Dining with Waugh 1

Having finished the report for my paper, which I had been composing during the service, I delivered it to the wireless operator at the Italian legation; as I began to search for my car the Belgian major rose up and began insulting me; I could not quite understand why until I learned that he mistook me for a German bank-clerk who had apparently lately boxed the ears of his orderly. My Indian chauffeur had got bored and gone home. Luncheon at the hotel was odious. All food supplies had been commandeered by the Government, M. Hallot told us; it was rather doubtful whether the market would open again until the end of the week. Meanwhile there were tinned chunks of pineapple and three courses of salt beef, on cut in small cubes with chopped onion, one left in a slab with tomato ketchup, one in slices with hot water and Worcestershire sauce; the waiters had gone out the night before to get drunk and had not yet woken up.

We were all in a bad temper that night.

Evelyn Waugh, Remote People. 68.

In this passage, Waugh has just written up his report of the official coronation ceremony of Haile Selassie, Emperor of Abbysinia, 1930.