pose? have been applied even to the patients, on
whom it was incumbent that they should be looking
their best. "Always remember that you belong to the
smartest shell-shock hospital in the British Army"
should have been the order of the day.
But the commandant had his own ideas about eye-
wash, and he decided that the general should, just
for once, see a war hospital as it really was.
He did this as a matter of principle, since in his
opinion a shell-shock hospital was not the same thing
as a parade ground. But administrative inspectorship
failed to see the point of that sort of thing, and the
mandarin was genuinely shocked by what he in-
spected. He went into the kitchen and found that he
couldn't see his face reflected in a single frying-pan.
You couldn't eat your dinner off the bathroom floors,
and Sam Browne belts were conspicuous by their
absence. Worst of all, most of the medical staff were
occupied with their patients, instead of standing
about and wasting their time for an hour or two
while awaiting the arrival of their supreme therapeu-
tic war-lord. Profoundly displeased, he departed.
The place was a disgrace, and only showed what
happened when civilians in uniform were allowed to
run a war hospital in their own way. The command-
ant was notified that someone else would take over
his commandancy, and the rest of the staff sent in
their resignations as a demonstration of loyalty to
him. These after-effects, as far as I can remember,
were as yet unknown to the patients. Had I been
aware that Rivers would soon be leaving the hospital
I am sure I should not have done the very stupid
thing which I am about to describe.