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[Page 22]

is it?'

'Oh no. Nothing like an amputation. You open intelligently and
you are on the job at once.'

'Well, in that case it would be very kind of you, I am sure.'

Stephen carried on the [to] the military headquarters, and walking
in he found Miller already there, not to his surprise although [because] it was
an almost daily occurrence, but surprising in the way the bunches
of flowers had increased and in Christine's marked unfavourable

'Oh Captain Miller,' he said, accompanying him to the
door. 'I happened to tell the Admiral that I will probably [perform an] operation
upon a favorable hernia tomorrow. Should you like to attend?'

'Is it a bloody operation?'

'Oh no, not what one should really [call] really bloody. If
your first incision is badly mistaken it can be somewhat
distressing, but we do not usually mistake.'

'I am sure you do not. But if I may I will excuse myself
for this occasion though with many thanks for your polite attention.'

'Good day to you, sir.'

'Stephen, my dear,' said Christine. 'I am afraid I must
beg you to tell that man not to call unless he is invited. He
is becoming quite a nuisance - a wonderfully confident nuisance.
He spent a long time talking to me through all these flowers and telling
me that when he had taken up his appointed position at the
Cape and when he had married to [a] woman he had chosen, there
would be virtually nobody in the colony to compete with him in
wealth and influence. I have met with some fools in my life
even some god-damned fools, and a good many of them; but I have
never met with such a confident ass as Miller: I suppose he