Goodbye to all that : Revised, with a prologue and epilogue. [4 ed.]

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Goodbye to all that : Revised, with a prologue and epilogue. [4 ed.]

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ROBERT GRAVES

GOODBYE TO A L L TH A T N ew e d itio n , revised, w ith a p ro lo g u e and epilogue

CASSELL & COMPANY L T D LO N D O N

CASSELL & C O M P A N Y L T D 35 Red L io n Square, London, W C 1 and at 210 Queen Street, Melbourne, 26/30 Clarence Street, Sydney, 24 Wyndham Street, Auckland, 1068 Broadview Avenue, Toronto 6, PO Box 275, Cape Town, P 0 Box 11190, Johannesburg, Haroon Chambers, South Napier Road, Karachi, 13/14 A]men Gate, Extension, New Delhi 1, 15 Graham Road, Ballard Estate, Bombay 1, 17 Chittaran] an Avenue, Calcutta 13, PO Box 23, Colombo, Macdonald House, Orchard Road, Singapore 9, Avenida 9 de Julho 1138, Sao Paulo, Galena Guemes, Escntono 454/59 Florida 165, Buenos Aires, Marne 5b, Mexico 5, D F , Sanshm Building, 6 Kanda Mitoschiro-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 25 rue Henri Barbusse, Pans 5e, 25 Ny Strandvej, Espergaerde, Copenhagen, Beulmgstraat 2, Amsterdam-C, Bederstrasse 51, Zurich 2 e i°

© Robert Graves, 1929 and i y j j First published 1929 Revised edition November i p j j Second edition March 19$8

SET IN 11D ON 12 PT WALBAUM TYPE AND PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY WESTERN PRINTING SERVICES LIMITED, BRISTOL

£58

L IS T

O F IL L U S T R A T IO N S

Robert Graves, a recent photograph taken m Majorca (Tom Weedon) Facing page 88 Charterhouse School m 1914 Béthune, before the shelling, Museum)

89 1915 (Im p e ria l

W ar 89

The brickstacks at Cuinchy (Im p e ria l W ar Museum) Somme Battle The First Royal W elch Fusiliers attacking nearM ametz 1st July, 1916 (Im perial W ar Museum)

104 105

Waterlogged m ine crater (Im p e ria l W ar Museum)

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Somme Battle Scene m a communication trench before an attack (Im p e ria l W ar Museum)

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The Royal W elch Fusiliers at rest (Im p e ria l W ar Museum)

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28th June, 1916

Somme trench map M artm puich section (Im p e ria l W ar Museum)

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Mametz Village

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July, 1916 (Im p e ria l W ar Museum)

The Second Royal W elch Fusilier Goat and Band at the 33rd D ivision Horse Show July, 1917 (Im p e ria l W ar Museum)

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Robert Graves, from a p ortrait by Eric Kenmngton (By kind permission o f the artist)

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PROLOGUE P A R T L Y wrote, p artly dictated, this book tw enty-eight years ago during a complicated domestic crisis, and w ith very little tim e fo r revision I t was m y b itte r leave-taking of England where I had recently broken a good many conventions, quarrelled w ith , or been disowned, by most o f m y friends, been g rille d by the police on a suspicion o f attempted m urder, and ceased to care what anyone thought of me Reading Goodbye To A ll That over again, for the firs t tim e since 1929,1 wonder how m y publishers escaped a lib e l action Domestic crises are always expensive, but the book sold w ell enough m England and the U nited States, despite the Depression w hich had just set m , to pay m y debts and leave me free to live and w rite m Majorca w ith o u t im m ediate anxiety fo r the future The title became a catch-word, and m y sole contribution to Bart­ le tt’s D ictionary o f F a m ilia r Quotations A good many changes have here been made m the text— omis­ sion of many d u ll or foolish patches, restoration of a few sup­ pressed anecdotes, replacement o f the T E Lawrence chapter by a longer one w ritte n five years later, correction o f factual mis­ statements, and a general editing of m y excusably ragged prose Some proper names have been restored where th e ir original dis­ guise is no longer necessary I f any passage s till gives offence after a ll those years, I hope to be forgiven

I

Deya, Majorca, Spam 1957

RG

V 1Î

1

S a proof of m y readiness to accept autobiographical convention, _let me at once record m y tw o earliest memories The firs t is being loyally held up at a window to watch a procession of decor­ ated carriages and waggons for Queen V ictoria’s Diamond Jubilee m 1897 (this was at W im bledon, where I had been born on July 24th, 1895) The second is gazing upwards w ith a sort of despond­ ent te rro r at a cupboard m the nursery, w hich stood accidentally open, fille d to the ceiling w ith octavo volumes of Shakespeare M y father had organized a Shakespeare reading circle I did not know u n til long afterwards tha t this was the Shakespeare cupboard but, apparently, I already had a strong instinct against drawing-room activities And when distinguished visitors came to the house, such as Sir Sidney Lee w ith his Shakespearean scholarship, or Lord Ashbourne, not yet a peer, w ith his loud ta lk of 4Ireland fo r the Iris h ’, and his saffron k ilt, or M r Eustace M iles the English realtennis champion and vegetarian w ith his samples of exotic nuts, I knew all about them m m y way I had correctly summed up my cross-grained Uncle Charles of the Spectator and Punchy and my imperious A unt Grace, who came m a carnage and pair, and whose arriva i always caused a flu tte r because she was Lady P ontifex, and a ll the rest of m y relatives Nor had I any illusions about Algernon Charles Swinburne, who often used to stop m y peram bulator when he m et it on Nurses’ W alk, at the edge of W im bledon Common, and pat me on the head and kiss me he was an inveterate pram-stopper and patter and kisser Nurses’ W alk lay between ‘The Pines’, Putney (where he lived w ith W atts-D unton), and the Rose and Crown public house, where he went fo r his daily p in t of beer, W atts-D unton allowed him twopence for it and no more I did not know th a t Swinburne was a poet, but I knew th a t he was a public menace Swinburne, by the way, when a very young man, had gone to W alter Savage Landor, then a very old man, and been given the poet’s blessing he asked for, and Landor when a child had been patted on the

A

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head by D r Samuel Johnson, and Johnson when a child had been taken to London to be touched by Queen Anne fo r scrofula, the K ing’s e vil, and Queen Anne when a child B ut I mentioned the Shakespeare reading circle I t w ent on fo r years, and when I was sixteen, curiosity fin a lly sent me to one o f the meetings I remember the vivacity w ith w hich m y u tte rly unshrewish mother read the part of Katherine m The Tam ing o f the Shrew to my amiable father’s Petruchio M r and M rs M aurice H ill were two of the most popular members o f the circle This meeting took place some years before they became M r Justice H ill and Lady H ill, and some years, too, before I looked into The Shrew I re­ member the lemonade glasses, the cucumber sandwiches, the petits fo u rs , the drawing-room kick-knacks, the chrysanthemums m bowls, and the semicircle of easy chairs around the fire The gentle voice of Maurice H ill as Hortensio admonished m y father ‘ Thou go th y ways, thou hast tamed a cursed shrew ’ I m yself as Lucio ended the performance w ith 4’Tis a wonder by your leave she w ill be tamed so ’ I must go one day to hear h im speak his lines as Judge of the Divorce Courts, his admonitions have become famous A fte r 4earliest memories I should perhaps give a passport des­ cription of myself and le t the items enlarge themselves Date of b irth Place of b irth I have already given those Profes­ sion In m y passport I am down as ‘ U niversity Professor’ That was a convenience fo r 1926, when I firs t took out a passport I thought of p u ttin g ‘ W rite r’, b u t passport officials often have complicated reactions to the word ‘ U niversity professor’ wins a simple reaction d u ll respect No questions asked So also w ith 4army captain (pensioned list) ’ M y height is given as six feet two inches, m y eyes as grey, and m y h air as black To ‘ black’ should be added ‘ thick and c u rly ’ I am u n tru th fu lly described as having no special peculiarity For a start, there is m y big, once aquiline nose, which I broke at Charterhouse w hile foolishly playing rugger w ith soccer players (I broke another player’s nose m yself m the same game ) That unsteadied it, and boxing sent it askew Finally, it was operated on by an un­ s k ilfu l arm y surgeon, and no longer serves as a vertical lin e of de­ marcation between the le ft and rig h t sides of my face, w hich are naturally unassorted— m y eyes, eyebrows, and ears being a ll set

GOODBYE TO A L L T H A T

noticeably crooked and m y cheekbones, w hich are rather high, being on different levels M y m outh is what is known as ‘ fu ir , and m y smile is tig ht-lipp e d when I was thirtee n I broke two fro n t teeth and became sensitive about showing them M y hands and feet are large I weigh about twelve-stone four M y best comic tu rn is a double-jointed pelvis, I can sit on a table and rap like the Fox sisters w ith it One shoulder is distinctly lower than the other, because of a lung wound I do not carry a watch because I always magnetize the m ain-spnng, during the w ar when an order went out th a t officers should carry watches and synchronize them daily, I had to buy two new ones every m onth M edically, I am a good life M y passport gives m y nationality as ‘ B ritish subject’ Here I m ig h t parody Marcus Aurelius, who begins his Golden Book w ith the various ancestors and relatives to whom he owes the virtues o f a w orthy Roman Emperor explaining w hy I am not a Roman Emperor or even, except on occasions, an English gentleman M y m other’s father’s fam ily, the von Ranke’s, were Saxon country pastors, not anciently noble Leopold von Ranke, the firs t modern historian, m y great-uncle, introduced the ‘ vo n ’ I owe something to him He wrote, to the scandal of his contemporaries ‘ I am a historian before I am a Christian, m y object is sim ply to find out how the things actually occurred,’ and when discussing M ichelet the French historian ‘ He wrote history m a style m w hich the tru th could not be told ’ T hat Thomas Carlyle decried him as ‘ D ryas-Dust’ is no discredit To H einrich von Ranke, m y grandfather, I owe m y clumsy largeness, m y endurance, energy, seriousness, and m y th ick h a ir He was rebellious and even atheistic m his youth As a medical student at a Prussian university he took part m the political disturbances o f 1848, when students demonstrated m favour of K arl M arx at the tim e of his tria l fo r high treason L ike M arx, they had to leave the country M y grandfather came to London, and finished his medical course there In 1854, he went to the Crimea w ith the B ritish A rm y as a regim ental surgeon A ll I know about this is a chance rem ark tha t he made to me when I was a child ‘ I t is not always the big bodies w hich are the strongest A t Sevastopol m the trenches I saw the great B ritish Guards crack up and die by the score, w hile the little sappers took no harm ’ S till, his big body carried h im very w ell

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He m arried, m London, m y grandmother, a tm y, saintly, frightened Schleswig-Dane, daughter o f Tiarks, the Greenwich astronomer Before her father took to astronomy the Tiarks fa m ily had, it seems, followed the Danish country system— not at a ll a bad one— of alternate professions for father and son The odd gener­ ations were tinsm iths, and the even generations were pastors M y gentler characteristics trace back to m y grandm other She had ten children, the eldest o f these, m y mother, was born m London M y grandfather’s atheism and radicalism sobered dow n He event­ ually returned to Germany, where he became a w ell known c h il­ dren’s doctor at M unich, and about the firs t in Europe to insist on clean m ilk for his child patients Finding that he could not get clean m ilk to the hospitals by ordinary means, he started a model dairy-farm him self His agnosticism grieved m y devoutly L uth e ­ ran grandmother, she never ceased to pray for him , but concen­ trated more particularly on saving the souls of her children M y grandfather did not die e ntirely unregenerate, his last words were *The God of m y fathers, to H im at least I hold ’ I do not know what he meant by that, but it was a statement consistent w ith his angry patriarchal moods, w ith his acceptance of a pro­ m inent place m Bavarian society as H e rr G eheim rat R itte r von Ranke, and w ith his loyalty to the Kaiser, w ith whom once or twice he went deer-shootmg I t meant, practically, th a t he con­ sidered him self a good Liberal m religion as m politics, and that my grandmother need not have w orried I admire m y German re l­ atives, they have high principles, are easy, generous, and serious The men have fought duels not for cheap personal honour, but m the public interest— called out, for example, because they have protested against the scandalous behaviour of some superior officer or official One o f them lost seniority m the German consular ser­ vice, because he refused to use the consulate m London as a clear­ ing-house fo r secret service reports They are not heavy drinkers either M y grandfather, as a student at the regular university ‘ drunks’, had a habit of pouring superfluous beer into his eighteen-fortyish riding-boots, when nobody was watching He brought up his children to speak English at home, and always looked to England as the centre of culture and progress The women were noble and patient, and used to keep th e ir eyes on the ground when out w alking [4 ]

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A t the age of eighteen, m y m other w ent to England as com­ panion to Miss B rita in , a lonely old woman who had befriended m y grandmother as an orphan, and waited hand and foot on her fo r seventeen years W hen she fin a lly died, under the senile im ­ pression that m y m other, her sole heiress, would benefit hardly at all from the w ill, it turned out th a t she had been w orth £100,000 Characteristically, m y m other divided the inheritance among her fou r younger sisters, keeping only a fifth share She was deter­ mined to go to India, after a short tra in in g as a medical missionary This am bition was presently baulked by her meeting m y father, a widower w ith five children, it became plain to her th a t she could do as good work on the home-mission field The Graves fa m ily have a pedigree th a t goes back to a French kn ig h t who landed w ith H enry V II at M ilfo rd Haven m 1485 Colonel Graves the Roundhead is claimed as the founder of the Iris h branch of the fa m ily He was once wounded and le ft fo r dead m the market-place at Thame, afterwards had charge of K ing Charles Ts person at Cansbrooke Castle, and later turned Royalist Lim e rick was the centre of this branch The occasional soldiers and doctors m it were m ainly collaterals, the direct male lin e had a sequence of rectors, deans, and bishops/ apart from m y great­ grandfather John Crosbie Graves, who was Chief Police Magis­ trate of D ublin The Lim e rick Graves’s have no 4hands ’ or mecha­ nical sense, but a wide reputation as conversationalists In those of m } relatives who have the fam ily characteristics most strongly marked, unnecessary talk is a nervous disorder Not bad ta lk as ta lk goes usually inform ative, often w itty , but it goes on and on and on The von Ranke’s seem to have little mechanical aptitude either I find it most inconvenient to be born in to the age of the internal-com bustion engine and the electric dynamo and to have no sympathy w ith them a bicycle, a Prim us stove, and an army rifle mark the bounds of m y mechanical capacity M y paternal grandfather, the Protestant Bishop of Lim erick, had eight children He was a remarkable mathematician— he firs t form ulated some theory or other of spherical conics— and also the leading authority on the Irish Brehon Laws and Ogham script, but by reputation, far from generous He and O’Connell the Catholic Bishop, lived on the very best of terms They cracked L a tin ]okes at each other, discussed fine points of scholarship, and were

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unclencal enough not to take th e ir religious differences too seriously W hile m Lim erick as a soldier of the garrison, some nineteen years after my grandfather’s death, I heard stories about him from the townsfolk Bishop O’Connell had once rallied h im on the size of his fam ily, and m y grandfather had retorted w arm ly w ith the text about the blessedness of the man who has his quiver fu ll of arrows, to w hich O’Connell answered b rie fly ‘ The an­ cient Jewish quiver only held six ’ M y grandfather’s wake, they said, was the longest ever seen m the tow n of L im erick it stretched from the Cathedral rig h t down O’Connell Street and over Sarsfield Bridge, and I do not know how many miles Irish beyond He had blessed me as a child, but I do not remember that O f m y father’s mother, a Cheyne from Aberdeen, I have been able to get no inform ation at all beyond the fact that she was 4a very beautiful woman’, and daughter of the Physician-general to the Forces m Ireland I can only conclude that most of what she said or did passed unnoticed m the riv a lry of fam ily conversations The Cheyne pedigree was flawless rig h t back to Sir Reginald Cheyne, Lord Chamberlain of Scotland m 1267 In later times the Cheynes had been lawyers and physicians B ut m y father is at present engaged on his autobiography and, no doubt, w ill w rite at length about all this M y father, then, met m y mother some tim e m the early nineties He had previously m arried one of the Iris h Cooper’s, of Cooper’s H ill, near Lim enck The Cooper’s were an even more Irish fam ily than the Graves’s The story goes that when Cromwell came to Ire ­ land and ravaged the country, M oira O’Brien, the last surviving member of the great clan O’Brien, who were the paramount chiefs of the country around Lim erick, came to him one day w ith *General, you have killed m y father and m y uncles, my husband and my brothers I am le ft as the sole heiress of these lands Do you intend to confiscate them ?’ Cromwell is said to have been struck by her magnificent presence, and to have answered tha t this certainly had been his intention But tha t she could keep her lands, or a part of them , on condition that she m arried one of his officers And so the officers of the regiment w hich had taken a lead­ ing part m hunting down the O’Briens, were invited to take a pack

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of cards and cut for the privilege of m arrying M oira and succeed­ ing to the estate The w inner was one Ensign Cooper M oira, a few weeks after marriage, found herself pregnant Convinced that it was a male heir, as indeed it proved, she destroyed her hus­ band I t is said tha t she kicked h im m the p it of the stomach after making him drunk The Coopers have always been a haunted fam ily, and Hibermcis ipsis Hibermcores Jane Cooper, whom my father married, died of consumption The Graves fam ily were thm-nosed and inclined to petulance, but never depraved, cruel or hysterical A persistent lite ra ry tra di­ tion of Richard, a m inor poet and a friend of Shenstone, and John Thomas, who was a mathematician and contributed to Sir W il­ liam Rowan H am ilton’s discovery of quaternions, and Richard, a divine and regius Professor of Greek, and James, an archaeologist, and Robert, who invented the disease called after him and was a friend of T urner’s, and Robert, classicist and theologian, and a friend of W ordsworth’s, and Richard, another divine, and Robert, another divine, and various Roberts, Jameses, Thomases and Richards, and Clarissa, one of the toasts of Ireland, who married Leopold von Ranke (at W indermere church), and linked the Graves and von Ranke fam ilies a couple of generations before my father and mother m arried (See the B ritish Museum Catalogue for an eighteenth- and nineteenth-century record of Graves’ lite r­ ary history ) I t was through this Clanssa-Leopold relationship tha t m y father met m y mother M y mother told him at once that she liked Father O 'Flynn, the song fo r w ritin g w hich my father w ill be chiefly re­ membered He had p ut the words to a traditional jig tune The Top o f Cork Road, which he remembered from his boyhood Sir Charles Stanford supplied a few chords for the setting M y father sold the complete rights for one guinea Boosey, the publisher, made thousands S ir Charles Stanford, who drew a royalty as the composer, also collected a very large sum Recently m y father has been sent a few pounds from gramophone rights He is not b itte r about all this, but has more than once impressed upon me almost religiously never to sell for a sum down the complete rights of any work of mine whatsoever That m y father is a poet has, at least, saved me from any false reverence for poets I am even delighted when I meet people

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who know of him and not me I smg some of his songs w hile wash­ ing up after meals, or shelling peas, or on sim ilar occasions He never once trie d to teach me how to w rite, or showed any under­ standing of my serious poetry, being always more ready to ask ad­ vice about his own Nor did he ever try to stop me w ritin g His light-hearted early work is the best His Invention o f JFine, fo r in ­ stance, w hich begins Ere Bacchus could talk Or dacently walk, Down Olympus he jumped From the arms of his nurse, And though ten years m all W ere consumed by the fa ll, He m ight have fallen farther And fared a dale worse A fte r m arrying m y m other and tu rn in g teetotaller, he is said to have lost something of his playfulness M y father resisted the fam ily tem ptation to take holy orders, never rising higher than lay-reader, and he broke the geographi­ cal connexion w ith Ireland, fo r w hich I cannot be too grateful to him Though much harder on m y relatives, and much more care­ fu l of associating w ith them than I am w ith strangers, I can ad­ m ire m y father and m other m y father fo r his sim plicity and persistence, and m y m other fo r her seriousness and strength Both for th e ir generosity They never bullied me, and were grieved rather than angered by m y default from form al religion In physique and general characteristics m y m other’s side is, on the whole, stronger m me B ut I have many habits of speech and movements peculiar to the Graves’s, most of them eccentric Such as finding it d ifficu lt to walk straight down a street, fidgeting w ith bits of bread at table, getting tired of sentences when half-way through and leaving them m the air, w alking w ith the hands folded m a particular way behind the back, and being subject to sudden and most disconcerting spells of complete amnesia These fits, so fa r as I can discover, serve no useful purpose, and tend to produce m the victim the same sort of dishonesty tha t afflicts deaf people who miss the thread of conversation— they hate to be le ft behind

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and rely on in tu itio n and b lu ff to get them through This disabi­ lity is most marked m very cold weather I do not now ta lk too much, except when I have been drinking, or when I meet some­ one who fought w ith me m France The Graves’s have good minds for such purposes as examinations, w ritin g graceful L a tin verse, fillin g m forms, and solving puzzles (when invited, as children, to parties where guessing games and bram-tests were played, we never failed to w in) They have a good eye for ball games, and a graceful style I inherited the eye, but not the style, m y m other’s fam ily are entirely w ith o ut style I have an ugly but secure seat on a horse There is a coldness m the Graves’s w hich is anti-sentimental to the point of insolence, a necessary check to the goodness of heart from which m y m other’s fam ily suffers The Graves’s, it is fa ir to generalize, though loyal to the B ritish governing class to w hich they belong, and so to the Constitution, are individualists, the von Ranke’s regard th e ir membership of the corresponding class m Germany as a sacred tru st enabling them to do the more responsible work for the service of hum anity Recently, when a von Ranke entered a film studio, the fam ily fe lt itse lf disgraced The most useful and, at the same tim e, most dangerous g ift that I owe to m y father’s side o f the fam ily— probably more to the Cheyne’s than to the Graves’s— is that I am always able, when dealing w ith officials, or getting privileges from public institutions which grudge them , to masquerade as a gentleman W hatever I happen to be wearing, and because m y clothes are not what gentle­ men usually wear, and yet I do not seem to be an artist or eff­ eminate, and m y accent and gestures are irreproachable, I have been placed as the h eir to a dukedom, whose perfect confidence m his rank would explain all such eccentricity Thus I may seem, by a paradox, to be more of a gentleman even than one o f m y elder brothers, who spent a num ber of years as a consular official m the Near East His wardrobe is almost too obviously a gentleman s, and he does not allow him self the pseudo-ducal privilege of having disreputable acquaintances, and saying on a ll occasions w hat he really means About this business of being a gentleman I paid so heavily for the fourteen years of m y gentleman’s education tha t I feel en­ title d , now and then, to get some sort of return B

[9]

2 Y mother married my father largely, it seems, to help him out w ith his five motherless children Haying any herself was a secondary consideration Y et firs t she had a g irl, then she had another g irl, and it was very nice, of course, to have them , but slightly disappointing, because she belonged to the generation and tradition that made a son the really im portant event, then I came, a fine healthy child She was fo rty at m y b irth , and my father forty-nine Four years later she had another son, and four years later s till another son The desired preponderance of male over female had been established, and twice five made ten I found the gap of two generations between m y parents and me easier, m a way, to bridge than a single generation gap Children seldom quarrel w ith the ir grand-parents, and I have been able to th in k of my mother and father as grand-parents Also, a fam ily of ten means a dilution of parental affection, the members tend to be­ come indistinct I have often been called ‘ P hilip , Richard, Charles, I mean Robert ’ My father being a very busy man, an inspector of schools for the Southwark district of London, we children saw practically nothing of him except during the holidays Then he behaved very sweetly, and told us stories w ith the form al beginning, not *once upon a time ’, but always ‘ And so the old gardener blew his nose on a red pocket handkerchief ’ He occasionally played games w ith us, but for the most part, when not busy w ith educational work, was writing poems, or being president of lite ra ry or temperance soc­ ieties My mother, kept busy running the household and con­ scientiously carrying out her social obligations as my father’s w ife, did not see so much of us as she would have liked, except on Sun­ days or when we happened to be ill We had a nurse, and one an­ other, and found that companionship sufficient M y father’s chief part m our education was to insist on our speaking gram m atically, pronouncing words correctly, and using no slang He le ft our re li­ gious instruction entirely to m y mother, though he officiated at

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fam ily prayers, which the servants were expected to attend, every m orning before breakfast L ig h t punishments, such as being sent to bed early or being stood m a corner, were m the hands of m y m other, the in flictio n of corporal punishment, never severe and given w ith a slipper, she reserved fo r m y father W e learned to be strong moralists, and spent much of our tim e on self-examination and good resolutions M y sister Rosaleen put up a printed notice m her corner of the nursery— it m ight just as w ell have been put up by me *I must not say ‘ ‘ bang bust ” or “ pig bucket ’’, for it is rude * W e were given very little pocket-money— a penny a week w ith a rise to twopence at the age o f twelve or so— and encouraged to give part at least of any odd money that came to us from uncles or other visitors to D r Barnardo’s Homes, and to beggars A b lind beggar used to sit on the W im bledon H ill pavement, reading the Bible aloud m B raille, he was not really blind, but could tu rn up his eyes and keep the pupils concealed for minutes at a tim e under drooping lids, which were a rtificia lly inflam ed We often gave to him He died a rich man, and had been able to provide his son w ith a college education The first distinguished w rite r I remember meeting after Swin­ burne was P G Wodehouse, a friend of m y brother Perceval, whom he later gently caricatured as ‘ U kridge’ Wodehouse was then m his early twenties, on the staff of The Globe, and w ritin g school-stones for The Captain magazine He gave me a penny, ad­ vising me to get marshmallows w ith it Though too shy to express m y gratitude at the tim e, I have never since perm itted myself to be critica l about his work I had great religious fervour, w hich persisted u n til shortly after m y confirm ation at the age of sixteen, and remember the incredu­ lity w ith which I first heard that there actually were people, people baptized like m yself into the Church of England, who did not be­ lieve m Jesus’s d iv in ity I had never met an unbeliever Though I have asked many of m y acquaintances at what stage m th e ir childhood or adolescence they became class-conscious none has ever given me a satisfactory answer I remember how it happened to me A t the age of four and a h a lf I caught scarlet fever, my younger brother had ]ust been born, and I could not be nursed at home, so m y parents sent me off to a public fever [» ]

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hospital The ward contained tw enty little proletarians, and only one bourgeois child besides m yself I did not notice particularly that the nurses and my fellow-patients had a different attitude towards me, I accepted the kindness and spoiling easily, being accustomed to it But the respect and even reverence given to this other little boy, a clergyman's child, astonished me ‘ Oh,' the nurses would cry after he had gone, ‘ oh, he did look a little gentleman m his pretty w hite pelisse when they took him away1' ‘ That young Matthew was a fa ir to ff/ echoed the little proletarians On m y re­ tu rn from two months m hospital, my accent was deplored, and I learned that the boys m the ward had been very vulgar I did not know what ‘ vu lg ar' meant, it had to be explained to me About a year later I met A rth u r, a boy of nine, who had been in the ward and taught me how to play cricket when we were convalescent to­ gether He turned out to be a ragged errand-boy In hospital, we had all worn the same institutional night-gowns, and I did not know that we came off such different shelves B ut I suddenly realized w ith my first shudder of g e n tility tha t two sorts of Christ­ ians existed— ourselves, and the lower classes The servants were trained to call us children, even when we were tin y , ‘ Master Robert’, ‘ Miss Rosaleen’, and ‘Miss Clarissa’, but I had not recog­ nized these as titles of respect I had thought of ‘ M aster’ and ‘ Miss’ merely as vocative prefixes used for addressing other people’s children, but now I found that the servants were the lower classes, and that we were ‘ ourselves ’ I accepted this class separation as naturally as I had accepted re l­ igious dogma, and did not fin a lly discard it u n til nearly tw enty years later M y parents were never of the aggressive, shoot-’emdown type, but Liberals or, more strictly, Liberal-Unionists In religious theory, at least, they treated th e ir employees as fellow creatures, but social distinctions remained clearly defined The hymn-book sanctioned these He made them high or low ly, And ordered th e ir estates I can w ell recall the tone of m y mother’s voice when she inform ed the maids that they could have what was le ft of the pudding, or scolded the cook for some carelessness I t had a forced hardness, [« ]

GOODBYE TO A L L T H A T

made almost harsh by embarrassment M y mother, being gemuthch by nature, would, I believe, have loved to dispense w ith serv­ ants altogether They seemed a foreign body m the house I remember the servants’ bedrooms They were on the top landing, at the dullest side of the house, and by a convention of the times, the only rooms w ith o ut carpets or linoleum Those gaunt, unfriendly-lookm g beds, and the hanging-cupboards w ith faded cot­ ton curtains, instead of wardrobes w ith glass doors as m the other rooms A ll this uncouthness made me th in k of the servants as somehow not quite human Besides, the servants who came to us were distinctly below the average standard, only those w ith no particularly good references would apply for a situation m a fam ily of ten And because we had such a large house, and hardly a single person m the household kept his or her room tid y, they were con­ stantly giving notice Too much work, they said Our nurse made a bridge between the servants and ourselves She gave us her own passport im m ediately on arrival ‘ E m ily Dykes is my name, England is m y nation, Netheravon is my dwelling-place, and Christ is m y salvation ’ Though calling us Miss and Master, she used no m enial tone In a practical way E m ily came to be more to us than our mother I did not despise her u n til about the age of twelve— she was then nurse to m y younger brothers— when I found that m y education now exceeded hers, and that if I struggled w ith her I could trip her up and bruise her quite easily Besides, she went to a Baptist chapel, I had learned by that tim e th a t the Baptists were, like the Wesley ans and Congregationalists, the social inferiors of the Church of England M y mother taught me a horror of Roman Catholicism, which I retained for a very long tim e In fact, I discarded Protestantism not because I had outgrown its ethics, but m horror of its Catholic element M y religious tra in ing developed m me a great capacity for fear— I was perpetually tortured by the fear of hell— a super­ stitious conscience and a sexual embarrassment from w hich I have found it very d ifficu lt to free myself The last thing that Protestants lose when they cease to believe is a vision of Christ as the perfect man That persisted w ith me, sentim entally, for years A t the age of eighteen I wrote a poem called T n the W ilderness’, about Christ greeting the scapegoat as [133

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it roamed the desert— which, of course, would have been impos­ sible since the scapegoat always got pushed over a c liff by its L e n te attendants ‘ In the W ilderness’ has since appeared m at least seventy anthologies Strangers are always w ritin g to me to say how much strength it has given them, and would I, etc ?

