A LIBRARIAN in training “somewhere in England” sends us the following: Before I set out to be a soldier, I sketched out the plan of a vast work which was to record my impressions of life in the ranks and narrate (in the grand manner of Napier) my adventures on active service; a work which would, I believed, become a classic of intimate revelation, as well as a chronicle as gripping as the “Seven Pillars.” Needless to say, before I had been many days in a barrackroom I abandoned the scheme: or rather, the project took flight of its own accord. For I found that, though there was much to write about, and a good deal that might make interesting reading, the power to step out of myself to observe and describe failed completely. The struggle between the individual and the military machine resulted in the rout of the former's defences. I could not think and create, but only think and obey. The writing of epics, I reflected, was not consistent with the life of a man mentally bound. So I fell back on the never‐failing anodyne, my oldest ally, reading.
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