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outside the officers' quarters at Clitherland. The sky
was cloudless and the lines of huts had an air of omin-
ous inactivity. Nobody seemed to be about, for at
that hour the troops were out on the training field. A
bored sentry was the only witness of my arrival, and
for him there was nothing remarkable in a second-
lieutenant telling a taximan to dump his luggage down
outside the officers3 mess. For me, however, there
now seemed something almost surreptitious about my
return. It was as though I'd come skulking back to see
how much damage had been caused by that egregious
projectile, my protest. But the camp was exactly as it
would have been if I'd returned as a dutiful young
officer. It was I who was desolate and distracted; and
it would have been no consolation to me if I could have
realized that, in my mind, the familiar scene was hav-
ing a momentary and ghastly existence which would
never be repeated.
For a few moments I stared wildly at the huts, con-
scious (though my brain was blank) that there was
some sort of climax in my stupefied recognition of
reality. One final wrench, and all my obedient
associations with Clitherland would be shattered.
It is probable that I put my tie straight and adjusted
my belt-buckle to its central position between the
tunic buttons. There was only one thing to be done
after that. I walked into the Orderly Room, halted in
front of a table, and saluted dizzily.
After the glaring sunlight, the room seemed almost
dark. When I raised my eyes it was not the Colonel
who was sitting at the table, but Major Macartney.
At another table, ostensibly busy with Army forms
and papers, was the Deputy-Assistant-Adjutant (a
good friend of mine who had lost a leg in Gallipoli).
I stctekl there, incapable of expectation. Then, to my