ATT: Mr. Antony Hart
Director, Halifax Star Journal
Harbour Road 32
If I live to be a hundred, I will never forget the noise of the heavy oak door of your office as the founder, publisher and director of the Halifax Star Journal, which on that cold day in late September your kind secretary, Mrs. Bonnet, closed as she walked out. And so I found myself alone with you in that room that had never looked as big and bare as it did then, without even a corner in which to hide in order to avoid what I knew quite well awaited me.
At this point, I must tell you again about Jerry, Jerry McHanchire. His forebears were part of the ranks of poor sods who, centuries ago, would do the rounds at night, finding drunks wandering along the streets of Bristol (like in any other English city) who, once they had sobered up in the morning, discovered they had to choose between prison or the glorious army that HRH King George sent to the colonies of North America to fight rebels today, Indians tomorrow and the French the day after, and anyone else who questioned even just his gout or the powder on the royal wig. Later their descendants faced a similar fate. Several times in history, always singing “Rule Britannia” at the top of their lungs, they crossed the ocean in the other direction to go and serve as pincushions for the Zulu lances under the South African sun or be killed in some muddy trench of the Marne or die on the beaches of Normandy, always gloriously in the name of the king or queen of the day and the ideal of the moment.
Mark Hart is a name that “Mark” and I have chosen by mutual agreement. While his name, like all the others that are cited, has been made up, this imaginary letter nevertheless contains a true story.