Orwell Diaries 1938-1942


Open-air church parade in Regents Park yesterday. How touching the scene ought to be – the battalion in hollow square, band of the Coldstream Guards, the men standing bareheaded (beautiful autumn day, faint mist and not a leaf stirring, dogs gambolling round) and singing the hymns as best they could. But unfortunately there was a sermon with the jingoistic muck which is usual on these occasions and which makes me go pro-German for as long as I listen to it. Also a special prayer “for the people of Stalingrad” – the Judas kiss. [A detail that gets me down on these occasions is the clergyman’s white surplice, which looks all wrong against a background of military uniforms. Struck by the professionalism of the band, especially the bandmaster (an officer in the black peaked cap of the Guards). As each prayer drew to its close, a stirring in the band, the trombones comes out of their leather suitcases, the bandmaster’s baton comes up, and they are ready to snap into the Amen just as the priest reaches “through Jesus Christ our Lord”.]