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Two of our officers had been killed and several
wounded. Old man Barton had got a nice comfort-
able one in the shoulder. Hawkes (a reliable and
efficient chap who belonged to one of the other com-
panies) had been sent for to take command of C
Company, and was even now completing his rapid
but methodical preparations for departure.

The reserve Echelon was an arid and irksome place
to be loafing about in. Time hung heavy on our hands
and we spent a lot of it lying in the tent on our out-
spread valises. During the sluggish mid-afternoon of
the same Saturday I was thus occupied in economiz-
ing my energies. Durley had nicknamed our party
"the eight little nigger boys", and there were now
only seven of us. Most of them were feeling more talk-
ative than I was, and it happened that I emerged
from a snooze to hear them discussing "that queer
bird Cromlech". Their comments reminded me, not
for the first time, of the diversified impressions which
David made upon his fellow Fusiliers.

At his best I'd always found him an ideal com-
panion, although his opinions were often disconcert-
ing. But no one was worse than he was at hitting it off
with officers who distrusted cleverness and disliked
unreserved utterances. In fact he was a positive ex-
pert at putting people's backs up unintentionally. He
was with our Second Battalion for a few months before
they transferred him to "the First", and during that
period the Colonel was heard to remark that young
Cromlech threw his tongue a hell of a lot too much,
and that it was about time he gave up reading Shake-
speare and took to using soap and water. He had,