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The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918



I was hungry. For two weeks I had been in that long, white ward, and had reached the stage when my ear registered the sound instantly when the youngest fly became snared in the tangle foot on my locker. I found it difficult to reconcile my particular case with milk diet, but milk diet it was—and I was hungry as a starved crow.

In the early days, I conjured up visions of 12 course dinners, but the effort, on milk foods, must have overtaxed my strength, for when the following incident occurred my imagination had volplaned from epicurean heights to the level of bully beef. I was now a penitent petitioner at the shrine of tinned Bovine, seeking absolution for past backsliding.

It was afternoon, and the ward was tranquil as a convent close. A silvery sound broke the silence, and rolling over in bed, I saw at the far end of the ward a dainty figure in white, one of those dear girls who visit our hospitals and bestow smiles, good wishes and flowers on the boys. As she passed from bed to bed, the White Lady gave each patient a spray of, yes, surely it was verbena!

Verbena! Home thoughts came thronging to me from the past, thoughts garlanded with verbena. My hunger died, and I craved only for more memories fragrant with the perfume of that flower.

I became impatient at the girl's slow progress, and alarmed that she would have no verbena left for me.

At length, she stood beside me, smiling as she held out a sprig of the magic plant. I took it with unseemly haste, and closing my eyes, yielded myself to the joy of a long inhalation— H—l! It was mint!! Ye loaves and little lambkins, blue-aproned butchers, white-capped chefs, suave waiters, and sauce tureens—Mint!!

The shock was too great; I lay still for a while, pursuing in vision be-ribboned, gambolling lambs, which wore wreaths of mint. Then I laughed so long and loud, that the White Lady fled.

The M. O. came on the scene, and I showed him the nucleus of a cold lamb dinner. He took the hint, and my diet sheet was altered to "No. 2". After all, I can bless the Maid of the Mint.