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THE HECKMAN BINDERY, INC.
N. MANCHESTER, INDIANA
the batteries were working up towards real efficiency again. Then old Swiffy, the veterinary officer, came in, and the new American doctor, who appeared armed with two copies of the 'Saturday Evening Post.' It was all very pleasant; and the feeling that men who had got to know you properly in the filthy turmoil and strain of Flanders were genuinely pleased to see you again, produced a glow of real happiness. I had, of course, to go out and inspect the Adjutant's new chargera big rattling chestnut, conceded to him by an A.S.C. major. A mystery gift, if ever there was one: for he was a handsome beast, and chargers are getting very rare in France. "They say he bucks," explained the Ad"He'll go for weeks 2 F
In the mess the Colonel
as quiet as a lamb, and then put it across you when you don't expect it. I'm going to put him under treatment." "Where's my groom?" he roared. Following which there was elaborate preparation of a weighted saddle-not up to the Adjutant's 15 stone 5, but enough to make the horse realise he was carrying something; then an improvised lunging-rope was fashioned, and for twenty minutes the new charger had to do a oirous trot and canter, with the Adjutant as a critical and hopeful ringmaster. In the end the Adjutant mounted and rode off, shouting that he would be back in half an hour to report on the mystery horse's preliminary behaviour.
Then the Regimental Sergeant Major manoeuvred me towards the horse lines to look at the newly made up telephone cart team.
"You remember the doctor's fat mare, sir-the wheeler, you used to call her? Well, she is a wheeler now, and a splendid worker too. We got the handwheeler from B Battery, and they make a perfect pair. And you remember the little horse who strayed into our lines at Thiepval 'Punch' we used to call him-as fat as butter, and didn't like his head touched? Well, he's in the rear; and another bay, a twin to him, that the Adjutant got from the -th Division. Changed 'Rabbits' for him. You remember Rabbits,' sir? -nice-looking horse, but inolined to stumble. All bays
And then an anxious moment. Nearest the wall in the shed which sheltered the officers' horses stood my own horse dear old Silvertail, always a gentleman among horses, but marked in his likes. and dislikes. Would he know me after my six months' absence? The grey ears went back as I approached, but my voice seemed to awake recognition. Before long a silver-grey nose was nozzling in the old confiding way from the fourth button towards the jacket pocket where the biscuits used to be kept. was well with the world.
A rataplan on a side-drum feebly played in the street outside the village orier announcing that a calf had committed hari - kari on one of the flag - poles put up to warn horsemen that they mustn't take short cuts over
sown land. The aged orier, in the brown velveteen and the stained white corduroys, took a fresh breath and went on to warn the half-dozen villagers who had come to their doorways that uprooting the red flags would be in defiance of the express orders of Monsieur le Maire (who owned many fields in the neighbourhood). The veal resulting from the accident would be shared out among the villagers that evening.
My camp-bed was put up in 8 room occupied by the Adjutant; and during and after dinner there was much
talk about the programme of intensive training with which the Brigade was going to cccupy itself while out at rest. For the morrow the Colonel had arranged a scheme-defence and counter-attackwhich meant that skeleton batteries would have to be brought up to upset and demolish the remorseless plans of an imaginary German German host; and there was diligent studying of F.A.T. and the latest pamphlets on Battery Staff Training, and other points of knowledge rusted by too much trench warfare.
It was exactly 2 P.M. on the morrow. We were mounted and moving off to participate in this theoretical battle, when the "ohug-chug - ohug" of a motor-cycle caused us to look towards the hill at the end of the village street: a despatchrider, wearing the blue-andwhite band of the Signal Service. The envelope he drew from his leather wallet was marked "urgent."
"It's real war, gentlemen," said the Colonel quickly, having read the contents; "we move at once. Corps say that the enemy are massing for an attack.'
A clatter of horsemen spreading the news followed. I stood at the door of the village's one café and watched two of our batteries pass. The good woman who kept it asked if I thought the Germans would come there again. "They took my husband with them a prisoner when they went a year ago," she said slowly. My trust in our strength as I had seen it six months before helped me to reassure her; but to change the subject, I turned to the pennyin-the-slot music machine inside, the biggest, most gaudily painted musical box I've ever seen. "Did the Boches ever try this?" I asked. "No, only once," she replied, brightening. "They had a mess in the next room, and never came in here.'
"Well, I'll have a pen'orth for luck," said I, and avoiding "Norma," and "Poet and Peasant," moved the pointer towards a chansonette, something about & good time coming. Such a monstrous wheezing and gurgling, such a deadening clang of cracked cymbals, such a a Puck-like concatenation of flat notes and sudden thuds that told of broken strings! And so much of it for a ten-centime piece. When the tumult began a