overspread his face. "You'll stay here; and when
you leave here, you'll find yourself back at the front
in double-quick time. How d'you like that idea?"
In order to encourage him, I pretended to be upset by
his severity; but he seemed to recognize that I wasn't
satisfactory material for his peculiar methods, and I
departed without having contested the question of go-
ing to the country. I was told afterwards that officers
had been known to leave this doctor's room in tears.
But it must not be supposed that I regard his behaviour
as an example of Army brutality. I prefer to think of
him as a man who craved for power over his fellow
men. And though his power over the visiting patients
was brief and episodic, he must have derived extra-
ordinary (and perhaps sadistic) satisfaction from the
spectacle of young officers sobbing and begging not
to be sent back to the front.
I never saw the supposedly sadistic doctor again;
but I hope that someone gave him a black eye, and
that he afterwards satisfied his desire for power over
his fellow men in a more public-spirited manner.
Next morning I handed the letter of the Countess
to a slightly higher authority, with the result that I
only spent three nights in the Great Central Hotel,
and late on a fine Saturday afternoon I travelled down
to Sussex to stay with Lord and Lady Asterisk.
NUTWOOD MANOR was everything that a wounded
officer could wish for. From the first I was con-
scious of a kindly welcome. It was the most perfect
house Fd ever stayed in. Also, to put the matter
plainly, it was the first time I'd ever stayed with an
Earl. "Gosh! This is a slice of luck," I thought. A