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He was always trying to get us to take up shooting – and now most of us would be doing just that, whether we liked it or not. A little further down was a card advertising a chamber concert at the Institute: Miss Leila Willoughby would be playing the violin, which took me back to Scholes. This musical notice was his doing; he played the flute. He was ‘artistic’, hence the droopy face. Flower ought to have been the artist, with a name like his, but of the two he was the better man in a scrap, and would bring in the Drunk and Incapables on his own, whereas Scholes would whistle for assistance.

He’s too small. ’ said the Chief, looking over the letter. ’ he added, looking up. ’ ‘Who? ’ I said. ‘Aye,’ said the Chief, thoughtful-like, reading again. What in buggeration was he on about? ‘I’m signing up for the new battalion,’ I said, although I knew my thunder had been stolen by the news that young William had already done it. The Chief nodded as he lit a new cigar. In the past month he’d given up his little ones and moved to a bigger size – Marcellas, one and six a go – just as though he was celebrating the coming of the war, the return to a man’s normal state of existence.

He was born drunk, he was. ’ The Chief began turning about, with the dazed look on his face, having been rudely diverted, so to speak, from inter national diplomacy. But Oliver had gone by the time the Chief’s manoeuvre was completed, which left him staring directly at the drunken porter, Dawson. And now the clockwork machine, having been wound up to the fullest, began to work. ’ said Dawson, just as though the Chief’s gold-braided tunic and police insignia wouldn’t have told him; just as if every man on the Company strength didn’t know Chief Inspector Weatherill.

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