they rode the Thirty-Mile-Ride under whip and spur along the sandy beach by the booming sea, till they came to the downs, the lamp-post, and the brushwood-pile,
This is from “The Brushwood Boy“, collected in The Day’s Work.
George Cottar is a high-achieving young army officer, a born leader. He excels at school and in an infantry battalion.
Since earliest childhood he has had a secret dream life of familiar details in a familiar landscape, which are elaborated over the years. A beach, a pile of brushwood,a lamp-post, a threatening policeman, purple downland, and a little girl who later becomes a grown woman, his beloved companion.
He comes home on leave to his proud parents in the old family home. One evening after dinner a young woman friend of the family sings a song she has written , which is full of imaages from his dream life. She is is the girl of his dreams. and he the boy of hers.