Part One: Hurrah For The Black Shirts
“I’ve just seen a horrid little man dressed in one of those ghastly shirts” remarked Anna, forever sharing things with the world and never realising that people had far better things to do. The rest of the room was gathered around the piano listening to Maurice and his latest songs for some West End something or other.
“Isn’t anyone listening to me?” asked Anna.
“Sorry sweetness but Maurice really is a good sport.”
Feeling completely isolated Anna sashayed her way across the room, had one look around but all she glimpsed were peoples’ backs as they leaned across the piano.
“Well really” and with that she was gone.
At breakfast the next morning George happened to ask about her whereabouts.
“What about you, gorgeous gal, where the hell did you get to last night?”
“As if you are interested Georgie. Don’t pretend that you are.”
“Sweetie, I am. Posi-tive-ly, I am”
“Well you are a naughty Georgie, but alright then I forgive you. If you really must know I was talking to a strange little man, the one who’s rather chummy with Minty Durston.”
“Rather nasty breath and squeaky shoes?”
“See you do know him Georgie, you silly sausage. Anyway he was telling me all about himself and his rather gargantuan wife. It seems....”
Just then Anna’s story was cut short by Maurice and his entourage descending on the room for breakfast.”
“Morning Chums!” Maurice’s greeting was said in a stage musical sort of way. This had his followers almost exploding with excitement.
“Isn’t he a dream boat?” squealed Fanny Braithwaite.
“Can’t say I noticed Miss B and you being head-over-heels with this chap doesn’t surprise me in the least, as you are always the first to fall - if you get my drift,” said George who pulled his eyes away from the beautiful Miss Braithwaite long enough to utter, “Sorry Anna...you were saying?”
“Was I? Seems that ever since little me has arrived at this dwedful house that I have been constantly ignored; Daddy shall hear of it. “
“He normally does.”
“Nothing in the slightest, my sweet pea, abso-lute-ly, posi-tive-ly, cross my heart...and so on...and so forth.”
“If I didn’t know better, Georgie I would say you were toying with me.”
“Would you, sweetest?”
“I don’t have time to bandy words with you, I’ve got a meeting with the St. Swithin’s Church Drama Club in the village hall in ten minutes.”
“Well you better scuttle along then,” said Georgie who then started to clean his pipe.
Every year, on a Saturday evening nearest the 17th of April – the reason for that particular date has been lost in the mists of time – the ‘folks from the big house’ put on a show for the inhabitants of the little village of Chorely-Masterton.
For the last three years, the production has been the sole responsibility of Anna and for those years she has surprised everyone by giving a damn fine show. This fact has even surprised Anna, given the material she has had to work with. You see as a drama club, St. Swithin’s Church group insists – nay, demands – on a high level of mediocrity and that is exactly what they deliver.
As she leaves the big house for the short stroll to the village hall, Anna’s ‘horrid little man’ quickly catches up with her.
“Can I walk with you?” He asks.
“Only if you promise not to diddle-daddle, I am in a frightful hurry. I don’t believe we have been introduced, I am Anna...”
The man jumps in, “Oh I know who you are, Lady Anna.”
“And you are?”
“Oswald, Lady Anna, Oswald Mosley. I believe...I’m not sure how to put this...I believe you are putting on a show for the villagers? Would I be correct?”
“One in which we are all to appear.”
“I’m not forcing you, Mr Mosley.”
“No,no, it’s not that, I just wondered if you had any Jews appearing in the show?”
“What a funny question that is.”
“How the bally hell, excuse language, should I know what religion someone is? And while we are asking stupid questions, why do you feel the need to wear a black shirt every day, Mister Mosely?”
“I think it’s rather fetching. The Daily Mail said, and I quote ‘Hurrah for the blackshirts’.”
“You really are a horrid little man, Mister Mosley.”
“I remember everything, Lady Anna something you may all come to regret. Now formalities over, can I walk with you to the hall?”
By the time Mosley looked up, Anna was already through the doors of the hall and slamming the door – shut.