If Winter Comes eBook

Arthur Stuart-Menteth Hutchinson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 343 pages of information about If Winter Comes.

IV

The column passed and was gone.  He was left with his most frightful feelings.  He could do nothing now.  Four o’clock in the morning.  But he must do something now.  He could not go home till he had.  He must.  He followed to the station.  The men were entraining in the goods yard.  He waited about, not trusting himself to speak to Otway or any of the others who were going.  Presently his opportunity came in a sight of Colonel Rattray, who commanded the depot and was not going, standing for a minute alone.  Sabre went quickly to him and they exchanged greetings and said the obvious things proper to the occasion.  Then Sabre said, feeling extraordinarily embarrassed, “I say, Colonel, I want to get into this.  I absolutely must get into this.”

“Eh?  Into what?”

“The war.”  It was easier after the plunge, and he went on quickly, “I see in the papers that civilians are being given commissions, getting them by recommendation.  Can you get me a commission? Can you?”

Colonel Rattray showed surprise.  He turned squarely about and faced Sabre and looked him up and down, but not in the way in which soldiers looked civilians up and down rather later on.  “Well, I don’t know.  I might.  I’ve no doubt I could, if you’re eligible.  How old are you, Sabre?”

“Thirty-six.”

Colonel Rattray said doubtfully, “It’s a bit on the steep side for a commission.”

“Well, I’d go in the ranks.  I must get in.  I absolutely must.”

The soldier smiled pleasantly.  “Oh, I wouldn’t get thinking about the ranks, Sabre.  There’re heaps before you, you know.  Still, I wouldn’t stop any man getting into the Army if I could help him.  I’ll see what I can do.  Certainly I will.  Mind you, I’m doubtful.  Are you fit?”

“I think I am.  I’m supposed to have a bit of a heart.  But it’s absolute rot.  It never affects me in the slightest degree.  I can do anything.”

“Well, that’s the first thing, you know.  Look here, I’m wanted.  Come up to the Mess in the morning and I’ll get our doctor to have a look at you.  Then we’ll see what can be done.  All right, eh?”

V

He rode home much relieved from the stresses he had suffered in that awful business of watching the regiment march out.  He felt that if only he could be “in it” he could equably endure any of these things that were happening and that would get worse; if he had just to stand by and watch them his portion would be insupportable.  England!  Other people whom he knew could not possibly feel it in the way he felt it.  His history with its opening sentence, “This England you live in is yours”, had arisen out of his passionate love for all that England meant to him.  In all Shakespeare there was no passage that moved him in quite the same way whenever he recalled it as Richard the Second’s

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If Winter Comes from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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