dedalus Posted April 10, 2010 Share Posted April 10, 2010 (edited) The light, I see, is fading, infinitessimally shading daytime colours into tones of grey. Twice have the servants come offering to light the candles, twice have I waved them away. I know I am but a guest, and I know the servants need their rest. I sigh. I have little time. Come close and let me begin ... I sit with this blanket on my knees, obdurate, unmoving, alone in this oh so familiar room, communing with the dust-motes of the past. We had returned in a lather after the hunt Look here, old boy, don't be a c--t! bellowed Ivo, expounding the need for war just over there -- there by the cloissoné table; (yes, we did use THAT kind of language then!) This bloody old Kaiser needs what-for! Ivo copped it in the first few days along with his brother and four of our cousins and Death became known in ... industrial ways to all of our class and generation; I was out there, of course, beastly drunk from start to finish, can't recall a bloody thing before drifting home, being let go, to indifferent thanks from a shattered nation. I still have the medal, you know, it reads "The Great War for Civilization" The Twenties passed in a cocktail haze of very long nights and very short days; I believe I got married once or twice, so hard to recall, I was never quite sober after Passchendaele, I can remember fondling short-skirted girls, rubbery, frightfully nice! And I seem to remember some trouble and fuss, that was '26, I think, I was driving a bus. There was a strike of some kind, and the 'civil power' hadn't expected me to run over their own policemen, which I did, I'm afraid, and when the crowd closed in, they cheered the hero of the hour! In the Crash my chums lost all their money, silly asses, and none of them could quite see the funny side of things, as I did, who lived on land, or rather on the backs of my hardworking peasants; and so I flitted about town, much the same as ever, charming to a slight but unforgiving degree, distributing wicked ... calculated presents. The Thirties were long and infinitely weary, the people poor, bad-tempered, resentful, dreary; I considered a sojourn in warmer foreign climes but was consumed with such malignant hatred for Mosley, AND for that bastard Churchill, that I chose to wait. We should have gone to war in Thirty-Eight, could have wrapped it up: '39 was too late. But -- the pusillanimous politicians still held sway, Halifax; and that grisly Birmingham tosspot, pallid Chamberlain, "J'aime Berlin"; there was only Winston, half-mad, a glowering crackpot, to lead the way. I had quite a jolly war, I must confess, half-sober, exciting, but you must not press for details. Mum's the word, (dear lost and darling mother) for it was a world of codes and radios, parachute jumps and secret agents, and when it ended, I prayed for another being flushed, arrogant, never dreaming that many years on, I would get my other war but not the one I'd bargained for. Now, this moment, as the room grows dark and the staircase creaks, I sit here alone with this blanket on my knees, straining hard to hear the echoes from the past, voices, sounds, little leaks from shameful memories. Edited April 11, 2010 by dedalus Quote Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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