54 MEMORIES OF MY LIFE
guardian the case of touching one end of a very long rope, but could get no reasonable answer, any more than a child can when he puts searching questions. Violation of quarantine is a very serious offence. A soldier would shoot a person without mercy, and with the approbation of his superiors, if that appeared to be the only way of preventing it.
The nine or ten days' rest in quarantine at Syra was by no means ungrateful. I made myself occupation, and they passed pleasantly. The process of giving "1Sratique " was amusing. We were drawn up in a row, and the medical officer walked up and down sternly scrutinising us. Then he gave the order of " Put out your tongues," which we all did simultaneously, and he passed along the line at two paces distance from it, looking at our tongues. Then he added, " Do exactly as I do," whereupon he clapped himself sharply under the left armpit with his right hand, and under the right armpit with the left hand. Similarly on the left and right groins. This was to prove that none of the glandular swellings that give the name of " bubonic " plague were there, otherwise the pain of the performance would have been intolerable. Then, with a sudden change from a stern aspect, he put on a most friendly and courteous smile, and stepping forwards he shook each of us cordially by the hand, and we were freed. A couple of days had to pass before the next steamer started for Trieste, which I occupied in rambling about the island, living for one day almost wholly on figs-which was unwise, because too much of them affects the kidneys.
I started with the steamer, had a few, but memorable, hours at Athens, lay for two days in