The Fortnight in September, written two years after Journey’s End, shares its emphasis on real people leading real lives. But the atmosphere could not be more different, embodying as it does the kind of mundane normality the men in the dug-out longed for – domestic life at 22 Corunna Road in Dulwich, the train journey via Clapham Junction to the south coast, the two weeks living in lodgings and going to the beach every day.
The family’s only regret is leaving their garden where, we can imagine, because it is September the dahlias are at their fiery best: as they flash past in the train they get a glimpse of their back garden, where ‘a shaft of sunlight fell through the side passage and lit up the clump of white asters by the apple tree.’
This was what the First World War soldiers longed for; this, he imagined, was what he was fighting for and would return to (as in fact Sherriff did).
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