For Esmé with Love and Squalor
Nobody's aiming to please, here. More really to edify, to instruct. (2)
I'd packed all my belongings into my barrack bag, including a canvas gas-mask container full of books I'd brought over from the Other Side. (The gas mask itself I'd slipped through a porthole of the Mauretania some weeks earlier, fully aware that if the enemy ever did use gas, I'd never get the damn thing on in time). (4)
"May I inquire how you were employed before entering the Army?" Esmé asked me.
I said I hadn't been employed at all, that I'd only been out of college a year but that I like to think of myself as a professional short-story writer. (70-71)