|| trees and brushwood
till it blazed merrily. The ecstasy of that warmth cannot
be described. It thawed our chilled bodies and souls back
to something approximating humanity. The final transition
to complete humanity occurred when a good Samaritan from a
near-by house sent out jugs of hot cocoa. This restored our
faith in human nature to such an extent that we found it possible
to exchange pleasantries with the child who brought it, and
so full of gratitude were we that we bestowed sundry pennies
upon her. It was amazing how we picked up after that. We were
warm again, the exercise was practically over, and all seemed
well with the world.
On the march back, one or two even started to whistle,
not with the gay abandon that usually marked their efforts,
perhaps, but the fact that they could whistle at all was
distinctly encouraging, and it says much for the power of
human endurance. Even the weather became warm and bright
as though in sympathy with our new-found gaiety.
| The exercise finished,
and we were all able to make our way home under our own power
instead of being carried home on stretchers as we had so dolefully
prophesied, and, strange to relate, not one of us caught so
much as a cold.
Ah, well! Perhaps it hadn't been all that bad after all.
Nevertheless, it's funny, but all the Platoon have a marked
aversion for cats. I wonder why?
In case the foregoing might lead any reader to believe
that the Home Guard was perpetually "browned off",
let me assure him that such is not the case. They groused
a lot on these stunts, but, after all, it's an Englishman's
privilege to grumble and, confidentially, I believe they
secretly enjoyed these things though it would embarrass
them exceedingly to admit it.
Yes, the Home Guard can take it all right, and its secret
sorrow is that it has not had the opportunity of dishing
it out too.