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quarters of General Smuts. I wondered whether the
anecdote would interest Lord Asterisk; but (the ladies
having left the table) he was embarking on his cus-
tomary after-dinner oratory, while the young officer
guests sipped their port and coffee and occasionally
put in a respectful remark. The old fellow was getting
very feeble, I thought, as I watched the wreckage of
his fine and benevolent face. He sat with his chin on
his chest; his brow and nose were still firm and
authoritative. Sometimes his voice became weak and
querulous, but he appeared to enjoy rolling out his
deliberate parliamentary periods. Talking about the
War, he surprised me by asserting the futility of wait-
ing for a definite military decision. Although he had
been a Colonial Governor, he was e 'profoundly con-
vinced of the uselessness of some of our Colonies",
which, he said, might just as well be handed over to
the Germans. He turned to the most articulate officer
at the table. "I declare to you, my dear fellow"
(voice sinking to a mumble), "I declare to you"
(louder), "have you any predominating awareness"
(pause) "of—Sierra Leone?"
As for Belgium, he invoked the evidence of history
to support him in his assertion that its "redemption"
by the Allies was merely a manifestation of patriotic
obliquity. The inhabitants of Belgium would be just
as happy as a German Subject-State. To the vast
majority of them their national autonomy meant
nothing. While I was trying to remember the exact
meaning of the word autonomy, he ended the discus-
sion by remarking, "But I'm only an old dotard!"
and we pretended to laugh, naturally, as if it were
quite a good joke. Then he reverted to a favourite
subject of his, viz., the ineffectiveness of ecclesiastical
administrative bodies. "Oh what worlds of dreary