Sunday, January 04, 2009

Thursday 8th April 1943

A ghastly day. At 2:30p.m. we were inspected by a chief matron or some similar big shot. Preparing for this, the whole ward had been plunged into panic at 6:30 a.m. and King Chaos had reigned from then on. Frantic cleaning and cleaning and re-cleaning and arranging and re-arranging... everyone tense-nerved. Very restful atmosphere for neurotic patients!

Went down to Ward 37. It looked a proper insane house! Heavily barred windows with vacant faces peering out. My God! I though, some of my old dread of mad people returning. But suddenly I came to a room where Chief Rampelli M'swani sat reading. He looked up, laughed suddenly, and came to the window, to shake my hand. Ghandi looked much more young and fit, though quieter than before.

This room quickly filled, not with lunatics, but with my old friends – Taffy, Jock the Killick, Joe Louis – also looking well – and Rhoditis the Greek (very fit). Suddenly there was a bellow - “Ah! Stefanie!” and there was Paras!- Theodorus! crushing my hand. He did not look so well – white faced and gaunt – but was as boisterous and expressive as ever. The nigger sergeant was brought in by Ghandi. He looked at me blankly, and walked out again. Entered the Greek sergeant, with the usual rum smile on his face. He spat out mass Greek, grinning. “Very mad today,” muttered Paras, “He says wants you open door.” “Sergeant, three days protective cell (padded room). Tomorrow, same, maybe,” said Rhoditis cheerily.

Paras sang “Chanson de la Revolution” for me, whilst Joe Louis and M'swani wrote a letter to Ramatodi, in 33. I took it up there. Hamad had gone. Mizrahi said he'd had an attack in the night - “Ch'moon” again – and had been taken away. No trace of him! Din was equally mystified. I didn't think the prison-like atmosphere of 33 would be good for Hamad. Yesterday, I heard him say to the orderly, “After three days here, maybe I kill myself.”

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