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Bill Thayer

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January 2

This webpage reproduces a section of
The Collected Works
of Ducrot Pepys

Ronan C. Grady

Newburgh, N. Y., 1943

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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January 29
This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

 p63  January 15, 1943 . . . .

Monday. We have been studying many new things since Christmas. Among them are Military Hygiene and Thermodynamics. My other wife whose study of heat has hitherto been confined to the canned variety is greatly distressed by Thermodynamics. The Hygiene course consists of lectures and revolting movies upon various diseases and what the body does to combat these diseases. I do hope that my corpuscles do not listen to all this and start taking themselves seriously as guardians of my health and try to eat up all the germs in my flimsy body. There is no sense in hurting anyone's feelings and besides if they succeeded in clearing my veins of microbes, and if I did not then come crashing down around their ears from lack of support, they would get awfully lonely, just the five of them.

Tuesday. Today I acted as assistant gym instructor, a harrowing job. The same spirit of mad abandon that left my torso a mass of seared scars still prevails in that House of Horrors. While on duty I was unfortunately discovered in the act of giving some water to a plebe who had broken his leg and who was chained up to the stall bars, as an example to the others, in order to discourage carelessness. I was severely reprimanded and sent home in disgrace with the word "Softy" ringing in my ears.

Wednesday. It is a matter of history that there was once a certain Giles, Marquis de Sade,​a who was Lord Constable of France. As Lord Constable he had direct charge of the French troops. He was normal except for the regrettable delusion that he could stay young and full of vigor, by bathing in the fresh blood of children. Saturday night at the Lord Constable's house was quite an affair. I do not like to think about this, but we seem to have fewer and fewer fourth classmen. And they do say that History repeats itself. One wonders.

Thursday. Graduation comes on apace. My wives are very excited. My sane wife says that a little bird told him that he was going to be an adjutant or something. That bird must have given in to the prevailing moral corruption of the times. My other wife thinks this Graduation is for us. I have not bothered to disabuse him as I want to see his face when he tries to get a diploma at Graduation exercises and they throw him off the platform.

Friday. We are beginning the Graduation festivities. The First Class no longer has any academics and has plunged into a gay whirl of ice‑skating and organ recitals. Certain of them who are going to be married are either walking about with a happy look, or a look which shall be nameless, or no look whatsoever.

[image ALT: A drawing of a young man wearing a military uniform and visored hat with a crest in the center that bears a helmet on a shield. He has a dazed or stunned expression. It is a cartoon of a West Point cadet who is about to graduate and about to get married.]

". . . or no look whatsoever. . ."

Saturday. There was a review and a gala Saturday Inspection today. I admit that it was scheduled upon the June Week program as part of the celebration, but my other wife should have known better than to drag to it.

Sunday. Soon now comes Graduation. We all wish the class of '43 good luck, and we will see that they get at least an hour's start. If things break right they should make good their escape.

Thayer's Note:

a The author doesn't really mean the relatively inoffensive Marquis de Sade (18c‑19c), whose Christian names were Donatien Alphonse François: rather the much more sinister Gilles de Rais (15c), a serial murderer of children.

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Page updated: 16 Aug 12