Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS (don't write about the song) (05/14/15)
TITLE: The Society of Soldierettes for Sensibility and Sobriety
By Ann Grover
LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
ADD TO MY FAVORITES
“Isn’t it exciting?” Cora twittered.
I nodded. Spirits were the ruination of many, and our mission was to convince every man in the village to sign the pledge for temperance and close the tavern. We’d spent many hours preparing, listening to Commander Mavis. As if hearing my thoughts, Cora launched into a strutting imitation of our leader.
“‘This is war! It is our Christian duty to banish every bottle and barrel in the country.’ Here we are, Jennie.” The mill whistle had sounded, and men were already flocking up the road toward the tavern. “Ready?”
I patted my leaflet-stuffed satchel. My heart beat like rapidly firing artillery. Cora boldly stepped up to a man pushing through the tavern door.
“You, foolish man, spending your pay packet on liquor, then staggering home at all hours to your shivering wife and starving children. For shame!”
“Who you calling foolish, silly chit?” He went into the tavern, waving away Cora’s leaflet. With wide eyes, I watched as Cora, unfazed, swooped down on another man approaching the tavern.
“Sir, don’t you know the evils of hard spirits? Why, your heart will swell as big as a milk pail, and your grandchildren will be simpleminded. Cease, and sign the pledge!”
The man guffawed rudely.
“Hmmph. Jennie, it’s your turn.”
A whiskered man approached.
“Sir,” I whispered, holding out a leaflet. “Please, surrender yourself to sobriety.”
“Out of my way.” The door slammed.
“Be forceful, Jennie. Commander Mavis was right. This is indeed a battle, and I am exhausted,” Cora moaned. “I need a cuppa. You?”
“Well, all right, but we still have an awful lot of leaflets.”
“They’ll wait. Even soldiers must take refreshment.”
A pot of tea and four scones with jam later, Cora declared us fortified, ready to re-enter the fray, but day was fading. We went home, and the next day, armed with our satchels of leaflets, we set out for the village again. Our reception at the tavern was no warmer than it had been before, and we suffered discourteous ripostes that should never sully any maiden’s ears.
“Drink reduces men to such uncouth beasts, just as Commander Mavis said,” sighed Cora.
I sighed, too, wilted by our failing campaign. I could be digging potatoes, a more prosperous endeavour than harvesting recalcitrant sinners. “Let’s go home.” Wearily, Cora agreed.
Would Commander Mavis forgive us for deserting our post? Would God?
In front of the grocer’s, next to the tavern, a man sat on a bench.
“Halfpenny for half a man?” he called out.
Cora seized the opportunity. “How loathsome, begging to support your sin. You will spontaneously combust while your wife languishes for want of meat.
It was then I saw the empty and slack trouser leg.
“You will die of dropsy,” Cora continued. “Become a cold-hearted murderer.”
“Cora,” I hissed, tugging at her sleeve.
“Jennie, this man is prime for conversion. See how he lowers his eyes?”
“I am sorry, sir,” I said, hoping to soften Cora’s impassioned words.
“‘Tis fine, lass. I know the fever of combat.”
“But, sir, you beg funds for drink!” Cora insisted.
“You presume unkindly, lass. ‘Tis for daily bread. I’ve no wife to cheat. No work, due to leaving this leg in the mud of France.”
Finally noticing his impairment, Cora had the grace to blush. I found a penny in my satchel and gave it to the man.
“King George,” he said, peering at the coin. “I fought for him. And God. And for you, lasses. ‘Tis the same with many men yonder. ‘Tis they who ensured your freedom to stroll these streets in safety and sleep in peace.”
Humbled, we hung our heads.
“Chins up, lasses, but a word, if I may. Your dedication is admirable, but a war fought with mistruths and harassment is no war. Carry on, now. Keep up the good fight.”
We soldiered on. I wish I could say every bottle and barrel was eventually banished from our village, but it wasn’t so. Yet a few men did willingly sign the pledge, as Cora and I compassionately fought for, not against, the men who had fought courageously for us.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.