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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.