remark. But this matron chose not to break her silence at this point. ffiThey?ll stick l&e mud, the old gang, 'cause in our. mob we all knew everbody. It was rosy." Mrs. Pritchard had her back to him as he spoke while hastily tapping ash to the floor with blunt fingers she was groping for a paper-carrier along the rack, but his sidelong glance overlooked her plight, he had, for that moment, felt himself so clearly a boy discovered crouching from adult vision in his miniature dugout of long grass, surprised perhaps in a lush and germinal reverie. Restless yet under that tawny surveillance, he studied the column of smoke topple and diffuse in mid-air. Mrs. Pritchard, in uneasy repose. awaited her station with a protracted smile, a white lie of affability, She feared to widen the discussion at that stage. Sitting in the old caffs just over the road from the guardroom, watching the old provost bloke. By the left." He jerked his head appreciatively. The boys yarning romantically in back parlours with the lean and sexless proprietresses who concealed beneath their ageing hairnets the untold regimental lore of generations, impinged therein as on a flypaper. A strong urge to be esoteric and slightly coarse took him, he looked at no one now. The two verses he knew of Jack Palmer's forbidden song of lonely Brixton prison leapfrogged crazily through his mind. Mrs. Pritchard nodded brightly, kept up her incessantly cajoling smile. You had to keep on the move most times," he said, thinking privately of fatigues thus neatly evaded. It's an unsettled life," Ellen Pritchard agreed, worriedly assembling her green net gloves, handbag and carrier, her eyebrows busily querying the survival of her ticket. She saw at last the familiar landmark of home, but, as the tall ling-covered cutting shot up suddenly above their heads, a momentary confinement, the young man felt the weariness of his pose and knew, without words, the confession he longed to make upon Mrs. Pritchard's departure. The metallic rallentando of wheels struck like heavier footfall beside him along a lane of leaf-drifts in crisp autumn. The swift lack of sky happened like an arm twisted without warning behind his back. It won't be long now, he told himself, as though softly baiting someone apart. e A signalman, sculped like a doomed sea-captain on the bridge, wound sharply to their rear, then the station sheds and a blank yard. Mrs. Pritchard, shakily upright, stared a foot above him into the mirror, but made no adjustment. The train jammed to a standstill.