Leaving behind forever the ~ahem~ beep show of yesterday’s selections, I will now post some excerpts about a related topic from Evelyn Waugh’s brilliant Sword of Honour trilogy. Specifically, the story arc of the rise and fall of the mysterious thunder-box belonging to Lieutenant Apthorpe. It comes from the first book, Men at Arms, Chapter 3, “Apthorpe Furibundus”, After toting around and finally installing his device to the unending and ironical amusement of the hero, Lt. Guy Crouchback, Apthorpe realizes the brigadier general has taken a fancy to it. A struggle for control ensues:


“For two days Apthorpe posted himself in the bushes near his shed and spent every available minute on watch. On the third day he drew Guy aside and said: “Crouchback, I owe you an apology. It isn’t you who has been using my thunder-box.”
“I knew that.”
“Yes, but you must admit the circumstances were very suspicious. Anyway, I’ve found out who it is, and it’s most disturbing.”
“Not Sarum-Smith?”
“No. Much more disturbing than that. It’s the brigadier.”
“Do you think he’s got clap?”
“No. Most unlikely. Far too much a man of the world. But the question arises, what action ought I to take?”
“It’s a matter of principle. As my superior officer he has no more right to use my thunder-box than to wear my boots.”
“Well, I’d lend him my boots if he wanted them.”

“Perhaps; but then, if you’ll forgive my saying so, you’re not very particular about your boots, are you, old man? Anyway you think it my duty to submit without protest.”
“I think you’ll make a tremendous ass of yourself if you don’t.”
“I shall have to think about it. Do you think I ought to consult the B.M.?”
“You may be right.”