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reassuring man-servant conducted me upstairs. My
room was called "The Clematis Room"; I noticed
the name on the door. Leaning my elbows on the
window-sill, I gazed down at the yew hedges of a
formal garden; woods and meadows lay beyond and
below, glorious with green and luminous in evening
light; far away stood the Sussex Downs, and it
did my heart good to see them. Everything in the
pretty room was an antithesis to ugliness and discom-
fort. Beside the bed there was a bowl of white lilac
and a Bible. Opening it at random to try my luck, I
put my finger on the following verse from the Psalms:
"The words of his mouth were smoother than butter,
but war was in his heart." Rather an odd coincidence,
I thought, that the word "war95 should turn up like
that; but the Old Testament's full of fighting. . . .
While I was changing into my best khaki uniform I
could hear quiet feet and murmurous voices moving
about the house; doors closed discreetly on people
about to dress for dinner. Still almost incredulous at
my good fortune I went downstairs, to be greeted by
a silver-haired and gracious hostess, and introduced
to three other officers, all outwardly healthy and
gentlemanly-looking. I was presented to Lord Aster-
isk, over eighty and crippled with rheumatism, but
resolutely holding on to a life which had been devoted
to useful public service. Respectfully silent, I listened
to his urbane eloquence and felt sufficiently at my
ease to do justice to a very good dinner. The port wine
went its round; and afterwards, in the drawing-room,
I watched Lady Asterisk working at some embroidery
while one of the officers played Gluck and Handel on
the piano. Nothing could have been more tranquil
and harmonious than my first evening at Nutwood
Manor. Nevertheless I failed to fall asleep in the