Ch ]

3 W E N T to several preparatory schools, beginning at the age of six The very firs t was a dame’s school at W imbledon, but my father, as an educational expert, would not let me stay there long He found me crying one day at the difficulty of the tw enty-threetimes table, and disapproved of a Question and Answer history book tha t we used, which began Question W hy were the Britons so called ? Answer Because they painted themselves blue Also, they made me do mental arithm etic to a metronome, I once wetted myself w ith nervousness under this torture So m y father sent me to Kang’s College School, W imbledon I was just seven years old, the youngest boy there, and they went up to nineteen M y father took me away after a couple of terms because he heard me using naughty words, and because I did not understand the lessons I had started L atin , but nobody explained what ‘ L a tin ’ meant, its declensions and conjugations were pure incantations to me For that m atter, so were the strings of naughty words And I fe lt oppressed by the huge hall, the enormous boys, the frig h te n ­ ing rowdmess of the corridors, and compulsory Rugby football of w hich nobody told me the rules From there I went to Rokeby, a preparatory school of the ordinary type, also at W imbledon, where I stayed for about three years Here I began playing games seriously, grew quarrelsome, boastful, and domineering, won prizes, and collected things The main difference between my­ self and the other boys was that I collected coins instead of stamps The value of coins seemed less fictitious to me The headmaster caned me only once for forgetting to bring my gym-shoes to school, and then gave me no more than two strokes on the hand Y et even now the memory makes me hot w ith resentment M y serious tra in ing as a gentleman began here I seem to have le ft out one school— Penrallt, rig h t away m the h ills behind Llanbedr I had never been away from home before I went there just for a term , fo r my health Here I had my firs t

I

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beating The headmaster, a parson, caned me on the bottom be­ cause I learned the wrong collect one Sunday by mistake I had never before come upon forcible tra in in g m religion A t m y dame’s school we learned collects too, but were not punished for mistakes, we competed for prizes— ornamental texts to take home and hang over our beds A boy at P enrallt called Ronny was the greatest hero I had ever met He had a house at the top of a pine-tree w hich nobody else could clim b, and a huge knife, made from the tip of a scythe which he had stolen, and he killed pigeons w ith a catapult, cooked them and ate them m the tree-house Ronny treated me very kindly, he went into the Navy afterwards, deserted on his first voyage and, we were told, was never heard of again He used to steal rides on cows and horses which he found m the fields A t P enrallt I found a book that had the ballads o f 4Chevy Chase ’ and 4Sir Andrew B arton’ m it, these were the first two real poems I remember reading I saw how good they were But, on the other hand, there was an open-air swim m ing bath where all the boys bathed naked, and I was overcome by horror at the sight One boy of nineteen had red hair, real bad, Irish , red h air a ll over his body I did not know that hair grew on bodies Also, the head­ master had a little daughter w ith a little g irl friend, and I sweated w ith terror whenever I met them , because, having no brothers, they once trie d to find out about male anatomy from me by ex­ ploring down m y shirt-neck when we were digging up pig-nuts m the garden Another frightening experience from this part of my life I once had to w ait in the school cloak-room for m y sisters, who went to the W imbledon H igh School W e were going on to be photo­ graphed together I waited for perhaps a quarter of an hour m a corner of the cloak-room I must have been ten years old, and hundreds and hundreds of girls went to and fro, they all looked at me and giggled, and whispered to one another I knew they hated me because I was a boy sittin g m the cloak-room of a g irls’ school, and my sisters, when they arrived, looked ashamed of me and seemed quite different from the sisters I knew at home I had blundered into a secret world, and for months and even years afterwards my worst nightmares were of this girls’ school, w hich was always fille d w ith coloured toy balloons 4Very Freudian’, as one says now M y normal impulses were set back fo r years by

[ 16]

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these two experiences In 1912, we spent our Christmas holidays m Brussels An Irish g irl staying at the same pension made love to me m a way that, I see now, was really very sweet I t frightened me so much, I could have tille d her In English preparatory and public schools romance is neces­ sarily homosexual The opposite sex is despised and treated as something obscene M any boys never recover from this perversion For every one born homosexual, at least ten permanent pseudo­ homosexuals are made by the public school system nine of these ten as honourably chaste and sentim ental as I was I le ft the day-school at W im bledon because m y father decided that the standard of work was not high enough to get me a scholar­ ship at a public school He sent me to another preparatory school at Rugby, where the headmaster’s w ife happened to be a sister of an old lite ra ry friend of his I did not like the place There was a secret about the headmaster which some of the elder boys shared— a somehow sinister secret Nobody ever le t me into it, but he came weeping into the class-room one day, beating his head w ith his fists, and groaning 'W ould to God I hadn’t done i t 1 W ould to God I hadn’t done i t 1’ M y father took me away suddenly, a week later The headmaster, having been given tw enty-four hours to leave the country, was succeeded by the second master— a good man, who had taught me how to w rite English by elim inating all phrases that could be done w ithout, and using verbs and nouns instead of adjectives and adverbs wherever possible And when to start new paragraphs, and the difference between ‘ O ’ and ‘ O h’ M r Lush was a very heavy man, who used to stand at his desk and lean on his thumbs u n til they bent at rig h t angles A fo rtn ig h t after taking over the school, he fe ll out of a tram on his head, and that was the end of him , but the school seems to be s till m being I am occasionally asked to subscribe to Old Boys’ funds for memor­ ia l windows and m iniature rifle ranges and so on I firs t learned rugger here W hat surprised me most at this school was when a boy of about twelve, whose father and m other were m India, heard by cable tha t they had both suddenly died of cholera W e all watched him sympathetically for weeks after, ex­ pecting him to die of grief, or tu rn black m the face, or do some­ th in g to match the occasion Y et he seemed entirely unmoved, and because nobody dared discuss the tragedy w ith him he seemed [> 7 ]

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oblivious of it —playing about and ragging just as he had done be­ fore We found tha t rather monstrous B ut he had not seen his parents for two years, and preparatory schoolboys live m a w orld completely dissociated from home life They have a different voca­ bulary, a different moral system, even different voices On th e ir return to school from the holidays the change-over from homeself to school-self is almost instantaneous, whereas the reverse process takes a fo rtn ig h t at least A preparatory schoolboy, when caught off his guard, w ill call his m other ‘ Please, m atron/ and always addresses any male relative or friend of the fam ily as ‘ S ir’, like a master I used to do it School life becomes the reality, and home life the illusion In England, parents of the governing classes v irtu a lly lose all intim ate touch w ith th e ir children from about the age of eight, and any attempts on th e ir parts to insinuate home feeling into school life are resented Next, I went to Copthorne, a typically good school m Sussex The headmaster had been chary of adm itting me at m y age, part­ icu la rly since I came from a school w ith such a bad recent history However, fam ily lite ra ry connexions did the trick, and the head­ master saw that I could w in a scholarship if he took trouble over me The depressed state I had been m ended the moment I ar­ rived M y younger brother Charles followed me to this school, being taken away from the day-school at W im bledon, and, later, my youngest brother John went there straight from home How good and typical the school was can be seen m the case of John, a typical good, normal person who, as Isay, went straight there from home He spent five or six years at Copthorne— played m the elevens— got the top scholarship at a public school, became headboy w ith athletic distinctions, won a scholarship at Oxford and fu rth e r athletic distinctions— and a good degree— and then, what did he do ?Because he was such a typicallv good, normal person he naturally went back as a master to his old, typically good prepara­ tory school, and now tha t he has been there some years and needs a change, he is applying fo r a mastership at his old public school I f he gets it, and becomes a housemaster after a few years, he w ill at last, I suppose, become a headmaster and eventually take the next step as head of his old college at Oxford That is the sort of typically good preparatory school it was There I learned to keep a straight bat at cricket, and to have a

[ 18]

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high m oral sense, and mastered m y fifth different pronounciation of L a tin , and m y fifth or sixth different way of doing simple a rith ­ metic They put me in to the top class, and I got a scholarship— in fact, I got the firs t scholarship of the year A t Charterhouse And w hy at Charterhouse? Because of Ιστημι and ίημι Charterhouse was the only public school whose scholarship examination did not contain a Greek grammar paper and, though smart enough at Greek Unseen and Greek composition, I could not conjugate Ιστημι and ίημι conventionally B ut for these two verbs, I should almost certainly have gone to the very different atmosphere of W inchester

[19]

4 Y mother took us abroad to stay at m y grandfather’s house m Germany five times between my second and tw e lfth year Then he died, and we never w ent again He owned a big old manor-house at Deisenhofen, ten miles from M unich, by name ‘ Laufzorn’, which means ‘ Begone, anger1’ Our summers there were easily the best things of m y early childhood Pine forests and hot sun, red deer, black and red squirrels, acres of blueberries and w ild strawberries, nine or ten different kinds of edible mush­ rooms which we went into the forest to pick, and u nfa m iliar flowers m the fields— M unich lies high, and outcrops of A lpine flowers occur here and there, a farm w ith a ll the usual animals except sheep, drives through the countryside m a brake behind m y grandfather’s greys, and bathing m the Isar under a water­ fa ll The Isar was b rig h t green, and said to be the fastest riv e r of Europe We used to visit the uncles who kept a peacock farm a few miles away, and a grand-uncle, Johannes von Ranke, the ethnologist, who lived on the lakeshore of Tegernsee, where every­ one had buttercup-blonde hair, and occasionally m y A unt Agnes, Freifrau Baronin von Aufsess of Aufsess Castle, some hours away by tram , high up m the Bavarian Alps Aufsess, b u ilt m the n in th century, stood so remote th a t it had never been sacked, but remained Aufsess property ever since To the original building, a keep w ith only a ladder-entrance half-w ay up, a mediaeval castle had been added Its treasures of plate and armour were amazing M y Uncle Siegfried showed us children the chapel its walls hung w ith enamelled shields o f each Aufsess baron, impaled w ith the arms of the noble fam ily into w hich he had m arried He pointed to a stone m the floor w hich pulled up by a ring, and said 4That is the fam ily vault where a ll Aufsesses go when they die I ’ll be down there one day ’ He scowled comi­ cally (But he got kille d m the w ar as an officer o f the Im perial German Staff and, I believe, they never found his body ) Uncle Siegfried had a peculiar sense of hum our One day we children C20]

M

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saw him on the garden path, eating pebbles He told us to go away, but of course we stayed, sat down, and trie d to eat pebbles too, only to be told very seriously tha t children should not eat pebbles we would break our teeth We agreed, after try in g one or tw o, so he chose us each a pebble which looked just like all the rest, but which crushed easily and had a chocolate centre This was on condition tha t we went away and le ft him to his picking and crunching W hen we returned, later m the day, we searched and searched, but found only the ordinary hard pebbles He never once le t us down m a joke Among the castle treasures were a baby’s lace cap tha t had taken two years to make, and a wine glass w hich m y uncle’s old father had noticed m the Franco-Prussian W ar standing u pright m the m iddle of the square m an entirely ruined French village For dinner, when we went there, we ate some enormous tro u t M y father, a practised fisherman, asked m y uncle m astonishment where they came from He explained that an underground rive r welled up close to the castle, and the fish which emerged w ith it were quite w hite from the darkness, of extraordinary size, and stone-blind They also gave us jam made of w ild rose-berries, w hich they called ‘ Hetchi-Petch’, and showed us an iro n chest m a small, thick-walled, white-washed room at the top of the keep— a trem ­ endous chest, twice the size of the door, and obviously made in ­ side the room, which had no windows except arrow-slits I t had two keys, and must have been tw e lfth - or thirteenth-century work Tradition ruled that it should never be opened, unless the castle stood m the most extreme danger The baron held one key, his steward, the other The chest could be opened only by using both keys, and nobody knew what lay inside, it was even considered unlucky to speculate O f course, we speculated I t m ight be gold, more lik e ly a store of corn m sealed jars, or even some sort of weapon— Greek fire, perhaps From what I know of the Aufsesses and th e ir stewards, it is inconceivable that the chest ever got the better of th e ir curiosity A ghost walked the castle, the ghost of a form er baron known as the ‘ Red K n ig h t’ , his te rrify in g portrait hung half-way up the tu rre t staircase which led to our bedrooms W e slept on feather beds for the first tim e m our lives Laufzorn, which my grandfather had bought and restored from c « ]

GOODBYE TO A L L T H A T

a ruinous condition, could not compare m tradition w ith Aufsess, though it had fo r a tim e been a shooting lodge of the Bavarian kings S till, two ghosts went w ith the place, the farm labourers used to see them frequently One of them was a carriage w hich drove furiously along w ith o ut horses and, before the days of motor cars, hornble enough Not having visited the banqueting hall since childhood, I find it d iffic u lt to recall its true dimensions I t seemed as big as a cathedral, w ith stained-glass arm orial windows, and bare floor-boards furnished only at the four corners w ith small islands of tables and chairs, swallows had b u ilt rows of nests all along the sides of the ceiling There were roundels of coloured lig h t from the windows, the many-tmed stags’ heads (shot by m y grandfather) mounted on the walls, swallow-droppings under the nests, and a little harm onium m one corner where we sang Ger­ man songs These concentrate m y memories of Laufzorn The bottom storey formed part of the farm A carnage-drive ran n g h t through it, w ith a wide, covered courtyard m the centre, where cattle were once driven to safety m times of baronial feud On one side of the drive lay the estate steward’s quarters, on the other the farm servants’ in n and kitchen In the middle storey lived m y grandfather and his fam ily The top storey was a store for corn, apples, and other farm produce, and up here my cousin W ilhe lm —later shot down m an air battle by a school-fellow of mine— used to lie for hours picking off mice w ith an air-gun Bavarian food had a richness and spiciness that we always missed on our re turn to England We liked the rye bread, the dark pme-honey, the huge ice-cream puddings made w ith fresh rasp­ berry juice and the help of snow stored during the w in te r m an ice-house, m y grandfather’s venison, the honey cakes, the past­ ries, and particularly the sauces made w ith different kinds of mushrooms Also the pretzels, the carrots cooked m sugar, and summer pudding of cranberries and blueberries In the orchard, close to the house, we could eat as many apples, pears, and green­ gages as we liked There were also rows of blackcurrant and goose­ berry bushes m the garden The estate, despite the recency of m y grandfather’s tenure, his liberalism , and his experiments m modern agricultural methods, remained feudalists The poor, sweaty, savage-looking farm servants, who talked a dialect we could not understand, frightened us They ranked lower even

GOODBYE TO A L L T H A T

than the servants at home, and as for the colony of Italians, settled about h a lf a m ile from the house, whom m y grandfather had im ­ ported as cheap labour for his brick factory— we associated them m our minds w ith 4the gipsies m the wood ’ of the song M y grand­ father took us over the factory one day and made me taste a lum p of Ita lia n polenta M y mother told us afterwards— when m ilk pud­ ding at W imbledon came to table burned, and we complained— ‘ Those poor Italians m your grandfather’s brick yard used to burn th e ir polenta on purpose, sometimes, just for a change of flavour ’ Beyond the farm buildings at Laufzorn lay a large pond, fringed w ith irises and fu ll of carp, my uncles netted it every three or four years Once we watched the fun, and shouted when we saw the net pulled closer and closer to the shallow landing corner I t bulged w ith w riggling carp, and a big pike threshed about among them I waded m to help, and came out w ith six leeches, like black rub­ ber tubes, fastened to m y legs, salt had to be put on th e ir tails be­ fore they would leave go The farm labourers grew w ild ly ex­ cited, one of them gutted a fish w ith his thum b, and ate it raw I also remember the tru ck lin e between the railw ay station, two miles away, and the brick yard Since the land had a fa ll of per­ haps one m a hundred between the factory and the station, the Italians used to load th e ir trucks w ith bricks, then a squad of them would give the trucks a hard shove and ru n along the line push­ ing for tw enty or th irty yards, after which the trucks sailed off all by themselves towards the station We were allowed to clim b up into the rafters of the big hay barn, and jum p down into the springy hay, we gradually increased the height of the jumps I t was exciting to feel our insides le ft be­ hind us m the air Once we visited the Laufzorn cellar, not the ordinary beer cellar, but another into which one descended from the courtyard— quite dark except for a little s lit window A huge heap of potatoes lay on the floor, to get to the lig h t, they had put out a twisted mass of long w hite feelers In one corner was a dark hole closed by a gate a secret passage from the house to a ruined monastery, a m ile away— so we were told M y uncles had once been down some distance, but the air got bad and they came back, the gate had been put up to prevent anyone else try in g it and never returning Come to th in k of it, they were probably teasing

GOODBYE TO A L L T H A T

us, and the hole led to the bottom of the garde-robe— w hich is a polite name for a mediaeval earth-closet W hen we drove out beside m y grandfather, he was acclaimed w ith 4Gruss Gott, H e rr P ro fe s s o rby the principal personages of each village we went through I t always had a big in n w ith a rum bling skittle-alley, and a ta ll Maypole, banded like a barber’s pole w ith blue and w hite, the Bavarian national colours Apple and pear trees lined every road The idea of these unguarded pub­ lic fruit-trees astonished us W e could not understand w hy any fru it remained on them On W im bledon Common even the horsechestnut trees were pelted w ith sticks and stones, long before the chestnuts ripened, and m defiance o f an energetic common-keeper W hat we least liked m Bavaria were the wayside crucifixes w ith th e ir realistic blood and wounds, and the ex-voto pictures, like sign-boards, of naked souls m purgatory, grinning fo r anguish among high red and yellow flames Though taught to believe m H ell, we did not like to be reminded of it M unich we found sinister— disgusting fumes of beer and cigar smoke, and intense sounds of eating m the restaurants, the hotly dressed, enormously stout population m trams and trains, the fer­ ocious officials Then the te rrify in g Morgue, w hich children were not allowed to vis it Any notable who died was taken to the Morgue, they told us, and p ut m a chair, to sit m state for a day or two I f a general, he had his uniform on, or if a burgomaster’s w ife, she had on her silks and jewels Strings were tied to th e ir fingers, and the slightest movement of a single string would rin g a great bell, m case any hfe remained m the corpse after all I have never ve ri­ fied the tru th of this, but it was true enough to me W hen m y grandfather died, about a year after our last visit, I pictured him m the Morgue w ith his bushy w hite hair, his m orning coat, his striped trousers, his decorations, and his stethoscope And perhaps, I thought, a silk hat, gloves, and cane on a table beside him T ry ­ ing, m a nightm are, to be alive, but knowing him self dead The headmaster of Rokeby school who caned me for forgetting m y gymnastic shoes loved German culture, and impressed this feeling on the school, so that it stood to m y credit that I could speak German and had visited Germany A t m y other preparatory schools this German connexion seemed something at least excus­ able, and perhaps even interesting Only at Charterhouse did it [34]

GOODBYE TO A L L T H A T

rank as a social offence M y history from the age of fourteen, w hen I went to Charterhouse, u n til just before the end of the war, when I began to th in k for myself, is a forced rejection o f the German m me I used to insist indignantly on being Irish, and took m y selfprotective stand on the technical point that solely the fa th e r’s nationality counted O f course, I also accepted the whole p a tri­ archal system of things, convinced of the natural supremacy of male over female M y m other took the 4love, honour, and obey’ contract lite ra lly , my sisters were brought up to wish themseh es boys, to be shocked at the idea of woman’s suffrage, and not to expect so expensive an education as th e ir brothers The fin a l deci­ sion m any domestic m atter always rested w ith my father M y mother would say 4I f two ride together, one must ride behind ’ W e children did not ta lk German w ell, our genders and m inor parts of speech were shaky, and we never learned to read Gothic characters or script Y et we had the sense of German so strongly that I feel I know German far better than French, though able to read French almost as fast as I can read English, and German only very p ainfully and slowly, w ith the help of a dictionary I use d if­ ferent parts of m y m ind for the two languages French is a surface acquirement which I could forget quite easily if I had no reason to speak it every now and then

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à

5 S P E N T a good p a rt o f m y early life at W im bledon W e did not get rid o f the house, a b ig one near the Common, u n til soon after the end o f the w a r, ye t I can recall little or n o th in g o f significance th a t happened there B u t a fte r the age o f eleven or tw elve I was always at some boarding school, and m th e spring and sum m er holidays we w ent to the country, so th a t I saw W im bledon only at Christm as and fo r a day or tw o at th e beginning and end o f the other holidays London la y h a lf an hour away, yet I seldom w ent there W e were never taken to the theatre, even to pantom im es, and by the m iddle o f the w ar I had been to th e theatre exactly tw ice m m y life , and then m erely to ch ild re n ’s plays, by courtesy o f an aunt M y m other brought us up to be serious and to benefit h u m a n ity m some practical w ay, b u t allowed us no h in t o f its dirtiness, in trig u e and lustfulness, believing th a t innocence w ould be th e surest protection against them She ca re fu lly censored our reading I was destined to be ‘ i f no t a great m an, at least a good m a n ’ O ur treats were educational or aesthetic to Kew Gardens, H am pton C ourt, the Zoo, the B ritis h M useum , or the N ational H isto ry M useum I rem em ber m y m other, m th e treasure room at th e B ritis h M useum , te llin g us w ith b rig h t eyes th a t a ll these w onderful things w ere ours W e looked at her astonished She said 4Yes, th e y belong to us as members o f the public W e can look at them , adm ire them , and study them fo r as long as we lik e I f we had them back at home, we couldn’t do better Besides, they m ig h t get stolen ’ W e read m ore books th a n most children do There m ust have been fo u r or fiv e thousand books m the house altogether T hey consisted o f an old-fashioned scholar’s lib ra ry bequeathed to m y fa th e r by m y namesake, w hom I have m entioned as a frie n d of W ordsw orth, b u t w ho had a tenderer friendship w ith Felicia Hem ans, to th is were added m y fa th e r’s own collection o f books, m ostly poetry, w ith a p a rticu la r cupboard fo r A n g lo -Irish lite ra ­ tu re , devotional works contributed by m y m other, educational

I

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GOODBYE TO A L L T H A T

books sent to m y fa th e r by publishers m the hope th a t he w ould recom m end them fo r use m G overnm ent schools, and novels and adventure books bro u g h t in to the house by m y elder brothers and sisters M y m other used to te ll us stories about inventors and doctors who gave th e ir lives fo r the suffering, and poor boys who struggled to the top o f the tree, and sa in tly m en who made examples o f themselves Also th e parable o f the k in g who had a very b e a u tifu l garden w hich he th re w open to the public Tw o students entered, and one, o f w hom m y m other spoke w ith a slig h t sneer m her voice, noticed occasional weeds even m the tulip-beds, b u t the other (and here she brightened up) found b e a u tifu l flowers even on rubbish heaps She kept o ff the subject o f w ar as m uch as possible, always fin d in g it d iffic u lt to explain how i t was th a t God perm itted wars The Boer W a r clouded m y early childhood P h ilip , m y eldest brother (who called h im se lf a Fenian), also called h im self a proBoer, and I rem em ber great tension at the breakfast-table be­ tween h im and m y father, whose p o litica l views were never ex­ trem e The eventual sale o f the W im bledon house solved a good m any problems M y m other hated th ro w in g away anything th a t could possibly, m the most rem ote contingency, be o f any service to anyone and, after tw e n ty-five years, lum ber had piled h ig h The medicine-cupboard was perhaps the most te ll-ta le corner o f the house Nobody could call it u n tid y , a ll the bottles had stoppers, bu t stood so crowded together th a t nobody except m y m other, who had a long m em ory, could recognize the ones at the back Every few years, no doubt, she w ent through them A ny doubtful bottle she w ould te n ta tiv e ly re-label ‘ This m ust be A lfre d ’s old bunion salve,’ or ‘ Strychnine— q u e ry ?’ Even special medicines prescribed fo r scarlet fever or w hooping cough were kept, m case o f re-infection A n energetic labeller, she w rote m one o f m y school prizes ‘ R obert Ranke Graves won th is book as a prize fo r being firs t m his class m the te rm ’s w ork and second m exam ina­ tions He also won a special prize fo r d iv in ity , though the youngest boy m the class W ritte n by his affectionate m other, A m y Graves Sum m er, 1908 ’ Home-made jam used always to arrive at table w e ll documented One sm all pot read ‘ Gooseberry, lem on and rhubarb— a little shop-gooseberry added— N e lly re-boiled ’ 07 ]

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GOODBYE TO A L L T H A T

Three sayings and a favourite story o f m y m other’s * C hildren, I command you, as your m other, never to sw ing objects around m yo u r hands The K in g o f H anover p u t o u t his eye by sw inging a bead purse * *C hildren, I command you, as your m other, to be careful w hen you carry your candles upstairs The candle is a little cup o f grease ’ ‘ T here was a m an once, a Frenchm an, who died o f g rie f because he could never become a m other * She used to te ll the story by candle-light ‘ T here was once a peasant fa m ily liv in g m Schleswig-Hol­ stein, where th e y a ll have crooked m ouths One n ig h t they wished to blow out the candle The fa th e r’s m outh was tw isted to the le ft, so1 and he trie d to blow out the candle, so* b u t he was too proud to stand anywhere b u t d ire ctly before the candle, so he puffed and he puffed b u t could not blow the candle out A nd then the m other trie d , b u t her m outh was tw isted to the rig h t, so1and she tn e d to blow , so1and she was too proud to stand anywhere b u t d ire ctly before the candle, and she puffed and puffed, b u t could not blow the candle out T hen there was the brother w ith m outh tw isted upw ard, so1 and the sister w ith the m outh tw isted downward, so1 and they trie d each m tu rn , so1 and so1 and the id io t baby w ith his m outh tw isted m an eternal g rin , so1A t last the m aid, a b e a u tifu l g irl fro m Copenhagen w ith a perfectly form ed m outh, p u t i t out w ith her shoe So1F la p 1’ These quotations make i t clear how m uch I owe, as a w rite r, to m y m other She also ta u g h t me to ‘ speak the tru th and shame the d e v il1’ H er favourite B ib lica l exhortation w ent ‘ M y son, w hat­ ever th y hand fm deth to do, do i t w ith a ll th y m ig h t ’ I always considered W im bledon a w rong place ne ith e r tow n nor country The house was at its w orst on Wednesdays, m y m other’s ‘ A t H om e’ day W e w ent down m our Sunday clothes to eat cakes m the draw ing-room , be kissed, and behave p o lite ly

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M y sisters had to recite A round Christm as, celebrated m the Ger­ m an style, came a dozen or so ch ildren’s parties, we w ould make ourselves sick w ith excitem ent I don’t lik e th in k in g o f W im ble­ don E very spring and sum m er, unless we happened to v is it Ger­ m any, or France as we did once, we w ent to H arlech m N orth Wales M y m other had b u ilt a house there Before m otor tra ffic reached the N o rth W elsh coast, H arlech was a very quiet place and little know n, even as a g o lf centre I t consisted of three parts F irst, the villa g e its e lf, five hundred feet up on a steep range of h ills granite houses w ith slate roofs and u g ly windows and gables, chapels of seven o r e ight d iffe re n t denom inations, enough shops to make it the m arketing centre o f the sm aller villages around, and the castle, a fa vo u rite playground of ours Second, the M orfa, a fla t sandy p la in fro m w h ich th e sea had receded, part o f this form ed the g o lf lin ks, b u t to the n o rth la y a stretch o f w ild country w hich we used to search m the spring fo r plovers’ eggs The seaside stretched beyond th e lin k s — good, hard sand fo r m iles, safe bath­ ing, sandhills fo r hide-and-seek The th ird part o f H arlech was never visited by golfers or the few other sum m er visitors, and seldom by the village people themselves the desolate, rocky h ill-c o u n try at the back o f the v il­ lage As we grew older, we spent more and more o f our tim e up here, and less and less on the beach and the lin ks There were occasional farm s and crofts m these h ills , b u t one could easily w alk fifte e n or tw e n ty m iles w ith o u t crossing a road, or passing close to a fa rm O rig in a lly we w ent up w ith some practical excuse For the blueberries on th e h ills near Maes-y-garnedd, or the cranberries at G w la w llyn , or b its o f Rom an hypocaust tilin g (w ith the potter’s thum b-m arks s till on them ) m the ruined Roman villas by Castell T om en-y-m ur, or globe flowers on the banks of the upper A rtro , or a sight o f th e w ild goats w hich live d behind Rhm og Faw r, the biggest o f th e h ills m the next range, or raspberries from the thickets near Cwm bychan Lake, or w h ite heather from a name­ less h ill, away to the n o rth o f the Roman Steps B u t after a tim e we visited those h ills sim ply because they were good to w alk about on T h e ir penny-plain q u a lity pleased us even m ore than the tw o­ pence coloured q u a lity o f the Bavarian Alps M y best frie n d at the tim e , m y sister Rosaleen, was one year older than m yself [293

GOODBYE TO A L L T H A T

T his country (and I know no country lik e it) seemed to be inde­ pendent o f form al nature One hardly noticed the passage o f the seasons there, the w in d always blew across the stunted grass, the black streams always ran cold and clear, over black stones The m ountain sheep were w ild and free, capable o f scram bling over a six-foot stone w a ll (u n like the slow, heavy, sm utty-fleeced Southdown flocks th a t fattened m the fields beyond W im bledon) and, when m repose, easily m istaken fo r the lichen-covered granite boulders strew n everywhere Few trees grew except hazels, row ­ ans, stunted oaks and th o rn bushes m the valleys W inters were always m ild , so th a t last year’s bracken and last year’s heather sur­ vived m a faded w ay through to the next spring W e saw hardly any birds, bar an occasional buzzard, and curlews w heeling m the distance, and w herever we w ent the rocky skeleton o f the h ill seemed onl;y an in ch o r tw o beneath th e tu r f H aving no W elsh blood m us, we fe lt little tem ptation to learn W elsh s till less to pretend ourselves W elsh, b u t knew th a t country as a quite ungeographical region A ny stray sheep-farmers whom we m et seemed intruders on our privacy Clarissa, Rosaleen and I were once out on the rem otest h ills and had not seen a soul a ll day A t last we came to a w a te rfa ll and found tw o tro u t ly in g on the bank beside it , ten yards away stood the fisherm an, disentangling his lin e from a thorn-bush He had not seen us, so I crept up q u ie tly to the fish and p u t a sprig of w h ite bell-heather (w hich we had picked th a t afternoon) m the m outh o f each W e h u rrie d back to cover, and I asked 4Shall we w atch ?’ B ut Clarissa said 1No, don’t spoil it ’ W e came home and never spoke o f it again, even to each other and never knew the sequel Had th is been Ireland, we should have self-consciously learned Iris h and the local legends, b u t we did not go to Ireland, except once w hen I was an in fa n t m arms Instead we came to know Wales more purely, as a place w ith a history too old fo r local legends, w h ile w alking there we made up our own W e decided who lay buried under the Standing Stone, and who had live d m the ruined round-hu t encampment, and m the caves o f the valley where the big rowans grew On our visits to Germ any I had fe lt a sense o f home m a natu ra l hum an way, b u t above H arlech I found a personal peace independent o f history or geography The firs t poem I w rote as m yself concerned those h ills (The firs t poem Μ

GOODBYE TO A L L T H A T

I w rote as a Graves was a neat translation o f one o f C atullus’s satires ) O ur busy and absent-m inded father w ould never w orry about us children, our m other did w o rry Y e t she allowed us to go off in to the h ills im m ediately after breakfast, and did not complain m uch when we came back long after supper-tim e Though she had a bad head fo r heights, she never restrained us from clim bing m dangerous places, and we never got h u rt H aving a bad head fo r heights m yself, I trained m yself deliberately and p a in fu lly to overcome it W e used to go clim bing m the turrets and towers of H arlech Castle I have worked hard on m yself m defining and dis­ persing m y terrors The sim ple fear o f heights was the firs t to be overcome A quarry-face m the garden o f our H arlech house provided one or tw o easy clim bs, b u t gradually I invented more and more d iffi­ c u lt ones W ith each new success behind me I w ould lie down, tw itc h in g w ith nervousness, m the safe meadow grass at the top Once I lost m y foothold on a ledge and should have been k ille d , b u t it seemed as though I im provised a foothold m the air and kicked m yself up to safety from it W hen I exam ined the place afterwards, I recalled the D e v il’s Tem ptation to Jesus the free­ dom to cast oneself from the rock and be restored to safety by the angels Y et such events are not uncommon m m ountain clim bing M y friend George M allory, fo r instance, who la te r disappeared close to the sum m it of M ount Everest, once did an inexplicable clim b on Snowdon He had le ft his pipe on a ledge, half-w ay down one of the Lliw e d d precipices, and scrambled back by a short cut to retrieve it, then up again by the same route No one saw w hat route he took, b u t w hen they came to examine i t the next day fo r official record, they found an overhang nearly a ll the way By a ru le o f the Clim bers’ Club clim bs are never named m honour of th e ir inventors, b u t only describe natural features A n exception was made here The clim b was recorded as follows 4M a llo ry 's P ipe , a variation on Route 2, see adjoining map This clim b is to ta lly impossible I t has been perform ed once, m fa ilin g lig h t, by M r G H L M a llo ry ’

[5 1 ]

6 E T me begin m y account of Charterhouse School by recalling Jthe day th a t I le ft, a w eek before the outbreak o f w ar I dis­ cussed m y feelings w ith N e v ill Barbour, then Head o f the School F irst, we agreed th a t there were perhaps even more typical pub­ lic schools than Charterhouse m existence, b u t th a t we preferred not to believe it N ext, th a t no possible rem edy could be found, because tra d itio n was so strong th a t to break it, one w ould have to dismiss the w hole school and staff, and start a ll over again H ow­ ever, even this w ould not be enough, the school buildings being so im pregnated w ith w hat passed as the public school s p irit, b u t w hat w e fe lt as fundam ental e vil, th a t the} w ould have to be demolished and the school re b u ilt elsewhere under a different name F in a lly, th a t our only regret at leaving the place was th a t fo r the last year we had been m a position, as members o f the S ixth Form , to do more or less w hat we pleased Now we were both going on to St John’s College, O xford, w hich promised to be m erely a more boisterous rep e titio n o f Charterhouse W e should be freshm en there, b u t w ould n a tu ra lly refuse to be hearty and public schoolish, and therefore be faced w ith the stu p id ity o f having our rooms raided, and being forced to lose our tem per and h u rt somebody and get h u rt ourselves There w ould be no peace probably u n til we reached our th ird } ear, when we should be back again m the same sort o f position as now, and m the same sort of position as m our la s t} ear at our preparatory school Τ η 1917,’ said N e v ill, ‘ the official seal w ill be pu t on a ll this dreariness W e’l l get our degrees, and then have to start as new boys again m some dreadful profes­ sion ’ 4C orrect,’ I to ld h im 'M y God,’ he said, tu rn in g to me suddenly, Ί can’t stand the prospect Som ething has to be p u t m between me and O xford, I m ust at least go abroad fo r the whole vacation * Three m onths were not long enough, to m y m ind I had a vague thought o f ru n n in g away to sea

