TO HIS FRIEND
WHO PRINTED SOME OF THESE TRIVIALITIES
IN THAT "ANGLO-ITALIAN REVIEW"
WHICH DESERVED A BETTER FATE
SANT' AGATA, SORRENTO
What ages ago it seems, that "Great War"!
And what enthusiasts we were! What visionaries, to imagine that in such
an hour of emergency a man might discover himself to be fitted for some
work of national utility without that preliminary wire-pulling which was
essential in humdrum times of peace! How we lingered in long queues, and
stamped up and down, and sat about crowded, stuffy halls, waiting, only
waiting, to be asked to do something for our country by any little
guttersnipe who happened to have been jockeyed into the requisite
position of authority! What innocents....
I have memories of several afternoons spent at a pleasant place near St.
James's Park station, whither I went in search of patriotic employment.
It was called, I think, Board of Trade Labour Emergency Bureau (or
something equally lucid and concise), and professed to find work for
everybody. Here, in a fixed number of rooms, sat an uncertain number of
chubby young gentlemen, all of whom seemed to be of military age, or
possibly below it; the Emergency Bureau was then plainly - for it may
have changed later on - a hastily improvised shelter for privileged
sucklings, a kind of nursery on advanced Montessori methods.