Witley, March 13, 1917

22a-quarantine-march-1917-outside-the-hut-cropTuesday      Not much doing. Quarantine life is getting sickening.

“Quarantine. Outside the hut. March 1917.” At least the sun seems to be shining. The photograph is from Percy’s large album.

There was, presumably, still time to read.

235.pngIn Arizona, our pseudonymous hero of When A Man’s a Man has met Phil Acton, head cowboy for the Dean at Cross-Triangle, and a champion rider and roper. For all his hearty outdoorsman qualities, Wild Horse Phil has his own depths and agonies, and seems to recognize in the stranger someone who was “fighting one of those battles that every man must fight—and fight alone.”(1) Phil had earned his nickname because he had caught — and then let go —a magnificent black stallion. He tells Patches just how it happened:

“‘I got to thinking what it all meant to him—to be broken and educated—and—well—civilized, you know; and I thought what a horse he would be if he was left alone to live as God made him, and so—well—’ He paused again with an embarrassed laugh.” (2)

The apparent gulf between civilization (“broken and educated”) and frontier life (“as God made him”) is a major theme in the novel. Do soldiers in Witley huts think about the differences between Britain and her colonies in such terms?

(1) Wright Harold Bell. When a Man’s a Man. 1916.Chapter 3
(2) Wright. Chapter 8.

Copyright 2017. See “More about this project.”

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