Seven Days' Leave

80 min

Buy an extra paper! Buy

a paper! Big advance...

But I've told you! We have many many

more women than we can possibly use!

I'd only be too glad to give you

work -You can't make me believe, sir,

that in a big war like this, you can't

possibly find something for me to do?

You've tried the hospitals I

suppose? -That I have, Mister.

Hospitals, nursing, bandaging,

munitions everything!

They all say the same

thing. You're too old!

I'm not too old! As a

charwoman, I can outscrub

any lady of my profession in London!

I'm not as old as you are,

judging by appearances!

You're working for your country!

You could knit for a soldier?

-Everybody's knitting things!

I want to do something

different! Something more, more...

Why, I could scrub floors here,

and then you could spare another man to

go to France, and I'd be doing my bit!

It's a wonderful spirit

you old ladies are showing!

If there were more like you, the

war would be over much sooner!

You women, you mothers,

do more than your share,

when you give your

sons to your country!

But... but I haven't got a son...

I haven't... anybody.

It'll be all over in three months,

the spirit our boys are showing!

Well what about the women? They're

doing their bit, ain't they?

And what about the nurses?

-And the ambulance drivers too!

And what about us war

mothers? -What about us?

My son's at the front,

what a fine boy he is!

My boy is out there too!

Any particular regiment

you're looking for?

The Canadian Black

Watch. -I'll take it!

Give me this one, it

has a better sparkle!

I'll take a flag too!

You're quite right, Mrs Twymley!

Our troops' progress

is quite progressive!

It's more than that Mrs Mickelham,

it's miraculous and astonishing!

Look, here's where we was last May, and

now they've gone right up past 'Wypers'!

The French is 'Yee-pris'!

The Belgian is 'Wypers'!

But we won't argue!

My son Percy writes me,

the fuss he's making is

blooming lively for the Huns!

Yes, and my son Alfie informs me,

that the Royal Horse Artillery

ain't asleep, neither!

We ought to be in Berlin by

Christmas! -Oh, before Christmas,

if my son's regiment, the Black

Watch, has anything to do with it!

Black Watch! There it goes again!

Before you moved into our

neighbourhood, Mrs Dowey,

we was hardly aware the kilties

were fighting in this war!

But we'll take your word for it!

I used to be a lily on the Sunday!

Now I'm nothing but

a little faded flower!

Tired! -Me with...

Oh well, I'm thankful today's over!

I'd give something for a nice

cup of tea! -I'm sure I would too!

How about a dish with me, ladies?

-I've heard of worse ideas, Mrs Dowey!

What do you say, Mrs Twymley? -Yes!

I always say, no more than my poor

husband would too if he was alive,

that there's nothing better about

5 o'clock, than a nice cup of tea!

Here all, here all, good

wage in the East End!

Meat! meat! eggs! meat!

Oh, here all! -Black water,

black fine water, 3/2!

Water, 3/2!

We can now get watercress I see!

Oh, it'd be lovely! -Fine watercress!

The pinch, the punch, tuppence a bunch

and all three pound then lady, how many?

Half a can's worth?

-Stop your chatting!

Are they fresh? -Fresh lady, I got them

this morning down Covent Garden market

There's that Haggerty woman!

Let's be a going before

she smells the tea party!

She smells a mile off with

that long nose of hers!

There'll be no getting rid of her then!

Hello, ladies!

-Hello. -Hello!

Buying watercress I see

-Ain't she observant?

I've just had me fortune

told by a weighing machine!

It says I'm going on a

long, long, journey, it says.

You don't say so? -That's the

best of the news I've heard

since the spring advancement!

-Come along, Mrs Dowey!

Watercresses, ladies?

-Eh, not today, thank you!

The idea! You'd think

she'd know her place!

Working in a fish shop! -But

she has a son at the front!

She may have a son at the front, just

the same she always smells like a bloater!

I'd like to tell you what me son

writes me from the war, ladies!

Won't that be nice? -It would

be better if you told us inside!

You know Mrs Dowey I ain't

never set foot in your home,

since you come to

live in Friday street!

Oh what a horrible smell!

Oh it ain't me ladies, it's the apron!

The open air's the place for that!

-Oh well I'll hang it on the railings!

Make yourselves at home, ladies!

Shall I lay the table,

Mrs Dowey? -Yes, do!

You'll find the things over

there! -I'll fix the watercress!

Thank you. You'll find a pot

of raspberry jam there too!

Oh I love raspberry jam,

and a thick slice of bread!


One's my ration. Quite enough

for anybody, these days!

My son writes me, they have more

sugar in the army than they could eat!

My son Percy writes me

quite a different story,

and he's never told me a

lie ever since I knowed him!

What does your son Kenneth write

to you on the subject, Mrs Dowey?

Oh, my Kenneth... he doesn't concern

himself with small things like that.

The Black Watch have

their problems above sugar!

I say it is so, what

my son Percy writes!

I say it may be so.

I suppose I ought to know. Neither

has a son a prisoner in Germany!

Being the only lady present

that has that proud misfortune...

My son is fighting in France!

Mine wounded in two places!

Mine's in 'Saloneiki'!

Oh, you'll excuse me Mrs Haggerty,

but the correct pronunciation of that,

is Saloniki! -I don't think so!

And I speak as one who has

War Savings Certificates.

We all have 'em! -It's a terrible war!

It is!

What I say is, the men is splendid,

but I'm none so easy about the staff...

That's your weak point, Mrs Mickelham.

You may take it from

me the staff's alright!

Very relieved I am to hear you say it!

I say that word

is 'Salo-ne-iki'!

Let's change the subject. Have you

seen this week's fashions yet? -No!

The gabardine with the accordion

pleat is quite worn out!

Mercy! I dare say so!

Lady Dolly Cannister was seen conversing

across the railings in a dainty blue

She married Colonel The

Honourable Chingford.

Suds, they called him at Eton.

Very likely, he will be

sent to Salo-ne-iki too!

Wherever he's sent to, she'll

have the same tremors as us!

She'll be just as keen to get

them letters wrote with pencil,

as you or me. -Them pencil letters!

And as women in enemy land,

get their pencil letters too...

And then... stop getting

them, the same as ourselves...

Let's occasionally think

of that! -I ask you!

That's awful language Mrs

Dowey! -Oh, kindly excuse...

I swear to death, I'm

not one of your pacifists!

Freely granted. I've heard of females

that having no menfolk in the war,

it makes them say such

things, I've heard of them!

But I don't mix with them. -What should

we have to say to the likes of them?

It's not their war!

They're to be pitied! -The

place for them, Mrs Dowey, is

within doors with the blinds down!

That's the place for them!

I had a letter from my

son Percy yesterday...

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J.M. Barrie

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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