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The young master

The front door was open as he came downstairs and he could see Nelly beyond, scrubbing the doorstep. He called out to her, and she looked up with appraising, frightened eyes. His mother looked out...

A frozen woman

Mrs Hallam handed her a telegram. ‘It came half an hour ago,’ she said. ‘I’ve rung for a taxi for us. It should be here any moment.’ The telegram read: regret inform you your son...

Brutally frank

He drank solemnly and Elise sipped her sherry. Lance said reflectively: ‘It’s funny how knowledge of our own weaknesses only makes us more ready to assume strength in others. For instance, you seem to think...

A cheap sort of insult

It was still light when they came out. The sky was deep, soft violet, except where one thin cloud was surprisingly green. Riveting the blue were the silver studs of barrage balloons, like man-made stars....

Home on leave

He gave her no warning when he came on leave. It was Saturday afternoon and she was ironing in the kitchen when the door-bell rang. She ran out to open the door, her face flushed,...

Leaving an earthly paradise

There was the usual little ceremony at the office when Lance left. Two other clerks had also received their papers, and one of the girls was leaving to join the A.T.S. Mr Bengear himself paid...

Too sensitive for the trenches?

Elise said: ‘I only think Lance ought to do as his ideals tell him.’ Mrs Hallam said: ‘And what do they tell him?’ Elise said: ‘I don’t know. But they couldn’t approve of killing.’ She...

The night wailing

‘How do you do, Elise.’ Elise said: ‘Pleased to meet you, Mrs Hallam.’ The room swam round and she felt her throat suddenly tighten. Of all times and places, for Elsie to appear now! The...

winter swan kippers

Going out tonight

Her father was already sitting in his high-backed wooden chair mauling the remains of a kipper in his hands. He looked up as she came in, blinking in the light. ‘’Ello,’ he said. ‘You’re late,...

darby-joan winter-swan

I’ll bury her properly

Mrs du Cros, leading against a small slam in Hearts, turned at the sound of a fall. She saw Mr Garland looking up, frightened and bewildered, and beside him the slumped figure of Mrs Hallam....