12.40 a.m.—Private Merited returned with the M.O. Latter nicely dressed in musical-comedy pyjamas of ravishing hue, and great-coat, with rose-tinted feet thrust into red morocco slippers. Held consultation and explained my treatment. M.O. much impressed, anxious to know whether I was a doctor. Told him “No,” but that I knew all the ropes. First give patient castor-oil, then diet him and call every day to make sure that he doesn’t like his food. After that, if he shows signs of getting well too soon, give him a tonic. . . . M.O. stuffy.
Dec. 10.—M.O. diagnosed attack as due to something which True Born believes to be tobacco, with which he disinfects the house, the mess-sheds, and the streets of Berkhamsted.
Dec. 11.—True Born, shorn of thirteen pipes a day out of sixteen, disparages the whole race of M.O.’s.
Dec. 14.—He obtains leave to attend wedding of a great-aunt and ransacks London for a specialist who advocates strong tobacco.
Dec. 15.—He classes specialists with M.O.’s. Is surprised (and apparently disappointed) that, so far, the breaking of the looking-glass has brought me no ill-luck. Feel somewhat uneasy myself until glass is repaired by local cabinet-maker.
Jan. 10, 1917.—Lieut. True Born starts to break in another horse.
Feb. 1.—Horse broken.
March 3.—Running short of tobacco, go to my billet’s room and try a pipe of his. Take all the remedies except the castor-oil.
April 4, 8.30 a.m.—Awakened by an infernal crash and discover that my poor looking-glass is in pieces again on the floor. True Born explains that its position, between the open door and the open window, was too much for it. Don’t believe a word of it. Shall believe to my dying day that it burst in a frantic but hopeless attempt to tell Lieut. True Born the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
April 6.—The lieutenant watching for some sign of misfortune to me. Says that I can’t break a mirror twice without ill-luck following it. Me!
April 9.—Lieut. True Born comes up to me with a face full of conflicting emotions. “Your ill-luck has come at last,” he says with gloomy satisfaction. “We go under canvas on the 23rd. You are losing me!”
The night watchman had just returned to the office fire after leaving it to attend a ring at the wharf bell. He sat for some time puffing fiercely at his pipe and breathing heavily.
“Boys!” he said, at last. “That’s the third time this week, and yet if I was to catch one and skin ’im alive I suppose I should get into trouble over it. Even ’is own father and mother would make a fuss, most like. Some people have boys, and other people ’ave the trouble of ’em. Our street’s full of ’em, and the way they carry on would make a monkey-’ouse ashamed of itself. The man next door to me’s got seven of ’em, and when I spoke to ’im friendly about it over a pint one night, he put the blame on ’is wife.