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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

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they would be a help to me in prison, where, I imag-
ined, no books would be allowed. I suppose I ought to
try and get used to giving up tobacco, I thought, but I
went on smoking just the same (the alternative being
to smoke as many pipes as I could while I'd got the

On Thursday morning I received an encouraging
letter from the M.P. who urged me to keep my spirits
up and was hoping to raise the question of my state-
ment in the House next week. Early in the afternoon
the Colonel called to see me. He found me learning
Keats's Ode to a Nightingale. "I cannot see what
flowers are at my feet, Nor what soft.. . ." What soft
was it, I wondered, re-opening the book. But here
was the Colonel, apparently unincensed, shaking my
hand, and sitting down opposite me, though already
looking fussed and perplexed. He wasn't a lively-
minded man at the best of times, and he didn't pre-
tend to understand the motives which had actuated
me. But with patient common-sense arguments, he
did his best to persuade me to stop wanting to stop the
War. Fortified by the M.P.'s letter in my pocket, I
managed to remain respectfully obdurate, while ex-
pressing my real regret for the trouble I was causing
him. What appeared to worry him most was the fact
that I'd cut the Medical Board. "Do you realize,
Sherston, that it had been specially arranged for you
and that an R.A.M.C. Colonel came all the way from
London for it?" he ejaculated ruefully, wiping the
perspiration from his forehead. The poor manó
whose existence was dominated by documentary in-
structions from "higher quarters", had probably been
blamed for my non-appearance; and to disregard
such an order was, to one with his habit of mind, like
a reversal of the order of nature. As the interview