History again, and the first lesson that I actually felt I was getting to grips with the course. We discussed the influence of Tzar Nicholas II’s character on his downfall, and also the strong pressures exerted on him by his immediate family. The subject is becoming much more interesting now (we are coming on to the 1905 upheaval) although I still have a load of reading to do.
Biology consisted of answering questions from the book – pretty simple – and then I had the rest of the day (from 12.00 to 2.30) free. Much of this time I sat in the library either reading (or going through the motions) or listening and talking to people like Duncan Verity, Jeremy Beaumont, Lee Hoy etc.
At two o’clock I decided to go see Wilson about this Art as a 4th ‘A’ level. It had been on my mind since yesterday, and I’d discussed it briefly with Mum last night and she said that if I thought I was capable and I was willing to work then I should try get on the course.
I had quite an in-depth conversation with Mr. Wilson, who is our deputy head-master. He’s quite approachable and out talk made my mind a lot easier. He more or less endorsed my view, and said (a bit guardedly I admit) that in his opinion it could be a good thing. He told me to go see Mrs Blakeborough (my Art teacher in the 3rd, 4th and 5th years) and if she agreed then I had to see him in the morning.
This I did and she said that if I’m prepared to work hard then I’ve got the ability to do it (but if you’re a slob like you were last year etc . . . . .). It all seems settled then, if there’s a space vacant on the course.
In the evening I played records and read my “Transcendental Med.” book. I can’t be sure at this point whether the book is just a load of guff or is really truthful – certainly the message it offers is a superb, idealistic one. According to the author, the mind wanders because “nothing in the external world offers a lasting satisfaction.” He goes on to say that it is not the mind’s true state to wander, and that we should find it easier to “open the awareness to the source of satisfaction lying within and then allow the mind to settle down of its own accord . . .” Meditation could be the answer to all my “problems.”