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more than they pretend to, and this one had always
liked me. He wasn't much of a talker, though he
could imitate Aunt Evelyn calling the cats.

Next morning she contrived to be stoically chatty
until I had seen her turn back to the house door and
the village taxi was rattling me down the hill. She
had sensibly refrained from coming up to London to
see me off. But at Waterloo Station I was visibly re-
minded that going back for the Push was rather rough
on one's relations, however incapable they might be
of sharing the experience. There were two leave
trains and I watched the people coming away after
the first one had gone out. Some sauntered away
with assumed unconcern; they chatted and smiled.
Others hurried past me with a crucified look; I
noticed a well-dressed woman biting her gloved
fingers; her eyes stared fixedly; she was returning
alone to a silent house on a fine Sunday afternoon.

But I had nobody to see me off, so I could settle
myself in the corner of a carriage, light my pipe and
open a Sunday paper (though goodness knows what
it contained, apart from communiques, casualty lists,
and reassuring news from Galicia, Bukovina, and
other opaque arenas of war). It would have been nice
to read the first-class cricket averages for a change,
and their absence was an apt epitome of the life we
were condemned to. While the train hurried out of
London I watched the flitting gardens of suburban
houses. In my fox-hunting days I had scorned the
suburbs, but now there was something positively
alluring in the spectacle of a City man taking it easy
on his little lawn at Surbiton. Woking Cemetery was
a less attractive scene, and my eyes recoiled from it
to reassure themselves that my parcels were still safe
on the rack, for those parcels were the important