Saturday, January 17, 2009

Saturday 27th November 1943

A new “character” has arrived in this ward. His name is Larti; or probably it isn't. Anyway it's some damn queer name. He's a British subject too – from Constantinople. Some rum sorts of British subjects are coming to light these days. Larti is a tall, heavily built man who looks quite tough.

However his voice, when he speaks, is timid, silky and high-pitched. “Hullo! Who are you, old man?” I asked when I first saw him (he does not look un-English, at first glance). When I spoke he jumped to attention and said humbly, “Larti. Roman Catholic.” “Where are you from?” “Istanbul. British subject.” “Ha!” I said. “You seem a nice man,” he added timidly, “Do you like me?” “Sure, old man! Sure, I like you,” I cried heartily and at a loss, turning away. “Good afternoon, sir.” “Cheerio!”

A few moments later he approached me cringingly and said, “Excuse me. Did I say “excuse me” for saying “sir”?” “Yes. Yes!.” I assured him hastily. “Oh. Good afternoon.” “Cheerio.”

A queer hawk, that feller! He's been apologising and whispering “good night”, “good morning” and “good evening” to everyone, ever since!

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