The First Casualty

By Ben Elton

In Flanders in June 1917, a British officer and celebrated poet is shot lifeless, killed no longer by way of German hearth, yet whereas convalescing from shell surprise good at the back of the strains. a tender English soldier is arrested and, even supposing he protests his innocence, charged along with his homicide. Douglas Konig, previously a detective with the London police, quickly discovers that either the facts and the witnesses he wishes are really actually disappearing into the dust that surrounds him.

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I nonetheless love you. ’ ‘I don’t wish your love. i don't wish the affection of a guy who brings down his kinfolk for an idea! Who may sacrifice his spouse and son now not for his middle yet for his head. you think that your self too strong for this struggle, Douglas. It offends you. you put your self above it. you think that it underneath your potent mind simply because it’s messy and harsh and totally negative, when different males die for these exact same purposes! silly males without doubt on your view…’ ‘You comprehend that I don’t think…’ ‘Yes, you do! you're thinking that if merely the politicians had as a lot feel as you they'd by no means have all started this company, and if purely the folks have been much less silly they'd refuse to determine it via. what's that yet pondering your self above all of it? Cleverer than the remaining? As I say, if simply you actually have been a pacifist, Douglas, a kind of lousy blaggards one sees talking at Hyde Park nook who declare to appreciate the note of Jesus greater than the remainder of us and appear to imagine that the Germans are all candy and sort and extraordinarily misunderstood…But you’re too shrewdpermanent to be a pacifist. you want to select the wars you will struggle and oh, isn’t it this sort of disgrace, this one isn’t more than enough for you! ’ The sour sarcasm masked Agnes’s soreness yet now the tears got here. She pulled a handkerchief from her cuff and blew her nostril, then she slipped the marriage ring from her finger and slid it discreetly underneath the grille that separated them. Kingsley stared down at it. ‘Take it,’ Agnes stated quietly. He picked up the hoop and positioned it on his little finger. ‘I nonetheless love you, Douglas,’ Agnes additional, nearly whispering now, ‘and I constantly will. i believe that's the toughest factor of all. ’ Then she rose to her ft once again. This time she might basically no longer be sitting down back. ‘We shall no longer communicate back, Douglas. You shall listen from me through Mr Phipps on the Downey road Chambers. ’ ‘Very well,’ Kingsley responded. ‘When we're divorced, will you permit George to take his grandfather’s identify? My identify? ’ ‘Yes. ’ ‘Thank you. see you later. ’ Agnes moved quickly from the room as quick as her fast-dissolving dignity may let. For a second Kingsley was once visited by way of the recollection of her turning and working from him in happier instances, in the summertime in their courtship. It have been on the Gardens at Kew, which that they had visited for a Sunday picnic. He had begged a kiss, a kiss which she so much basically meant to supply him yet now not sooner than an appropriate chase had ensued. He had chased her for absolutely part an hour ahead of successful his prize. Agnes had by no means been simply received over in any a part of their lives jointly. Kingsley watched her disappear from the room, considering if his middle could holiday. good judgment trained him that after all it can no longer. the guts used to be not more than a muscle, a pump which dispensed blood concerning the physique; it had not anything whatever to do with a man’s feelings. but when that was once the case, why did it discomfort so? 4 The Lavender Lamp membership, London at the related night that Kingsley used to be receiving his customer at Brixton felony in south London, in Frith road simply off Soho sq. a truly diverse type of reception used to be below approach.

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