22nd September (1917)

Last night in the pub at Fleet we had an amusing conversation with an old horny and almost inarticulate villager.  His voice was dry like crackling twigs and he had a face like an old bird all covered with grey stubble.  He cracked of things long ago, when there was only one “Poob” in Aldershot and told us what he considered the salient event of his youth – mostly an unintelligible story about a stubborn donkey.  They are a rough lot in this hut, but don’t pretend to be anything else.  Yesterday at physical jerks I was as R. would say “affected in the risible”.  At halftime we do various capers, intended I suppose to relax the muscles, in a ring bent double, and the instructor goes round and hands a strap surreptitiously to anyone, who immediately belabours his right-hand neighbour, continuing all round the ring until he completes the circuit.  Well, I had the strap given to me and on commencing to attack found my victim to be a very hard faced man (afterwards killed) of about 40, with a drooping lip-weed, who squared round and refused to flee.  On my letting out with the strap he countered by a clout with one hand and a kick in the rear with the other foot; result hilarity, and disorganisation of class.  Accompanied by R. and one Jull,* from Hamilton who paints, after lunch (at which I sampled my first Bloater), we sauntered down the road to Pilcot.  Officer with a very Tory accent accompanied by two ladies came up and asked to see our sketches, which we had to produce.  He and his sister bestowed unqualified praise on them all, evidently being easily pleased.  As we were an hungered and there was nowhere else to get sup or bite, what did we?  Why, what other than back to Crondall and eat “Mrs. Crondall” out of house and home?

[*Ted Jull, who remained a friend of Lincoln’s after the war].

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