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- My faith in vegetarianism grew on me from day to day. Salt’s book whetted my appetite for dietetic studies. I went in for all books available on vegetarianism and read them. One of these, Howard William’s ‘The Ethics of Diet’ was a biographical history of the literature of humane dietetics from the earliest period to the present day. It tried to make out that all philosophers and prophets from Pythagoras and Jesus dawn to those of the present age were vegetarians. Dr Anna Kingsford’s ‘ The Perfect Way ‘ in Diet was also an attractive book. Dr Allinson’s writing on health and hygiene were like ways very helpful. He advocated a curative system based on the regulation of the dietary patients. Himself a vegetarian, he prescribed for his patients also a strict vegetarian diet. The result of reading all this literature was that dietetic experiments came to take an important place in my life. Health was the principal consideration of these experiments, to begin with. But later on, religion became the supreme motive.
2. Meanwhile, my friend had not ceased to worry about me. His love for me led him to think that, if I persisted in my objections to meat-eating, I should not only develop a weak constitution but should remain a duffer because I should never feel at home in English society. When he came to know that I had begun to interest myself in books on vegetarianism, he was afraid lest these studies should muddle my had, that I should fritter my life away in experiments, forgetting my own work, and become a crank. He, therefore, made one last effort to reform me. He one day invited me to go to the theatre. Before the play, we were to dine together at the Holborn Restaurant, to be a palatial place and the first big restaurant I had been to since leaving the Victoria Hotel. The stay at that hotel had scarcely been a helpful experience, for I had not lived there with my wits about me. The friend had planned to take me to this restaurant evidently imagine that modesty would forbid any questions. And it was a very big company of dinners in the midst of which my friend and I sat sharing a table between us. The first course was soup. I wondered what it might be made of, but dare not ask the friend about it. I, therefore, summoned the waiter. My friend saw the movement and sternly asked across the table what was the matter. With considerable hesitation, I told him that I wanted to inquire if the soup was a vegetable soup. ‘You are too clumsy for decent society; he passionately exclaimed, ‘If you cannot behave yourself, you had better go. Feed-in some other restaurant and await me outside.’ This delighted me. Out I went. There was a vegetarian restaurant close by but it was closed. So I went without food that night. I accompanied my friend to the theatre, but he never said a word about the scene I had created. On my part of course there was nothing to say.
3. That was the last friendly tussle we had. It did not affect our relationship in the least. I could see and appreciate the love by which all my friend’s efforts were actuated, and my respect for him was all the greater on account of our differences in thought and action. But I decided that I should put him at ease; that I should assure him that I would be clumsy no more but try to become polished and make up for my vegetarianism by cultivating other accomplishments which fitted one for polite society. And for this purpose, I undertook the all too impossible task of becoming an English gentleman.