October 14th 1939 – Madras


On Thursday went in to watch the Wiltshire’s retreat, in the fort, had supper and watched our Khatlak dance, which was laid on in the fort for the benefit of the troops. First one I ever saw and it was good, though the ground was too hard for hurling themselves about, and in mixed company it was quite clean. After that we went to Connema, John, Maitland France and self. I had one dance with Mrs Green, not being invite in the other party, but she had an awful, grim man in the navy department.

So I go up to Maitland who is sitting talking to a girl and I say “May I steal you away” to the girl (not France), and Maitland introduces me and I keep her for the rest of the evening. One Celia Mockett, who’s father is a judge here. One other gent asks her for a dance but apart from that, I do very well. A few catty remarks made on the way home.

I wonder if I shall see this war. The Koikhais think we shall go to Wana, and if so I reckon we shall be forgotten and left to rot – unless the Mashouds should decide to try their luck again. We never get any gossip here, as in Razmak, as apart from us and the Wilts in Madras, there are no other regulars. I read the Madras Mail in the mornings after breakfast, and the pictures of troops off to, and in, France that I see make me grumble over my lot for the rest of the morning. How long we stay here I don’t know but John (QM) was asked yesterday by the powers above if we had accommodation for an imposing list of M.T. But then we are not equipped for war in Europe, and Congress are trying to blackmail London to give them Dominion status before India helps in the war.

Bought a 17/6d air gun – Tell – for 38 rupees here, at Orr’s – the bloody shark – for shooting tree rats – good sport. 12 bore cartridges are 17/-, though last time I enquired before the war they were 12/-, 13/-, and they are surely the same stock, so it is only profiteering.

A guest night with the Wiltshires tonight – so I suppose I sahll get no sleep tonight, as hope to go out shooting tomorrow at the crack o’dawn. No letters since the war, and I should like to see and English paper again. Must do something about these carpets. I have the bloody job of learning Indian Officers and keymen’s jobs, being closely questioned every morning by Ray Niven in the orderly room.

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