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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 172 pages of information about Adventures of a Despatch Rider.

The next day we were inoculated.  At the time we would much rather have risked typhoid.  We did not object to the discomfort, though two of us nearly fainted on parade the following morning—­it was streamingly hot—­but our farewell dinner was absolutely spoilt.  Bottles of the best Moselle Carlow could produce were left untouched.  Songs broke down in curses.  It was tragic.

FOOTNOTES: 

[1] This was written before the days of the “Submarine Blockade.”

CHAPTER II.

THE JOURNEY TO THE FRONT

We made a triumphant departure from Carlow, preceded down to the station by the band of the N.V.  We were told off to prevent anybody entering the station, but all the men entered magnificently, saying they were volunteers, and the women and children rushed us with the victorious cry, “We’ve downed the p’lice.”  We steamed out of the station while the band played “Come back to Erin” and “God save Ireland,” and made an interminable journey to Dublin.  At some of the villages they cheered, at others they looked at us glumly.  But the back streets of Dublin were patriotic enough, and at the docks, which we reached just after dark, a small, tremendously enthusiastic crowd was gathered to see us off.

They sang songs and cheered, and cheered and sang songs.  “I can generally bear the separation, but I don’t like the leave-taking.”  The boat would not go off.  The crowd on the boat and the crowd on the wharf made patriotic noises until they were hoarse.  At midnight our supporters had nearly all gone away.  We who had seen our motor-cycles carefully hoisted on board ate the buns and apples provided by “Friends in Dublin” and chatted.  A young gunner told me of all his amours, and they were very numerous.  Still—­

     For my uncle Toby’s amours running all the way in my head,
     they had the same effect upon me as if they had been my
     own—­I was in the most perfect state of bounty and goodwill—­

So I set about finding a place for sleep.

The whole of the Divisional Headquarters Staff, with all their horses, were on the Archimedes, and we were so packed that when I tried to find a place to sleep I discovered there was not an inch of space left on the deck, so I passed an uncomfortable night on top of some excruciatingly hard ropes.

We cast off about one in the morning.  The night was horribly cold, and a slow dawn was never more welcomed.  But day brought a new horror.  The sun poured down on us, and the smell from the horses packed closely below was almost unbearable; while, worst of all, we had to go below to wash and to draw our rations.

Then I was first introduced to bully.  The first tin tastes delicious and fills you rapidly.  You never actually grow to dislike it, and many times when extra hungry I have longed for an extra tin.  But when you have lived on bully for three months (we have not been served out with fresh meat more than a dozen times altogether),[2] how you long for any little luxuries to vary the monotony of your food!

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