Mary went to sleep
almost as soon as she lay down on her cot. The back of the tent was propped
open and a good cool breeze blew down from the mountain and through the tent.
We ordinarily slept facing the open door of the tent but I took the pillows and
placed them at the opposite end of the cot and, doubling them over and with the
balsam pillow under my neck, lay on the cot with my boots and trousers off and
read with the good light behind me. I was reading a very good book by Gerald
Hanley who had written another good book called The Consul at Sunset. This book
was about a lion who made much trouble and killed practically all the
characters in the book. G.C. and I used to read this book in the mornings on
the latrine to inspire us. There were a few characters the lion did not kill
but they were all headed for some other sort of bad fate so we did not really
mind. Hanley wrote very well and it was an excellent book and very inspiring
when you were in the lion-hunting business. I had seen a lion come at speed
once and I had been very impressed and am still impressed. On this afternoon I
was reading the book very slowly because it was such a good book and I did not
want to finish it. I was hoping the lion would kill the hero or the Old Major
because they were both very noble and nice characters and I had gotten very
fond of the lion and wanted him to kill some upper-bracket characters. The lion
was doing very well though and he had just killed another very sympathetic and
important character when I decided it would be better to save the rest and got
up and pulled on my trousers and put my boots on without zipping them up and
went over to see if G.C. was awake. I coughed outside his tent the way The
Informer always did outside the mess tent.
General," G.C. said.
said. "A man's home is his castle. Are you feeling up to facing the deadly
early yet. Did Mary sleep?"
sleeping. What are you reading?"
It's damned good. What were you reading?"
"The Year of
the Lion. I'm sweating out the lion."
reading that for a month."
I finished talking
to G.C. and went over to the tent to see Mary.