False Entry: A Novel

False Entry: A Novel

False Entry: A Novel

False Entry: A Novel

Excerpt

I was born, an eight-months child, on Armistice Day of the First Great War, posthumous son of a British cavalry sergeant who had fallen some months before (not in battle, but on home encampment, while drunk, under the heel of a horse), to his widow, a dressmaker, lying in that day not in her own poor flat in World's End, but in a hastily prepared sitting room on the second floor of the house of her patron, Lady Rachel Goodman--in Golder's Green. So, there it is for what it is worth or weighs; I was born, perhaps by some already willful act of gestation, not in World's End but in Golder's Green.

At that time my mother was past thirty, and must have looked then as she looked most of her life--composed face, short body and stout calves, crinkly brown hair with a look of roughness to it--one of those sturdy, plain women who seem to age little, because nothing in the way of beauty is ever expected of them. Her father had been in the cavalry also, a sergeant major in the Indian army, but unlike my unreliable father, of whom she spoke seldom, he had been one of those trusted noncommissioned officers who were the bone of the colonial service; we still had--carefully framed, and carried later even to Alabama--the testimonial pamphlet, heavy with august military titles, presented him at his retirement dinner, the picture of him as an erect . . .

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