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GOODBVE TO A L L T H \ T

4Do you realize,’ N e v ill asked me, ‘ th a t we have spent fourteen years o f our lives p rin c ip a lly at L a tin and Greek, not even compe­ te n tly taught, and th a t w e’re now going to start another three years o f the same th in g Y e t w hen we had said our very w orst o f Charterhouse, I re­ m inded h im , or he me, I fo rg e t w hich 4O f course, the trouble is th a t at any given tim e one always finds at least tw o re ally decent masters m the school, among the fo rty or fifty , and ten really decent fellows among the five or six hundred W e shall always re­ m em ber them , and have L o t’s feeling about not dam ning Sodom fo r the sake o f ten ]ust persons A nd m another tw entv } ears’ tim e we’l l forget this conversation and th in k th a t we were mistaken, and th a t perhaps everybody, w ith a few c rim in a l exceptions, was fa irly average decent, and say 441 was a } oung fool then, insist­ in g on impossible pefection,” and we’ll send our sons to C harterhouse fo r sentim ent’s sake, and th e y’l l go through a ll we did ’ This m ust not be construed as an attack on m y old school, it is m erely a record o f m y mood at the tim e No doubt, I was unap­ preciative of the hard knocks and character-training th a t public schools are advertised as p roviding, and a typical Old Carthusian rem arked to me recently 4The m oral tone of the school has im ­ proved out o f a ll recognition since those days ’ B ut so it alwa}s w ill have As a m atter o f fact I did not go up to O xford u n til f i\ e years la te r, m 1919, when m y brother Charles, four } ears } ounger than m yself, was already m residence, and did not take m y degree u n til 1926, by w hich tim e m y brother John had caught up w ith me, though eight years younger th a n m yself From m y firs t m om ent at Charterhouse I suffered an oppression of s p irit th a t I hesitate to recall m its fulhntensity Som ethinglike being m th a t c h illy cellar at Laufzorn among the potatoes, b u t a potato out o f a d ifferent sack from the rest The school consisted of about six hundred boys, whose ch ie f interests were games and rom antic friendships Everyone despised school-work, the scholars were not concentrated m a single dorm itory house as at W inchester or Eton, b u t divided among ten, and know n as ‘pro’s’ Unless good at games, and able to pretend th a t th e y hated w ork even more than the non­ scholars, and ready whenever called on to help these w ith th e ir w ork, they always had a bad tim e I happened to be a scholar who [5 3 ]

GOODBYE TO A L L T H A T

really like d w ork, and the apathy of the class-rooms surprised and disappointed me M y firs t term , I was le ft alone more or less, it being a ru le th a t new boys should be neith e r encouraged nor baited The other boys seldom addressed me except to send me on errands, or coldly point out breaches o f school convention In m y second te rm the trouble began A num ber o f things n a tu ra lly made fo r m y unpopularity Besides being a scholar and not outstandingly good at games, I was always short o f pocketmoney Since I could not conform to the social custom o f tre a tin g m y contemporaries to tuck at the school shop, I could not accept th e ir tre a tin g M y clothes, though conform ing outw ardly to the school pattern, were read} -made and not o f the best-quality cloth th a t a ll the other boys wore Even so, I had not been taught how to make the best o f them N either m y m other nor m y father had any regard fo r the niceties o f dress, and m y elder brothers were abroad by this tim e N early a ll the other boys m m y house, except fo r five scholars, were the sons of businessmen a class o f whose interests and prejudices I knew nothing, having h ith e rto m et only boys of the professional class Also, I talked too m uch fo r th e ir lik in g A fu rth e r disa b ility w as th a t I rem ained as prudishly inno­ cent as m y m other had planned I should I knew nothing about sim ple sex, le t alone the m any refinem ents o f sex constantly re­ ferred to m school conversation, to w hich I reacted w ith horror I wanted to ru n away The most unfortunate d isa b ility o f a ll was th a t m y name ap­ peared on the school lis t as 4R von R Graves’ I had h ith e rto be­ lieved m y second name to be 4Ranke ’ , the 4von encountered on m y b irth certificate, disconcerted me Carthusians behaved secre­ tiv e ly about th e ir second names, and usually managed to conceal fancy ones I could no doubt have passed o ff4Ranke ’, w ith o u t the 4von ’ as m onosyllabic and English, b u t4von Ranke ’ was gla rin g Businessmen’s sons, at this tim e , used to discuss h o tly the threat, and even the necessity, o f a trade w ar w ith the Reich 4German ’ m e a n t4d irty German ’ I t m eant 4cheap, shoddy goods com peting w ith our sterling industries ’ I t also m eant m ilita ry menace, Prussiamsm, useless philosophy, tedious scholarship, lo vin g m usic and sabre-rattling A nother boy m m y house w ith a German name, though English by b irth and upbringing, got m uch the same tre a t­ m ent as I did On the other hand, a French boy m the house [3 4 ]

GOODBYE TO \ L L T H A T

became very popular, though poor at games, K ing Edward V II had done his entente co rd ia le w ork thoroughly Considerable antiJewish feeling worsened the situation someone started the rum our th a t I was not only a German, b u t a German Jew O f course, I always claim ed to be Iris h , b u t an Iris h bo\ who had been m the house about a year and a h a lf longer than m yself resented th is claim He w ent out o f his way to h u rt me, not only by physical acts o f spite, lik e th ro w in g in k over m y school-books, h id in g m y games-clothes, attacking me suddenly from behind corn­ ers, pouring w ater over m y bed at n ig h t, b u t by continually forc­ in g his bawdy hum our on m y prudishness, and in v itin g ever) body to laugh at m y disgust He also b u ilt up a humorous legend of m y hypocrisy and concealed depravity I came near a nervous break­ down School ethics prevented me from in fo rm in g the house­ master o f m y troubles The house-monitors, though supposed to keep order and preserve the m oral tone o f the house, never in te r­ fered in any case o f b u lly in g among the juniors I trie d violent resistance, b u t as the odds were always heavily against me this m erely encouraged the ragging Complete passive resistance would probably have been w iser I got accustomed to baw dy-talk only du rin g m y last tw o years at the school, and had been a soldier fo r some little tim e before I got hardened and could reply m kind to insults G H R endall, the then Headmaster at Charterhouse, is re­ ported to have innocently said at a Headmasters’ Conference 1M y boys are amorous, b u t seldom erotic ’ Few cases o f eroticism , in ­ deed, came to his notice, I rem em ber no more than five or six big rows during m y tim e at Charterhouse, and expulsions were rare The housemasters knew little about w hat w ent on m th e ir houses, th e ir liv in g quarters being removed from the boys’ Y et I agree w ith R endall’s distinction between ‘ amorousness’ (by w hich he m eant a sentim ental fa llin g m love w ith younger boys) and erotic­ ism , or adolescent lu st The intim acy th a t frequently took place was very seldom between an elder boy and the object of his affec­ tio n — th a t w ould have spoiled the rom antic illu sio n — but almost always between boys o f the same age who were not m love, and used each other as convenient sex-instrum ents So the atmosphere was always heavy w ith romance of a conventional early-Victorian type, com plicated by cynicism and foulness

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r.

7 A L F - W A Y through m y second j ear I w rote to te ll m y parents th a t they m ust take me aw a \, because I could not stand life at Charterhouse an} longer the House had made it plain th a t I did not belong, and w as not wanted I gave them details, m confid­ ence, to make them take m y demand seriously, bu t they failed to respect this confidence, believing th a t th e ir religious du ty w ould be to in fo rm the housemaster o f a ll I had w ritte n them N or did they even w arn me w hat they w ere doing, b u t contented them ­ selves w ith v is itin g me and preaching the power o f prayer and fa ith I m ust endure a ll, they said, fo r the sake o f I have fo r­ gotten w hat exactly— perhaps m y career F ortunately I had w ith ­ held any account o f sex-irregularities m the house, so a ll th a t the housemaster did was to make a speech th a t n ig h t, a fter prayers, deterrent o f b u lly in g m general He told us th a t he had just received a com plaint from a boy’s parents, m aking i t p la in at the same tim e how m uch he disliked inform ers and outside in te r­ ference m affairs o f the house M y name did not come up, b u t the v is it o f m y parents on a non-holiday had excited com m ent I was obliged to stay on, and be treated as an in fo rm e r Being now m the upper school, I had a study o f m y own B ut studies could not be locked, and m ine was always being wrecked I could no longer even use the ordinary house changmg-room, so removed m y games-clothes to a disused shower-bath Then m y heart w ent w rong, and the school doctor decided th a t I m ust play no more football M y last resource, to sham insanity, succeeded unex­ pectedly w e ll Soon nobody troubled except to avoid any contact w ith me I got the idea from The Booh o f K ings , w here D avid had Scrabbled on the prison w a ll’ This is not to charge m y parents w ith treachery T h e ir honour is be}ond reproach N ext term , I w ent to Charterhouse by the special tram , but arrived at W aterloo too late to take a tic k e t, I ju st managed to get in to a com partm ent before the tra m started The railw ay company not having provided enough coaches, I had

H

[3 6 ]

GOODBYE TO A L L TH AT

to stand a ll the way A t Godalmmg station, the crowd of boys rushing out in to the station yard to secure taxis swept me past the ticke t collectors, so I got a v^ry uncom fortable ride free I m ent­ ioned this m m y next le tte r home, ]ust fo r som ething to say, and m y father w rote to reproach me He said th a t he had him self made a special v is it to W aterloo station, bought a ticke t to Godalmmg, and to rn it up M y m other could be even more scrupulous A young couple on th e ir honeymoon once stopped the n ig h t w ith us at W im bledon, and le ft behind a packet o f sandwiches, tw o all eady half-eaten M y m other sent them on T hrow n e n tire ly on m yself, I began to w rite poems, w hich the house considered stronger proof o f insanity than the form al straws I wore m m y h a ir On the strength o f a poem I had sent to the school magazine, The C arthusian , I was in vite d to ]om the school Poetry Society— a most anomalous organisation fo r Charterhouse I t consisted o f seven members The meetings, fo r the reading and discussion of poetry, were held once a m onth at the house o f Guy Kendall, then a form -m aster at the school, now headmaster of U niversity College School at Hampstead The members were foui sixth-form boys, and tw o boys a year and a h a lf older than me None was m the same house as m yself A t Charterhouse, no frie n d ­ ship m ight exist bet λ een boys o f different houses or ages (though related, or next-door neighbours at home), beyond a form al ac­ quaintance at w ork or organized games like cricket and football Even i f they played a frie n d ly game o f tennis or squash-rackets together, they w ould never hear the last o f it So the friendship th a t began between me and Raymond Rodakowski, one o f the tw o younger members, w as highly uncon\ entio n a l Coming home one evening from a m eeting o f the society, I to ld Raymond about life m the house A week or tw o before m y study had been raided, and one of m y more personal poems seized and pinned up on the public notice board m ‘ W ritin g School’— the living-room fo r members o f the low er school As a member o f the fifth form , I was excluded from W ritin g School, and therefore could not rescue the poem Raymond, the firs t Carthusian to whom I had been able to ta lk hum anly, grew indignant, and took my arm m his 4They are bloody barbarians1’ He to ld me that I m ust p u ll m yself together and do som ething positive, because I was a good poet, and a good person I loved Raymond fo r th a t He

GOODBYE TO A L L T H A T

said ‘ Y ou’re not allowed to play football, w hy don’t you box? I t ’s supposed to im prove the heart ’ I laughed and promised th a t I w ould T hen Raym ond asked 41 expect they rag you about your in itia ls ?’ 4Yes, they call me a d irty Germ an ’ 41 had trouble, too,’ he to ld me, 4before I took up boxing ’ Raym ond’s m other was Scottish, his father an A ustrian Pole, a founder o f the Brooklands Racing Track V ery few boys boxed, and the boxing-room , over the school tuck-shop, made a convenient place to m eet Raym ond whom , otherwise, I w ould not have seen, except at Poetry Society m eet­ ings I began boxing seriously and savagely Raym ond said ‘ These cricketers and footballers are a ll afraid of boxers, almost supersti­ tious T hey w on’t box themselves fo r fear o f losing th e ir good looks— the annual inter-house com petitions are such bloody affairs B ut do you rem em ber the M ansfield, W a lle r and T aylor show? T h a t’s a useful tra d itio n to keep up ’ O f course, I rem em bered Tw o term s previously, there had been a famous m eeting o f the school D ebating Society, the com­ m ittee o f w hich consisted of sixth-form boys Though the debates were p re tty d u ll, w hat passed fo r inte lle ctu a l life at Charterhouse was represented by the D ebating Society, and by The C arthusian , always edited by tw o members o f this com m ittee— both in s titu ­ tions being free from the control o f masters One Saturday debaten ig h t the usual decorous conventions were broken by a riotous en try o f 4bloods ’— members o f the cricket and football elevens The bloods were the ru lin g caste at Charterhouse, the eleventh man m the football eleven, though he m ig h t be a m em ber of the under-fou rth form , enjo} ed fa r more prestige than the most b ril­ lia n t scholar m the sixth Even 4Head o f the School ’ was an em pty title B ut the sixth -fo rm intellectuals and the bloods never fought The bloods had nothing to gam by a clash, the intellectuals were happy to be le ft alone So th is invasion o f the bloods, ju st returned from w in n in g an 4away ’ m atch against the Casuals, and fu ll of beer, caused the D ebating Society a good deal o f embarrassment The bloods disturbed the m eeting by cheers and cat-calls, and slammed the lib ra ry magazine-folders on the table M ansfield, as president o f the society, called them to order, and when they con­ tinued the disturbance, closed the debate The bloods thought the incident finished, bu t they thought [3 8 ]

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w rong A le tte r appeared m The C arthusian a few days later, pro­ testing against the bad behaviour m the D ebating Society o f ‘ cert­ ain F irst Eleven babies’ The three sets of in itia ls signed were those o f M ansfield, W a lle r and T aylor The school, astonished by this suicidally daring act, w aited fo r Korah, Dathan and Abiram to be swallowed up The Captain of Football swore th a t he’d chuck the three signatories in to the fountain m Founder’s Court But somehow he did not The fact w as th a t this happened earl} m the autum n term , and only tw o other F irst Eleven colours had been le ft over from the preceding year, new colours were given gradually as the football season advanced The other row dies had been m erely embryo bloods So the m atter had to be settled between these three sixth-form intellectuals and the three colours o f the F irst Eleven B ut the F irst Eleven were uncom fortably aware th a t Mansfield was the heavy-w eight boxing champion o f the school, W aller the runner-up fo r the m iddle-w eights, and th a t T aylor was also a tough fe llo w to be reckoned w ith W h ile they were wondering w hat on earth to do, M ansfield decided to take the w ar in to his enemies’ country The social code of Charterhouse rested on a strict caste system, the caste marks, or post-te’s, being slight distinctions m dress A new boy had no privileges at a ll, a boy m his second term m ight wear a k n itte d tie instead o f a plain one, a boy m his second year m ig h t wear coloured socks, the th ird year gave most of the mam privileges— tu rn e d down collars, coloured handkerchiefs, a coat w ith a long ro ll, and so on, fo u rth year, a few more, such as the rig h t to get up raffles, b u t peculiar distinctions were reserved for the bloods These included lig h t-g re y flannel trousers, b u tte rfly collars, jackets s lit up the back, and the rig h t of w alking arm -inarm So the next Sunday M ansfield, W aller and T aylor did the bravest deed ever done at Charterhouse Chapel began at eleven m the m orning, b u t the school had to be m its seats by five minutes to eleven and sit w a itin g there A t tw o m inutes to eleven the bloods used to stalk up, at one and a h a lf m inute to, came the masters, at one m inute to, came the choir m th e ir surplices, then the headmaster arrived, and the service began I f any boy, accid­ e ntally late, sneaked m between five m inutes to, and tw o minutes to, the hour, six hundred pairs of eyes follow ed h im , he heard [59]

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w hispering and g ig g lin g at his apparent foolhardiness m pretend­ in g to be a blood On this Sunday, then, when the bloods had entered w ith th e ir usual swaggering assurance, an extraordinary th in g happened The three sixth-form ers slow ly walked up the aisle, m agnificent in lig h t-g re y flannel trousers, s lit jackets, b u tte rfly collars, and each wore a p in k carnation m his lapel Astonished and h o rrifie d by this spectacle, everyone turned to gaze at the Captain o f the F irst Eleven, he had gone quite w h ite B ut by th is tim e the masters had entered, follow ed by the choir, and the opening hym n, though raggedly sung, ended the tension W hen chapel em ptied, it always em ptied according to ‘ school o rd e r’, th a t is, according to position m w ork the sixth form therefore w ent out firs t The bloods not being at a ll high m school order, M ansfield, W a lle r and T aylor had the start o f them A fte r chapel on Sunday, the custom m the autum n term was fo r boys to meet and gossip m the lib ra ry , so to the lib ra ry M ansfield, W a lle r and T aylor w ent On the way, they buttonholed a talkative master, drew h im m w ith them and kept him ta lk in g u n til dinner-tim e I f the bloods had dared to do any­ th in g violent they w ould have had to do i t at once, b u t to make a scene m the presence o f a master was impossible M ansfield, W aller and T aylor w ent down to th e ir houses fo r dinner, s till ta lkin g to the master A fte r th a t, they always w ent about to­ gether m public, and the school, p a rtic u la rly the low er school, w hich had long chafed under the dress regulations, made heroes of them and began scoffing at the bloods as weak-kneed F in a lly, the captain o f the eleven com plained to R endall about this breach of school conventions, asking fo r perm ission to enforce the bloods’ rights by disciplinary measures R endall, who was a scholar and disliked the games tra d itio n , refused his request, in ­ sisting th a t the sixth fo rm deserved as distinctive privileges as the F irst Eleven, and were, m his opinion, entitle d to hold w hat they had assumed The prestige o f the bloods declined greatly On Raymond’s encouragement, I pulled m yself together and when the next school year started found things very m uch easier M y chief persecutor, the Irishm an, had gone away w ith a nervous break-down He w rote me a hysterical demand fo r forgiveness— saying at the same tim e th a t, i f I refused it, he s till had a fnend m the house to give me a bad tim e I did not answer the le tte r [4 0 ]

8 S T IL L had no friends except among the ju n io r members of the house, fro m w hom I did not conceal m y dislike of the seniors, I found the ju niors on the whole a decent lo t Towards the end of this year, m the annual boxing and gym nastic displa>, I fought three rounds wuth Raym ond There is a lo t o f lo \ e m boxing— the dual play, the reciprocity, the pain not fe lt as pain W e were out neither to h u rt nor w m , though we h it each other hard This public appearance im proved m y position m the house Then the doctor allowed me to play football again, and I played it fa irly w e ll, b u t things w ent w rong m a different way I t began w ith confirm ation, fo r w hich I was prepared by a zealous evangel­ ical master For a w hole te rm I concentrated a ll m y thoughts on re ligion, looking forw ard to the ceremony as a spiritu a l clim ax W hen it came, and the H o ly Ghost failed to descend m the form o f a dove, and I did not fin d m yself gifted w ith tongues, and nothing spectacular happened (except th a t the boy whom the Bishop of Z u luland was blessing at the same tim e as m yself slipped o ff the narrow foot-stool on w hich we were both kneeling), I was bound to feel a reaction Raymond had not been confirm ed, and astonished me by adm ittin g , and even boasting, th a t he was an atheist I argued w ith him about the existence o f God, and the d iv in ity of C hrist, and the necessity of the T rin ity He said, of the T rin ity , th a t anybody who could agree w ith the Athanasian Creed th a t ‘ whoever w ill be saved m ust confess th a t there are not Three Incom prehensible b u t One Incom prehensible’ was asserting that a m an m ust go to H e ll i f he does not believe som ething th a t is, by d e finition , im possible to understand His own respect fo r him self as a reasonable being forbade h im to believe such things He also asked me ‘ W h a t’s the good of having a soul if you have a m ind? W h a t’s the fu n ctio n o f the soul? I t seems a mere pawn m the game ’ Because I loved and respected Raymond, I fe lt bound to fin d an answer to th is shocking question B ut the more I considered it, the

I

D

[4 1 ]

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less certain I became o f m y ground So m order not to prejudice re lig io n (and I set re lig io n and m y chances o f salvation before hum an love) I at firs t broke m y friendship w ith Raymond e n tire ly L a te r I weakened, b u t as a complete and ruthless atheist he w ould not e\en meet me, w hen I approached h im , w ith any broadChurch compromise For the rest of our tim e at Charterhouse I kept m y distance Y et m 1917, w hen he was serving w ith the Iris h Guards, I rode over to his billets one afternoon, having by then become a complete agnostic, and fe lt as close to h im as ever H e got k ille d at Cam brai soon after M y relations w ith Raym ond were com radely, not amorous, but m m y fo u rth year I fe ll m love w ith a boy three years younger than m yself, who was exceptionally in te llig e n t and fine-spirited Call him D ick D ick was not m m y house, b u t I had recently joined the school choir and so had he, w hich gave me opportuni­ ties fo r speaking to him occasionally after choir practice I was un­ conscious o f an} sexual desire fo r him , and our conversations were always im personal T his illic it acquaintance did not escape com­ m ent, and one o f the masters, who sang m the choir, warned me to end it I replied th a t I w ould not have m y friendships m any way lim ite d , po in tin g out th a t D ick was interested m the same things as m yself, p a rtic u la rly m books, th a t, though the disparity m our ages m ig h t seem unfortunate, a lack o f intelligence among the boys o f m y own age obliged me to fin d friends w here I could F in a lly the headmaster took me to task fo r it I lectured him lo ftily on the advantage o f friendship between elder and younger boys, c itin g Plato, the Greek poets, Shakespeare, M ichelangelo and others, who had fe lt as I did He le t me go w ith o u t takin g any action In m y fifth y ear I reached the sixth form , and became a housem onitor There were six o f us One o f them , Jack Young, the house games-captam, a frie n d ly , easy-going fellow , said one day *Look here, Graves, I have to send m a lis t o f com petitors fo r the inter-house boxing com petitions, shall I p u t your name down?’ Since m y coolness w ith Raymond, boxing had lost its interest, I had been busy w ith football, and played fo r the house-team now *I ’m not boxing these days,’ I to ld Young 4W e ll,’ he s a id ,*young A lan is entering fo r the w elter-w eights H e’s got a fa ir chance W hy don’t you enter fo r the w elter-w eights too ? Y ou m ig h t be [4 a ]

GOODBYE TO A L L T H A T

able to damage one or tw o of the stronger men, and make things easier fo r h im ’ I did not altogether lik e the idea o f m aking things easier fo r A lan, b u t obviously I had to enter the com petition R ealizing th a t m y w ind, though a ll rig h t fo r football, would not be equal to boxing round after round, I decided th a t m y fights m ust be short The house-butler smuggled a bottle of ch e rr}w hisky m fo r me— I w ould shorten the fights on th a t I had never drunk anything alcoholic before m m y life A t seven years old m y m other persuaded me to sign a pledge card, w hich bound me to abstain by the grace o f God from a ll spirituous liquors so long as I retained it B ut m } m other took the card away and put it safely m the box-room , w ith the Queen Anne silver inherited from m y Che} ne grandm other, Bishop Graves’s diamond rin g -which Queen \ic to n a gave him when he preached before her at D u blin, our christening mugs, and the heavy e a rl}-V ic t­ orian jew ellery bequeathed by Miss B rita in And since box-room treasures never le ft the box-room, I regarded m yself as perma­ n ently parted from m y pledge This cherry-w hisky delighted me The com petitions began at about one o’clock on a Saturday afternoon, and w ent on u n til seven I w as drawrn fo r the very firs t fig h t and m } opponent, by ill luck, was Alan Alan wanted me to scratch I told h im it w ould look bad to do so W e consulted Jack Young, who said ‘ No, the most sporting th in g w ill be to box it out, and le t the decision be given on points but don’t either of you h u rt each o th e r1’ So w e boxed Alan stai ted showing off to his friends, who were s ittin g m the fro n t row I m uttered 4Stop that, we’re boxing, not fig h tin g 1’ but a few seconds la te r he h it me again, unnecessarily hard I got angry and knocked him out w ith a rig h t swung on the side o f his neck This was the firs t tim e I had ever knocked anyone out, and the feeling combined w e ll w ith m y cherry-w hiskv exaltation I m uzzily realized th a t the swung did not form part o f the ordinary school-boxing curricu lu m S traight lefts, lefts to body, rights to head, le ft and rig h t hooks, a ll these were know n, b u t the swing had somehow been neglected, prob­ ably because it was not so 4p re tty ’ I w ent to the changing-room fo r m y coat, and stout Sergeant H arris, the boxing instructor, said 4Look here, M r Graves, w hy don’t you put down your name fo r the m iddle-w eight com petition too ?’ I cheerfully agreed Then I w ent back to the house, where [4 5 ]

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I took a cold bath and more cherry-w hisky M y next fig h t, fo r the firs t round o f the m iddle-w eights, w ould take place h a lf an hour la te r T his tim e m y opponent, who was a stone heavier than m y­ self b u t had little science, bustled me about fo r the firs t round, and I could see th a t he w ould tire me out unless I did som ething p re tty soon In the second round I knocked h im down w ith m y rig h t swing, b u t he got up Feeling a b it w inded, I hastened to knock h im down again I m ust have knocked him down fo u r or five tim es th a t round, b u t he refused to take the count I dis­ covered afterwards th a t he, lik e m yself, was conscious o f D ick w atching the fig h t F in a lly I thought, as he lurched towards me once more ‘ I f you don’t go down, and stay down, th is tim e, I w on’t be able to h it you again at a ll ’ I ]ust pushed at his jaw as it offered its e lf to me, b u t th a t was enough He w ent down, and he stayed down T his second knock-out made quite a s tir Knock-outs were rare m these boxing com petitions As I returned to the house fo r another cold bath and some more cherry-w hisky, I noticed the fellows looking at me curiously, almost w ith adm iration The la te r stages o f the com petition are vague m m y m em ory I now had to w o rry only about Raymond— nearly a stone heavier than m yself, and expected to w in the m iddle-w eights, bu t he had also gone m fo r tw o w eights, the m iddle and the heavy, and just been through a tough fig h t w ith the eventual w in n e r o f the heavy-weights, th a t le ft h im m no proper state to continue So he scratched his fig h t w ith me I believe th a t Raymond w ould have fought a ll the same, had it been against anyone else, b u t he wanted me to w in , and knew th a t his scratching w ould give me a rest be­ tween bouts Then a sem i-fm alist scratched against me m the w elter-w eights, so only three more fights rem ained, and I le t none o f them go beyond the firs t round The swing won me both weights, fo r w hich I received tw o silver cups B ut I had also dis­ located both m y thum bs by not gettin g m y elbow h ig h enough over W hen I trie d to sell the cups some years later, to keep food m m y m outh, they turned out to be only silver-plated The most im portant th in g th a t happened m m y last tw o years, apart from m y attachm ent to D ick, was th a t I got to know George M allory a tw enty-six or tw enty-seven-year-old master, not long up from Cambridge and so yo uthful-loo king as to be often m is­ taken fo r a m em ber o f the school From the firs t, he treated me as [44]

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an equal, and I used to spend m y spare tim e reading m his room, or going fo r walks w ith h im in the country He told me o f the existence o f m odern authors M y father, being tw o generations older than m yself, and m y only lin k w ith books, I had never heard of people lik e Shaw, Samuel B utler, R upert Brooke, W ells, Flecker, or M asefield, and the disco\en excited me I t was m George M a llo ry’s rooms th a t I firs t m et Edward M arsh (then secre­ ta ry to the P rim e M in iste r, M r A squith), who has always been a good frie n d to me, and w ith whom , though we seldom see each other now, I have n e \e r quarrelled m this he is almost unique among m y pre-w ar friends M arsh like d m y poems, w hich M al­ lo ry had show ed him , but pointed out th a t they were w n tte n m the poetic diction o f fifty vears ago and th a t, though the quality o f the poem was not necessarily im paired by this, m am readers w ould be prejudiced against w ork w ritte n m 1915 m the fashions o f 1865 George M a llo ry, C y ril H artm ann, Ray mond, and I published a magazine m the sum m er o f 1915, called Green Chartreuse I t was intended to have only one num ber, new magazines at a public school always sell out the firs t num ber, and lose heavily on the second From Green C hartreuse I shall quote one o f m } own con­ tributions, o f autobiographical interest, w ritte n in the school dia­ lect M Y N EW -BU G ’S EXAM W hen lights w ent out at half-past nine m the evening of the second Friday m the Q uarter, and the fa in t footfalls of the departing Housemaster were heard no more, the fu n began The Head o f U nder Cubicles constituted him self exam iner and executioner, and was ably assisted by a tim ekeeper, a question-recorder, and a staff o f his disreputable friends I was a tim orous *new -b u g ’ then, and m y pyjamas were damp w ith the perspiration of fear Three o f my fellows had been examined and sentenced before the in q u isitio n was directed against me T t’s Jones’s tu rn now ,’ said a voice ‘ H e’s the little hashpro who hacked me m run-about today W e m ust set h im some tig h t questions1’ [4 5 ]

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Ί say, Jones, w hat’s the colour of the House-master— I mean w hat’s the name o f the House-master o f the House whose colours are black and w h ite ? One, tw o, three ’ ‘ M r G irdlestone,’ m y voice quiveredm the darkness ‘ He evidently knows the sim pler colours W e’l l m uddle h im W hat are the colours o f the Club to w hich Block Houses belong ? One, tw o, three, fo u r ’ I had been slaving at gettin g up these questions fo r days, and ]ust managed to b lu rt out the answer before being counted out ‘ Two questions No misses W e m ust buck up,’ said some­ one ‘ I say, Jones, how do j ou get to Farncombe from W eekites ? One, tw o, three ’ I had issued directions only as fa r as Bridge before being counted out ‘ Three questions Onemiss You’re allowed three misses out of ten ’ ‘ W here is Charterhouse Magazine ? One, tw o, three, fo u r ’ ‘ Do }Ou mean The C arthusian office ?’ I asked Everyone laughed ‘ Four questions Tw o misses I say, Robinson, he’s answered fa r too m any W e’l l set h im a couple o f stingers ’ M uch w hispering ‘ W hat is the age o f the horse th a t rolls U nder Green ? One, tw o, three ’ ‘ S ix 1’ I said, at a venture ‘ W rong, th irty -e ig h t Six questions Three misses1T h in k yourself lu cky you w eren’t asked its pedigree ’ ‘ W hat are canoeing colours ? One, tw o, th r ’ ‘ There aren’t an} 1’ ‘ Y ou’l l get cocked-up fo r fe s tiv ity , but you can count it Seven questions Three misses Jones ?’ ‘ Yes I ’ ‘ W hat was the name of the g irl to whom rum our stated th a t last year’s football secretary was v io le n tly attached ? One, tw o, three, fo u r ’ ‘ D aisy1’ ( It sounded a lik e ly name ) [4 6 ]

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f 0 h, re a lly 1 W e ll, I happen to know last gear’s football secretary, and he’ll sim ply k ill \o u fo r spreading scandal Y ou’re w rong anyhow E ig h t questions Four misses1 You’ll come to m y 44cube ” at seven tom orrow m orning See ? Good n ig h t1’ Here he waved his hair-brush over the candle, and a coloss­ al shadow appeared on the ceiling The Poetry Society died about this tim e — and this is how it died Two o f its sixth-form members came to a m eeting, and each read a rather d u ll and form al poem about lo \e and nature, none o f us paid m uch attention to them B ut the follow ing week they came out m The C arthusian , and soon everyone began pointing and g iggling , because both poems, signed w ith pseudonyms, were acrostics, the in itia l letters spelling out a ‘ case’ ‘ Case’ meant ‘ rom ance’, a form al coupling o f tw o boys’ names, w ith the name o f the elder bo} firs t In both poems the firs t names m entioned were those o f bloods I t was a foolish act o f aggression m the feud between sixth form and the bloods B ut nothing m uch would have come o f it, had not another of the sixth-form members of the Poetry Society been idealistically m kw e w ith one of the sm aller bo^s whose name appeared m the acrostics In rage and jealousy he w ent to the headmaster (Frank Fletcher, who had superseded G H R endall), and called his attention to the acrostic— w hich otherwise none o f the masters w ould ha\e noticed He pretended not to know the authors, b u t though he had missed the particular Poetry M eeting at w hich the \ erses were read, he could easily have guessed them from the style M eanw hile, I had incautiously to ld someone the authors’ names, so I got dragged in to the row as a witness against them The headmaster took a very serious view o f the m atter The twro poets lost th e ir m onitorial prm leges, the editor o f The C a r­ thusian who, though aware of the acrostics, had accepted the poems, lost his editorship and his position as Head o f School The in form er, who happened to be next m school order, succeeded him m both capacities, he had not expected this development, w hich made him most unpopular H is consolation was a real one th a t he had done it a ll fo r love, to avenge the public in s u lt done his young frie n d The Poetry Society was ignom iniously dissolved by the [4 7 ]

