Saturday, January 03, 2009

Sunday 21st March 1943

Hamad had a bit of a seizure this afternoon and began to sling the furniture about. He was carried out into the “C” tent like a baby, in Jim's arms. This was a definite loss to the ward, but he came back , subdued, a few hours later. King Kong, Gasasini and B'Sikui (Joe Louis) all refused their grub this morning. Subsequently they all went to see the nigger sergeant, doubtless to get their orders for creating further disturbances. Ghandi didn't pay a visit though. I fancy he does not accept the sergeant's leadership like the others do. For one thing he's of a different tribe and also claims to be a “chief” himself.

Chadwick had a pulse of 130 this morning, when we were collecting the washing, which shows the state he's in. Seems very morose; he has been reading the Bible all day, but did not rouse himself enough to go to church.

The Killick is not so good. His super-vitality has waned and he's very worried about some vague trouble. There appears to be a Machiavellian plot against him and he is very suspicious about his mail from home. He thinks someone else is writing to him, not his wife. “They're not the sort of letters she writes,” he says. Sometime his eyes seem quite crazy. “I'll get to the bottom of this,” he says, “There are some high officers in this. Making me suffer.” And another time, staring at a letter from his wife, he muttered, “You won't get hold of my money so easily, my girl.”
For a long, ghastly time he sat on his bed vacantly staring – just like he used to do. My God! I thought, has he slipped back? He wouldn't answer Taffy's urgent questionings for a long time and then, very tired, he said slowly and quietly, “No – I'm alright – thank you.”

I've been very happy today, for I wrote another poem called “Vista.” It was quite hard work, and kept me busy nearly all day. Now – half an hour ago – I have entered it in my book. It is the most regular-styled and placid poem I have written for a long time, and contains no bitter twist.

Jock is still on the PN course. He is very strong, and doesn't sleep much, considering. He doesn't object to the injections! “What about another jag, Sister?” he often says.

Betty Lennigan is out of favour now. He wants to get married to one of the Sisters. Not later on, or tomorrow. Immediately! He still sends for me at frequent intervals. “Where's that bloody corporal of artillery, or private or whatever he is?” “Here, Jock!” “Ah! Where do you come from, mate?” “Warwickshire.” “And you want to go back there? By the shortest and quickest route, don't you?” “Yes, Jock.” “Alright, I'll send you home tomorrow – if you give me a fag now...!”

“Orderly!” cried Joe Louis just now. “Chief Rampelli Masani want bottle!” Mass laughter from the blacks, much white teeth, grimaces and eye-rolling from Ghandi. They're in a good humour tonight, so their sergeant must have given them peaceful counsels. Joe Louis and Gasasiui were given gargles this afternoon, which they both thoroughly enjoyed.


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