Chapter Twenty-Five

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Oxford — Saturday 24 July 1915

David returned from Windsor in the late afternoon, then he relaxed in his quarters reading about shaping and placing plastic explosives. Hunger pangs prompted him to look at his watch. Nineteen fifteen already. Missed Mess. Likely excused, anyway. He closed the book and stretched. Need something to eat. Wonder if there's anything finer than stodge out there.

He dressed into his casual trousers and shirt, put on his walking shoes, picked up his book and headed out into the warm summer evening. After two circuits of Radcliffe Square had found nothing to pique his interest, he turned into Brasenose Lane, which soon broadened to become Market Street. He saw nothing to entice him before Market ended at Cornmarket Street. The High Street's down that way. Been there. He looked to the right. Maybe this way.

Two blocks along he came to a crooked intersection and looked at the street signs. Two roads cross, but four different streets. Seems the streets change names every few blocks. Confusing. He continued in the same direction, but now on Magdalen Street. I've made only one turn in four blocks, and I'm already on my fifth street.

He strolled past a church sitting in a narrow park. Jumbled looking architecture. Appears as if it can't decide what style to be. Spotting a bronze plaque, he crossed the street to read it. No wonder it looks confused. Portions date to the twelfth century, some from the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth. Redesigned other parts in the 1840s.

A block farther along, the street name changed again, this time to St Giles. Getting rather hungry, need something soon. Looks like I'm back among college buildings. Maybe around here. A hundred yards along, he paused in front of the Eagle and Child. This pub'll have to do.

He stepped inside, pleased with the quietness

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He stepped inside, pleased with the quietness. Not at all busy, not like the ones around Brasenose. Musn't be a cadet program around here. Pleasant. He looked at his watch. Wonder if the kitchen's still open. He made his way across the near-empty room to a table against the far wall and sat.

An old man looked up at him from behind the bar as he passed, then came to his table. "If you're wanting ta eat, all we've left is tiddy oggies."

David blew out a deep breath. "How big is your tiddy oggy?"

"Two's plenty unless you're starvin."

"Bring me two, then, and half a dark ale."

When the man returned with his ale, David commented, "Looks like college buildings along the street here."

"Aye. University College. Ta pub belongs t'em. Slow now with 'em all gone ta war."

University College? There's an OTC programme here, is there not? Where are the cadets? All the pubs around Brasenose are bustling with them."

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