When I reached 'C' Company lines, which were at the top of the hill, I paused and looked back at the camp, just coming into full view below me through the grey mist of early morning. We were leaving that day. When we marched in, three months before, the place was under snow; now the first leaves of spring were unfolding. I had reflected then that, whatever scenes of desolation lay ahead of us, I never feared one more brutal than this, and I reflected now that it had no single happy memory for me.
Here love had died between me and the Army.
Where are we?
Scotland, 1942. The army company captained by Charles Ryder - whose 'Sacred and Profane Memories' we are about to read - is on the edge of departing for a new camp.
The company disembark from the train outside Brideshead, the ancestral seat of the aristocratic Marchmain dynasty, a house and a family that in his past Ryder had once loved deeply. His return sets loose reflections upon his undergraduate love in 1920s Oxford for the younger son Sebastian, his affair with the daughter Julia, his aesthetic development the house stimulated and the jaundiced but acute judgements of flamboyant Anthony Blanche.
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