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long, knobby legs in the air, and hurried in to the house.

The kettle was already purring on the hob: he had filled it long ago. Father was washing his hands. Hugh unpacked the tucker-bag, which was always his job. Bread, butter, tea, flour, jam and a wet, clammy parcel that turned out to be corned-beef. No sweets: he looked very carefully in the corners of the bag, where there was nearly always a little twisted-up package of bull's-eyes. There were none tonight. And there was another thing missing. His small voice piped up.

"Didn't you get tobacco, Father?"


"But you're right out!"

"Oh, I'm going to knock off smoking," said Father, quietly.

Hugh stared at him. This was rather terrifying. He knew what Father's pipe meant to him: how often he had said that he'd rather go hungry than without a smoke. But there was something in Father's face that held back the words that leaped to his tongue. He put away the groceries and made the tea.

They ate bread and jam. Hugh had hoped for bacon, but that was another of the things that hadn't come out of the tucker-bag. Having had bread and jam for breakfast and dinner he was not very hungry for it now: and tea without milk was, he thought privately, horrid, though it was no use to say anything—he would have to get used to it.

Father was very silent, lost in thought. He roused