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headmaster’s orders I t was an * I to ld you so ’ fo r the other masters, who did not believe e ith e r m poetry, or m school u p lift societies B ut I owed a great debt o f gratitude to K endall (one o f the few masters who insisted on tre a tin g the boys better than they deserved), the meetings o f the Poetry Society had been all th a t I could look forw ard to when things were at th e ir w orst fo r me M y last year at Charterhouse I did everything possible to show how little respect I had fo r school tra d itio n In the w in te r o f 1913 I won a classical exhib itio n at St John’s College, O xford, w hich allowed me to go slow on school w ork N e v ill Barbour and I were editing The C arthusian , and a good deal of m y tim e w ent on th a t N e v ill, who as a scholar had m et the same sort of d ifficulties as m yself, shared m y dislike o f most Charterhouse traditions, and decided th a t compulsory games were among the w orst O f these, we considered cncket the most objectionable, because i t wasted most tim e m the best part o f the year N e v ill suggested a camp­ aign m favour o f law n-tennis W e were not seriously devoted to tennis, b u t found i t our handiest weapon against cricket— the game, we w rote, m w hich the selfishness of the few did not excuse the boredom o f the m any Tennis was quick and busy W e asked Old Carthusian tennis internationals to contribute letters pro­ posing tennis as the m anlier and more vigorous game W e even persuaded A nthony W ild in g , the w orld cham pion, to w rite The games-masters, who called tenms *p a t-b a ll’, a game fo r girls, were scandalized at th is assault on cricket, and even more so by an ironical le tte r m its support, w hich I had signed 4Judas Isca­ r io t’ One o f them came to N e v ill and asked w ould he please be less controversial ‘T his is not a deputation,’ he explained 4N o?’ said N e v ill £I though t it was You were the only m em bei of the Staff considered ta c tfu l enough to approach the G overning Body fo r a rise o f salary last year ’ The result o f our campaign surprised us W hen we revealed the scandal th a t subscriptions to the tw o derelict school tennis-courts had been, fo r several ^ears, appropriated by the cricket com m ittee, not only did we double our sales, but a fund was started fo r pro­ vid in g several more tennis-courts, and m aking Charterhouse the cradle of public-school tennis Though delayed by the w ar, these courts did, m fact, appear one day I noticed them recently as I [4 8 ]

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drove past in a car, there seemed to be plenty of them I wonder, are there tennis bloods at Charterhouse now ? Poetry and D ick were s till almost a ll th a t really m attered L ife w ith m y fellow house-monitors was one o f perpetual discord I had grudges against every one o f them , except Jack Young and the head-m onitor Young, the only blood m the house, spent most of his tim e w ith fellow-bloods in other houses The head-m onitor was a scholar who, though w ell-principled, had been em bittered by his firs t three } ears m the house, and now stood too much on his d ig n ity He did more or less w hat the other m onitors wanted him to do, and I hated ha \m g to lum p him m w ith the rest M v love fo r D ick provoked a constant facetiousness, but they ne\er dared go too fa r I once caught one of them m the bathroom, scratching up a pair o f hearts conjoined, w ith D ick’s in itia ls and m ine above them I pushed h im in to the bath and turned the taps on The next day, he got hold o f a m anuscript note-book o f m ine w hich I had le ft, w ith some other books, m the m onitors’ room He and all the others, except Jack Young, annotated it c ritic a lly m blue chalk, and signed th e ir in itia ls Jack would have nothing to do wnith this ungentlem anl) behaviour W hen I disco\ered w hat had been done, I demanded a signed apology, threatening that if i t did not a rm e w ith in frve m inutes, I w ould choose one o f them as being solely responsible and punish him I was now off to take a cold bath, and the firs t m onitor whom I m et afterwards would get knocked down W hether b} accident, or w hether he thought th a t his position protected h im , the firs t I m et m the corridor was the head-moni­ to r I knocked him down I t was the tim e of e\enm g preparation, from w hich we were excused B ut a fag happened to pass on an errand, and saw the spurt o f blood, so the incident could not be hushed up Presently the housemaster sent fo r me He was an excitable, elderl} man, w ith some d iffic u lty m controlling his spittle when angry, a tra it th a t had earned him the name of 4Gosh’ P arry I w ent to his study, where he made me sit down m a chair, then stood over me, clenching his fists and c i}in g m fa l­ setto Do you realize th a t you ha\ e com m itted a very b ru ta l act ?’ H is m outh bubbled WTth spittle I jum ped up and clenched m y fists too, saying th a t I w ould do the same th in g again to anyone else who, after scribbling im p e rtin e n t remarks on m y p m ate [4 9 ]

GOODBYE TO A L L T H A T

papers, refused to apologize ‘P rivate papers ? F ilth y poems1’ said Gosh P arr} I had another d iffic u lty w ith the headmaster as a result B ut, this being m y last te rm , he allowed me to fin is h m y five years w ith o u t ignom iny I puzzled h im by the frankness w ith w hich I confessed m } love fo r D ick, when he re-opened the question I refused to be ashamed, and heard afterwards th a t he had des­ cribed this as one o f the rare friendships between boys o f unequal ages w hich, he fe lt, was essentially m oral A week or tw o la te r I w ent through one o f the w orst quarters o f an hour o f m y life on D ick’s account W hen the master who sang m the choir warned me about exchanging glances w ith D ick m chapel I had been in ­ furiated B ut when one o f the choir-boys to ld me th a t he had seen the master surreptitiousl} kissing D ick once, on a choir-treat, I w ent quite mad w ith o u t asking fo r any details or confirm ation I w ent to the master and to ld h im th a t unless he resigned, I w ould report the m atter to the headmaster— he already had a reputation m the school fo r this sort o f th in g and kissing boys was a crim in a l offence No doubt m y sense of m oral outrage concealed a m urderous jealousy W hen he vigorously denied the charge, I could not guess w hat w ould happen next B u t I said ‘ W e ll, come to the head­ master and deny it m his presence ’ He asked ‘ D id the boy te ll you this him self?’ ‘ No ’ ‘ W e ll, then I ’l l send fo r h im , and he’ll te ll us the tru th ’ D ick was sent for, and arrived looking very scared The master said m enacingly ‘ G ra\ es tells me th a t I once kissed you Is th a t tru e ? ’ D ick answered ‘ Yes, it is 1’ So D ick was dismissed, the master collapsed, and I fe lt thoroughly m iserable He undertook to resign at the end o f the term , w hich was quite close, on grounds o f ill-h e a lth He even thanked me fo r speaking d irectly to h im and not going to the headmaster This was the sum m er o f 1914, he w ent in to the arm y and was k ille d the fo llow ing year D ick told me la te r th a t he had not been kissed at a ll, b u t he saw I was m a jam — it m ust have been some other mem ber o f the c h o ir1 One o f m y last recollections at Charterhouse is a school debate on the m otion ‘ th a t this House is m favour o f com pulsory m ilita ry service ’ The Em pire Service League, w ith E arl Roberts o f Kanda­ har, V C , as its President, sent down a propagandist m support O nly six votes out o f one hundred and nineteen were noes I was [5 0 ]

GOODB\ E TO A L L T H VT

the principal opposition speaker, having recently resigned from the Officers7T ra in in g Corps m re \ o lt against the theory o f im p lic it obedience to orders And du rin g a fo rtn ig h t spent the pre\ious sum m er at the O T C camp near T id w o rth on Salisbury P lain, I had been frightened by a special display o f the latest m ilita ry fo rti­ fications barbed-w ire entanglements, machine-guns, and field art­ ille ry in action General, now Field-M arshal S ir W illia m Robert­ son, who had a son at the school, visited the camp and impressed upon us th a t w ar w ith Germ any must m e \ita b ly break out w ith in tw o 01 three y ears, and th a t we m ust be prepared to take our part m it as leaders o f the new forces w hich w ould assuredly be called in to being O f the six noes, N e\ il l Barbour and I are, I believe, the only ones wrho survie ed the w ar M y last me m on is the headmaster’s parting shot 4W e ll, good­ bye, Graves, and rem em ber th a t vour best frie n d is the wastepaper basket7This has proved good ad\ice, though not perhaps m the sense he intended few w nters seem to send th e ir w ork through as m any drafts as I do I used to speculate on w hich o f m y contemporaries w ould dis­ tin g u ish themselves after they le ft school The w ar upset these calculations M any d u ll boys had b u e f b rillia n t m ilita ry careers, p a rticu la rly as air-fighters, becoming squadron and flig h t com­ manders 4Fuzz} 7 M cN air, the Head o f the school, won the V C as a R iflem an Young Sturgess, who had been my stud} fag, dist­ inguished him self more u n fo itu n a te ly by fly in g the fust heavy bom bing machine of a new pattei n across the Channel on his firs t trip to France he made a perfect landing (having m istaken his course) at an aerodrome behind the German lines A boy whom I had adm ired during my firs t yeai at Charterhouse w as the Honour­ able Desmond O’B rien the only Carthusian of th a t tim e who cheerfully disregarded all school rules H aving cut skeleton-keys fo r the lib ra ry , chapel, and science laboratories, he used to break out o f his house at n ig h t and carefully disarrange things there O’B rien had the key to the headmaster’s study too and, entering one n ig h t w ith an electric torch, carried off a mem orandum w hich he showed me 4M ust expel O’B rien ’ He had a wireless receivingstation m one of the out-of-bounds copses on the school grounds, and discovered a ve n tila to r shaft down w hich he could hoot lik e an ow l in to the lib ra ry w ith o u t detection Once we were threatened

[so

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w ith the loss of a half-holiday because some m em ber o f the school had catapulted a cow, w hich died of shock, and nobody w ould own up O’B rien was away at the tim e, on special leave fo r a sister’s wedding A frie n d w rote to te ll h im about the half-holiday He sent Rendall a telegram *K ille d cow sorry com ing O’B rien ’ A t last Rendall did expel him fo r having absented him self from every lesson and chapel fo r three whole days O’B rien was k ille d , early m the war, w hile bom bing Bruges A t least one m three of m y generation at school died, because they all took commissions as soon as th e } could, most of them m the in fa n try and Royal F ly in g Corps The average life expectancy of an in fa n try subaltern on the W estern F ront was, at some stages of the war, only about three m onths, by w hich tim e he had been either wounded or k ille d The proportions worked out at about four wounded to e \e ry one k ille d O f these four, one got wounded seriously, and the rem aining three more or less lig h tly The three lig h tly wounded returned to the fro n t after a few w eeks or m onths of absence, and again faced the same odds F ly in g casualties were even higher Since the w ar lasted fo r fo u r and a h a lf years, it is easy to see w hy most of the survivors, i f not perm anently disabled, got wounded several tim es T w o w ell-know n sportsmen were contemporaries o f m ine A G Bower, late captain o f England at soccer, b u t only an average player at Charterhouse, and W oolf Barnato, the Surrey cricketer (and m illio n a ire racing m otorist), also only an average player Though Barnato was m the same house as m yself, we had not a word to exchange fo r the fo u r years we were together Five scholars have so fa r made names fo r themselves R ichard Hughes as a playw right, R ichard Goolden as an actor o f old-m an parts, Vincent Seligman as author o f a propagandist life o f Vemzelos, C y ril H a rt­ mann as an a uthority on historical French scandals, and m y brother Charles as society colum nist on the m iddle page o f the D a ily M a il Occasionally I see another name or tw o m the papers The other day, M ------ was m the news fo r escaping from a private lu n a tic asylum, he had once offered a boy ten shillings to hold his hand m a thunderstorm , and freq u e n tly threatened to ru n away from Charterhouse

9 EO R G E M A L L O R Y did som ething better than lend me books he took me clim bing on Snowdon m the school \ acations I knew Snowdon very w e ll from m y bedroom w indow at H arlech In the spring, its distant w hite cap le n t a sentim ental glory to the landscape The firs t tim e I w ent w ith George to Snow­ don we stayed at the Snowdon Ranger H otel, near Q uellyn Lake I t was January, and we found the m ountain covered in snow W e did little rock-clim bing, b u t w ent up some good snow slopes w ith rope and ice-axe I rem em ber one clim b to the sum m it F inding the hotel there wnth its roof blow n off m the previous n ig h t’s blizzard, we sat by the cairn and ate Carlsbad plum s and liv e rsausage sandwiches Geoffrey Key nes, the editor of the Nonesuch Blake , was m the team He and George, w ho used to go drunk w ith excitem ent at the end o f his clim bs, picked stones off the cairn and shied them at the hotel chimney -stack u n til it joined the rums of the roof George is s till rated as one o f the three or fo u r best clim bers in clim bing history Nobody had expected him to survive his firs t spectacular season in the Alps He never afterwards lost his almost foolhardy daring, y et knew a ll there could be known about moun­ taineering technique I always fe lt absolutely safe w ith him on the rope George w ent through the w ar as a gunner lieutenant, b u t kept his nerve— by rock-clim bing w hile on lea\e W hen the w ar ended, George loved m ountains more than ever His death on M o u n t Everest came five years la te r No one knows w hether he and Irv me actually made the last f i\ e hundred yards of the ascent, or w hether they turned back, or w hat happened, but anyone who has clim bed w ith George is convinced th a t he got to the sum m it and rejoiced m his accustomed wav w ith o u t lea\ mg him self sufficient reserve o f strength fo r the descent I did not see it m entioned m the newspaper account of his death th a t he o rig in ­ a lly took to clim bing w hile a scholar at W inchester, as a correct­ ive to his weak heart He told me th a t life at W mchester had made

G

[5 3 ]

GOODBYE TO A L L T H A T

h im so m iserable th a t he once ran away ta kin g nothing w ith h im b u t his beloved m athem atics books George’s other claim to fame is that he w iote the firs t m odern biography o f James Boswell He was wasted at Charterhouse where, m m y tim e at least, the bo} s generally despised h im as neither a disciplinarian nor in te r­ ested m cricket or football He trie d to tre a t his classes m a frie n d ly way, w hich puzzled and offended them , because o f the school trad­ itio n of concealed w arfare between boys and masters W e con­ sidered it no shame to cheat, lie , or deceive where a master was concerned, though the same treatm ent o f a school-fellow w ould have been im m oral George also antagonized the housemasters by refusing to accept this state o f w ar and fra te rn izin g w ith the boys whenever possible W hen tw o housemasters, who had been un­ frie n d ly to him , happened to die w ith in a short tim e o f each other, he joked to me 4See, R obert, how m ine enemies flee before m y face1’ I always called h im by his C hristian name, and so did three or fo u r more o f his friends m the school This lack o f d ig n ity pu t him beyond the pale w ith most boys, and a ll masters E ventually the falseness o f his position to ld on his tem per, ye t he always managed to fin d fo u r or five boys who were, lik e him , out o f th e ir elem ent, befriending and m aking life tolerable fo r them Before tl^e fin a l Everest expedition, he had decided to resign and take a job at Cambridge w ith the W orkers’ Educational Association, tire d of try in g to teach gentlem en to be gentlem en I spent a season w ith George and a large num ber o f clim bers at the Pen-} -Pass H otel on Snowdon m the spring o f 1914 T his tim e we did real precipice clim bing, and I had the luck to clim b w ith George, H E L P orter (a renowned technician), K itty O’B rien and Conor O’B rien, her brother, who afterwards made a famous voyage round the w orld m a ridiculously sm all boat Conor chmbed, he told us, p n n cip a ll} as a corrective to bad nerves He w ould get very excited w hen any slig h t h itch occurred, his voice usually rose to a scream K itty used to chide him 4Ach, Conor, dear, have a b it o f w it1’ and Conor w ould apologize Being a sailor, he used to clim b m bare feet O ften m clim bing one has to support the entire w eight o f one’s body on a couple of toes— b u t toes m s tiff boots Conor claim ed th a t he could force his naked toes fa rth e r in to crevices than a boot w ould go The most honoured man there was Geoffrey Young, an Eton C5 4 ]

GOODBYE TO A L L T H A T

master, and the President o f the Clim bers’ Club H is four closest friends had a ll been k ille d clim bing, a comment on the extraordin­ ary care w hich he always took him self I t appeared not m erely in his preparations fo r an ascent— the careful exam ination strand hy strand of the A lpine rope, the attention to his boot-nails, and the balanced loading o f his rucksack— bu t also m his caution on the rock-face Before m aking any move he thought it out foot by foot, as though it were a chess problem I f the next hand-hold hap­ pened to be ]ust a little out of his reach, or the next foot-hold seemed at a ll precarious, he w ould stop to th in k o f a safe way round the d iffic u lt}' George used sometimes to giow im patient, b u t Geoffrey refused to be h u rrie d His shortness put him at a dis­ advantage m the m atter o f reach Though not as double-jointed and prehensile as P orter, or as m agnificent as Geoige, he was the perfect clim ber, and s till rem ains so This, m spite o f having lost a leg w ith a Red Cross u n it on the Ita lia n fro n t He climbs w ith an a rtific ia l leg, and has recently published the only reliable te xt­ book on rock-clim bing I fe lt ver} proud to be on the same rope as Geoffrey Young, and when he told me one day 4Robert, you have the finest natural balance th a t I have ever seen m a clim ber,’ this com plim ent pleased me fa r more than i f the Poet Laureate had told me th a t I had the finest sense of rhy thm that he had ever met m a young poet I certainly m ust hav e a good balance Once, m Switzerland, it saved me from a broken leg or legs M y m other took us there m the Christmas holidays o f 1915-14, ostensibl} fo r w in te r sports, b u t re a lly because she thought th a t m v sisters should be given a chance to meet nice young men of means About m y th ird day on skis I w ent up from Champéry, where we were staying and the snow was too soft, to M orgm s, a thousand feet higher, where it closely resembled castor sugar Here I found an ice-run fo r skele­ ton-toboggans W ith o u t pausing to consider th a t skis have no pur­ chase on ice at a li, I launched my self down it A fte r a few v ards, m y speed increased alarm ingly and I realized wnth a shock w hat I w as m fo r There were several sharp turns m the ru n , protected by high banks, and I had to tru s t e n tire ly to body-balance m sw erving round them On reaching the term inus s till u p rig h t, I had m y eyes damned by a frightened sports-club o fiicial fo r having endangered m y life on his te rrito ry [55]

g o o d b ye t o a l l t h a t In an essaj on clim bing w ritte n at the tim e , I said th a t the sport made a ll others seem triv ia l 4New clim bs, or new variations o f old clim bs, are not made in a com petitive s p irit, b u t only because it is good to stand somewhere on the earth’s surface where nobody else has stood before I t is good, too, to be alone w ith a specially chosen band o f people— people m whom one can tru s t com pletely R ock-clim bing, one o f the most dangerous sports possible, unless one keeps to the rules, becomes reasonably safe i f one does keep to them W ith physical fitness m every m em ber o f the team , a careful watch on the weather, proper overhauling o f clim b in g ap­ paratus, and no h u rry , anxiety, or stunts, m ountaineering can be m uch safer than fo x-h u n tin g H u n tin g im plies uncontrollable fac­ tors, such as hidden w ire , holes m w hich a horse m ay stum ble, caprice o r vice m the horse Clim bers tru s t e n tire ly to th e ir own feet, legs, hands, shoulders, sense o f balance, judgem ent o f dis­ tance ’ M y firs t precipice was Cnb-y-ddysgel a test clim b fo r begin­ ners About fifty feet above the scree— a h eight th a t is more frig h te n in g than five hundred, because death seems almost as certain and fa r more im m ediate— a long, sloping shelf o f rock, about the length o f an ordinary room , had to be crossed fro m rig h t to le ft T his offered no hand-holds or foot-holds w orth m entioning, and was too steep to stand or kneel on w ith o u t slipping I t shelved at an angle of, I suppose, fo rty -fiv e or fifty degrees One rolled across u p rig h t, and trusted m fric tio n as a m aintaining force Once across the shelf w ith o u t disaster, I fe lt th a t the rest o f the clim b would be easy They called this clim b 4The G am bit’ Robert Trevelyan, the poet, had been given the test m the previous seas­ on, bu t been unlucky enough to fa ll o ff He was pulled up short, after a few feet, by the leader’s w ell-belayed rope, b u t the expe­ rience disgusted h im w ith clim bing, and he spent the rest o f his tim e at Pen-y-Pass ju s t w alkin g about Belaying means m aking fast, on a projection o f rock, a loop o f the rope w hich is w ound round one’s waist, and so disposing the w eight o f the body th a t, i f the clim ber above or below happens to fa ll, the belay w ill keep the whole party from going down to­ gether A lpine rope has a breaking-pom t o f a th ird o f its own length O nly one m em ber o f the clim bing team moves at any given tim e , the others w ait, belayed Sometimes the leader has to [56]

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move up fifty or sixty feet u n til he finds a secure belay from w hich to start the next upw ard m ovem ent, so th a t i f he slips, and cannot p u t on any sort o f brake, he m ust fa ll more than tw ice that length before being pulled up T h a t same day I was taken on a spectacular, though not particu­ la rly d iffic u lt clim b on C rib Goch A t one point w e traversed around a knife-edge buttress From this knife-edge a p illa r-lik e rock, tech­ n ica lly know n as a m onolith, had sp lit aw a} W e scrambled up the m onolith, w hich overhung the valley w ith a clear frve hundred feet drop, and each m tu rn stood on the top and balanced Next, he had to make a long, careful stride fio m the top of the m onolith to the rock-face, here there was a ledge just wide enough to adm it the toe o f a boot, and a hand-hold at convenient height to give an easy p u ll-u p to the next ledge I rem em ber George shouting dow n fio m above ‘ Be careful o f th a t foot-hold, Robert* Don’t chip the edge off, or the clim b wall be impossible fo r an} one w ho wants to do it again I t ’s got to last another frve hundred years at le a s t7 I was m danger only once P orter took me clim bing on an outof-the-w ay part o f the m ountain The clim b, know n as the Ribbon Track and G irdle T ra \ erse, had not been attem pted fo r ten years About half-w ay up w^e reached a chimney A ‘ chim ney7is a v e rti­ cal fissure m the rock wide enough to adm it the b o d }, whereas a ‘ crack7 is onl} w ide enough to adm it the boot One works up a chim ney sideways, wnth back and knees, but up a crack w ith one’s face to the rock P orter, fifty feet above me m the chim ney, made a spring to a hand-hold s lig h tly out of reach In doing so, he dis­ lodged a pile of stones w hich had been w edged m the chim ney T hey rattled down, and one, rather bigger than a cricket ball, struck me unconscious Fortunately I w as w e ll bela'v ed, and Porter had made his objectne The rope held me up, I recovered m y senses a few seconds la te r and managed to continue A t Pen-y-Pass we used to take a leisurely bieakfast and lie m the sun w ith a tankard o f beer before starting fo r the precipice foot m the late m orning Snow don is a perfect m ountain fo r clim bers, its rock being sound and not slippery And once the} reach the top o f any of the precipices, some of w hich are a thousand feet high, but a ll ju st clim bable, one wa} or another, there is always an easy track to jog home down In the evening, when we got back to the hotel, we lav and stewed m hot baths I rem em ber E

[5 7 ]

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w ondering at m y body— th e w orn fingernails, the bruised knees, and the lu m p o f c lim b in g muscle w h ich had begun to bunch above m y instep, seeing i t as b e a u tifu l m re la tio n to th is new p u r­ pose M y w orst clim b was on L liw e d d , the most form idable o f the precipices w hen, at a p o in t th a t needed most concentration, a raven circled round the p a rty m great sweeps I found th is curiously u n ­ settling, because one clim bs only up and down, or sideways, and the raven seemed to be suggesting diverse other possible dim en­ sions of m ovem ent— te m p tin g us to le t go our hold and jo in h im

[ 58 ]

10 H A D ju st finished w ith Charterhouse and gone up to Harlech, w hen England declared w ar on Germ any A day or tw o la te r I decided to enlist In the firs t place, though the papers predicted only a very short w ar— over by Christmas at the outside— I hoped th a t it m ig h t last long enough to delay m y going to O xford m October, w hich I dreaded N or did I w ork out the possibilities of g e ttin g actively engaged m the fig h tin g , expecting garrison serv­ ice at home, w h ile the regular force* were away In the second place, I was outraged to read o f the Germans’ cynical λ îolation of Belgian n e u tra lity Though I discounted perhaps tw e n ty per cent o f th e atrocity details as w artim e exaggeration, th a t was not, of course, sufficient R ecently I saw the fo llo w in g contem porary newspaper cuttings p u t m chronological sequence

I

W hen the fa ll o f A ntw erp became know n, the church bells were rung [1 e at Cologne and elsewhere m Germ any] — Kolmsche Z eitung

According to the Kolmsche Z eitung , the clergy o f A ntw erp were compelled to rin g the church bells w hen the fortress was taken — L e M a tin According to w hat The Tim es has heard from Cologne, via Pans, the unfortunate Belgian priests who refused to n n g the church bells w hen A ntw erp was taken, have been sent­ enced to hard labour — C o rrie re della Sera According to in fo rm a tio n w hich has reached the C o rrie re d ella Sera fro m Cologne, via London, it is confirm ed th a t the barbaric conquerors o f A ntw erp punished the unfortunate Belgian priests fo r th e ir heroic refusal to n n g the church bells by hanging them as liv in g clappers to the bells w ith th e ir heads down — L e M a tin [59]

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In the trenches, a few m onths la te r, I happened to belong to a company mess m w h ich fo u r o f us young officers out o f five had, b y a coincidence, e ith e r Germ an m others or naturalized Germ an fathers One o f them said ‘ I ’m glad I joined w hen I did I f I ’d p u t i t o ff fo r a m onth or tw o, th e y’ d have accused me of being a German spy As i t is, I have an uncle interned m Alexandra Palace, and m y fa th e r’s on ly been allowed to re ta in the m em ber­ ship o f his g o lf club because he has tw o sons m the trenches ’ I to ld h im ‘ W e ll, I have three or fo u r uncles s ittin g somewhere opposite, and a num ber o f cousins, too One o f those uncles is a general B ut th a t’s a ll rig h t I don’t brag about them I on ly adver­ tize m y uncle D ick Poore, the B ritis h adm iral com m anding at the Nore ’ Am ong these enemy relatives was m y cousin Conrad, o nly son o f the Germ an Consul at Z u ric h In January 1914, 1 had gone ski­ in g w ith h im between the trees m the woods above the c ity And once we tobogganed together down the Dolderstrasse m Z u rich it ­ self, w here the lamp-posts were sandbagged and fa m ily toboggans, skidding broadside on at the turns, were often crashed in to by single-seater skeletons, arms and legs got broken by the score, and the crowds though t it a great joke Conrad served w ith a crack Bavarian regim ent thro u g h o u t the w ar, and won the ‘ P our le M é rite ’, an order even m ore rarely awarded than the B ritis h V ic­ to ria Cross Soon after the w ar ended, a pa rty o f Bolsheviks k ille d h im m a B a ltic villa g e , w here he had been sent to make requisi­ tions Conrad was a gentle, proud creature, chiefly interested m natural history, who used to spend hours m the woods studying th e habits o f w ild anim als, he had strong feelings against shooting them Perhaps m y fa m ily ’s most outstanding m ilita ry feat was a Ger­ m an uncle’s, he had been dug out at the age o f fo rty -fiv e as a lieu te n a n t m the Bavarian a rtille ry M y brother John m et h im a year or tw o ago, and happened to m ention a com ing v is it to Rheim s M y uncle nudged h im ‘ Have a look at the cathedral One day, d u rin g the w ar, m y divisional general called fo r me “ G unnerlieutena nt von Ranke, I understand th a t you are a L u th e ra n , not a Roman C atholic ?” I adm itted this was so Then he said “ I have a very disagreeable service fo r you to perform , Lie u te n a n t Those m isbegotten French are using the cathedral fo r an observation

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post They th in k they can get away w ith it because i t ’s Rheims Cathedral, b u t th e y have our trenches taped from there I call upon you to dislodge them ” I fired only tw o rounds, and down came the pinnacle and the Frenchm en w ith it A very neat b it of shooting I fe lt proud to have lim ite d the damage lik e th a t R eally, you m ust take a look at it ’ The H arlech g o lf club secretary suggested m y ta kin g a commis­ sion instead of e nlisting He rang up the nearest regim ental dépôt— the Royal W elch Fusiliers at W rexham — and to ld the adjutant th a t I had served in the Officers T ra in in g Corps at Charterhouse The adjutant said 4Send h im rig h t along ’ On August 1 ith I began m y tra in in g , and im m ediately became a hero M y m other announced 4O ur race has gone mad · ’ and regarded m y going as a religious act, m y father fe lt proud th a t I had 4done the rig h t th in g ’ I even recovered, fo r a tim e , the respect of C L Graves, o f The Spectator and Punch , the uncle w ith w hom I had recently had a t if f W hen he tipped me a sovereign, tw o term s previously, I had w ritte n to thank him , saying th a t I was at last able to buy Samuel B u tle r’s N ote Books, The W a y o f A ll Flesh and the tw o Erew hons This had in fu ria te d h im , as a good V ictorian M ost o f the other applicants fo r commissions at W rexham were boys who had recently failed to pass in to the Royal M ilita ry Col­ lege at Sandhurst, and were now try in g to get in to the regular arm y at the old m ilitia back-door— re-named the Special Reserve O nly one or tw o fellow s had come, like m yself, fo r the sake o f the w ar, and not fo r the sake o f a career There were about a dozen o f us re c ru it officers on the Square, learning to d rill and be d rille d M y O T C experience helped me here, b u t I knew nothing o f A rm y tra d itio n and made a ll the w orst mistakes— saluting the bandmaster, fa ilin g to recognize the colonel when m m u fti, w alk­ in g m the street w ith o u t a belt, ta lk in g shop m the mess Though I soon learned to conform , m y greatest d iffic u lty was ta lk in g to the m en o f m y platoon w ith the proper a ir of a u th o rity M any o f them were re-enlisted old soldiers, and I disliked b lu ffin g th a t I knew more than they did W e had tw o or three very old soldiers em­ ployed on the depot staff, w earing nbbons o f Burm a, 1885, and even earlier campaigns, and usually also the ribbon o f the ‘ R ooti ’, or good service, medal awarded fo r 4eighteen years o f undetected crim e ’ O f one old fellow , called Jackie B arrett, a K ip lin g character,

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I heard it said 6There goes Jackie B a rre tt He and his m uckm g-m chum deserted the regim ent at Quetta, and crossed the N orthW est F ro n tie r on foot Three m onths la te r, Jackie gave him self up as a deserter to the B ritis h Consul m Jerusalem He buried his chum by the w ay ’ A fte r only three weeks on the Square, I w ent o ff on detachment duty, to a new ly-form ed in te rn m e n t camp fo r enem y aliens at Lancaster The camp was a disused waggon-works near the rive r, a d irty , draughty place, litte re d w ith old scrap m etal and guarded by h ig h barbed-w ire fences A bout three thousand prisoners had already arrived there, and more and more crowded m every day seamen arrested on Germ an vessels m L iverpool harbour, waiters fro m large hotels m the N o rth , an odd Germ an hand or tw o, harmless Germ an com m ercial travellers and shopkeepers The prisoners resented being interned, p a rtic u la rly fa m ily m en who had live d at peace m England fo r m any years The one com fort th a t we could offer them was 4You are safer inside th a n out * For anti-G erm an fe e lin g had begun to ru n h ig h , shops w ith German names were co n tin u a lly raided, and even G erm an wom en made to feel th a t th e y were personally responsible fo r the alleged Belgian atrocities Besides, we pointed out, m G erm any they w ould be forced to jo in the arm y A t th is tim e , we could make a boast of our vo lu n ta ry system, and never foresaw the tim e w hen these internees w ould be b itte rly envied by forcibly-enlisted English­ m en fo r being kept safe u n til the w ar ended In the sum m er o f 1915, The Tim es re p rin te d a Germ an news­ paper account by H e rr W o lff, an exchanged prisoner, o f his exper­ iences at Lancaster m 1914 The Tim es amused its e lf w ith W o lff’s allegations th a t he and fo rty other w aiters from the M idland H otel, M anchester, had been arrested and taken, handcuffed and fettered, m special ra ilw a y carriages to Lancaster, escorted by fifty M anchester policem en armed w ith carbines B u t it was tru e , be­ cause I m yself took them over fro m the C hief Inspector, a fine fig u re m a frogged tu n ic , who gave me a splendid salute He had done his 30b w e ll and seemed proud o f it, the only m ishap being th e accidental breaking o f tw o carriage windows by the slung car­ bines W o lff reported th a t even children were interned m the camp, and th is also was tru e A dozen or so little boys fro m the Germ an bands had been interned because i t seemed m ore hum ane [&»]

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to keep them w ith th e ir friends than to send them to a w orkhouse B ut th e ir m oral safety m the camp caused the commandant great concern I commanded a detachm ent o f fifty Special Reservists, most of them w ith on ly six weeks’ service a rough lo t o f W elshm en from the border counties T hey had ]omed the arm y ]ust before w ar started, as a cheap w ay o f g e ttin g a tra in in g camp holiday, being forced to continue beyond the usual fo rtn ig h t exasperated them They were constantly deserting and having to be fetched back by the police, and seemed more scared o f the prisoners than the prisoners were of them I hated doing m y round o f sentries on a dark n ig h t at 2 or 3 a m V ery often the la n te rn used to blow out and, fu m b lin g to lig h t it again m the dark, I w ould hear the frightened voice o f a sentry roar H a lt1W ho goes there ?’ I knew th a t he w ould be standing w ith his rifle aimed and five liv e rounds m his magazine, b u t always gave h im the pass-word ju s t m tim e Sentries often fire d at shadows The prisoners, p a rtic u la rly the sailors, fought a good deal among themselves I saw a prisoner spit ou t teeth and blood one m orning, and asked Inm w hat was w rong * Oh, sir, one no-good frie n d give me one clap on the chops ’ Fre­ quent deputations came to com plain o f the dullness o f the food— the same ration food served to the troops B u t after a w h ile the prisoners settled down to sullen docility, starting hobbies, glee parties, games, and plans fo r escape I had fa r more trouble w ith m y W elshm en, w ho were always escaping fro m th e ir quarters, though I guarded a ll possible exits F in a lly I discovered th a t they had been craw ling out through a sewer T hey boasted o f th e ir successes w ith the women P rivate K irb y said to me 4Do you know , sir ? On the Sunday a fter we arrived, a ll the preachers m Lancashire took as th e ir te x t 44M others, take care o f your daughters, the R oyal W elch have come to tow n ” ’ A n inconvenient accident happened to me at Lancaster The telephone was installed at an office where I slept on a sloping desk One n ig h t, Pack Saddle (the code name fo r the C hief Supply O ffi­ cer, W estern Command) rang up from Chester after m idn ig h t, w ith orders fo r the com m andant T hey concerned the ra tio n in g of another batch o f fo u r hundred prisoners, who were being sent to h im from Chester and N o rth W ales In the m iddle o f a conversa­ tio n made d iffic u lt by a thunderstorm , m y sleepiness, and Pack [6 3 ]

