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was at the front. I was safely wounded after doing
well enough to be congratulated by Captain Huxtable.
The fact that the fighting men were still being sacri-
ficed needn't affect the contentment of the tea-party.
But everything was blighted by those letters which
were reposing in the local pillar-box, and it was with
some difficulty that I pulled myself together when I
heard a vigorous ring of the front-door bell, followed
by the firm tread of the Captain on the polished wood
floor of the drawing-room, and the volubility of Aunt
Evelyn's conversational opening alternating with the
crisp and cheery baritone of her visitor. Captain
Huxtable was an essentially cheerful character ("wag-
gish" was Aunt Evelyn's favourite word for him) and
that afternoon he was in his most jovial mood. He
greeted me with a reference to Mahomet and the
Mountain, though I felt more like a funeral than a
mountain, and the little man himself looked by no
means like Mahomet, for he was wearing brown cor-
duroy breeches and a white linen jacket, and his face
was red and jolly after the exertion of bicycling. His
subsequent conversation was, for me, strongly flav-
oured with unconscious irony. Ever since I had joined
the Flintshire Fusiliers our meetings always set his
mind alight with memories of his "old corps", as he
called it; I made him, he said, feel half his age*
Naturally, he was enthusiastic about anything con-
nected with the fine record of the Flintshires in this
particular war, and when Aunt Evelyn said, "Do
show Captain Huxtable the card you got from your
General," he screwed his monocle into his eye and in-
spected the gilt-edged trophy with intense and delib-
erate satisfaction. I asked him to keep it as a souvenir
of his having got me into the Regimentó(bitterly
aware that I should be getting myself out of it pretty