Adjutant) I suppose it was a form of drug, since it was
confined to pleasant retrospections of peace. Wilmot
was well acquainted with my part of the world and
he'd come across many of our local worthies. So we
were able to make a little tour of the Kentish Weald
and the Sussex border, as though on a couple of
mental bicycles. In imagination we cycled along on a
fine summer afternoon, passing certain milestones
which will always be inseparable from my life history.
Outside Squire Maundle's park gate we shared a dis-
tinct picture of his angular attitudes while he ad-
dressed his golf-ball among the bell-tinklings and
baaings of sheep on the sunny slopes above Amble-
hurst (always followed by a taciturn black retriever).
Much has been asserted about the brutalized con-
dition of mind to which soldiers were reduced by life
in the Front Line; I do not deny this, but I am inclined
to suggest that there was a proportionate amount of
simple-minded sentimentality. As far as I was con-
cerned, no topic could be too homely for the trenches.
Thus, while working parties and machine-gunners
filed past the door with hollow grumbling voices, our
private recess in the Hindenburg Tunnel was precari-
ously infused with evocations of rural England and
we challenged our surroundings with remembrances
of parish names and farm-houses with friendly faces.
A cottage garden was not an easy idea to recover con-
vincingly. . . . Bees among yellow wall-flowers on a
warm afternoon. The smell of an apple orchard in
autumn.... Such details were beyond our evocation.
But they were implied when I mentioned Squire
Maundle in his four-wheeled dogcart, rumbling along
the Dumbridge Road to attend a County Council
* * *