Saturday, January 03, 2009

Thursday 18th March 1943

Poor Chadwick resisted his phrenazol injection yesterday, so now he feels more of a failure than ever. “Now I'm finished,” he says, “I'm that guilty... I've done wrong. I shouldn't be in here...” (A regular ray of sunshine.)

Jock Farrell is on a prolonged narcosis course like poor old Paddy. He's been on it for some time now but it's only just begun to work, ie he has fallen asleep. For the first few hours of “narcosis” he was more noisy than ever. Steady monologues re: “the right girl”, “splitting the atom” and “the Royal Engineers.” Eventually he said, “One King, one country. And my king's Captain Cassels. An' you go see him an' he'll put a brain in your head. With a bullet. And then – I'll end the war – when I split the atom – What with? A bloody big axe of course!!

They gave him a cigarette and he lay down, too sleepy to open the window of his enclosure again. “Gimme a match, will you? What's the use – of a cigarette – without a match?” And his voice died away to sleepy mumblings, and stopped. The last thing he said sounded like a reference to the right girl, Betty Lennigan. The unlighted cigarette is still in his fingers now, a couple of hours later.

The crazy Greek sergeant has a good voice, and tonight he sang a good song. Very stirring. “Stephanie!” bellowed a familiar voice as I passed the keteer magdnoon ward. “Paras Theodorus!” I shouted back and went in to congratulate Paras on his sergeants' song. Apparently it was a communist song, for Paras immediately flourished the clenched fist when I hummed the tune. He then went to the sergeant's special kennel, spat out a spate of Greek, then pranced up to me with a cry of “Staso! Toru!” and held up a dramatic hand for silence.

A moment later the unseen sergeant began to sing again – a special request performance for three (not counting the orderly). Anastas listened with quiet amusement, but Paras was profoundly moved. The sergeant sang his song right through, several verses. Damn good.

Afterwards I handed him a note book and pencil. More rapid Greek from Paras, in which I caught three words... “Corporal... Artillery... Grapho” “Bravo!” cried the sergeant and began to write furiously (“Social Democrat” said Paras, proudly). The sergeant sat, all tousled haired and cheerful, in a heap of blankets on the floor; part of his bed and a mattress was propped against the wall. He looked a typical Anarchist, never mind Social Democrat! In a few minutes the song was written out and handed back to me, with more fist clenching. The next step is to get those two pages of jargon translated into English, as nearly as possible!


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