Skip to main content

Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

See other formats

solitude and mental escape from my surroundings.
When cold weather came I was allowed a scuttle
of coal and could lie in bed watching the firelight
flickering on the walls and the embers glowing in the
grate. On such nights I remembered untroubled days
and idealized my childhood, returning to the times
when I was recovering from some illness and could
dwell in realms of reverie, as when one surrenders to
the spell of a book which evokes summers long ago
and people transmuted by the author's mind to happy
phantoms. Imagination recreated Aunt Evelyn read-
ing aloud to me—her voice going lullingly on and on
with one of R. L. Stevenson's stories, until she decided
that it was time for some more medicine, for she was
fond of amateur doctoring, and soon she would be
busy with the medicine dropper, preparing one of her
homeopathic remedies. Now I come to think of it,
Aunt Evelyn's world was divided into "Homeopats"
and "Allopats", who were much the same as Con-
servatives and Liberals; and the "Allopats" were in
the same category as Radicals in whom no virtue
resided. In other words, my reveries went back to
the beginning of these memoirs, living them over
again until August 1914 pulled me up short.

This was a permissible self-indulgence, for the past
was still there to be used as a sedative in discreet
doses—three drops in half a wineglass of water, so to
speak. Looking at the future was quite a different

There had been times since I came to Slateford
when I had, rather guardedly, given myself a glimpse
of an apris la guerre existence, but I hadn't done any
cosy day-dreaming about it. My talks with Rivers
had increased my awareness of the limitations of my
pre-war life. He had shown that he believed me to