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Page 190

CHAPTER XIV

bleeding fool Gardner stuck it outside the C.O.'s tent, and poor little Bullock put his head straight in."
" Was it full ?
" To the brim. Gardner's been given extra drill for the rest of camp."
"Damned hard luck, if he didn't know it was the C.O.'s tent."
" That's what he told Bullock ; but he wasn't in a fit state to see the joke."
Morning parade did not last long, as a route march had been planned for the afternoon. Colonel Bullock inspected the battalion and handed them over to an officer of the regular army, who discoursed to them on camps and discipline, and invited them to witness a display of rifle drill by a demonstration squad. Colonel Bullock, who had a house, at Eton, had been through the war and was popular in the corps. The other masters, who served as officers in the O.T.C., were of varying efficiency. Captain Fall, for instance, of X company had a fine informal way with his troops. At the climax of a certain field day he had ordered his company to fix bayonets and " run as fast as they jolly well could." The result had been partly a retreat, partly a fierce attack on a rival public school. On another occasion, after a long and gruelling march, Captain Fall had shown his good sense by giving the command, " Now then, company, into the gorse bushes.... Wander," and the company had most gratefully wandered.
There was some delay at the beginning of afternoon parade. Freeman and Taunton strutted about before a skeleton platoon. Half a dozen members of Wren's were present and stood, nominally, at ease. Y company might have returned from a heavy action.
" Owen, where's the rest of the section ? " said Freeman.
" I don't know. I can only guess." Two figures came out of a belt of trees, tightening their belts, as they ran.
" Why are you late ?" said Freeman.
" Sorry," said Oliver. " It's that melon, I'm afraid."
" What's that got to do with it ?"

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