I have been rather amused by the protests which have come to me regarding the "disparaging" comments I have made, in previous tales of the Special Patrol Service, regarding women. The rather surprising ...
I have been rather amused by the protests which have come to me
regarding the "disparaging" comments I have made, in previous tales of
the Special Patrol Service, regarding women. The rather surprising
thing about it is that the larger proportion of these have come from
men. Young men, of course.
Now, as a matter of fact, a careful search has failed to reveal to me
any very uncomplimentary remarks. I have suggested, I believe, that
women have, in my experience, shown a sad lack of ability to
understand mechanical contrivances. Perhaps I have pictured some few
of them as frivolous and shallow. If I have been unfair, I wish now to
make humble apology.
I am not, as some of my correspondents have indicated, a bitter old
man, who cannot remember his youth. I remember it very well indeed,
else these tales would not be forthcoming. And women have their great
and proper place, even in a man's universe.
Some day, perhaps, the mood will seize me to write of my own love
affair. That surprises you? You smile to think that old John Hanson,
lately a commander of the Special Patrol Service, now retired, should
have had a love affair? Well, 'twas many years ago, before these eyes
lost their fire, and before these brown, skinny hands wearied as
quickly as they weary now....
But I have known many women--good women and bad; great women and women
of small souls; kindly women, and women fierce as wild bears are
fierce. Divinity has dealt lavishly with women; has given them an
emotional range far greater than man's. They can sink to depths
unknown to masculinity; they can rise to heights of love and sacrifice
before which man can only stand with reverently bowed head and marvel.
This is a story of a woman--one of those no man could know and not
remember. I make no apologies for her; I pay her no homage. I record
only a not inaccurate account of an adventure of my youth, in which
she played a part; I leave to you the task of judging her.
* * * * *
We were some three days out from Base, as I recall it, on a mission
which promised a welcome interlude in a monotonous sequence of routine
patrols. I was commander then of the _Ertak_, one of the crack ships
of the Service, and assisted by the finest group of officers, I
believe, that any man ever had under him.