It was after 2
that I got back to the hotel. I was awakened what seemed to be only minutes
later by the radio in the lounge downstairs, which was going full blast. I
thought this curious, it being Sunday morning. I rang for some tea, and shortly
a frightened girl with red hair brought it up to my room.
racket?" I asked.
"We are at
war, sir," she replied. "It's the Prime Minister explaining it
And when I got
downstairs I found Commander Onslow and the Sassenachs listening gravely to the
words of Mr. Chamberlain. In the midst of it all, in bounced a huge, nervous
man in a fore-and-aft hat and a splendid suit of loud tweed, a shooting stick
in one hand and an expensive shotgun in the other, a Purdey, I would assume. It
was Lord Lochamilton.
His popped eyes
were rolling in his big red face, and he had obviously taken something to
soothe his stomach because his mouth was rimmed with a faint white foam.
devil's going on here?" he demanded.
Mibsy," Onslow said to the lord in a rather irreverent way. "We are at
It was true all
right, and the following morning when we learned that the Athenia had been sunk
the night before off the Irish coast with a loss of a hundred lives or more, I
was very glad I had taken Mr. Mann's advice and come up to Stornoway.
And so it was
that I stayed up in that purple-and-blue, spray-speckled country amongst these
warmhearted and generous people for over a month, one of the happiest periods
of my life.
The vexing and
vicious aspects of existence were suspended for me. I shot grouse on the moors
with Reggie and Nobby, played golf on a sheep-meadow course near the Milbost
Sands and poached in some of Lochamilton's lochs with help and advice from
Murdoch. He showed me how to tickle trout, but it badly scared me every time I
touched one. I would jump, and it would slide out of my hand in a flash.