Monday, June 7, 2010

6 June, 1911

My birthday! I thought everyone would forget, but they didn't! Sorry, but I've had a bit to drink.

So: begin with the weather, Con: Tonight the moon has emerged from behind the mountain and sails across the cloudless northern sky; the wind has fallen and the scene is glorious.

At lunch an immense birthday cake made its appearance and we were photographed all assembled around it. Clissold had decorated its sugared top with various devices in chocolate and crystallized fruit, flags, and photographs of myself!

After my walk I discovered that great preparations were in progress for a special dinner, and when the hour for that arrived we sat down to a sumptuous spread with our sledge banners hung about us. Clissold's especially excellent seal soup, roast mutton and red currant jelly, fruit salad, asparagus and chocolate—such was our menu. For drink we had cider cup, a mystery not yet fathomed, some sherry and liqueur.

After this luxurious meal everyone was very festive and amiably argumentative. As i write there is a group in the dark room discussing politics; another one at one corner of the dinner table is airing views on the origin of matter, and the probability of its ultimate discovery; and yet another is debating military problems. The scraps of conversation that reach me sometimes piece together in a ludicrous fashion. Perhaps this is an effect of the mystery drink. Perhaps these arguments are practically unprofitable, but they give a great deal of pleasure to the participants. It is delightful to hear the ring of triumph in a voice. They are boys, all of them, but such excellent, good-natured ones; there has been no sign of sharpness or anger, no jarring note, in all these worldly contests; all end with a laugh.

This is what the table normally looks like.

By jove, I'm awfully sleepy.

I wonder what they'll do for me next year?

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