More Novels of the Great War
“I’ve come here with my family to speak to you about the war. Unfortunately, the countess is in London and was unable to join us, today, but she sends her best wishes, as does our daughter Lady Diedre, who is also away.
“I believe all us here today know what we must do, and that is to support our country in its hour of greatest need. That is what we of the three Ingham villages are going to do most wholeheartedly, as we have done in other times of strife and trouble in our land.
“I know Lord Kitchener has raised an army of one hundred thousand men, who will be shipping out soon to fight in the fields of Flanders. The army is still requesting men from the ages of eighteen to thirty to volunteer. Single men at the moment. And those who feel they must go to the front must do so.
I am not going to tell anyone what they can or cannot do, because this is a free country. We make our own choices as Englishmen. What I do ask is that married men consider their options. It might be wise to wait until married men are called to duty, because of their family responsibilities.
“I must explain something to you. I am converting two wings of Cavendon Hall into hospital wards. We have been alerted that the government might need beds for our wounded troops coming back from the front. I would like to ask any of you who have nursing or medical skills to volunteer now, to help with the wounded later. Miss Charlotte is starting a list today to hold in reserve.
“There might be rationing of food, since we won’t be able to import. That is why I am relying on our tenant farmers to keep tilling the land.
“I will end by saying that we are in this great fight together. We will stand together shoulder to shoulder, to bring victory to our country. And we shall prevail. Now Miss Mayhew will play the national anthem, and then refreshments will be served.”
Barbara Taylor Bradford, Cavendon Hall, 2014, pp. 339-340.