) Not much was said
until the end of the steak and onions; by then Mans-
field had lowered the level of the whisky bottle by a
couple of inches, while the rest of us drank lime-juice.
Tinned peaches appeared, and I inquired where Bar-
ton wasówith an uneasy feeling that something
might have happened to turn. Ormand replied that
the old man was dining at Battalion Headquarters.
"And skiting to Kinjack about the Raid, I'll bet,"
added Mansfield, tipping some more whisky into his
mug. "The Raid!" I exclaimed, suddenly excited, "I
haven't heard a word about it." "Well, you're the
only human being in this Brigade who hasn't heard
about it." (Mansfield's remarks were emphasized by
the usual epithets.) "But what about it? Was it a suc-
cess?" "Holy Christ! Was it a success? The Kan-
garoo wants to know if it was a success!" He puffed
out his plump cheeks and gazed at the others. "This
god-damned Raid's been a funny story for the last
fortnight, and we've done everything except send
word over to the Fritzes to say what time we're

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