quotes_aug21_2011.htm

(August 21st to 27th)



Format: Triple

‘Go away!’ said Frau Ebermann. ‘Go home to your father and mother! ‘

Their faces grew grave at once.

‘H’sh! We can’t,’ whispered the eldest ‘There isn’t anything left.’

‘All gone,’ a boy echoed, and he puffed through pursed lips. ‘Like that, uncle told me. Both cows too.’

‘And my own three ducks,’ the boy on the girl’s lap said sleepily.

  

This is from “Swept and Garnished” in A Diversity of Creatures.

In the early days of the Great War, as the German armies sweep brutally into Belgium, and news of their victories comes back to Berlin, a middle-aged woman in that city finds that five small foreign children have appeared in her ornately decorated apartment, two little boys and three girls—headed by an anxious-eyed ten-year-old…


Nurse Eden snatched up a sheet drying before the fire, ran out, lifted something from the ground, and flung the sheet round it. The sheet turned scarlet and half her uniform too, as she bore the load into the kitchen. It was little Edna Gerritt, aged nine, whom Mary had known since her perambulator days.

‘Am I hurted bad?’ Edna asked, and died between Nurse Eden’s dripping hands. The sheet fell aside and for an instant, before she could shut her eyes, Mary saw the ripped and shredded body.

‘It’s a wonder she spoke at all,’ said Nurse Eden. ‘What in God’s name was it?’

‘A bomb,’ said Mary.

   

This is from “Mary Postgate” in A Diversity of Creatures.

In 1915 a German bomb has killed a little girl in an Engkish village. Soon after, Mary Postgate, whose adopted son in the Royak Fkying Corps has been killed on a trial flight, finds a wounded German pilot who has crashed nearby.

She leaves him to die.


He was lying in his cabin breathing pretty loud-wrapped up in rugs and his eyes sticking out like a rabbit’s. He offered me drinks. I couldn’t accept ’em, of course. Then he said: “Well, Mr. Maddingham, I’m all in.” I said I was glad to hear it. Then he told me he was seriously ill with a sudden attack of bronchial pneumonia, and he asked me to run him across to England to see his doctor in town. I said, of course, that was out of the question … He seemed rather afraid of dying (it’s no game for a middle-aged man, of course) and he hoisted himself up on one elbow and began calling me a murderer. I explained to him—perfectly politely—that I wasn’t in this job for fun. It was business.

   

This is from “Sea Constables” in Debits and Credits.

Three naval officers. civilians before the war, on a few hours leave from their blockading duties at sea, are reminiscing over a good dinner. They recall how they had prevented a neutral vessel, presumably from America, from taking its cargo of oil to Germany. Its commander, also a part-time sailor, who has fallen ill, asks one of the British captains to take him to safety in London.

He is refused and left to die,

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