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Saddle’s ir rita b ility , the lin e got struck by lig h tn in g somewhere A n electric shock spun me round, and I could not use a telephone again w ith o u t sw eating and stam m ering u n til some tw elve years la te r G uarding prisoners seemed an unheroic part to be playing m the w ar w hich, by October, had reached a c ritic a l stage, I wanted to be abroad fig h tin g M y tra in in g had been in te rru p te d , and I knew th a t even w hen recalled fro m detachm ent duty, I should have to w a it a m onth or tw o at least before g e ttin g sent out W hen I returned to the depot, ‘ T ib s ’ Crawshay, the adjutant, a keen regular soldier, found tw o things w rong w ith me F irs t o f a ll— I had not only gone to an in e ffic ie n t ta ilo r, b u t also had a soldierservant w ho neglected to polish m y buttons and shine m y b e lt and boots as he should have done Never having owned a valet before, I did not know w hat to expect o f him Crawshay fin a lly summoned me to the O rderly Room He w ould not send me to France, he said, u n til I had e n tire ly overhauled m y wardrobe and looked more like a soldier— m y company com m ander’s report on me was ‘ unsoldierlike and a nuisance’ B ut m y pay only ju st covered the mess b ills, and I could h a rd ly ask m y parents to buy me another o u tfit so soon after assuring them th a t I had e verything necessary Crawshay next decided th a t I m ust be à poor sportsman— probably because on the day o f the G rand N ational, m w hich a horse o f his was ru n n in g , a ll the young officers applied fo r leave to see the race, except m yself I volunteered to take the job o f O rderly O fficer fo r the Day fo r someone who w anted to go One by one m y contem poraries were sent out to France to take the place o f casualties m the F irs t and Second Battalions, w h ile I rem ained despondently at the dépôt B u t again boxing helped me Johnny Basham, a sergeant m the regim ent, was tra in in g at the tim e fo r his fig h t— w h ich he w on— w ith Boswell fo r the Lonsdale B elt, w elter-w eight I visited the tra in in g camp one evening, w here Basham was offe rin g to fig h t three rounds w ith any mem­ ber of the regim ent— the m ore the m e rrie r A young officer pulled on the gloves, and Basham got roars o f laughte r fro m the crowd as soon as he had taken his opponent’s measure, by dodging around and playing the fool w ith h im I asked Basham’s manager i f I could have a go He le n t me some shorts, and I stepped in to the rin g P retending to know n o th in g o f boxing, I led o ff w ith m y

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n g h t and moved clu m sily Basham saw a chance o f g e ttin g another laugh, he dropped his guard and danced about w ith a you-can’th it-m e challenge I caught h im o ff his balance, and knocked h im across the rin g He recovered and “w ent fo r me, b u t I managed to keep on m y feet W hen I laughed at him , he laughed too W e had three very brisk rounds, and he very decently made me seem a m uch better boxer than I w as, by accommodating his pace to m ine As soon as Crawshay heard the story, he rang me up at m y b ille t and to ld me th a t he had learned w ith pleasure o f m y perform ance, th a t fo r an officer to box lik e th a t was a great encouragement fo r the m en, th a t he was m istaken about m y sportsmanship, and th a t, to show his appreciation, he w ould put me down fo r a d ra ft to France m a week’s tim e O f the officers sent out before me, several had already been k ille d or wounded The k ille d included a L ib e ra l Μ P , SecondLieuten ant W G Gladstone, w hom we called 4Glad Eyes ’ He was m his early th irtie s , a grandson o f old Gladstone, whom he resembled m feature, and Lord-L ie u te n a n t o f his county W h ile w ar hung m the balance he had declared him self against it, where­ upon his Hawarden tenantry, m uch ashamed, threatened to duck h im m the pond R ealizing th a t, once w ar was declared, fu rth e r protest w ould be useless, he joined the regim ent as a secondlieutena nt H is p o litica l convictions rem ained unaltered bu t, being a m an o f great in te g rity , he refused to take the non-com bative em ploym ent as a staff-colonel offered him m the W ar Office Soon after jo in in g the F irst B attalion m France he was k ille d by a sniper w h ile unnecessarily exposing him self General French sent his body home fo r a m ilita ry funeral at H awarden, I attended it One or tw o random memories rem ain o f th is tra in in g period at W rexham The landlord o f m y b ille t, a W elsh solicitor, greatly overcharged us though pretending am icability He wore a w ig — or, to be more exact, three wigs, w ith h a ir o f progressive lengths A fte r w earing the m edium -sized h a ir fo r a few days, he w ould p u t on the long-haired w ig , and say th a t, dear h im 1 he re a lly ought to get a ha ir-cu t Then he w ould leave the house and, m a public lavatory perhaps, or a wayside copse, change in to the short-haired w ig, w hich he wore u n til he thought it tim e to change to the m edium once more The deception came to lig h t w hen one o f the officers billeted w ith me got dru n k and raided his bedroom This

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officer, a W illia m s , was an extrem e example o f th e sly Border W elshm an The d runker he became, the more shocking his con­ fessions He to ld m e once about a D u b lin g irl w hom he had pro­ mised to m arry, and even slept w ith on th e strength o f a diamond engagement rin g 4O nly paste, re a lly / he boasted The day before the w edding she lost a foot— cut off by a D alkey tra m , and he h u r­ rie d ly le ft D u b lin 4B ut, Graves, she was a lovely, love ly g irl u n til th a t happened1’ W illia m s had been a m edical student at T rin ity College, D u b lin W henever he visited Chester, the nearest tow n, to pick up a prostitute, he w ould not only appeal to her patriotism to charge h im nothing , b u t always gave m y name I knew o f th is because these wom en w rote me reproachful letters A t last I to ld h im m the mess 4In fu tu re you are going to be distinguished from a ll the other W illiam ses m the regim ent by being called 44D irty W illia m s ” ’ The name stuck By one s h ift or another he escaped a ll trench-service, except fo r a short spell m a quie t sector, and lasted the w ar out safely P rivate P robert came from Anglesey, and had joined the Special Reserve m peacetime fo r his health In September, the entire bat­ ta lio n volunteered fo r service overseas, except P robert He refused to go, and could be n e ith e r coaxed nor b u llie d F in a lly he came before the colonel, w hom he genuinely puzzled by his obstinacy P robert explained 4I ’m not afraid, colonel, sir B u t I don’t w ant to be shot at I have a w ife and pigs at home ’ The battalion was now rigged out m a tem porary navy-blue u n ifo rm u n til khaki m ig h t be available— a ll b u t P robert The colonel decided to shame h im , and he continued, by order, to w ear the peacetime scarlet tu n ic and blue trousers w ith a red stripe a very d irty scarlet tu n ic, too, because he had been p u t on the kitchen staff H is mates called h im 4Cock R o b in ’, and sang a popular chorus m his honour A nd I never get a knock W hen the boys call Cock Cockity ock, ock, Cock R o b in ’ In m y old red vest I mean to cu t a shine, W a lkin g down the street they call me 4Danger on the lin e ’

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B u t Probert did not care For th e more they call me Robin Redbreast ΙΈ wear it longer s till I w ill w ear a red waistcoat, I w ill, I w ill, I w ill, I w ill, I w ill, I w ill1 So, m October, he got discharged as m edically u n fit 4O f under­ developed intelligence, u n lik e ly to be o f service m H is M ajesty’s Forces’, and w ent happily home to his w ife and pigs O f the singers, few who survived Festubert m the fo llo w in g M ay, sur­ vived Loos m the fo llo w in g September R ecruit officers spent a good deal o f th e ir tim e at Company and B attalion O rderly Room, lea rn in g how to deal w ith crim e 4Crim e ’ m eant any breach o f K in g ’s R egulations, and there was plenty of i t B attalion O rderly Room w ould last fo u r or five hours every day, at the rate of one crim e dealt w ith every three or fo u r m inutes— th is being apart from the scores o f less serious offences trie d by company commanders The usual B attalion O rderly Room crimes were desertion, refusing to obey an order, using obscene language to a non-commissioned officer, drunk and disorderly, robbing a comrade, and so fo rth On pay-nights, h a rdly a man stayed sober, b u t no attention was paid i f silence reigned as soon as the com­ pany officer came on his rounds at L ights O ut Tw o years later, serious crim e had dim inished to a tw e n tie th o f th a t am ount, though the battalion was treble its o rig in a l strength, and though m any of the cases th a t the company officer had dealt w ith sum m arily, now came before the colonel, and drunkenness practically vanished T aylor, a young soldier m m y company, had been w ith me at Lancaster, where I bought h im a piccolo to play when the detach­ m ent w ent on route marches, he w ould give us one tune after another fo r m ile after m ile The other fellows carried his pack and n fle A t W rexham , on pay-nights, he used to s it on an upturned bucket m the company b ille t— a d rill-h a ll near the ra ilw a y station — and play jigs fo r the drunks to dance to He never drank h im ­ self The m usic began slow, b u t gradually quickened, u n til he had w orked them in to a frenzy, delaying this clim ax fo r m y a rriva l w ith the company orderly-sergeant As the sergeant flu n g open the door and bellow ed 4 44F ” Company, A tte n tio n 1’ T a ylo r w ould

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break off, th ru s t the piccolo under his blankets, and ju m p to his feet The drunks were le ft frozen m the m iddle o f th e ir capers, b lin k in g stupidly A t the firs t B attalion O rderly Room th a t I attended, a case w ent like this Se r g e a n t - M a j o r ( 3 8 ]

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again4the painter ’, is still among my friends Tony, a brother, just older than Nancy, was a gunner-officer, waiting to go to France I began a correspondence w ith Nancy, about some children’s rhymes of mine which she wanted to illustrate Soon I fe ll m love w ith her On my next leave, m October 1917,1 visited her at the farm where she worked m Huntingdonshire—alone, except for her black poodle, among farmers, farm-labourers, and wounded sold­ iers who had been put on land-service—and helped her to run mangolds through a sheer Our letters became more intimate after this She warned me that she was a feminist and that I had to be careful what I said about women, the attitude of the Huntingdon farmers to their wives and daughters kept her m a continual state of anger But Nancy’s crude summary of the Christian religion 4God is a man, so it must be all rot,’ took a load off my shoulders I had been passed B i now, but the orders that came for me to proceed to Gibraltar upset my plans Gibraltar being a dead-end, it would be as difficult to get from there to Palestine as it would from England A friend m the W ar Office undertook to cancel the order u n til a vacancy could be found for me m the battalion stationed at Cairo At Rhyl, I was enjoying my first independent command I got it because of a rumoured invasion of the north­ east coast, to follow a sortie of the German fleet A number of bat­ talions were sent across England for its defence A ll fit men of the Third Garrison Battalion were ordered to move at twenty-four hours’ notice to York A slight error occurred, howe\er, m the Morse message from War office to Western Command Instead of dash-dot-dash-dash, they sent dash-dot-dash-dot, so the battalion was sent to Cork instead, where, on second thoughts, it seemed just as much needed as m York—so there it stayed for the re­ mainder of the war Ireland had been seething since the Easter Rebellion m 1916, and Irish troops at the depots were now giving away their rifles to the Sinn Femers On getting these orders, the colonel told me that I was the only officer he could trust to look after the rest of the battalion—th irty young officers, four or five hundred crocks engaged m camp duties, and a draft of two hundred trained men under orders for Gibraltar He le ft me a competent adjutant, and three officers’ chargers to ride, also asking me to keep an eye on his children, whom he had to leave behind u n til a house could be [259]

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found for them at Cork, I had been playing w ith them a good deal I got the draft off all right, and their soldier-like appearance so impressed the inspecting general that he sent them all to the camp cinema at his own expense This gave me another good mark w ith the colonel m Ireland The climax of my faithful services was when I checked an attempt on the part of the camp quartermaster to make our battalion responsible for the loss of five hundred blankets I t happened like this Suddenly, one night, I had three thou­ sand three hundred leave-men from France thrown under my command—Irishmen, from every regiment m the army, held up at Holyhead on the way home by the presence of submarines m the Irish Sea They were rowdy and insubordinate, and during the four days of their stay gave me little rest The five hundred miss­ ing blankets, part of the six thousand six hundred issued to them, had probably been sold m Rhyl to pay for cigarettes and beer I was able to prove at the Court of Inquiry that the men, though at­ tached to the battalion for purposes of discipline, had been issued w ith blankets direct from the quartermaster’s stores, before re­ porting to me The loss of the blankets m ight be presumed to have taken place between the tim e of issue and the tim e that the men arrived m the battalion lines, for I had given the camp quarter­ master no receipt for the blankets The Court of Inquiry was con­ vened m the camp quartermaster’s private office, and I insisted that he should leave the room during the taking of evidence, be­ cause it was now no longer his private office but a Court of In ­ quiry The president agreed, and his consequent ignorance of my line of defence saved the case This success, and the evidence that I turned up of presents accepted by the battalion mess-president, when at Rhyl, from wholesale caterers (the mess-president had tried to make me pay my mess-bill twice over, and I retaliated by investigating his private life ) so pleased the colonel that he recom­ mended me for the Russian Order of St Anne, w ith Crossed Swords, of the Third Class After all, then, I should not have le ft the army undecorated but for the October Bolshevik revolution, which cancelled the award-list I saw Nancy again when I visited London m December, and we decided to get married at once Though attaching no importance to the ceremony, Nancy did not want to disappoint her father, who [240]

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liked weddings and parties I was still expecting orders for Egypt, and intended to go on from there to Palestine However, Nancy’s mother made it a condition of marriage—Nancy being still a m inor—that I should visit a London lung-specialist to find out whether I would be fit for active service m the course of the next year or two I went to Sir James Fowler, who had visited me at Rouen when I was wounded He told me that my lungs were healthy enough, though I had bronchial adhesions and my wounded lung had only a third of its proper expansion, but that my general nervous condition made it folly for me to think of active service m any theatre of war Nancy and I were married m January, 1918, at St James’s Church, Piccadilly She being just eighteen, and I twenty-two George Mallory acted as the best man Nancy had read the marnage-service for the first tim e that morning, and been so horrified that she all but refused to go through w ith the wedding, though I had arranged for the ceremony to be modified and reduced to the shortest possible form Another caricature scene to look back on myself striding up the red carpet, wearing field-boots, spurs and sword, Nancy meeting me m a blue-check silk wedding-dress, utterly funous, packed benches on either side of the church, fu ll of relatives, aunts using handkerchiefs, the choir boys out of tune, Nancy savagely m uttering the responses, myself shouting them m a parade-ground voice Then the reception At this stage of the war, sugar could not be got except m the form of rations There was a three-tiered wed­ ding-cake and the Nicholsons had been saving up their sugar and butter cards for a month to make it taste like a real one, but when George Mallory lifted off the plaster-case of im itation icing, a sigh of disappointment rose from the guests However, champagne was another scarce commodity, and the guests made a rush for the dozen bottles on the table Nancy said ‘ W ell, I ’m going to get something out of this wedding, at any rate,’ and grabbed a bottle After three or four glasses, she went off and changed back into her land-girl’s costume of breeches and smock M y mother, who had been thoroughly enjoying the proceedings, caught hold of her neighbour, E V Lucas, the essayist, and exclaimed *Oh, dear, I wish she had not done th a t1’ The embarrassments of our weddingnight (Nancy and I being both virgins), were somewhat eased by [241]

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an air-raid Zeppelin bombs dropping not far off set the hotel m an uproar A week later, Nancy returned to her farm, and I to my com­ mand at Kmmel Park I t was an idle life now No men attended parade, all were employed on camp duties And I found a lieu­ tenant w ith enough experience to attend to the ‘ further instruc­ tion 9of the young officers M y orderly room took about ten minutes each day, crime was rare, and the adjutant always kept ready and m order the few documents to be signed, which le ft me free to nde all my three chargers over the countryside, m turn, for the rest of the day I frequently used to visit the present Archbishop of Wales m his palace at St Asaph, his son had been killed m the First Battalion We discovered a common taste for the curious, I have kept a postcard from him , which runs as follows The Palace, St Asaph Hippophagist banquet held at Langham’s Hotel, February 1868 A G Asaph (I met several bishops during the war, but none afterwards, except the Bishop of Oxford, m a railway carriage, two years ago, discussing the beauties of Samuel Richardson And the Bishop of Liverpool, at Harlech, m 1925—I was making tea on the sand­ hills, when he came out from the sea w ith cries of pain, having been stung m the thigh by a jellyfish He gladly accepted a cup of tea, tut-tuttm g miserably to himself that he had been under the impression that jellyfish stung only m foreign parts ) Wearying of this idleness, I arranged to be transferred to the Sixteenth Officer Cadet Battalion m another part of the same camp There I did the same sort of work as w ith the Fourth at Oxford, and stayed from February 1918 u n til the Armistice on November 1ith Rhyl being much healthier than Oxford, I could play games without danger of another break-down Nancy got a job at a market-gardener's near the camp, and came up to live w ith me A month or two later she found that she was having a baby, stopped land work, and went back to her drawing [242]

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None of my friends had approved of my engagement, particu­ larly to a g irl as young as Nancy One of them, Robbie Ross, Oscar W ilde’s literary executor, whom I first met through Siegfried, tried to dissuade me from marriage, hinting, very unkindly that there was Negro blood m the Nicholson fam ily—that perhaps one of our children m ight revert to coal-black Siegfried could not easily accustom himself to the idea of Nancy, whom he had not met, but he still wrote from Craiglockhart A few months later, though m no way renouncing his pacifist views, he decided that his only possible course was, after all, to return to France He had w ritten to me m the previous October that seeing me again made him more restless than ever He found the isolation of hospital life nearly unbearable Old Joe had w ritten him a long letter to say that the First Battalion were just back at rest-billets from the Polygon Wood fighting, the conditions and general situation were more appalling than anything yet known—three miles of morass, shell-holes, corpses and dead horses through which to bung up the rations Siegfried felt he would rather be anywhere than m hos­ pital, he couldn’t bear to think of poor Old Joe lying out all night m shell-holes and being shelled Several of the transport-men had been killed, but at least, according to Joe, 'the Battalion got its rations’ I f only the people who wrote leading articles m the M o rn in g Post about victory could read Joe’s le tter1 (When this feat won Joe a D S 0 , he was sent a slip to complete w ith bio­ graphical details for a new edition of The Compamonage and K nightage , but looked contemptuously at the various headings Disregarding 'date and place of b irth ’, and even 'm ilita ry cam­ paigns ’, he filled m two items only Issue Rum, rifl.es, etc Family seat M y khaki pants ) Siegfried now wrote the poem ' When I ’m asleep, dreaming and lulled and warm ’ about the ghosts of soldiers, reproaching him m dream for his absence—they had looked for him m the line from Ypres to Frise and not found him He told Rivers that he would go back to France if they agreed to send him, but made it quite clear that his views were what they had been m July when he wrote the letter of protest—if possible, more violently so [243]

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He demanded a w ritten guarantee that he would he sent oveiseas at once, and not kept hanging around a training battalion In a letter to me he reprehended the attitude I had taken m July, when I reminded him that the regiment would either think him a coward, or regard his protest as a lapse from good form It was suicidal stupidity and credulity, he wrote, to identify oneself m any way w ith good form , a man of real courage would not acquiesce as I did I admitted, he pointed out, that the people who sacrificed the troops were callous bastards, and that the same thing was hap­ pening everywhere, except m Russia W hat my answer was, I for­ get, perhaps that, while m France, I had never seen such a fireeater as he—the number of Germans whom I killed or caused to be killed could hardly be compared w ith his wholesale slaughter In fact, Siegfried’s unconquerable idealism changed direction w ith his environment he varied between happy warrior and bitter pacifist His poem To these I turn, m these I trust, Brother Lead and Sister Steel, To his blind power I make appeal, I guard her beauty clean from rust had originally been inspired by Colonel Campbell, V C ’s blood­ thirsty ‘ Spirit of the Bayonet* address at an army school Later, Siegfried offered it as a satire, and it certainly comes off, which­ ever way you read it I was both more consistent and less heroic than Siegfried Whether I pulled any string escapes my memory, at any rate this time he got posted to the Tw enty-fifth Royal Welch—dis­ mounted Yeomanry—m Palestine He seemed to enjoy the life there, but m A pril a letter from ‘ somewhere m Ephraim ’, gave me the distressing news that the division had orders for France He wrote that he would be sorry to get back to trenches, and per­ haps go over the top at Morlancourt or Méaulte The mention of Morlancourt m the com m uniqués had brought things home to him He expected that the First and Second Battalions had about ceased to exist by now, for the nth tim e I heard again, at the end of May, from France Siegfried quoted Duhamel ‘ It was ordained that you should suffer without purpose [244]

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and without hope, hut I w ill not let all your sufferings he lost m the ahyss ’ Yet he wrote the next paragraph m his happy-war­ rior vein, saying that his men were the best he’d ever served w ith He wished I could see them Though I m ightn’t believe it, he was training them bloody well and couldn’t imagine whence his flamelike ardour had come, but come it had His m ilitary efficiency derived from the admirable pamphlets now being issued so dif­ ferent from the stuff we used to get two years before He said that when he read my letter he began to think *Damn Robert, damn everyone except my company, the smartest turn-out ever seen, and damn Wales, and damn leave, and damn being wounded, and damn everything except staying w ith my company until it has melted away1Lim ping and crawling among the shell-holes, lying very still m the afternoon sunshine m dignified desecrated atti­ tudes ’ He asked me to remember this mood when I saw him ( z f l saw him) worn out and smashed up again, querulous and nerveridden Or when I read something m the Casualty List and got a polite letter from M r Lousada, his solicitor There had never been such a battalion, he said, since 1916, but m six months it would have ceased to exist Nancy’s brother, Tony, had also gone to France now, and her mother made herself ill by worrying about him Early m July he should be due for leave I was on leave myself at the end of one of the four-months’ cadet courses, staying w ith the rest of Nancy’s fam ily at Maesyneuardd, a big Tudor house near Harlech This was the most haunted house that I have ever been m, though the ghosts, w ith one exception, were not visible, except occasionally m the mirrors They would open and shut doors, rap on the oak panels, knock the shades off lamps, and dnnk the wine from the glasses at our elbows when we were not looking The house be­ longed to an officer m the Second Battalion, whose ancestors had most of them died of dnnk The visible ghost was a little yellow dog that would appear on the lawn m the early morning to an­ nounce deaths Nancy saw it through the window that time The first Spanish influenza epidemic began, and Nancy’s mother caught it, but did not want to miss Tony’s leave and going to the London theatres w ith him So when the doctor came, she took quantities of aspirin, reduced her temperature and pretended to be all right But she knew that the ghosts m the mirrors knew the [245]

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tru th She died m London on July 15th, a few days later Her chief solace, as she lay dying, was that Tony had got his leave prolonged on her account I was alarmed at the effect that the shock of her death m ight have on Nancy’s baby Then I heard that Siegfried had been shot through the head that same day while making a daylight patrol through long grass m No Man’s Land, but not killed And he wrote me a verse-letter from a London hospital (which I cannot quote, though I should like to do so) beginning I ’d timed my death m action to the minute I t is the most terrible of his war-poems Tony was killed m September I went on mechanically at my cadet-battalion work The new candidates for commissions were mostly Manchester cotton clerks and Liverpool shipping clerks— men w ith a good fighting record, quiet and well behaved To for­ get about the war, I was w riting C o u n try Sentim ent, a book of romantic poems and ballads In November came the Armistice I heard at the same time of the deaths of Frank Jones-Bateman, who had gone back again just before the end, and W ilfred Owen, who often used to send me poems from France Armistice-night hysteria did not touch our camp much, though some of the Canadians stationed there went down to Rhyl to celebrate m true overseas style The news sent me out walking alone along the dyke above the marshes of Rhuddlan (an ancient battlefield, the Flodden of Wales), cursing and sob­ bing and thinking of the dead Siegfried’s famous poem celebrating the Armistice began Everybody suddenly burst out singing, And I was filled w ith such delight As prisoned birds must find m freedom But ‘ everybody’ did not include me

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26 N the middle of December the cadet battalions were wound up, and the officers, after a few days’ leave, sent back to their units I had orders to rejoin the Royal Welch Third Battalion, now at the Castle Barracks, Limerick, but decided to overstay my leave until the baby was born Nancy expected it early m January 1919, and her father took a house at Hove for the occasion Jenny, born on Tw elfth Night, was neither coal-black nor affected by the shocks of the previous months Nancy had no foreknowledge of the exper­ ience—I assumed that she must have been given some sort of warning—and it took her years to recover from it I went over to Limerick, and there lied my way out of the overstaying of leave Lim erick being a Sinn Fein stronghold, constant clashes occurred between the troops and the young men of the town, yet little lllfeeling, Welsh and Irish always got on well together, just as Welsh and Scottish were sure to disagree The Royal Welch had tne situa­ tion comfortably m hand, they made a joke of politics and turned their entrenchmg-tool handles into shillelaghs Limerick looked like a war-ravaged town The mam streets were pitted w ith holes like shell-craters and many of the bigger houses seemed on the point of collapse Old Reilly at the antique shop, who remembered my grandfather well, told me nobody built new houses at Lim er­ ick now, the birth-rate was declining and when one fell down the survivors moved into another He also said that everyone died of drink m Lim erick except the Plymouth Brethren, who died of religious melancholia Life did not start m the town before nine m the morning Once, at about that time, I walked down O’Connell Street, for­ merly King George Street, and found it deserted When the hour chimed, the door of a magnificent Georgian house flew open and out came, first a shower of slops, which just missed me, then a dog, which lifted up its leg against a lamp-post, then a nearly naked girl-child, who sat down m the gutter and rummaged m a heap of refuse for filth y pieces of bread, finally a donkey, which began [247]

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to bray I had pictured Ireland exactly so, and fe lt its charm as dangerous When detailed to search for concealed rifles at the head of a task force, m a neighbouring village, I asked Attwater, then still adjutant, to find a substitute, explaining that as an Irishman I did not care to be mixed up m Irish politics That January I played my last game of rugger as full-back for the battalion against Limerick City We were all crocks and our opponents seemed bent on showing what fine fighting material England had lost by w ith­ holding Home Rule How jovially they jumped on me, and rubbed my face m the m ud1 M y new loyalty to Nancy and Jenny tended to overshadow regi­ mental loyalty, now that the war seemed to be over Once I began w riting a rhymed nonsense letter to them in my quarters over­ looking the barrack square Is there any song sweet enough For Nancy or for Jenny? Said Simple Simon to the Pieman ‘ Indeed, I know not any 9 I have counted the miles to Babylon, I have flown the earth like a bird, I have ridden cock-horse to Banbury Cross, But no such song have I heard At that moment some companies of the battalion returned to bar­ racks from a route-march, the drums and fifes drew up under my window, making the panes rattle w ith The B ritis h G renadiers The insistent repetition of the tune and the hoarse words of com­ mand as the parade formed up m the square, company by com­ pany, challenged Banbury Cross and Babylon The B ritis h G rena­ diers succeeded for a moment m forcing their way into the poem Some speak of Alexander, And some of Hercules, and then were repulsed But where are there any like Nancy and Jenny, Where are there any like these ? Had I ceased to be a British Grenadier?

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I decided to resign my commission at once Consulting the pri­ ority list of trades for demobilization, I found that agricultural workers and students were among the first classes to go I did not particularly want to be a student again and would rather have been an agricultural worker—Nancy and I had spoken of farming when the war ended—but where was my agricultural background ? And I could take a two years’ course at Oxford w ith a Government grant of two hundred pounds a year, and be excused the inter­ mediate examination (Mods ) on account of war-service The pre­ lim inary examination I had already been excused because of a 4higher certificate examination’ passed at Charterhouse, so there remained only the finals The grant would be increased by a chil­ dren’s allowance I t seemed absurd at the time to suppose that university degrees would count for anything in a regenerated post-war England, but Oxford offered itself as a convenient place to mark time u n til I felt more like earning a livelihood We were all accustomed to the war-time view, that the sole qualification for peace-time employment would be a good record of service m the field, that we expected our scars and our commanding officers’ testimonials to get us whatever we wanted A few of my fellowofficers did manage, as a matter of fact, to take advantage of the employers’ patriotic spirit before it cooled again, sliding into jobs for which they were not properly qualified I wrote to a friend m the War Office Demobilization Depart­ ment, asking him to hurry through my release He wrote back that he would do his best, but that I must not have had charge of Government moneys for the past six months As it happened, I had not at the time, but Attwater suddenly decided to put me m command of a company He complained of being disastrously short of officers who could be trusted w ith company accounts The latest arrivals from the New Army battalions were a constant shame to the senior officers Paternity-orders, stumer cheques, and drunk­ enness on parade grew frequent, not to mention table manners at which Sergeant Malley stood aghast We now had two mess ante-rooms, the junior and the senior, yet if a junior officer hap­ pened to be regimentally a gentleman (belonged, that is, to the North Wales landed gentry, or came from Sandhurst) the colongji invited him to use the senior ante-room anjj*..ni... ι* i M f f own class The situation must have seemed very strange to the three R

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lme-battalion second-lieutenants captured at Mons m 1914, now promoted captains by the death of most of their contemporaries and set free by the terms of the Armistice Attwater cancelled the intended appointment only when I pro­ mised to help him w ith the battalion theatricals now being ar­ ranged for St David’s Day, I undertook to play Cmna m Ju liu s Caesar His change of mind saved me over two hundred pounds, because next day the senior lieutenant of the company which I was to have taken over went off w ith the cash-box, and I should have been legally responsible for its loss Before the war he used to give displays on Blackpool Pier as ‘ The Handcuff King ’ He got away safely to the United States I rode out a few miles from Lim erick to visit my uncle, Robert Cooper, at Cooper’s H ill He was a farmer, a retired naval com­ mander, and the Sinn Femers had begun burning his ricks and driving his cattle Through the window he showed me distant herds grazing beside the Shannon 4They have been there all win­ ter,’ he said despondently, ‘ but I haven’t had the heart to take a look at them these three months ’ I spent the night at Cooper’s H ill, and woke up w ith a sudden chill, which I recognized as the first symptoms of Spanish influenza Back at the barracks, I found that a W ar Office telegram had come through for my demobilization, but that all demobilization among troops m Ireland was to be stopped on the following day for an indefinite period because of the Troubles Attwater, show­ ing me the telegram, said ‘ We’re not going to let you go You promised to help me w ith those theatricals ’ I protested, ne stood firm , but I did not intend to have influenza at an Irish m ilitary hospital w ith my lungs m their present condition I decided to make a run for it The orderly-room sergeant had made out my papers on receipt of the telegram, all my k it lay ready packed There remained only two things to get the com­ manding officer’s signature to the statement that I had handled no company moneys, and the secret code-marks which the batt­ alion demobilization officer alone could supply—but he was handm-glove w ith Attwater, so I dared not ask him for them The last tram before demobilization ended would be the six-fifteen from LimericJrld*ef^^ February 13th M y one hope was to wait u n til Attwater le ft the orderly-room and then casually ask [*

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the commanding officer to sign the statement, without mention­ ing Attwater’s objection to my going Attwater remained m the orderly-room u n til five minutes past six As soon as he was out of sight I hurried m, saluted, got the necessary signature—fortu­ nately my old friend Macartney-Filgate was now m command, saluted again, and hurried away to collect my baggage I had counted on a jaunting-car at the barrack gates but found none About five minutes left, and the station a good distance away1A First Battalion corporal passed I shouted to him 4Corporal Sum­ mers, quick1Get a squad of men1I ’ve got m y ticket and must catch the last tram home 7 Summers promptly called four men, they picked up my stuff and doubled off w ith it, left, right, left, to the station I tumbled into the tram as it moved slowly out and threw a pound-note to Corporal Summers 4Goodbye, corporal, drink my health17 Yet still I had not got my code-marks, and knew that when I reached the demobilization centre at Wimbledon the officers there would refuse to let me go Not that I cared very much I should at least have my influenza m an English, and not an Insh, hospital M y temperature was running high, and my mind working clearly, as it always does m fever, w ith its visual imagery, which is cloudy and partial at ordinary times, defined and complete We reached Fishguard after a rough crossing I bought a copy of the South W ales Echo and read that a strike of London Electric Railwaymen would take place the next day, February 14th, unless the railway directors met the union’s demands So as the tram steamed into Paddington, I jumped out, fell down, picked my­ self up and ran across to the station entrance where, m spite of competition from porters— a feeble crew at this period—I seized the only taxi m sight as its occupant paid the fare I had fore­ seen the taxi-shortage and could afford to waste no tim e I brought my taxi back to the tram, where scores of stranded officers eyed me w ith envy One, a fellow-traveller m my compartment, had been met by his wife ‘ Excuse me,7 I said, 4but would you like to share my taxi anywhere? (I have influenza, I warn you ) I 7m going down to Wimbledon, so I shall be getting out at Waterloo, the steam-trams are still running 7That delighted them, because they lived at Ealmg and had no idea how to get home except by taxi

