Gadsby/Chapter 31


On a grand Autumn morning Branton Hills’ “Post” boys ran shouting down Broadway, showing in half-foot wording: “FIGHTING STOPS!! HISTORY’S MOST DISASTROUS WAR IS HISTORY NOW!!!” and again, Branton Hills stood stock still. But only for an instant; for soon, it was, in all minds:—

“Thank God!! Oh, ring your loud church clarions! Blow your factory blasts! Shout! Cry! Sing! Play, you bands! Burst your drums! Crack your cymbals!”

Ah, what a sight on Broadway! Shop girls pouring out! Shop janitors boarding up big glass windows against a surging mob! And, (sh-h-h-h) many a church having in its still sanctity a woman or girl at its altar rail.

Months, months, months! Branton Hills was again at its big railroad station, its Municipal Band playing our grand National air, as a long troop train, a solid mass of bunting, was snorting noisily in. And, amidst that outpouring flood of Branton Hills boys, Lady Gadsby, Nancy, Kathlyn and His Honor found Bill, Julius, Frank and John. Sarah was just “going all apart” in Paul’s arms, with Virginia swooning in Harold’s.

On old Lady Flanagan’s porch sat Mary Antor; for, having had no word from Norman for months, this grand young Salvation Army lass was in sad, sad doubt. But soon, as that shouting mob was drifting away, and happy family groups walking citywards, a khaki-clad lad, hurrying to old Lady Flanagan’s cabin, and jumping that low, ivy-clad wall, had Mary, sobbing and laughing, in his arms. No. It wasn’t Norman.