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War & Peace

4


Duty Calls


How happy we all were in those first few days of war.

It was the hottest summer we’d had for years. Remember? They held those massive recruitment galas? Brass bands playing ‘Tipperary’ and all the crowds cheering and throwing their hats in the air every time some poor sod took the shilling. And the ‘Pals’ Battalions.’ All pals together, all marching off to do their duty for King and Country!

Stan didn’t have many pals - on account of him being an orphan and a bastard but he was all for joining up. Miss Bentham stopped him though. She wanted to make ‘other arrangements’ first. She was all for helping the war effort just so long as it didn’t inconvenience her! I suppose she’d got to relying on him - She’d had him since he was fourteen. Took him straight out of the workhouse, she did.

He was already her chauffeur when I come into the house. My mum was upstairs maid and she got me a job there too. My mum said it was good of Miss Bentham to take us in since dad had got himself sent down for belting a copper while on strike and most decent folk wouldn’t have nothing to do with us.

I was forbidden to talk to Stan – and that made him more attractive than ever with his sexy grey uniform and his lovely brown eyes. We used to meet up, secretly, at the bottom of the garden. Oh, it seems very innocent now but it was wildly exciting at the time. But good things never do last long and it was only a few short weeks before even Miss Bentham had to bow to the inevitable and my man Stan went off to Flanders’ Fields.

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