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110. A Promise to His Mother
When, after matriculating, Gandhiji sailed for England to study for the bar, an English fellow-passenger, older than him, taking kindly to him, drew him into conversation. '"He asked me," says Gandhiji in his Autobiography, "what I ate, what I was, where I was going, why I was shy, and so on. He also advised me to come to table. He laughed at my insistence on abjuring meat, and said in a friendly way when we were in the Red Sea: 'It is all very well so far but you will have to revise your decision in the Bay of Biscay. And it is so cold in England that one cannot possibly live there without meat.'
'But I have heard that people can live there without -eating meat,' I said.
'Rest assured it is a fib,' said he. 'No one, to my knowledge, lives there without being a meat-eater. Don't you see that I am not asking you to take liquor, though I do so ? But I do think you should eat meat, for you cannot live without it.'
'I thank you for your kind advice, but I have solemnly promised to my mother not to touch meat, and therefore I cannot think of taking it. If it be found impossible to get on without it, I will far rather go back to India than eat meat in order to remain there.' "
Gandhiji adds that when they entered the Bay of Biscay he did not feel the need either of meat or liquor.