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On the way to Waterloo he said 41 wish there were some way of showing our gratitude—something we could do for you ’ ‘W ell, there’s only one thing m the world that I want at the moment But you can’t give it to me, I ’m afraid And that’s the set of secret code-marks to complete my demobilization papers I ’ve bolted from Ireland without them, and there’ll be hell to pay if the Wimbledon people send me back ’ He rapped on the glass of the taxi, told the driver to stop, got down his bag, opened it, and produced a satchel of army forms 4W ell,’ he said, 41 happen to be the Cork D istrict Demobilization officer, and here’s the whole bag of tricks ’ Then he filled m my papers At Wimbledon, instead of having to wait m a queue for the ex­ pected nine or ten hours, I got released at once, Ireland was offi­ cially a ‘ theatre of w ar’, and demobilization from theatres of war had priority over home-service demobilization After a hurried visit to my parents, now back in our own house half a m ile across the Common, I went on to Hove A rriving at supper-time, I warned Nicholson about my influenza, and hurried away to bed W ithin a day or two, the whole fam ily caught it, except Nichol­ son, Jenny and the housemaid, a Welsh gispy, who kept it off by a charm—the leg of a lizard tied m a bag round her neck A new epidemic, as bad as the summer one, had started, not a nurse could be found m all Brighton Nicholson at last rounded up two ex-nurses one competent, but frequently drunk, and w ith the habit, when drunk, of ransacking all the wardrobes m the house and piling the contents into her own bag The other sober, but incompetent, would stand a dozen times a day m front of the open window, arms outspread, and cry m a stage-voice 4Sea, sea, give my husband back to m e1’ The husband, by the way, was not drowned, merely unfaithful A doctor, found w ith equal difficulty, gave me no hope of re­ covery, it was septic pneumonia now, and had affected both my lungs But, having come through the war, I refused to die of in­ fluenza This made the th ird tim e m my life that I had been given up, and each time because of my lungs I should have mentioned m my first chapter the double-pneumonia following measles, which nearly did for me at the age of seven Maggie, the gipsyservant., wept whenever she dusted my room—I thought because

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of a tiff w ith her young man, but these were tears for me, my widow and my orphan g irl I focused attention on a poem, *The T roll’s Nosegay’, which was giving me trouble, I had taken it through th irty drafts and s till it would not come right The th irtyfifth draft passed scrutiny, I felt better, and Maggie smiled again Nancy’s attack was a light one, fortunately A few weeks later, I watched a m utiny of the Guards, when about a thousand men of all regiments marched out from Shoreham Camp and paraded through the Brighton streets, m protest against unnecessary restrictions The troops’ impatience of m ili­ tary discipline between the Armistice and the signing of peace de­ lighted Siegfried, he had taken a prominent part m the General Election which Lloyd George forced immediately after the Arm i­ stice, asking for a warrant to hang the Kaiser and make a stern peace Siegfried, supporting Philip Snowden’s candidature on a Pacifist platform, had faced a threatening civilian crowd, he trusted that his three wound-stripes and the mauve and white M ilita ry Cross ribbon (which he had not thrown away w ith the Cross itself) would give him a privileged hearing Snowden and Ramsay Mac­ Donald were now perhaps the two most unpopular men m Eng­ land, and whatever hopes we had nursed of a general anti-Governmental rising by ex-service men soon faded Once back m England, they were content w ith a roof over their heads, civilian food, beer that was at least better than French beer, and enough blankets at night Any overcrowding m their homes was as nothing compared to what they had grown accustomed to, a derelict French fourroomed cottage would provide billets for sixty men Having won the war, they were satisfied and le ft the rest to Lloyd George The only serious outbreak took place at Rhyl There a two days’ m utiny of young Canadians caused much destruction and several deaths The signal for the rising was a cry £Come on, the Bolshe­ viks1’ Nancy, Jenny and I went up to Harlech, where Nicholson lent us his house to live m We were there for a year I discarded my uniform, having worn nothing else for four and a half years, and looked into my trunk to see what civilian clothes I s till had The one suit, other than school uniform which I found, no longer fitted The Harlech villagers treated me w ith the greatest respect A t the Peace Day celebrations m the castle, I was asked, as the senior

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Man of Harlech who had served overseas, to make a speech about the glorious dead I spoke m commendation of the Welshman as a fighting man and earned loud cheers But not only did I have no experience of independent civilian life, having gone straight from school into the army I was s till mentally and nervously organized for war Shells used to come bursting on my bed at m idnight, even though Nancy shared it w ith me, strangers m daytime would as­ sume the faces of friends who had been killed When strong enough to climb the h ill behind Harlech and revisit my favourite country, I could not help seeing it as a prospective battlefield I would find myself working out tactical problems, planning how best to hold the Upper Artro valley against an attack from the sea, or where to place a Lewis-gun if I were trying to rush Dolwreiddiog Farm from the brow of the h ill, and what would be the best cover for my rifle-grenade section I s till had the army habit of commandeer­ ing anything of uncertain ownership that I found lying about, also a difficulty m telling the tru th —it was always easier for me now, when charged w ith any fault, to lie my way out m army style I applied the technique of taking over billets or trenches to a review of my present situation Food, water supply, possible dan­ gers, communication, sanitation, protection against the weather, fuel and light—I ticked off each item as satisfactory Other loose habits of wartime survived, such as stopping cars for a lift, talking without embarrassment to my fellow-travellers m railway carriages, and unbuttoning by the roadside without shame, whoever m ight be about Also, I retained the technique of en­ durance a brutal persistence m seeing things through, somehow, anyhow, without finesse, satisfied w ith the mam points of any situation But at least I modified my unrestrainedly foul language The greatest difficulty lay m facing the problem of money, which had not worried me since those first days at Wrexham, but at the moment my savings of some £150, my war-bonus of £250, the disability pension of £60 a year that I now drew, and occasional sums that came m from poems, seemed plenty Nancy and I en­ gaged a nurse and a general servant, and lived as though we had an income of a thousand a ye ar Nancy spent much of her time illustrating some poems of mine, I got my C o u n try Sentim ent m order, and wrote reviews Very thm, very nervous and w ith about four years’ loss of sleep l> 54 ]

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to make up, I was waiting u n til I got well enough to go to Oxford on the Government educational grant I knew that it would he years before I could face anything but a quiet country hfe My disabilities were many I could not use a telephone, I felt sick every time I travelled by train, and to see more than two new people m a single day prevented me from sleeping I felt ashamed of myself as a drag on Nancy, but had sworn on the very day of my demobilization never to be under anyone’s orders for the rest of my life Somehow I must live by w riting Siegfried had gone to live at Oxford as soon as demobilized, expecting me to join him However, after a couple of terms there, he accepted the literary editorship of the newly-published D a ily H e ra ld He sent me books to review for it In those days, the D a ily H e ra ld was not respectable, but violently anti-m ilitanst and the only daily newspaper that dared protest against the Ver­ sailles Treaty and the blockade of Russia by the British fleet The Treaty of Versailles shocked me, it seemed destined to cause an­ other war some day, yet nobody cared W hile the most critical decisions were being taken m Pans, public interest concentrated entirely on three home-news items Hawker’s Atlantic flight and rescue, the marriage of England’s reigning beauty, Lady Diana Manners, and a marvellous horse called The Panther—the Derby favourite, which came m nowhere The H e ra ld spoiled our breakfast every morning We read m it of unemployment all over the country due to the closing of munition factories, of ex-service men refused reinstatement m the jobs they had le ft when war broke out, of market-rigging, lock­ outs, and abortive strikes I began to hear news, too, of the penury to which my mother’s relatives m Germany had been reduced, particularly the retired officials whose pensions, by the collapse of the mark, now amounted to only a few shillings a week Nancy and I took all this to heart and called ourselves socialists M y family, who were livin g permanently m Harlech, having sold the house at Wimbledon, did not know quite how to treat me I had fought gallantly for my country—indeed, of six brothers, I alone had seen active service, and my shell-shocked state entitled me to every consideration, but my sympathy for the Russian re­ bellion against the corrupt Czarist Government outraged them I once more forfeited the good w ill of my Uncle Charles M y father [255]

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tried to talk me over, reminding me that my brother Philip, once a pro-Boer and a Fenian, had recovered from his youthful revolu­ tionary idealism and come out all rig h t m the end Most of my elder brothers and sisters were m the Near East, either British officials, or married to British officials M y father hoped that when I recovered I would go to Egypt, perhaps m the consular service, where the fam ily influence would help me, and there get over my ‘ revolutionary enthusiasm’ Socialism w ith Nancy was a means to a single end namely ju di­ cial equality between the sexes She ascribed all the wrong m the world to male domination and narrowness, and would not see my experiences m the war as anything comparable w ith the suffer­ ings that millions of working-class married women went through without complaint This, at least, had the effect of putting the war into the background for me, my love for Nancy made me respect her views But male stupidity and callousness became such an obsession w ith her that she began to include me m her universal condemnation of men Soon she could not bear a newspaper m the house, for fear of reading some paragraph that would horrify her — about the necessity of keeping up the population, or about women’s lim ited intelligence, or about the shameless, flat-chested modern g irl, or anything at all about women w ritten by clergy­ men We joined the newly formed Constructive B irth Control Society, and distributed its literature among the village women, to the scandal of my fam ily W hat made things worse was that neither of us went to Har­ lech church, and we refused to baptize Jenny M y father even wrote to Nancy’s godfather, who happened to be my publisher, asking him to persuade Nancy, for whose religion he had promised at the font to be responsible, into giving her child Christian bapt­ ism It scandalized them, too, that Nancy kept her own name for all purposes, refusing to be called ‘ Mrs Graves’ m any circum­ stances She explained that, as ‘Mrs Graves’, she had no personal validity Children, at that time, were the sole property of the father, the mother not being legally a parent

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27 N October, 1919, I went to Oxford at last, and Nicholson gave us the Harlech furniture to take along Oxford was overcrowded, the lodging-house keepers, some of whom nearly starved during the war, now had their rooms booked up terms ahead, and charged accordingly Keble College built a row of huts for its surplus stud­ ents Not an unfurnished house could be rented anywhere w ith­ in the three-mile radius I solved the difficulty by pleading ill-health and getting permission from St John’s College to live five miles out, on Boar’s H ill—where John Masefield, who thought well of my poetry, had offered to rent us a cottage at the bottom of his garden We found the University remarkably quiet The returned sold­ iers did not feel tempted to rag about, break windows, get drunk, or have tussles w ith the police and races w ith the Proctors’ ‘ bull­ dogs ’, as m the old days The boys straight from the public schools kept quiet too, having had war preached at them continually for four years, w ith orders to carry on loyally at home while their brothers served m the trenches, and make themselves worthy of such sacrifices Since the boys went off to cadet-battalions at the age of seventeen, the masters kept firm control of the schools, trouble there nearly always came from the eighteen-year olds G N Clarke, a history don at Oriel, who had got his degree at Oxford just before the war and meanwhile been an infantryman m France and a prisoner m Germany, told me ‘ I can’t make out my pupils at all They are all “ Y es, sir ’ ’ and ‘ ‘ No, sir ’ ’ They seem positively to thirst for knowledge and scribble away m their note­ books like lunatics I can’t remember a single instance of such stern endeavour m pre-war days ’ The ex-service men, who included scores of captains, majors, colonels, and even a one-armed twenty-five-year-old brigadier, in­ sisted on their rights At St John’s, they formed a ‘ College Soviet ’, successfully demanded an entire revision of the scandalous cater­ ing system, and chose an undergraduate representative to sit on

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the kitchen-committee The elder dons, whom I had often seen during the war trem bling m fear of an invasion, w ith the sacking and firing of the Oxford colleges and the rape of their families m the Woodstock and Banbury Roads, and who then regarded all soldiers, myself included, as their noble saviours, now recovered their pre-war self-possession and haughtiness The change m their manner amused me M y moral tutor, however, though he no longer saluted me when we met, remained a friend, he persuaded the College to let me change my course from Classics to English Language and Literature, and take up my £60 Classical Exhibi­ tion notwithstanding I felt glad now that it was only an exhibi­ tion, not a scholarship, though m 1915 this had disappointed me College regulations permitted exhibitioners to be married, scholars must remain single I found the English Literature course tedious, especially the insistence on eighteenth-century poets M y tutor, Percy Simpson, the editor of Ben Jonson’s plays, sympathized, telling me that he had suffered once, as a boy, for preferring the Romantic Revival­ ists When his schoolmaster beat him for reading Shelley, he had protested between the blows 4Shelley is beautiful1Shelley is beau­ tifu l1’ Yet he warned me not on any account to disparage the eighteenth century when I sat for my finals I also found it diffi­ cult to concentrate on cases, genders and irregular verbs m AngloSaxon grammar The Anglo-Saxon lecturer was candid about his subject it was, he said, a language of purely linguistic interest, and hardly a line of Anglo-Saxon poetry extant possessed the slightest literary ment I disagreed I thought of Beowulf lying wrapped m a blanket among his platoon of drunken thanes m the Gothland billet, Judith going for a prom enade to Holofernes’s stafftent, and B ru na nb urgh w ith its bayonet-and-cosh fighting—all this came far closer to most of us than the drawing-room and deerpark atmosphere of the eighteenth century Edmund Blunden, who also had leave to live on Boar’s H ill because of gassed lungs, was taking the same course The war still continued for both of us, and we translated everything into trench-warfare terms In the middle of a lecture I would have a sudden very clear experience of men on the march up the Béthune-La Bassée road, the men would be singing, while French children ran along beside us, call­ ing out ‘ Tommee, Tommee, give me bullee beeff ’ and I would [25 8 ]

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smell the stench of the knacker’s yard just outside the town Or it would be m Laventie High Street, passing a company billet, an N C 0 would roar 4Party, ’shun1’ and the Second Battalion men m shorts, w ith brown knees, and brown, expressionless faces, would spring to their feet from the broken steps where they were sitting Or I would be m a barn w ith my first platoon of the Welsh Regiment, watching them play nap by the light of dirty candle stumps Or m a deep dug-out at Cambrm, talking to a signaller, I would look up the shaft and see somebody’s muddy legs coming down the steps, then there would be a sudden crash and the to­ bacco smoke m the dug-out would shake w ith the concussion and tw ist about m patterns like the marbling on books These day­ dreams persisted like an alternate life and did not leave me until well m 1928 The scenes were nearly always recollections of my first four months m France, the emotion-recording apparatus seemed to have failed after Loos The eighteenth century owed its unpopularity largely to its Frenchness Anti-French feeling among most ex-soldiers amounted almost to an obsession Edmund, shaking w ith nerves, used to say at this time *No more wars for me at any price1Except against the French I f there’s ever a war w ith them, I ’ll go like a shot ’ Pro-German feeling had been increasing W ith the war over and the German armies beaten, we could give the German soldier credit for being the most efficient fightmg-man m Europe I often heard it said that only the blockade had beaten the Fritzes, that m Haig’s last push they never really broke, and that their machinegun sections held us up long enough to cover the withdrawal of the mam forces Some undergraduates even insisted that we had been fighting on the wrong side our natural enemies were the French A t the end of my first term ’s work, I attended the usual college board to give an account of myself The spokesman coughed, and said a little stiffly CI understand, M r Graves, that the essays which you w rite for your English tutor are, shall I say, a trifle temperamental It appears, indeed, that you prefer some authors to others ’ A number of poets were livin g on Boar’s H ill, too many, Ed­ mund and I agreed I t was now almost a tourist centre, dominated by Robert Bridges, the Poet Laureate, w ith his bright eye, abrupt [259]

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challenging manner, and a flower m his buttonhole— one of the first men of letters to sign the Oxford recantation of war-time hatred against the Germans D r Gilbert M urray lived there, too, gentle-voiced and w ith the spiritual look of the strict vegetarian, doing prelim inary propaganda work for the League of Nations Once, as I sat ta ilin g to him m his study about Aristotle’s Poetics , while he walked up and down, I suddenly asked ‘ Exactly what is the principle of that walk of yours ? Are you trying to avoid the flowers on the rug, or are you trying to keep to the squares ?’ My own compulsion-neuroses made it easy for me to notice them m others He wheeled around sharply ‘ You’re the first person who has caught me out,’ he said *No, it ’s not the flowers or the squares, it ’s a habit that I have got into of doing things m sevens I take seven steps, you see, then I change direction and go another seven steps, then I turn around I consulted Browne, the Professor of Psychology, about it the other day, but he assured me it isn’t a dangerous habit He said “ When you find yourself getting into multiples of seven, come to me again ” ’ I saw most of John Masefield, a nervous, generous, correct man, very sensitive to criticism, who seemed to have suffered greatly m the war, as an orderly m a Red Cross unit, he was now working on R e yn a rd the F o x He wrote m a hut m his garden, surrounded by ta ll gorse-bushes, and only appeared at meal-times In the even­ ing he used to read his day’s work over to Mrs Masefield, and they corrected it together Masefield being at the height of his reputa­ tion at the time, a constant stream of American visitors washed against his door Mrs Masefield protected ‘ Jan ’ She came from the North of Ireland, and put a necessary brake on Jan’s generosity and sociability We admired her careful housekeeping, and the way she stood up for her rights where less resolute people would have shrunk As an example some neighbours of ours had a part­ icularly stupid Airedale, they were taking it for a walk when a w ild rabbit ran across the road from the Masefield’s gorse planta­ tion The Airedale dashed at the rabbit, and missed as usual The rabbit, not giving it sufficient credit for stupidity and slowness, doubled back, but found the dog not yet recovered from its mistake and ran right into its open jaws The dog’s owners, delighted at the b rilliant performance of their pet, retrieved the rabbit, which was a small and inexperienced one, and took it home for the pot [260]

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Mrs Masefield had been watching through the plantation fence This not being, strictly, a public road, the rabbit was legally hers That evening they heard a knock at the door *Come m, oh, do come m, Mrs Masefield1’ She had called to demand the skin of her rabbit Mrs Masefield’s one extravagance was bridge, she used to play at a halfpenny a hundred, to steady her play But she was a considerate landlord to us, and advised Nancy to keep up w ith me intellectually, if she wished to hold my affections Another poet on Boar’s H ill was Robert Nichols, one more neu­ rasthenic ex-soldier, w ith his flame-opal ring, his wide-brimmed hat, his flapping arms and a ‘ mournful grandeur m repose ’ (the phrase comes from a review by Sir Edmund Gosse) Nichols served only three weeks m France, w ith the gunners, and got involved m no show, but, being highly strung, he got invalided out of the army and went to lecture on British war-poets m America for the M inistry of Inform ation He read Siegfried’s poetry and mine, and started a legend of Siegfried, himself and me as the new Three Musketeers, though the three of us had never once been together m the same room That winter, George and Ruth Mallory invited Nancy and my­ self to go climbing w ith them But Nancy could not stand heights and was having another baby, and I realized that my climbing days were over I could never again now deliberately take chances w ith my life In March, the baby arrived and we called him David M y mother was overjoyed to have secured the first Graves grand­ son M y elder brothers had only girls, here, at last was an heir for the fam ily silvei and documents At Jenny’s birth she had con­ doled w ith Nancy ‘Perhaps it is as well to have a g irl first, to practise on ’ Nancy was determined to have four children, they were to resemble the children m her drawings, and be girl, boy, g irl, boy, m that order She intended to get it all over w ith quickly, she believed m young parents w ith families of three or four chil­ dren fairly close together m age She had her way exactly, but began to regret her marriage, as a breach of faith w ith herself—a concession to patriarchy She wanted somehow to be dis-mamed —not by divorce, which was as bad as marriage—so that she and I could live together without any legal or religious obligation to do so [261]

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I now met Dick again, for the last time, and found him dis­ agreeably pleasant He was up at Oxford, about to enter the diplomatic service, and so greatly changed that it seemed absurd to have ever suffered on his account Yet the caricature likeness to the boy I had loved persisted

28 HE first time I met Colonel T E Lawrence, he happened to be wearing fu ll evening dress That must have been m Feb­ ruary or March, 1920, and the occasion was a guest-night at A ll Souls’, where he had been awarded a seven-years’ Fellowship The form ality of evening dress concentrates attention on eyes, and Lawrence’s eyes immediately held me They were startlingly blue, even by artificial light, and never met the eyes of the person he addressed, but flickered up and down as though making an inven­ tory of clothes and limbs I was only an accidental guest and knew few people there Lawrence, talking to the Regius Professor of D ivin ity about the influence of the Syrian Greek philosophers on early Christianity, and especially of the importance of the Univ­ ersity of Gadara close to the Lake of Galilee, mentioned that St James had quoted one of the Gadarene philosophers (I think, Mnasalcus) m his E pistle He went on to speak of Meleager, and the other Synan-Greek contributors to the Greek Anthology, whose poems he intended to publish m English translation I joined m the conversation and mentioned amorning-star image which Mel­ eager once used m rather an un-Greek way Lawrence turned to me *You must be Graves the poet ?I read a book of yours m Egypt m 1917, and thought it pretty good ’ This was embarrassing, but kind He soon began asking me about the younger poets he was out of touch w ith contemporary work, he said I told him what I knew Lawrence had not long finished w ith the Peace Conference, where he acted as adviser to the Em ir Feisal, and was now tinker­ ing at the second draft of The Seven P illa rs o f W isdom , his Fellow­ ship having been granted him on condition that he wrote the book as a formal history of the Arab Revolt I used to visit his rooms m the mornings between lectures, but not before eleven o’clock or half-past, because he worked by night, going to bed at dawn Though he never drank himself, he would always send his scout to fetch me a silver goblet of audit ale Audit [263]

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ale, brewed m the College, was as soft as barley-water but of great strength Prince Albert of Schleswig-Holstein had once come down to Oxford to open a new museum, he lunched at A ll Souls’ before the ceremony, the mildness of the audit ale deceived him, and later that afternoon they took him back to the station m a cab w ith the blinds drawn I knew nothing definite of Lawrence’s wartime activities, though my brother Philip had been w ith him m the Intelligence Department at Cairo m 1915, making out the Turkish Order of Battle I did not question him about the Revolt, partly because he seemed to dislike the subject—Lowell Thomas was now lecturing m the United States on 4Lawrence of Arabia ’— and partly because of a convention between him and me that the war should not be mentioned we were both suffering from its effects and enjoying Oxford as a too-good-to-be-true relaxation Thus, though the long, closely-written foolscap sheets of The Seven P illa rs were always stacked m a neat pile on his living-room table, I restrained my curiosity He occasionally spoke of his archaeological work m Meso­ potamia before the war, but poetry, especially modern poetry, was what we discussed most He wanted to meet what poets there were, and through me came to know, among others, Siegfried Sassoon, Edmund Blunden, Masefield and, later, Thomas Hardy He frankly envied poets He felt that they had some sort of secret which he m ight be able to grasp and profit from He made Charles Doughty his chief hero and got an introduction to him through Hogarth, Curator of the Ashmolean Museum, whom he regarded as a second father Law­ rence envisaged the poets’ secret as a technical mastery of words rather than as a particular mode of livin g and thinking I had not yet learned enough to be able to dispute this, and when I did begin to learn, some years later, found Lawrence difficult to convince To him, painting, sculpture, music and poetry were parallel activ­ ities, differing only m the medium used Lawrence told me ‘ When I asked Doughty why he had made that Arabian journey, his answer was that he had gone there “ to redeem the English language from the slough into which it has fallen since the tim e of Spenser” ’ These words of Doughty’s seem to have made a great impression on Lawrence, and largely account, I think, for his furious keymg-up of style m The Seven P illa rs [264]

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Vachel Lindsay, the American poet, an extremely simple man «—Middle-Western clay w ith a golden streak—came to Oxford, and I persuaded Sir W alter Raleigh, the Professor of English Literature, to let him have a lecture hall for a poetry-reading Everyone enjoyed the performance, which was an exercise m elo­ cution and mime, not a reading Afterwards, Lawrence invited Lindsay and his old mother and myself to lunch m his rooms Lawrence’s scout, scandalized to hear that Lindsay belonged to the Illinois Anti-Saloon League, asked permission to lay on his place a copy of verses composed m 1661 by a fellow of the College One stanza ran The poet divine that cannot reach wme, Because that his money doth many times fade, W ill h it on the vein to make a good strain, I f he be but inspired w ith a pot of good ale Mrs Lindsay had been warned by friends to comment on nothing unusual that she met at Oxford, and when Lawrence brought out the College gold service m her honour, she took this to be the ordinary thing at a University luncheon party—apologized for it as being of no great antiquity but the College had been patriotic during the Civil W ar and melted down all its plate to help pay King Charles’s expenses while he made Oxford his headquarters Lawrence’s rooms were dark and oak-panelled, w ith a large table and a desk as the principal furniture There were also two heavy leather chairs, simply acquired An American oil-financier had come m suddenly one day when I was there and said 41 am here from the States, Colonel Lawrence, to ask a single question You are the only man who w ill answer it honestly Do MiddleEastern conditions justify my putting any money m South Arabian 01P’ Lawrence, without rising, quietly answered 4No ’ ‘ That’s all I wanted to know, it was worth coming for Thank you, and good day1’ In his brief glance about the room he missed something and, on his way home through London, chose the chairs and had them sent to Lawrence w ith his card Other things m the room were pictures, including Augustus John’s portrait of the Em ir Feisal, which Lawrence, I believe, s [265 ]

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bought from John w ith the diamond he had worn as a mark of honour m his Arab headdress, his books, including a Kelmscott C haucer, three prayer-rugs, the g ift of Arab leaders, one of them w ith a lapis-lazuli sheen on the nap, the Tell Shawm station bell from the Hedjas Railway, and on the mantelpiece a four-thousandyear-old toy— a clay soldier on horseback from a child’s grave at Carchemish, where Lawrence had dug before the war I was working on a new book of poems, which reflected my haunted condition, it appeared later under the title of The P ie rglass Lawrence made a number of suggestions for improving these poems, most of which I adopted He behaved very much like an undergraduate at times One day I happened to visit the top of the Radcliffe Camera and look down on the roofs of neighbouring col­ leges From a pinnacle of A ll Souls’ fluttered a small crimson Hedjaz flag Lawrence had been a famous roof-climber when up at Jesus College twelve years before this He told me of two or three schemes for brightening A ll Souls’ and Oxford generally One was for improving the rotten tu rf m the Quadrangle, he had suggested at a College meeting that it should be manured or replaced, no action was taken He now proposed to plant mushrooms on it, so that they would be forced to re tu rf the whole extent, and con­ sulted a mushroom expert m town But the technical difficulties of mushroom culture proved to be great, and Lawrence went away to help Winston Churchill w ith the Middle-Eastern settlement of 1922 before they could be overcome Another scheme, for which he enlisted my help, was to steal the Magdalen College deer We would drive them one early morning into the small inner quadrangle of A ll Souls’, having persuaded the College to answer the Magdalen protests w ith a declaration that it was the A ll Souls’ herd, pastured there from tim e imme­ morial Great things were expected of this raid, but we needed Lawrence as the stage-manager, so it fe ll through when he le ft us However, he engineered a successful strike by the College servants for better pay and hours, and such a thing had never happened before since the foundation of the University Lawrence also pro­ posed to present the College w ith a peacock which, once accepted, would be found to bear the name *Nathaniel ’— after Lord Curzon, an enemy of Lawrence’s, and Vice-Chancellor of the University One morning I went to his rooms, and he introduced me to a visi[266]

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tor there ‘ Ezra Pound Robert Graves—you w ill dislike each other/ he said ‘ What's wrong w ith him ?’ I asked afterwards, having felt very uncomfortable m Pound's presence ‘ They te ll me that he's Longfellow's grand-nephew, and when a man's a modernist that takes some living down ' At the same tim e Lawrence was getting to know the leading painters and sculptors, and trying to grasp their secret, too He used to sit as a model, to see what they made of him, and compare the results Recently, I saw Sir W illiam Orpen's version—a curious, almost libellous magnification of a seldom-seen element m Law­ rence’s character— a sort of street-urchin furtiveness I t counter­ balances Augustus John's too sentimentally heroic portrait Professor Edgeworth, of A ll Souls’, avoided conversational Eng­ lish, persistently using words and phrases that one expects to meet only m books One evening, Lawrence returned from a visit to London, and Edgeworth met him at the gate ‘ Was it very caligmous m the Metropolis ?’ ‘ Somewhat caligmous, but not altogether inspissated,' Law­ rence replied gravely I remember having tea w ith him at Fuller’s Tea Shop, and the scandal he caused by clapping his hands for the waitress m ori­ ental fashion And one afternoon he rang the station bell out of his window into the Quadrangle ‘ Good God,' I said, ‘you’ll wake the whole College1’ ‘ I t needs waking up ' We planned to collaborate m a burlesque on contemporary writers, m the style of a Government Blue-book I said ‘ First we must get a Blue-book and study it ’ He agreed to buy one next time he went to London When he asked at the Stationery Office for a Blue-book, the clerk asked ‘Which Blue-book ? We have hundreds 9 ‘ Whichever you like ' Mistaking his indifference for guilty embarrassment, the clerk handed him the report of a Royal Commission on Yenereal Disease I teased him once for standing on the fender over the fire, I pre­ tended that he did it to make himself look taller He denied this hotly, insisting that the onus of proving oneself of any use m the [267]

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world lay w ith ta ll people like myself This encouraged me to a ragging pretence of physical violence, but I immediately stopped when I caught the look m his face I had surprised his morbid horror of being touched I took no part m undergraduate life, seldom visiting St John’s except to draw my Government grant and Exhibition money, and refused to pay the College games’ subscription, as being unfit for games myself and having no leisure to watch them Most of my friends were at Balliol and Queen’s, and Wadham had a prior claim on my loyalty A t this time I had little to do w ith the children, they were m the hands of Nancy and the nurse Nancy felt that she needed some activity besides drawing, but could not decide what One evening, m the middle of the long vacation, she suddenly said 4I must get away out of all this at once Boar’s H ill stifles me Let’s go off on bicycles somewhere ’ We packed a few things and rode off m the general direction of Devon The nights were coldish and, not having brought any blankets, we bicycled by night and slept by day We rode across Salisbury Plain m the moonlight, passing Stonehenge, and several deserted army camps which had an even more ghostly look They could provide accommodation for a m illion men the number of men killed m the British and Overseas Forces during the war Finding ourselves near Dorchester, we turned aside to visit Thomas Hardy, whom we had met not long before when he came to get his honorary doctor’s degree at Oxford Hardy was active and gay, w ith none of the aphasia and wandering of attention that we had noticed m him there I have kept a record of our talk w ith him He welcomed us as representatives of the post-war generation, claiming to live such a quiet life at Dorchester that he feared he was altogether behind the times He wanted, for instance, to know whether we had any sympathy w ith the Bolshevik régime, and whether he could trust the M o rn in g P ost's account of the Red Terror Then he asked about N ancy’shair, which she wore short, m advance of the fashion, and why she kept her own name His comment on the name ques­ tion was 4W hy, you are old-fashioned11 knew an old couple here sixty years ago who did the same The woman was called Nanny Priddle (descendant of an ancient fam ily, the Paradelles, long [268]

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decayed into peasantry), and she would never change her name either ’ Then he wanted to know why I no longer used my army rank I explained that I had resigned my commission 4But you have a right to it, I should certainly keep my rank if I had one, and feel very proud to be called Captain Hardy ’ He told us that he was now engaged m restoring a Norman font m a church near by—only the bowl, but he enjoyed doing a bit of his old work again Nancy mentioned that our children were not baptized Interested, but not scandalized, he remarked that his mother had always said that, at any rate, there could be no harm m baptism, and that she would not like her children to blame her m after-life for leaving any duty to them undone 41 have usually found that what my mother said was right ’ He told us that, to his mind, the new generation of clergymen were very much better than the last Though he now went to church only three times a year—one visit to each of the three neighbouring churches—he could not forget that m his boyhood the church had been the centre of all musical, literary and artistic education m a village He talked about the string-orchestras at Wessex churches, m one of which his father, grandfather, and he himself had taken part, and re­ gretted their disappearance He mentioned that the clergyman who appears as M r St Clair m Tess o f the D ' U rb e rville s had pro­ tested to the War Office about the Sunday brass-band performances at the Dorchester Barracks, and been the cause of headquarters’ no longer being sent to this once very popular station We took tea m the drawing-room which, like the rest of the house, was cluttered w ith furniture and ornaments Hardy had an affection for accumulated possessions, and Mrs Hardy loved him too well to suggest that anything at all should be removed W ith a cup of tea m his hand, he made jokes about bishops at the Athenaeum Club and imitated their épiscopal tones when they ordered 4China tea and a little bread and butter ’ 4Yes, my lord19 Apparently, he considered bishops fair game, but soon began cens­ uring Sir Edmund Gosse, who had recently stayed w ith them, for a breach of good taste m im itating his old friend Henry James’s way of drinking soup Loyalty to his friends was always a passion w ith Hardy After tea we went into the garden, where he asked to see some of my new poems I fetched him one, and he wondered whether [269]

