Jasmine's Place Issue No. 16 - August 2015 - Page 8

FAITH FIELDS I straightened my bonnet and shoulders as I pulled the churchyard gate shut behind us, and we set off towards the village. Another meeting of the Society of Soldierettes for Sensibility and Sobriety was over, equipping us well with an arsenal of admonitions certain to persuade even the most truculent imbiber. “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 was beating 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?” The man guffawed rudely. 8 JASMINE'S PLACE He went into the tavern, wa ving 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