30 November 2014

#123 Toulon

At Toulon there was a lot of sun and a breeze from the sea.  The interior of the railway station appeared neatly arranged for the opening act of a musical comedy.   Sailors with white trousers and red pom-poms in their caps wandered about pointing at Cocteau's latest on the bookstalls, or watched the engines puffing up and down the line.  Some Tonquinese infantrymen were entraining for the Buddhist temple at Frejus.  Overgrown blacks from Senegal, with their waists pinched in by red cummerbunds and wearing high tarbooshes on their tiny heads, leant against the wall, finding perpetual amusement in the antics of the French.  A Captain of Spahis in a scarlet tunic, baggy trousers, and a long cloak strode up and down as if he were about to sing the first number of the show.

Anthony Powell, What's Become of Waring
Contributed by Michael Barber