Saturday, June 27, 2009

I need to read Brideshead Revisited

I am serious. No kidding --- I just found a strange new respect for Evelyn Waugh --- no kidding.

This guy sounds exactly like the guy Skippy and I would want to go to war with ... here's why.

I enjoy driving off the Interstate. Likewise, I like to troll around old used book stores and the book sections of flee markets. Combine that with and interest in the under told stories of warfare - I bumbled into and interesting little book about an interesting and, at least to me, unknown corner of WWII. For example, Ken Ford's Assault on Germany : The Battle for Geilenkirchen.

If you crack it open to page 26 and started reading the following, I ask you; how could you not spit out a few bucks for this book .... and then not want to get hold of Waugh's
Brideshead Revisited?
Waugh had applied to the War Office for leave to complete his late3st novel - Brideshead Revisited (Everyman's Library Classics) - but was told that he had been found employment with Major-General Thomas as an ADC. At a meeting arranged over lunch a the Aperitif Restaurant in London, Waugh tried to warn Thomas that he was not the ideal man to be an aide-de-camp, but nonetheless the general was rather taken with the thought of having a literary celebrity on his staff and accepted the novelist for a week's trail.

It was a disaster. Waugh arrived at the Divisional HQ on Tuesday, 29 February, and was gone by the Thursday of the same week. The reason for his short stay and his relations with the general, were recorded in Waugh's diary:
The primary lack of sympathy seemed to come from my being slightly drunk in his mess on the first evening. I told him I could not change the habits of a lifetime for a whim of his. The HQ was architecturally deplorable and the staff glum and drab.
One of the staff officers at the HQ, Lieutenant-Colonel Williams Thomas, remembers Waugh's short stay and a quite different reason for his departure:
Evelyn Waugh was always pretty well 'oiled' and got sacked shortly after his arrival when he came gangling down the stairs in 'A' Mess singing, "His father was a harpist, his father was a harpist." Waugh had been checking in Who's Who and discovered that Thomas's father had been a harpist to Queen Victoria. We all thought it was hilarious. I do not thing Waught was ever forgiven for letting the cat out of the bag!
That is a character to go to war with ... for a couple of days only, perhaps.

He can room with Skippy.

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