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he m ight offer a suggestion the phrase4the scent of thyme ’, which occurred m it was, he said, one of the clichés which poets of his generation had studied to avoid Could I perhaps alter it ? When I replied that his contemporaries had avoided it so well that I could now use it without offence, he withdrew the objection 4Do you write easily ?’ he inquired 4This poem is m its sixth draft and w ill probably be finished m two more ’ 4W hy1* he said, 41 have never m my life taken more than three, or perhaps four, drafts for a poem I am afraid of it losing its freshness * He said that he could once sit down and wnte novels by a tim e­ table, but that poetry always came to him by accident, which per­ haps was why he prized it more highly He spoke disparagingly of his novels, though adm itting that he had enjoyed w ritin g certain chapters As we walked around the garden, Hardy paused at a spot near the greenhouse He had once been pruning a tree here when an idea for a story suddenly entered his head The best story he had ever conceived, and it came com­ plete w ith characters, setting, and even some of the dialogue But not having pencil or paper w ith him, and wanting to finish his pruning before the weather broke, he took no notes By the time he sat down at his table to recall the story, all was utterly gone 4Always carry a pencil and paper,’ he said, adding 4Of course, even if I remembered that story now, I couldn’t w rite it I ’m past novel-writing But I often wonder what it can have been ’ That night at dinner he grew enthusiastic m praise of cyder, which he had drunk since a boy, as the finest medicine he knew I suggested that m his Message to the A m e rica n People , which he had just been asked to w rite, he m ight take the opportunity to recommend cyder Hardy complained of autograph-hunters and their persistence He did not like leaving letters unanswered, and if he did so, these people pestered him the more He was upset that morning by a letter from an autograph-fiend, which began Dear M r Hardy, I am interested to know why the devil you don’t reply to my request [270]

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He asked me for advice, and jumped at the suggestion that a mythical secretary should reply offering his autograph at one or two guineas, the amount to be sent to a hospital— 4Swanage Chil­ dren’s Hospital’, he put m—which would forward a receipt He regarded professional critics as parasites, no less noxious than autograph-hunters, wished the world rid of them, and also regretted having listened to them as a young man, on their advice he had cut out from his early poems dialect-words which possessed no ordinary English equivalents And still the critics were plaguing him One of them complained of a line 4his shape smalled m the distance ’ Now, what m the world else could he have w ritten ? Hardy then laughed a little Once or twice recently he had looked up a word m the dictionary for fear of being again accused of com­ ing, and found it there right enough—only to read on and dis­ cover that the sole authority quoted was himself m a half-forgotten novel1 He talked of early literary influences, saying that these were negligible because he did not come of literary stock But he admitted that a fellow-apprentice m the architect’s office where he worked as a young man, used to lend him books (His taste m literature was certainly most unexpected Once, a few years later, when Lawrence ventured to say something disparaging about Homer’s Ilia d , he protested 4Oh, but I admire it greatly Why, it ’s m the M a rm io n class*’ Lawrence at first thought that Hardy was having a little joke ) We le ft the next day, after another of Hardy’s attacks on the critics at breakfast He complained that they accused him of pes­ simism One critic singled out as an example of gloom his poem on the woman whose house burned down on her wedding night 4Of course it ’s a humorous piece,’ said Hardy, 4and the man must have been thick-witted not to see that On reading his criticism, I went through my last collection of poems w ith a pencil, marking them S, N and C according as they were sad, neutral or cheerful I found them m pretty well equal proportions, which nobody could call pessimism ’ In his opinion, vers lib re could come to nothing m England 4A ll we can do is to write on the old themes m the old styles, but try to do a little better than those who went before us ’ Of his own poems he told me that, once w ritten, he cared very little what happened to them 0 7 *]

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He described his war-work, rejoicing to have been chairman of the Anti-Profiteering Committee, and to have succeeded m bring­ ing a number of rascally Dorchester tradesmen to book 4It made me unpopular, of course/ he adm itted,4but it was a hundred times better than sitting on a M ilita ry Tribunal and sending young men to the war who did not want to go ’ We never saw Hardy again, though he gave us a standing in v it­ ation to stay w ith him From Dorchester we bicycled to Tiverton m Devonshire, where Nancy’s old nurse kept a fancy-goods shop Nancy helped her dress the shop-window, and advised her about fram ing the prints which she was selling She also gave the shop a good turn-out, dusted the stock, and took her turn behind the counter As a result of Nancy’s work, the week’s receipts went up several shillings and continued at the improved figure for a week or two after we were gone This gave Nancy the idea of starting a shop herself on Boar’s H ill, a large residential district w ith no shop nearer than three miles away We could buy a second-hand army hut, stock it w ith confectionery, groceries, tobacco, hardware, medicines, and all the other things that one finds m a village shop, run it tid ily and eco­ nomically, and make our fortune I promised to help her while the vacation lasted But army huts could not be bought at any reasonable price (the timber-merchants were m a ring), so a local carpenter b u ilt a shop to Nancy’s design A neighbour rented us a corner of his field close to the road The work got finished m good time, and we bought the stock The D a ily M ir r o r advertised the opening on its front page w ith the heading 4SHOP-KEEPING ON PARNASSUS ’, and crowds came up from Oxford to look at us We soon began to realize that it must either be a large general shop which made Boar’s H ill more or less independent of Oxford (and of the unsatis­ factory system of vans calling at the door and bringing inferior foods w ith 4take it or leave i t ’), or a small sweet and tobacco shop that offered no challenge to the Oxford tradesmen We decided on the challenge The building had to be enlarged, and two or three hundred pounds’ worth of stock purchased I used to serve m the shop several hours of the day, while Nancy went round to the big houses for the daily orders Term had now begun, and I should have been attending lectures m Oxford Another caricature scene [272]

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myself, wearing a green-baize apron this time, w ith flushed face and disordered hair, selling a packet of Bird’s Eye tobacco to the Poet Laureate w ith one hand, and w ith the other weighing out half a pound of brown sugar for Sir A rthur Evans’s gardener’s wife Finally, the shop business ousted everything, not only Nancy’s painting but my University work, and Nancy’s proper supervision of the house and children We engaged a boy to call for orders, and soon had the custom of every resident on Boar’s H ill, except two or three Even Mrs Masefield used to visit us once a week She always bought the same tin of sink-powder and packet of soapflakes, paying money down from a cash-box which she carried w ith her The moral problems of trade interested me Nancy and I both found it very difficult at this time of fluctuating prices to be really honest, we could not resist the temptation of under­ charging the poor villagers of Wootton, who were frequent cus­ tomers, and recovering our money from the richer residents Play­ ing at Robin Hood came easily to me Nobody ever detected the fraud, it was as easy as shelling peas, the boy said, who also took his turn behind the counter We found that most people bought tea by price and not by quality I f we happened to be out of the tea, selling at mnepence a quarter, which Mrs So-and-so always bought, refusing the eightpenny tea, and if Mrs So-and-so asked for it m a hurry, we used to make up a pound of the sevenpenny, which was the same colour as the nmepenny, and charge it at mnepence The difference would not be noticed We felt sorry for commercial travellers who sweated up the h ill w ith their heavy bags of samples, usually on foot, and had to be sent away without any orders They would pitch a hard-luck tale, and often we relented and got m more stock than we needed In gratitude they would te ll us some of the tricks of the trade, advis­ ing us, for instance, never to cut cheese or bacon exactly to weight, but to make it an ounce or two more and overcharge for this extra piece 4There’s few can do the sum before you take the stuff ofF the scales, and there’s fewer still who take the trouble to weigh up again when they get back home ’ The shop lasted six months Prices began falling at the rate of about five per cent every week, the stock on our shelves had depre­ ciated greatly m value, we had let several of the Wootton villagers [273]

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run up tad debts Then I went down w ith influenza, at the same tim e as Nancy quarrelled w ith the nurse and had to take the house and children herself When we came to reckon things up, we decided to cut our losses, hoping to recoup the original expendi­ ture, and even to be m pocket on the whole transaction, by selling the shop and goodwill to a large firm of Oxford grocers who wished to buy it as a branch establishment Unfortunately, however, the site was not ours, and Mrs Masefield prevailed on the landlord not to let any ordinary business firm take over the shop from us, and thus spoil local amenities No other site being available, we had to sell off what stock remained at bankruptcy prices to the whole­ salers, and find a buyer for the building Unfortunately again, the building was not made m bolted sections to be re-erected else­ where, it could be sold only as timber, and during these six months the corner m tim ber had also been broken and prices fallen steeply We recovered twenty pounds of the two hundred that had been spent on it, but were some five hundred pounds m debt to the wholesalers and others A lawyei took everything m hand for us, and disposed of our assets, finally reducing the debt to some three hundred pounds Nicholson sent Nancy a hundred-pound note (m a match-box) as his contribution, and Lawrence unexpectedly con­ tributed the remainder He gave me four chapters of The Seven P illa rs o f W isdom , to sell for serial publication m the United States As a point of honour, Lawrence refused to make any money out of the Revolt, even m the most indirect way, but if it could help a poet m difficulties, he saw no harm m that We gave the Masefields notice that the cottage would be free by the end of the June quarter 1921, but did not have any idea where to go, or what to do next I t seemed clear that we must get another cottage somewhere, live quietly, look after the children ourselves, and try to make what money we needed by w riting and drawing Nancy, who had taken charge of everything while I was ill, now set me the task of getting the cottage I t must be found m three weeks’ tim e I protested ‘ But you know there isn’t a single cottage for rent anywhere ’ 4Yes, but we simply have to get one ’ ‘A ll right, then, describe it m detail Since there are no cottages, we might as well get a no-cottage that we really like ’ [2 7 4 ]

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4W ell, it must have six rooms, water indoors, a beamed attic, a walled-m garden, and it must be near the river It must be m a village w ith shops, and yet a little removed from the village The village must lie five or six miles from Oxford m the opposite direction from Boar’s H ill The church must have a tower and not a spire—I ’ve always hated spires And we can afford only ten shillings a week unfurnished ’ I took down other details about soil, sanitation, windows, stairs and kitchen sinks, laid a ruler across the Oxford ordnance map, and found five riverside villages which corresponded m general direction and distance w ith Nancy’s stipulation Of these five v il­ lages, two proved on inquiry to possess shops, and, of these two, one had a towered church and the other a spired church I went to a firm of house-agents m Oxford and asked ‘ Have you any cottages to let unfurnished ?’ The clerk laughed politely ‘ What I want is a cottage ]ust out­ side the village of Islip, w ith a walled garden, six rooms, water m the house, a beamed attic, and at a rent of ten shillings a week ’ ‘ Oh, you mean the W orld’s End cottage? But that’s for sale, not for rent However, it ’s failed to find a buyer for two years, so perhaps the owner w ill let it go now at five hundred pounds, which is only half of what he originally asked ’ The next day Nancy came to Islip w ith me She looked around and said ‘ Yes, this is the cottage all right, but I shall have to cut down the cypress trees, and change those window-panes We’ll move m on quarter-day ’ ‘ But the money1We haven’t the money ’ Nancy answered ‘ I f we could find the exact house, surely we can find a mere lump sum of money ?’ She was rig h t M y mother very kindly bought the cottage for five hundred pounds and let it to us at ten shillings a week

[2 7 5 ]

29 Y mother, m letting us the Ishp house, put a clause m the agreement that it must be used as a residence only, and not for the carrying on of any trade or business She wanted to guard herself against any further commercial enterprise on our part, but need not have worried—we had learned our lesson Islip, an agri­ cultural village, lay far enough from Oxford not to be contaminated w ith the roguery for which the outskirts of most university towns are notorious The village policeman led an easy life During the four years we lived there nothing of ours was ever stolen, and no Islip cottager cheated or offended us Once, by mistake, I le ft my bicycle at the station for two days and, when I recovered it, not only were both lamps, the pump and the repair outfit s till m place, but an anonymous friend had even cleaned it Every Saturday during the winter months I played football for the village team We ex-soldiers reintroduced the game at Islip after a lapse of some eighty years The village nonagenarian com­ plained that football was not so manly now as m his boyhood He pointed across the fields to a couple of aged w illow trees 4Them used to be our home goals/ he said 4T ’other pair stood half a mile upstream Constable stopped our play m the end Three men were killed m the last game—one kicked to death, t ’other two drowned each other m a scrimmage Her was a grand game ’ I found Islip football, though not unmanly, ladylike by comparison w ith the Charterhouse game When playing centre-forward, I often got booed for charging the goalkeeper as he fumbled w ith the shot he had saved The cheers were reserved for my inside-left, who spent most of his time stylishly dribbling the ball m circles round and round the field u n til robbed of it, he seldom went anywhere near the goal But the football club was democratic, unlike the cricket club I played cricket the first season, but resigned because the team seldom consisted of the best eleven men available, regular players would be dropped to make room for visiting gentry Nancy and I did all the work ourselves, including the washing

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I undertook the cooking, she made and mended the children’s clothes, we shared the other chores Catherine was horn m 1922, and Sam m 1924 By the end of 1925, we had lived for eight suc­ cessive years m an atmosphere of teething, minor accidents, epi­ demics, and perpetual washing of babies’ napkins I did not dislike this sort of life , except for the money difficulties and almost never getting away to London 4Love m a cottage, I ’m afraid,’ had been the prophetic phrase current at our wedding The strain told on Nancy, who was constantly ill, and I often had to take charge of everything She tried to draw, but by the time she got her mat­ erials together some alarm from the nursery would always disturb her A t last she decided not to start again u n til all the children were house-trained and old enough for school I kept on w ith my work because the responsibility for making money rested w ith me, and because nothing has ever stopped me w riting Nancy and I kept the cottage clean m a routine that le ft us little leisure for anything else we had accumulated a number of brass ornaments and utensils that needed polishing and our children wore five times as many clean dresses as the neighbours’ children did I worked through constant interruptions I could recognize the principal varieties of babies’ screams hunger, indigestion, wet­ ness, pms, boredom, wanting to be played w ith, and learned to disregard all but the more important ones Most of my prose books published m those four years betray the conditions under which I wrote they are scrappy, not properly considered, and obviously w ritten out of reach of a reference library Poetry alone did not suffer When working at a poem m my head, I went on doing my mechanical tasks m a trance u n til I had time to sit down and record it A t one period I could allow myself only half an hour’s w riting a day, and then had to scribble hard m an effort to disburden my mind—I never sat chewing a pen M y poetry-writing has always been a painful process of continuai corrections, corrections on top of corrections, and persistent dissatisfaction The children were all healthy and gave us little trouble Nancy had strong views about giving them no meat or tea but as much fru it as they wanted, putting them to bed early, making them rest m the afternoon We did our best to avoid the mistakes of our own childhood, but when they went to the village school we could not protect them from formal religion, class snobbery, political [2 7 7 ]

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prejudice, and m ystifying fairy stories of the facts of sex Islip seemed as good a place as any for the happy childhood that we wanted them to have They had fields to play m, and animals all around, and play-fellows of their own age The river was close and we could borrow a canoe They even liked school The villagers called me ‘ The Captain’ , otherwise I had few reminders of the war, except my yearly visit to the standing Medi­ cal Board The Board continued for some years to recommend me for a disability pension M y particular disability was neurasthenia, the tram journey and the first-class army railway-warrant filled out w ith my rank and regiment usually produced remimscential neurasthenia by the tim e I reached the Board Ex-service men were continually coming to the door selling boot-laces and asking for cast-off shirts and socks We always gave them a cup of tea and money Islip was a convenient halt between the Chipping Norton and the Oxford workhouses One day an outof-work ex-serviceman, a steamroller driver by trade, called w ith his three children, including a baby Their mother had recently died m childbirth We felt very sorry for them, and Nancy offered to adopt the eldest child, Daisy, who was about thirteen years old and her father’s greatest anxiety She undertook to tram Daisy m housework, so that she would be able later to go into service The steamroller-man shed tears of gratitude, and Daisy, a big, ugly girl, strong as a horse and toughened by her three years on the roads, seemed happy enough to be a member of the fam ily Nancy made her new clothes, we cleaned her, bought her shoes, and gave her a bedroom The steamroller-man wanted Daisy to con­ tinue her education, which had been interrupted by their wander­ ings But the schoolmistress put Daisy into the baby class, and the bigger girls used to tease her In return, she pulled their hair and thumped them, and learned to hate school After a while she grew homesick for the road ‘ That was a good life ,’ she used to say ‘ Dad and me and my brother and the baby The baby was a blessing When I fetched him along to the back doors I nearly always won something ’ Course, I was artful I f they tried to slam the door m my face, I used to put my foot m it and say “ This is my little orphan brother ” Then I used to look around and anything I seen I used to ast for I used to ast for a pram for the baby, if I seen an old

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one m a shed, and I ’d get it, too ’ Course, we had a pram really, a good one, and then we’d sell the pram I ’d won m the next town we come to Good beggars always ast for something particular, something they seen lying about I t ’s no good astmg for food or money I used to pick up a lot for my dad I was a better beggar nor he was, he said We used to go along together singing “ On the Road to Anywhere” And there was always the Spikes to go to when the weather got bad They was very good to us there The Spike at Chippy Norton was our winter home We used to go to the movies once a week there We had fine grub at Chippy We been all over the country Wales, and Devonshire, right up to Scotland, but we always come back to Chippy ’ Nancy and I were shocked one day when a tramp came to the door and Daisy slammed it m his face and told him to ‘ clear out of it, Nosey, and don’t poke your ugly mug into respectable people’s houses ’ She went on 41 know you, Nosey W illiams, you and your ex-service papers what you pinched from a bloke down m Salisbury, and them bigamy charges against you a-waitmg down at Plymouth Hop it now, quick, or I ’ll run for the copi ’ Daisy told us the true stories of many of the beggars we had be­ friended ‘ There’s not one decent man m ten among them bums,’ she said 4M y dad’s the only decent one of the lot The reason most of them is on the road is the cops have something against them, so they has to keep moving ’Course, my dad don’t like the life, he took to it too late And my mum was very respectable, too She kept us clean Most of them bums is lousy, w ith nasty diseases, and they keeps out of the Spike as much as they can, ’cause they don’t like the carbolic baths ’ Daisy stayed w ith us for a whole winter When spring came, and the roads dried, her father called for her again He couldn’t manage the little ones w ithout her, he said That was the last we saw of Daisy, though she wrote once from Chipping Norton asking us for money M y Government grant and College Exhibition had ended at the tim e we moved to Islip Peace brought a slump m the sale of poetry, and our total income, counting birthday and Christmas cheques from relatives, now amounted to one hundred and th irty pounds a year, of which perhaps half came from my w riting As Nancy reminded me, this meant fifty shillings a week, and some [2 7 9 ]

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farm-labourers at Ishp, w ith more children than ourselves, earned only th irty shillings They lived a much harder life than we did, and had no one to fa ll back on, m case of sudden illness or other emergency We used to get holidays, too, at Harlech, when my mother would insist on paying the tram-fare as w ell as giving us our board free Thinking how difficult conditions were for the labourers’ wives kept Nancy permanently depressed We s till called ourselves socialists, and when a branch of the Parliamentary Labour Party was formed m the village, lent the cottage for its weekly meetings throughout the w inter months Ishp, though a nch agricultural area, had a reputation for slutfarmmg M r Wise, a farm-labourer, one of our members, once heckled a speaker m the Conservative interest about a protective duty imposed by the Conservative Government on dried currants The speaker answered patronizingly ‘ W ell, surely a duty on Greek currants won’t hurt you working men at Ishp ? You don’t grow currants m these parts, do you?’ ‘ No, sir,’ replied M r Wise, ‘ the farmers’ mam crop hereabouts is squitch ’ They persuaded me to stand for the parish council, of which I became a member for a year I wish now I had taken records of the smothered antagonism at the council meetings There were seven members, w ith three representatives of Labour and three Conservative representatives of the farmers and gentry, the chair­ man was a Liberal, whom we supported as a generous employer, and the only farmer for miles around w ith training at an agricult­ ural college He held the balance very fa irly The Council nearly came to blows over a proposed application to the District Council for the building of new cottages, many returned ex-soldiers who wanted to m arry had nowhere to live w ith their wives The Con­ servative members opposed this application, because it would mean a penny on the rates Then there was the question of getting a recreation ground for the village The football team did not wish to be dependent on the generosity of a big farmer who rented it to us at a nominal fee The Conservatives opposed this plan, again m the interest of the rates, and pointed out that shortly after the Armistice the village had turned down a recreation ground scheme, preferring to spend the memorial subscription money on a cenotaph The Labour [2 8 0 ]

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members replied that the vote was taken, as at the 1918 General Election, before the soldiers could return to express their views Nasty innuendoes were then aimed at farmers who had stayed at home and made their pile, while their labourers fought and bled The chairman calmed the antagonists Another caricature scene myself m corduroys and a rough frieze coat, sitting m the village schoolroom (this tim e w ith no Ένιΐ8 of Alcoholism’ around the walls, but nature drawings and mounted natural history speci­ mens instead), debating, as an Oxfordshire village elder, whether or not Farmer Tomkins could use a footpath across the allotments as a bridle-path—having first overturned the decayed stile which, I urged, disproved his right This association w ith the Labour Party severed our friendly relations w ith the village gentry, who had hitherto regarded us as m their camp M y mother had taken the trouble to call on the Rector when she viewed the property, and he later asked me to speak from the chancel steps of the village church at a War Memo­ rial service He suggested that I should read war-poems But in ­ stead of Rupert Brooke on the glorious dead, I read some of the more painful poems by Sassoon and W ilfred Owen about men dying from gas-poisoning, and about buttocks of corpses bulging from the mud I also suggested that the men who had died, destroyed as it were by the fa ll of the Tower of Siloam, were not particularly virtuous or particularly wicked, but just average soldiers, and that the survivors should thank God they were alive, and do their best to avoid wars m the future Though the Church party, apart from the liberal-minded Rector, professed to be scandalized, the exservice men had not been too well treated on their return, and liked to be told that they stood on equal terms w ith the glorious dead They were modest men I noticed that though respecting the King’s desire to wear their campaign medals on this occasion, they kept them buttoned up inside their coats The leading Labourite at Ishp was W illiam Beckley, senior He bore an inherited title dating from the time of Oliver Crom­ well being always known as ‘ Fisher’ Beckley A direct ancestor, fishing one day on the Cherwell during the siege of Oxford, had ferried Cromwell himself and a body of Parliamentary troops over the river In return, Cromwell granted him perpetual fishmgnghts from Islip to the stretch of river where the Cherwell Hotel t [2 8 1 ]

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now stands The cavalry skirmish at Islip bridge s till remained fresh m local tradition, and a cottager at the top of the h ill showed me a small stone cannon-ball, fired on this occasion and found stuck m his chimney-stack But even Cromwell came late m the history of the Beckley fam ily, the Beckleys had been watermen on the river long before the seventeenth century Indeed, Fisher Beckley knew, by fam ily tradition, the exact spot m the river bed where a barge lay—sunk while conveying stone for the building of Westminster Abbey before the Norman Conquest Islip was the birthplace of Edward the Confessor, who had awarded the Islip lands to the Abbey, they remained Abbey property after a thou­ sand years The Abbey stone came from a quarry on the hillside close to the river, our cottage stood on the old slipway down which the stone-barges were launched Some tim e m the 1870s, Ameri­ can weed was introduced into the river and net-fishmg at last be­ came impossible Fisher Beckley turned agricultural labourer His socialist views prevented him from getting employment m the village, so he daily trudged to a farm some miles away But he was still ‘Fisher’ Beckley, and for us cottagers the most respected man m Islip

[*8 2 ]

30 Y parents were most disappointed when, because of the shop crisis and my illness, I failed to take the B A degree at Oxford But Sir W alter Raleigh, as head of the English School, allowed me to sit for the later degree of Bachelor of Letters, and present a w ritten thesis on any subject I chose He also agreed to be my tutor on condition that he should not be expected to tutor me He thought well of my poetry, and suggested that we should only meet as friends Sir W alter was engaged at the time on the official history of the war m the air, and wanted practical flying exper­ ience for the task The R A F took him up as often as he needed, but he caught typhoid fever on a flight out East and died His death so saddened me that I did not apply for another tutor I found it difficult to write my thesis, The Illo g ic a l Elem ent in E n g lish P o e try , m the required academic style, and decided to make it an ordinary book I rewrote it some nine times, and did not like the final result I was trying to show the nature of the supra-logical element m poetry, which could only be fu lly under­ stood, I wrote, by studying the latent associations of the words used —the obvious prose sense being often m direct opposition to the latent content The book’s weakness lay m its not clearly dis­ tinguishing between a poet’s supra-logical thought processes and the sub-logical process of the common psychopath I pubhshed a volume of poems every year from 1920 to 1925, after The P ie r glass, which appeared m 1921, 1 made no attempt to please the ordinary reading public, and did not even flatter my­ self that I was conferring benefits on posterity, I had no reason to suppose that posterity would be more appreciative than my con­ temporaries I never wrote unless a poem pressed to be w ritten Though assuming a reader of intelligence and sensibility, and en­ visaging his possible reactions to my words, I no longer identified him w ith any particular group of readers or (taking courage from Hardy) w ith critics of poetry He was no more real a person than the conventional figure put m the foreground of an architectural

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design to indicate the size of a building This greater strictness m w riting, which showed m W h ip p e rg in n y , laid me open to accusa­ tions of tryin g to get publicity and increase my sales by a w ilfu l clowning modernism I made several attempts during these years to rid myself of the poison of war memories by finishing my novel, but had to abandon it— ashamed at having distorted my material w ith a plot, and yet not sure enough of myself to turn it back into undisguised history, as here I knew most of the poets then w ritin g , they included W alter de la Mare, W H Davies, T S Eliot, the Sitwells and many more I liked Davies because he came from South Wales and was afraid of the dark, and because once, I heard, he made out a list of poets and crossed them off one by one as he decided that they w ere not true poets— u n til only two names were le ft— his own, and m inef He was very jealous of de la Mare and had bought a pistol, w ith which he used to take pot-shots at a photograph of de la Mare’s on the upper landing of his house But I liked de la Mare, too, for his gentleness, and the hard work he obviously put into his poems—I was always interested m the writing-technique of my fellow-poets I once asked whether he had not worried for hours over the lines Ah, no man knowrs Through what w ild centuries Roves back the rose and, m the end, been dissatisfied De la Mare ruefully admitted that he was forced to leave the assonance ‘ Roves and rose’, be­ cause no synonym for ‘ roves’ seemed strong enough In 1925, I agreed to collaborate w ith T S Eliot, then a harassed bank clerk, m a book about modern poetry to which we would each contribute essays, but the plan fe ll through I seldom saw Osbert and Sacheverell Sitwell now When I did, I always fe lt uncomfortably rustic m their society One autumn, Osbert sent me a present of a brace of grouse They came from Remshaw, the Derbyshire fam ily seat, m a bag labelled ‘ W ith Captain Sitwell’s compliment to Captain Graves ’ Nancy and I could neither of us face the task of plucking and gutting and roast­ ing the birds, so we gave them to a neighbour I wrote to Osbert [2 8 4 ]

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4Captain Graves acknowledges w ith thanks Captain Sitwell's g ift of Captain Grouse ' But we made friends w ith his sister Edith It was a surprise, after reading her w ild a van t g a rd e poems, to find her gentle, domesticated, and even devout When she came to stay w ith #us she spent her tim e sitting on the sofa and hemming hand­ kerchiefs She used to w rite to Nancy and me frequently, hut our friendship ended m 1926 I met none of my surviving army friends, w ith the very occa­ sional exception of Siegfried Edmund Blunden had gone as Pro­ fessor of English Literature to Tokyo Lawrence enlisted m the R A F as soon as the Middle Eastern settlement went through, but a Labour member gave notice of a question m the House about his presence there under an assumed name, and the A ir M inistry dismissed him He was now a private m the Royal Tank Corps and hating it When Sir W alter Raleigh died, I fe lt my connexion w ith Oxford University broken, and when Rivers died, and George M allory on Everest, the death of my friends seemed to be follow­ ing me m peacetime as relentlessly as m war A feeling of ill luck clouded these years Islip had ceased to be a country refuge I found nryself resorting to the wartime tech­ nique of getting through things somehow, anyhow, m the hope that they would mend Nancy's poor health led her to do less and less work Our finances were improved by an allowance from her father that covered the extra expense of the new children—we now had two hundred pounds a year—but cottage life w ith four of them under six years old, and Nancy ill, showed signs of palling I m ight have, after all, had to violate my oath and take a teaching job But for that I needed a degree, so I completed my thesis, which I published as P oetic U nreason , and handed it m, already printed, to the examining board To my surprise, they accepted it, and now I had my B L itt's degree However, I did not want a preparatory or secondary school job, which would keep me away from home all day, Nancy could not bear having anyone else but myself and her taking care of the children There seemed no solu­ tion to my problem Then the doctor told us that if Nancy wished to regain her health she must spend the w inter m Egypt Thus, the only ap­ pointment that could possibly meet the case would be an inde­ pendent teaching job m Egypt, at a very high salary, and w ith

Γ 28.31

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little work to do A week or two later (this is how things have always happened m emergencies) I was invited to offer myself as a candidate for the post of Professor of English Literature at the newly-founded Royal Egyptian University, Cairo I had been recommended, I found out afterwards, by two or three influential men, among them Arnold Bennett, always a good friend to me, and the first critic who spoke out strongly for my poems m the daily Press, and Lawrence, who had known Lord Lloyd, then High Commissioner of Egypt, during the Arab Revolt The salary, including the passage money, amounted to fourteen hundred pounds a year I fortified these recommendations w ith others from my neighbour, Colonel John Buchan, and from M r Asquith, now the Earl of Oxford, who had taken a fatherly interest m me and often visited our cottage at Islip I got the appointment The indirect proceeds from poem-writing can be enormously higher than the direct ones

[2 8 6 !

