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quently made by young platoon commanders. Par-
kins was about thirty, and often reminded us that
he had been to Cambridge; in private life he had
been a schoolmaster. Plausible at first, he soon re-
vealed his defects, for the slovenly tedium of that tent
brought greed and selfishness to the surface. With his
muddy eyes and small dark moustache, he wasn't a
man one took to. But he was self-satisfied, and did his
best to amuse us with indecent rhymes and anecdotes.
He was also fond of using certain stilted expressions,
such as "for the nonce" and "anent". "I've no com-
plaints to make anent this hand," he would say when
playing cards. He posed as a gay dog, chaffing the
nurses when they brought in the food, and quoting
Omar Khayydm at them—"a jug of wine, a loaf of
bread and thou beside me, singing in the Wilderness"
—and referring to the tent as "this battered Caravan-
serai whose portals are alternate Night and Day".
Parkins did not conceal his dislike of the Front Line,
and was now in hopes of getting a job as Railway
Transport Officer. But he was the sort of man who
would get killed in some unutterably wretched attack
after doing his best to dodge it.

Young Holt was another second-rate character,
plump, smooth-faced and spuriously smart. He had
escaped from the Infantry into the Balloon Section,
and now fancied himself in a leather overcoat with a
fur collar—playing at "being in the Royal Flying
Corps". He felt that R.F.C. officers had a social
superiority to the Infantry. Being up in a balloon
elevated a man in more ways than one, and he often
aired his discrimination in such matters. Speaking of
the Artillery, he would say: "Yes, there's more tone
in the R.F.A.—much more tone than you find in the
Garrison Gunners!" Holt was a harmless easy-going