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-- Discussion of Chapter 9

"That was a really lousy chapter", said Betty with indignation. "Why should the boys do all the brave things? Rescuing if we would ever need rescuing, humph!"
"I think so too", said Jean. "Makes women inferior all the time, and we are as good as the boys."
"Shut up", said Robert testily. "All the same, you shouldn't have made me run Silvo through the gullet. And it wasn't fair to make Betty give him rheumatics. Unsporting thing to do anyway."
"Also", said Michael, "very unscientific. Chap couldn't get rheumatism by sleeping one night in damp sheets. Another thing, that German chap Sepp we shoved the sack over; if he was running away would he sit down and light a fag?"
"Of course not", said David. "Pity Fritz was killed, wasn't it?"
"I didn't mind", said Evelyn. "He never seemed to live in the story. Now, Spike did, didn't he? I was sorry when he died, but Fritz was so dull. You must admit he was rather dull, Neill, wasn't he?"
"Rather dull", I said. "It was time he was dead."
"Why not let us all live?" said Michael.
"Because", I said, "because the title of the story is The Last Man Alive."
"You mean that everybody will be killed except one of us?"
"You shouldn't spoil the story by giving away the end like that", said Betty. "Who is to be the last one alive?"
"That", I said, "I don't yet know. It depends a good deal on what happens during the next few weeks. If you girls keep me awake by chattering, as you did last night, I promise you a very bloody death, and if some of you lads don't return those spanners I lent you yesterday...well, I've given you fair warning."
"I think", said Jean, "that in the next chapter the girls should be the brave ones. What do you say, Betty?"
"No good asking that", said Betty sadly. "Neill always thinks that his sex is the only one with guts, but he never does very brave things in the story himself."
"I may have to rescue you all next time", I remarked. "I think it is time to show what I can do myself."

On to Chapter 10

Discussion of chapter 9 of 'The Last Man Alive' by A. S. Neill. This page is copyrighted.