31 O, second-class, by P & 0 to Egypt, w ith a nurse for the chil­ dren, new clothes m the new cabin-trunks, and a Morris-Oxford m the hold Lawrence had w ritten to me

S

Egypt, being so near Europe, is not a savage country The Egypt­ ians you need not dwell among Indeed, it w ill be a miracle if an Englishman can get to know them The bureaucrat society is ex­ clusive, and hves smilingly unaware of the people Partly because so many foreigners come there for pleasure, m the winter, and the other women, who live there, must be butterflies too, if they would consort with the visitors I thought the salary attractive It has just been raised The work may be interesting, or may be terrible, according to whether you get keen on it, like [Lafcadio] Hearn, or hate it, like [Robert] Nichols Even if you hate it, there w ill be no harm done The climate is good, the country beautiful, the things admirable, the beings curious and disgusting, and you are stable enough not to be caught broadside by a mere dislike for your job Execute it decently, as long as you draw the pay, and enjoy your free hours (plentiful m Egypt) more freely Lloyd w ill be a good friend Roam about—Palestine The Sahara oases The Red Sea pro­ vince Sinai (a jolly desert) The Delta Swamps W ilfred Jennings Bramly’sbuildings m the Western Desert The divme mosque archi­ tecture of Cairo town Yet, possibly, you w ill not dislike the job I think the com spins evenly The harm to you is little, for the family w ill benefit by a stay m the warm (Cairo isn’t warm, m winter) and the job won’t drive you into frantic excesses of rage And the money w ill be use­ ful You should save a good bit of your pay after the expense of the first six months I recommend the iced coffee at Groppi’s And so, my blessmg M y elder brother Dick, and my elder sister M ollie, had both been livin g m Egypt since I was a little boy Dick, a leading Government official (at a salary less than my own), and his wife, viewed my arrivai w ith justifiable alarm They knew of my politir

GOODBYE TO A L L T H A T

cal opinions But M ollie, to whom I was devoted, had no suspic­ ions and wrote a letter of most affectionate welcome Siegfried came to see me off ‘ Do you know who’s on board?’ he asked * “ The Twisted Image” 1 He’s s till m the regiment, going out to ]om the First Battalion m India Last tim e I saw him, he was sitting m the bottom of a dug-out, gnawing achunk of bullybeef like a rat ’ The Twisted Image—his nickname referred to the Biblical proposition that we are all created m the image of our Maker —went to Copthorne school w ith me and won a scholarship at the same tim e as I did, we served at Wrexham and Liverpool together, he also was wounded w ith the Second Battalion at High Wood, and now we were travelling East together We had absolutely nothing m common, even mutual dislike, so I saw no natural reason why we should have been thrown so often m each other’s company The ship touched at Gibraltar, where we disembarked, bought figs, and rode round the town, I remembered the cancelled W ar Office telegram and thought what a fool I had been to prefer Rhyl Luckily, a P & 0 director, who happened to be aboard, per­ suaded the captain to take the ship w ith in half a mile of Stromboli, then m eruption, by dusk m a hailstorm, w ith the lava hiss­ ing into the sea A t Port Said, a friend of my sister’s helped us through the Customs, I s till felt sea-sick, but knew that I was m the East because he began talking about K ipling and K ipling’s Éwattles of Lichtenburg’, and whether they were really wattles or some allied plant Then on to Cairo, looking out of the windows all the way, delighted at summer fields m January M y sister-m-law advised us against the more exclusive residen­ tia l suburb of Gizereh, where she lived, so w ith her assistance we rented a flat at Heliopolis, a few miles east of Cairo We found the cost of livin g very high, this being the tourist season, but reduced the grocery b ill by taking advantage of the more reasonable prices at the British Arm y Canteen, where I presented myself as an officer on the Pension List Our two Sudanese servants, contrary to all warnings about the natives, were temperate, punctual, respect­ ful, and never, to my knowledge, stole a thing beyond the remains of a single joint of m utton I t seemed queer, no longer looking after the children, or doing housework, and vsonderful to have as much tim e as I needed for my work The University was founded by King Fuad, who wished to be [* 8 8 ]

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known as a patron of the arts and sciences The Cairo University before this one had been nationalistic m its policy and, because not staffed w ith European experts, or supported by the Govern­ ment, soon came to an end King Fuad’s University began ambi­ tiously Faculties of Science, Medicine and Letters, and a fu ll complement of highly-paid professors, few of them Egyptians The Medicine and Science faculties were predominantly English, but the appointments to the Faculty of Letters had been made m the previous summer, when the British H igh Commissioner went on holiday, else he would no doubt have discountenanced them, as being predominantly French and Belgian Only one of my col­ leagues could speak English, and none had any knowledge of Arabic, yet of the two hundred Egyptian students, mostly sons of rich merchants and landowners, fewer than twenty knew more than a smattering of French—just enough for shopping purposes m the elegant stores—though every one of them had learned English m the secondary schools A ll official University correspon­ dence was conducted m classical Arabic, which admits no word of later date than Mohammed’s tim e—not that I should have noticed any neologisms myself The ‘ very learned Sheikh’ Graves, as I was there described, used to take his hand-outs to the post office for interpretation M y twelve or thirteen French colleagues were men of the highest academic distinction, but two or three English village-schoolmasters would have gladly undertaken their work at one-third of their salaries, and done it far better The Univers­ ity building, a former harem-palace of the Khedive, was b u ilt m luscious French style w ith mirrors and gilding British officials at the M inistry of Education begged me to keep the British flag flying m the Faculty of Letters I assented Though I had not come to Egypt as an ambassador of Empire, it irked me to le t the French indulge m semi-political activities at my expense The Dean, M Grégoire, was an authority on Slav poetry tough, W itty, and capable He had acquired a certain slyness and adap­ tability during the war when, as'a Belgian civilian m the German occupation, he edited an underground publication The one-legged Professor of French Literature, a war hero, patronized me at first I was his young friend, rather than his dear colleague But when he learned that I also had bled m the cause of civilization and France, I became his most esteemed chum Γ2801

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The Frenchmen lectured w ith the help of Arabic interpreters, which made neither for speed nor for accuracy I should have delivered two lectures a week The Dean, however, soon decided that if the students were ever to dispense w ith the interpreters, they must be given special instruction m French—and this re­ duced the tim e for lectures, so that he could allow me only one a week That one was pandemonium The students were not hostile, merely excitable and anxious to show their regard for me and liberty and Zaghlul Pasha and the well-being of Egypt— all at the same tim e They obliged me to shout at the top of my loudest barrack-square voice, which I had learned to pitch high for greater carrying-power, m order to restore silence No text-books of any sort were available, the University Library having no English department, and it took months to get books through the French librarian This was January, and the students faced an examination m May They professed themselves anxious to master Shakespeare, Wordsworth, and Byron m that time I had no desire to teach Wordsworth and Byron to anyone, and wished to protect Shakespeare from them Deciding to lecture on the most rudimentary forms of literature possible, I chose the prim i­ tive ballad and its development into epic and the drama I m ight at least, perhaps, teach them the meaning of the simpler literary terms But though they had taken English for eight years or so m the schools, I could not count on their understanding half what I told them Nobody, for instance, when I spoke of a ballad-maker singing to his harp, knew what a harp looked like I told them that it was what King David played upon, and drew a picture on the blackboard, at which they shouted 4Oh, a n u r 1’ I had myself seen a communal ballad-group m action at the hind legs of the Sphinx, while a gang of fellaheen cleared away the sand, one of the gang acted as chantey-man to keep the others moving But my students thought it beneath their dignity to admit the exist­ ence of ballads m Egypt The fellaheen did not exist, m their eyes, except as lazy and rather disgusting animais Printed notes of my lectures, w ith which to prepare for the examinations, were much m demand I asked the clerical staff of the faculty to dupli­ cate some of them, but they were kept too busy by the French pro­ fessors and m spite of promises never got the 30b done M y lec­ tures soon degenerated into lecture-notes for lectures that could [2 9 0 ]

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not be given—but, at any rate, I kept the students busy scribbling m their note-books M y wide trousers, the first ‘ Oxford bags’ to reach Egypt, in ­ terested them profoundly, th e ir own being s till the peg-top sort, narrow at the ankles Soon everyone who was anyone wore Ox­ ford bags One evening the Rector of the University asked me to dinner, two of my students, sons of Ministers, happened also to be invited For fun, I was wearing white silk socks w ith my even­ ing dress Afterwards I heard from the Vice Rector, A ll Bey Omar, whom I liked best of the University officials, that a day or two later he had seen the same students wearing white silk socks at a Government banquet When they looked round on the distin­ guished assembly, they found that they were so far m advance of fashion as to be the only white socks present A ll Bey Omar gave a pantomime account of how, m embarrassment, they tried to loosen their braces surreptitiously and stroke down th e ir trousers For some weeks I missed even my single weekly lecture, be­ cause the students went on strike This was Ramadan, when they had to fast for a month between sunrise and sunset Between sun­ set and sunrise they ate rather more than usual, to make up a tax on the digestive processes which affected th e ir nerves The pretext for striking was the intensive French instruction, but really they wanted leisure to cram for the examination at home Then the blind Professor of Arabic, one of the few Egyptians w ith fame as an orientalist, published a book calling attention to pre-Islamic sources of the Koran His lectures demanded greater mental effort than any of the rest, so when the examinations were held, most students absented themselves from the Arabic paper on religious grounds To an orthodox Moslem the Koran, since dictated by God to Mohammed, could have no pre-Islamic sources I came to know only two of my students fa irly well a Greek and a Turk The T urk was rich, intelligent, good-natured, perhaps twenty years old, and twice took me for a drive to the pyramids m his motor-car He spoke both French and English fluently, being almost the only student (except for twelve who had at­ tended a French Jesuit college) w ith this facility He apologized one day for having to miss my next lecture he was about to be married I asked whether this would be the first or second part of the ceremony He said ‘ The first I w ill not be allowed to see my Γo.m 1

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wife’s face, because her fam ily is orthodox, that must wait u n til the second ceremony ’ But his sister, he explained, had been at school w ith the g irl and told him that she was pretty and a good sort, also, his father respected her father When the second cere­ mony took place, he confessed to perfect satisfaction I learned that the bridegroom seldom refused the bride when she lifted her veil, though he had the right to do so, and she had a similar right Usually, the couple contrived to meet before even the first ceremony The g irl would slip the man a note saying *I shall be at Maison Cicurel by the hat-counter about three-thirty tomorrow afternoon, if you want to know what I look like I t w ill be quite m order for me to lif t my veil as I try on a hat You can recog­ nize me by my purple parasol ’ I inquired about the rights of Moslem women m Egypt App­ arently divorce was simple The man had only to declare m the presence of a witness 41 divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you,’ and that did it On the other hand, she could recover her original dowry, plus the interest accrued on it during her married life Dowries were always heavy and divorces comparatively rare The gentry considered it very low-class to keep more than one wife, unless she behaved so badly that the husband decided to shame her by taking another I heard of an Egyptian who got angry w ith his wife one morning because the breakfast-coffee came m cold He shouted ‘ I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you t * ‘ Oh, my dear,’ she exclaimed, ‘ now you’ve done it* The serv­ ants heard what you said I must go back to my father w ith my ten thousand pounds and my sixty camels ’ He apologized for his hasty temper ‘ L ig h t of my eyes, we must get re-married as soon as possible ’ She reminded him that the Law prevented them from m arry­ ing again unless another marriage had intervened So he called m the aged man who watered the lawn and ordered him to marry her, but it must be a marriage of form only The obedient gardener did as he was told and, immediately after the ceremony, returned to his watering-pot Two days later the woman got run over by a taxi, so the gar­ dener inherited the money and the camels The Greek invited me to tea once He had three beautiful sisters named Pallas, Aphrodite, and Artemis, who gave me tea in [29a]

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their garden, w ith European cakes that they had learned to make at the American College Next door, a pale-faced man stood on a third-floor balcony addressing the world I asked Pallas what his speech was about 4Oh,5she laughed,4don’t m ind him He’s a mad m illionaire, so the police leave him alone He lived ten years m England He’s saying now that they’re burning him up w ith elec­ tricity, and telling the birds all his troubles Also that his secre­ tary accuses him of stealing five piastres, but it isn’t true And that there can’t be a God because God wouldn’t allow the English to steal the fellaheen’s camels for the war and not return them Now he’s saying that all religions are very much the same, and that Buddha is as good as Mohammed Really, he’squite mad He keeps a little dog m his house, actually m his very room, plays w ith it and talks to it as though it were a human being1’ Pallas told me that m another twenty years the women of Egypt would control everything The feminist movement had just started, and since the women were by far the most active and in ­ telligent part of the population, great changes m ight be expected Neither she nor her sisters would stand her father’s attempt to keep them m their places Her brother, who was doing the literature course as a prelim inary to law, showed me his library Besides his legal text-books he had Voltaire, Rousseau, a number of saucy French novels m paper covers, Shakespeare’s works and Samuel Smiles’ S e lf H e lp When he asked my advice about his career, I suggested a European university— a literary degree at Cairo would be worth little , unless he wanted to take up politics I had not realized before just how much the British controlled Egypt Egypt ranked as an independent kingdom, but it seemed that I owed my principal allegiance not to King Fuad, who had given me my appointment and paid my salary, but to the High Commissioner, whose infantry, cavalry, and air squadrons were a constant reminder of his power British officials could not under­ stand the Egyptians’ desire for independence, considering them most ungrateful for all the beneficent labour and skill applied to their country since the eighties—raising it from bankruptcy to riches There was no Egyptian nation, I was assured The Greeks, Turks, Syrians, and Armenians who called themselves Egyptians had no more rig h t there than the British Before the British occu­ pation the Pashas used to bleed the fellaheen white, and it was Γ__ 1

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not the fellaheen, the only true Egyptians, who now called for freedom Nationalism, a creed derived from the new smatterings of Western education we were giving the upper classes, should be disregarded as merely a symptom of the country’s growing wealth The reduction of the British official class m the last few years was viewed w ith disgust ‘ We did all the hard work, and when we go everything w ill run down, it ’s running down already And they’ll have to call us back, or if not, the dagoes, and we don’t see why they should benefit ’ None of them realized how much the vanity of the Egyptians—probably the vainest people m the world— was hurt by the constant sight of British uniform On the other hand, I could not suppose that the morale of the Egyptian soldier would be very high m time of war, having seen one of their officers, incensed by the negligence of a sentry, pull open the man’s mouth and spit into it Egypt had come to consider itself a European nation, but at the same time attempted to supplant Turkey as the leading power of Islam This led to many anomalies On the same day that my stud­ ents staged their protest against the Professor of Arabic’s irre li­ gious views, the students of El Azhar, the great Cairo theological college, refused to wear the prescribed Arab dress of kaftan and silk head-dress and appeared m European clothes and tarbouche The tarbouche was the national hat which even British officials wore I myself owned one I t would have been difficult to find a hat more unsuitable for the climate Being red, it attracted the heat of the sun, got very stuffy inside, and had no brim to protect the neck against sunstroke My brother Dick behaved beautifully to me, as he has always done, and so did my romantic sister Molhe, who is a water-diviner and, by my advice, always wears a beauty-patch on her right cheek­ bone Her adoring husband, Judge Preston of the Mixed Courts, found himself greatly embarrassed at the T u rf Club—which I re­ fused to join for fear of involving Nancy m social calls from the wives of British officials—when she claimed that her son M artin (who closely resembled him m features) was a parthenogenous birth One day, M ollie asked me about my confirmation, I told her that the Bishop of Zululand performed the ceremony, and she gave me a rapturous hug O arlm g,’ she said, *I knew we had lots m common11 was confirmed by the Bishop of Zanzibar*5 [294]

32 D ID two useful pieces of educational work m Egypt I ordered a consignment of standard text-books of English Literature for the Faculty Library at the University, and I acted as examiner to the diploma class of the Higher Training College which provided English teachers for the prim ary and secondary schools I have kept three diploma essays as a memento—the first by one Mahmoud Mohammed Mahmoud

I

E n viro n m e n t as a F a c to r in E vo lu tio n

This is the story of evolutions Once it was thought that the earth’s crust was caused by catastrophes, but when Darwin came into the world and had a good deal of philosophy, he &aid 4A ll different kinds of species differ gradually as we go backwards and there is no catastrophes, and if we apply the fact upon previous predecessors we reach simpler and simpler predecessors, u n til we reach the Nature ’ Man, also, is under the evolutions None can deny this if he could deny the sun m daylight A child from the beginning of his birthday pos­ sesses instincts like to suckle his food from the mamel of his mother and many others But he is free of habits and he is weak as anything Then he is introduced into a house and usually finds himself among parents, and his body is either cleansed or le ft to the dirts This shows his environment Superficial thinkers are apt to look on environment as (at best) a trifle motive m bringing up, but learned men believe that a child born m the presence of some women who say a bad word, this word, as believed by them, remains m the brain of the child u n til it ejects Environment quickly supplies modification The life of mountainous goats leads them to tram themselves on jump­ ing The camel is flat-footed w ith hoofs for the sand Some kind of cattle were w ild m the past but lived m plain lands

Γ 2QS 1

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and changed into gentle sheep The frog when young has her ta il and nostrils like a fish, suitable for life at sea, but chang­ ing her environment, the ta il decreased The sea is broad and changeable, so those who live at sea are changeable and mys­ terious Put a cow m a dirty damp place and she w ill become more and more slender u n til she die Also horses, horse had five fingers on his legs but now one only from running for water m the draught Climate also affects bodily habits of the dear Europeans who live m Egypt They who were smart and patient and strong w ith a skm worth the name of weather­ proof became also fatigable and fond of leisure From the theory we learn that human beings should be improved like the beasts by creating healthy youngs and by good Freubel education The next essay is one w ritten by Mohammed Mahmoud Mohammed The C ha ra cte r o f L a d y M acbeth

Sir, to w rite shortly, Lady Macbeth was brave and venture­ some, but she had no tact She says to Macbeth 4Now the opportunity creates itself, lose it not Where is your manlihood m these suitable circumstances ? I have children and I know the love of a mother’s heart But you must know I would dash the child’s head and drive away the boneless teeth which are m ilking me rather than to give a promise and then leave it ’ Macbeth says 4But we may fa il ’ 4Fail V says L M 4But stick to the point and we w ill not fa il Leave the rest to me I shall put drugs m the grooms’ drink and we shall ascuse them ’ Macbeth says 4You are fit to lay men-children only ’ The impression on the reader becomes very great and feels w ith anger The last essay is by one Mahmoud Mahmoud Mohammed The Best Use o f L e isu re T im e

Leisure tim e is a variety to tire fu l affairs God Alm ighty created the Universe m six days and took a rest m the seventh [296]

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He wished to teach us the necessity of leisure tim e Man soon discovered by experience that ‘A ll work and no play makes Jack a dull boy ’ But this leisure tim e may be dangerous and ill-used if the m ind w ill not take its handle and move it wisely to different directions Many people love idleness It is a great prodigality which leads to rum Many Egyptians spend their times in cafés longing for women and tracking them w ith their eyes, which corrupts and pollutes manners They are perplexed and annoyed by the length of daytime Others try to rest through gumbhng, which is the scourge of society and individual But let us rather enjoy external nature, the beautiful leavy trees, the flourishing fields, and the vast lawns of green grass starred w ith myriad of flowers of greater or small size There the birds sing and build their nests, the meandering canals flow w ith fresh water, and the happy peasants, toiling afar from the m ultitude of town life , purify the human wishes from personal stain Also museums are instructive I t is quite wrong to keep to usual work and fatigable studies, but quite rig h t to free our minds from the web of w orldly affairs m which they are entangled Yes, let us w ith the lark leave our beds to enjoy the cool breeze before sunrise Let us when the lasy or luxurious are snoring or sunk m their debaucheries sit under the shady trees and meditate We can th in k of God, the river and the moon, and enjoy the reading of Gray’s E le g y to perfection We shall brush the dues on the lawn at sunrise, for, A country life is sweat In moderate cold and heat Or we may read the Best Companions, books fu ll of honour­ able passions, wise moral and good pathos, reading maketh a fu ll man, nobody w ill deny Bacon Or we may easily get a musical instrum ent at little price ‘ Every schoolboy knows’ that music is a moral law which gives a soul to the universe Criminals can be cured by the sweet power of music The whale came up from the dark depths of the sea to carry the Greek musician because it was affected by the sweet har­ monies which hold a m irror up to nature Are we not better u [297]

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than the whale ?Also gymnastic clubs are spread everywhere W hy do a youth not pass his leisure tim e m widdenmg his chest ? Because a sound mind is m a sound body Yet it is a physiological fact that the blacksmith cannot spend his leisure tim e m striking iron or the soldier m m ilita ry exercises The blacksmith may go to see the Egyptian Exhibition and the soldier may go to the sea to practise swimming or to the mountains to know its caves m order that he may take shel­ ter from a fierce enemy m tim e of war M ilton knew the best uses of leisure tim e He used to sit to his books reading, and to his music playing, and so put his name among the immortals That was the case of Byron, Napoleon, Addison, and Palmerstone And if a man is un­ happy, says an ancient philosopher, it is his own fault He can be happy if his leisure time brings profit and not disgrace I decided to resign So did the Professor of Latin, my only Eng­ lish colleague And the one-legged Professor of French Literature, who was an honest man The others stayed on The Egyptians treated me hospitably I attended one heavy banquet at the Semiramis Hotel, given by the M inistry of Educa­ tion T all Sudanese waiters dressed m red robes served a succes­ sion of the most magnificent dishes I had seen anywhere, even on the film s They included a great model of the Cairo Citadel m ice, its doors and windows filled w ith caviare—we used a golden Moorish spoon to scoop this out Someone told me recently that this banquet, which must have cost thousands, has not yet been paid for I found little to do m Egypt (not having Lawrence’s appe­ tite for desert travel) but eat coffee-ices at Groppi’s, visit the openair cinemas, and sit at home m our flat at Heliopolis and get on w ith w ritin g M ollie, who lived near, continued sisterly During the season of the Khamsin, a hot wind that sent the temperature up on one occasion to 115 degrees m the shade, I put the finishing touches to a small book called L a rs Porsena , o r The F u tu re o f S w earing a nd Im p ro p e r Language

The best thing I saw m Egypt was the noble face of old Pharaoh Seti the Good, unwrapped of its mummy-cloths at the Cairo Museum The funniest thing was a French bedroom-farce at a native theatre played m Arabic by Syrian actors The men and [298]

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women of the cast had, for religious reasons, to keep on opposite sides of the stage, they sang French songs (in translation), vary­ ing the tunes w ith the quarter-tones and shrieks and trills of their own music The audience talked all the tim e and ate peanuts, oranges, sunflower-seeds and heads of lettuces I went to call on Lord Lloyd at the end of May, just before the close of the academic year Soon after, he invited me to dine at the Residency I won twenty piastres off him at bridge and was told ‘ Collect it from my A D C % but felt that a loser should decently dip into his own trouser pocket to pay card-debts, so let the money go Lloyd believed m his job more than I did m mine When he asked me how I found Egypt, I answered ‘ A ll rig h t/ w ith an intonation that made him catch me up quickly O n ly all right Nothing more passed between us He used to drive through Cairo, at about sixty miles an hour, m a powerful car w ith a Union Jack flying from it, and motor-cyclist outriders to clear the way, for Sir Lee Stack, the Sirdar, had been killed m the previous year while driving through the city, and a traffic jam had materially helped his assassins One day a student showed me the spot near the M inistry of Education where it happened A t first I took the crowd gathered there for a party of political sight-seers, but the attraction proved to be a stark naked woman lying on the pave­ ment, laughing w ildly and waving her arms—one of the hashish dope-cases then very common m Egypt The crowd was jeering at her, a policeman standing a few yards off paid no heed I attended a levée at the Abdm Palace, King Fuad’s Cairo resi­ dence I t began at nine o’clock m the morning The King gave honourable precedence to the University staff, we came m soon after the diplomatic corps and the Ministers of the Crown and some tim e before the army W hile s till m England, I had bought suitable clothes—a morning coat and trousers— for this occasion To be really correct, my coat should have been faced w ith green silk, the national colour of Egypt, but I was told that this would not be insisted upon Opinions differed greatly as to what consti­ tuted correct Court-dress Most of the French professors arrived m fu ll evening dress, w ith swallow-tail coats, white waistcoats and opera hats, a few, ordinary dinner jackets A ll wore decorations around their necks They looked like stragglers from an all-night fancy-dress ball [® 99]

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A fter signing my name m the two large hotel-registers, one belonging to the King and the other to the Queen, I drank a re­ freshing and horribly sweet rice-drink, by courtesy of the Queen, and mounted the noble marble staircase On every second step stood an enormous Nubian soldier, royally uniformed, w ith a lance m his hand M y soldier’s eye admired their physique, but depre­ cated their somewhat listless attitudes, still, no doubt, they pulled themselves smartly to attention as the Egyptian Arm y General Staff went past M y brother had warned me that, on meeting Kang Fuad, I must not be surprised at anything extraordinary I heard, a curious wheezing cry was apt to burst from his throat occasionally when he felt nervous During his childhood, the fam ily had been shot up by an assassin m the employ of interested relatives, but little Fuad took cover under a table and, though wounded, survived We moved from room to room A t last, a quiet Turkish-lookmg gentleman of middle age, wearing regula­ tion Court-dress, greeted us deferentially m French, I took him for the Grand Chamberlain I bowed, said the same thing m French as the professor m front of me, and expected to be led along to the Throne Room However, the next stage was the exit I had already met King Fuad A few days later I attended a royal soirée— an Italian variety show King Fuad had been educated m Italy, where he attained the rank of cavalry captain and learned a great regard for Italian culture The performance belonged to the 1870s A discreet blonde shepherdess did a hopping dance m ankle-length skirts, and a discreet tenor confined his passion to the top notes, and a wellbehaved comedian made nice little jokes for the Queen I clapped him, for having done his unsuccessful best to raise a laugh, but everybody glared round An official whispered to me that, this being a command performance, the actors were entitled to no applause Unless His Majesty professed himself amused, the turns must be greeted m silence I wore Court-dress again but, not to be outdone by the Frenchmen, had put on my three campaign­ ing medals— and regretted that I lost St Anne of the Third Class w ith the Crossed Swords And those refreshments1I shall not at­ tempt to describe the Arabian Nights buffet, so splendid that it has remained a mere blur m my memory I pocketed some quite fantastic confections to bring home [5°°]

GOODBYE TO A L L T H A T

Our children had to drink boiled m ilk and boiled water, and be constantly watched m case they took off their solar topees and blue veils Then they all got measles, so were carried off to an isolation hospital and fed on the things that we had been particular since their b irth never to give them, and the native nurses stole their toys They returned th in and wretched-looking— Sam, the baby, w ith permanently scarred ear-drums— and we wondered if we should ever get them safely home to England We booked our pas­ sages some tim e at the end of May, but even after selling the car had only just enough money le ft to go third-class on a small Italian boat w ith a cargo of onions We disembarked at Venice and stopped a day A fter Egypt, Venice seemed like Heaven We ate European eggs there for breakfast Egyptian eggs were about the size of a pigeon’s egg and always tasted strongly of the garlic which seemed to form a large part of the Egyptian fow l’s diet Egypt gave me plenty of caricature scenes to look back on For instance myself wearing a smart yellow gabardine suit and seated at a long, baize-covered table m the Faculty Conference Room Before me are a cup of Turkish coffee, a solar topee, and a badly typed French record of the minutes of the last meeting I am talk­ ing angry bad French at my Belgian and French colleagues m sup­ port of the young Professor of Latin, who has just leaped to his feet, pale w ith hatred He is declaring m worse French that he positively refuses to make a forced contribution of fifty piastres to a memorial wreath for one of the Frenchmen (who had just died), since he was never consulted I am declaring that neither w ill I, and that, since the Dean has made a point of excluding us from the previous meetings where he took decisions affecting our lectures, all dead French Professors can go bury themselves at their own expense I t is a lofty, elegant room, once a harem bou­ doir A portrait of the late Khedive, w ith a large rent m it, hangs crookedly at one end, at the other stands a large glass show-case, fu ll of Egypto-Roman bronze coins, muddled together, their labels loose, and the glass cracked Through the window, market-gardens, buffaloes, camels loaded w ith green fodder, countrywomen m black Around the table my horrified, shrugging colleagues, turning to one another and saying 4In o u ï In o u ï 9 And outside the rebellious shouts of our students, working themselves up for another strike [ δο ι ΐ

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The rest makes no more than conversation—of the Government clerk who was so doubly unfortunate as to be run over by a racingcar, and then recognize the driver as the eldest son of the M inister of Justice, and of the rich g irl m search of a husband, who went as paying guest at fifteen guineas a week to a senior British official's w ife, agreeing to pay for all wines and cigars and extras when society came to dine but who, meeting only senior Go\ ernment officials and their wives, complained that she did not get her money's w orth, and of my night visit to the temple of a headless monkey-god, fu ll of bats, and of the English cotton-manufacturer who defended conditions m his factory on the ground that the population of Egypt had been increasing far too rapidly under B ritish rule, and that pulmonary consumption remained one of the few checks on it, and of the lame student’s mother who, at the sports, said how much she regretted having put him on the mantelpiece when a baby and run off (being only twelve years old), to play w ith her dolls, and of ‘ The L im it’, so named by Aus­ tralian soldiers, who told my fortune accurately m moonlight, under the long shadow of the Cheops pyramid, and of my visit to Chawki Bey, the national poet of Egypt, m his Moorish mansion by the Nile, who was so like Thomas Hardy, and m whose presence his sons, like good Turks, sat dutifully silent, and of the beggar m the bazaar w ith too many toes, and of the British colonel who, during the war, on a dream of dearth, had played Joseph, dump­ ing half the wheat of Australia m Egypt, where it found no buyers and was at last eaten by donkejs and camels, and of a visit to ancient dead Heliopolis, w ith its lovely landscape of green fields, its crooked palm trees, its water-wheels turned by oxen, and its single obelisk, and of our life m the other Heliopolis, a brand-new dead town on the desert’s edge, built by a Belgian company, com­ plete w ith race-course and Luna Park, where the R A F planes flew low at night among the houses, and where the bored wives of resentful officials wrote novels which they never finished, and painted a little m water colours, and of the little garden of our flat, where I went walking on the first day, among the fru it trees and flowering shrubs, but came upon no less than eight lean and mangy cats dozing m the beds, and never walked there again So back to Islip, much to the disappointment of my parents, ^vho hoped that I had at last seen reason and settled down m a [302]

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position which equally suited my needs and my talents, and to the undisguised relief of my sister-in-law The remainder of this story, from 1926 u n til today, is drama­ tic but unpublishable Health and money both improved, mar­ riage wore thm New characters appeared on the stage Nancy and I said unforgivable things to each other We parted on May 6th, 1929 She, of course, insisted on keeping the children So I went abroad, resolved never to make England my home again, which explains the ‘ Goodbye to A ll T hat’ of this title

E P ILO G U E

HOUGH often asked to publish a continuation of this auto­ biography, which I wrote m 1929 at the age of thirty-three, I am always glad to report that little of outstanding autobiographi­ cal interest has happened since The proofs of Goodbye to A ll T h a t reached me m Majorca, where I had gone to live as soon as I finished the w riting, and which is s till my home The one serious set-back to my quiet life here came w ith the Spanish C ivil W ar m 1956? when all British subjects were advised to leave, by warship I wandered around Europe and the United States for three years, and spent the Second W orld W ar m Eng­ land, because three of my children had joined the Armed Forces —the fourth, Sam, being prevented by deafness from doing the same Jenny became a W A A F war-correspondent, entering Paris w ith General Le Clerc’s tanks, and Brussels w ith General Adair’s, and nearly getting killed at Arnhem Catherine, a W A A F radio-operator, married Squadron-Leader Clifford Dalton, now Engineer-m Chief to the Australian Atomic Energy Commission David joined the First Royal Welch, who had lost very heavily during the defence of Calais, assisted at th e ir famous reunion w ith the Second Battalion m Madagascar, and then went on w ith them to India and Burma He was killed on the Abakan peninsula m March, 1943, after going up w ith a sergeant and one man to bomb the Japanese out of three strong-points, which had held up the battalion’s advance They captured the first strong-pomt, and when his companions were wounded, David rushed the second single-handed, but was shot through the head tryin g to take the third The W ar Office turned down his recommendation for a posthumous Victoria Cross on the ground that the attack had failed — an Indian battalion retired, the Japanese infiltrated, and what remained of the Royal Welch were forced to cut their way back I volunteered for infantry service as soon as war broke out, but when informed that His Majesty could not employ me except m a sedentary appointment, I returned to work—on a book about Cs°4 ]

T

GOODBYE TO A L L T H A T

Sergeant Roger Lamb, who fought w ith the First Battalion m the American W ar of 1776-85, and on another about John M ilto n ’s behaviour m the English C ivil Wars To avoid getting bombed un­ necessarily, I settled m South Devon Half-way through the war, someone invited me to 30m the special constabulary, but our v il­ lage policeman declined to forward my application His reasons, as I found out by discreet inquiry, were that my German second name made him suspicious, that I had been heard talking a foreign language to two disreputable foreigners— Spanish refugee friends, as it happened, one a major, the other a staff-colonel, and th a t the words H E IL H IT L E R 1had been found scratched on a vegetable marrow m my garden So I continued merely as an A ir Raid Warden, but took a stern line a few days later when my age-group got called up for medical examination and the policeman brought me a third-class railway-warrant, together w ith an order to appear before a medical board at Exeter As an officer on the pensioned list, I refused to travel except first class, a privilege to which my rank entitled me— he and I m ight find ourselves m the same com­ partment, and it would never do for us two to m ix socially So far as I was concerned, the Red Lamp (to put it that way) s till burned red, and the Blue Lamp s till true blue Nancy and I eventually got divorced I married again, have had four more children, enjoy good health, travel as little as possible, and continue to w rite books W hat else can I say, unless that my best friend is still the waste-paper basket ? Though Charterhouse certainly has a very good name nowa­ days, and is even suggested as a worthy school for Prince Charles to attend, I do not send my boys there, on principle The other day, however, I met ‘Uncle Ralph’ Vaughan-Williams, 0 M ?for the first tim e since 1912, and as we talked fondly of Max Beerbohm (who had been m the same form as Uncle Ralph at Charterhouse) we suddenly found ourselves singing the C arm en C arthusianum m unison, to the surprise of a crowded Palma restaurant I fe lt a little surprised, too And it certainly is strange to think that the best British caricaturist and essayist, and the best musician of my day, have also been products of that most Philistine school Goodbye T o A ll T h a t reads as ripe ancient history now, and I have so far passed the age when policemen begin to seem very young, that police-inspectors, generals and admirals do the same [305]

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Many of the fam iliar names that swim up from the past have acquired novel senses For instance, mischievous young Corporal Mike Pearson, whom I recommended for a commission from the Oxford Cadet Battalion m 1917, has become M r Lester Pearson, Canada’s most famous citizen And, by the way, Malcolm Muggeridge, u n til recently editor of Punchy who succeeded me at Cairo University, tells me that Colonel Nasser was one of my pupils there I should not be surprised Rural Majorca, too, w ith its five very moderate hotels, is now billed as Europe’s most favourite holiday place it boasts of ninety tourist planes flying m daily throughout the summer and a new first-class hotel completed every week I can’t pretend that I am pleased, and my children, the youngest of whom is four years old, look oddly at me when I te ll them that I was born m the reign of Pnnce Charles’s great-great-great-grandmother, before aero­ planes flew, when it was wicked for women to wear trousers or use lipstick, when practically nobody had electric lig h t, and when a man w ith a red flag was required by law to walk m front of every motor-car Yet I do not seem to have changed much, mentally or physically, since I came to live here, though I can no longer read a newspaper without glasses, or run upstairs three steps at a time, and have to watch my weight And if condemned to relive those lost years I should probably behave again m very much the same way, a conditioning m the Protestant m orality of the English governing classes, though qualified by mixed blood, a rebellious nature and an overriding poetic obsession, is not easily outgrown

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