20 September 1914

Calderon had only been separated from Kittie three days, but was missing her.  Yesterday was a Saturday.

My servant wanted to go up to see his wife; I thought of my old ‘ooman with a tearful sigh, and told him to stay as long as the regulations allowed.  The Colonel’s gone too and left the big dogged bullocky fellow named ‘Beef’ in charge; he’s the second in command; he’s Lord Tweedmouth.  I feel rather out of it not being the Marquis of anything or having three chargers and a motor car; but daresay it will come right in the end.  I’m a good deal alone, of course, being a new boy — even in the mess-tent.

He closed his letter yesterday with a list of things he needed (a sponge, 2 or 3 safety pins, an electric torch, a ‘cocoa-brick’), and the words ‘With greatest love’.

Kittie was right to worry about him and too much solitude: he was prone to plummeting depression in such circumstances, and on one occasion on Tahiti had almost suffered a nervous collapse.  But today, Sunday, he wrote to her that he felt ‘robuster’ and ‘more at home here’.  He covered three small sides with a list of more things he wanted her to buy and send down to him, some of them equestrian equipment, but closed with what seems a sudden development: ‘I’ve got my little pigeonhole on the letter-stand now, labelled “2nd Lieut. Calderon”.’  So although ‘only’ an interpreter, he had a foot on the military ladder.

Next entry: The thickness of events…


About Patrick Miles

I am a writer who specialises in Anton Chekhov and is writing a biography of George Calderon.
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