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Mademoiselle from Gosnay.
Mademoiselle from Gosnay.  
 

Western Mail, Thursday 18 May 1933, page 2

Mademoiselle from Gosnay.

(By "Old Contemptible," Bridgetown.)

After, tho Battle of "Loos, when battalions were again up to full-strength, we experienced a fairly quiet time, (except, of course, when one got blown up by mines, or collected a few samples of pig iron). In those days, trench routine was fairly regular - ten days in and seven out. During the out periods we made the best of it and many acquaintances were renewed each time.

I got particularly friendly with one mam'selle at a place called Gosnay; which is near Bethune, and although neither of us could speak the other's language, we seemed to get along well and I was taken home and introduced to the family.

My conversation was restricted, as my French consisted of "pomme de terres de oeufs," "souvenir," "bully beef," "vin blanc," "vouley vous promenade avec moi," and a few other things that interested me I have thought since, what a big hump I was to sit in the family circle, with, all its members saying what they liked about me, when I could have taken mam'selle for a walk.

However, the time came to return to the trenches, so by signs, and a few guttural remarks, we arranged to write. Mam'selle knew where she could get my letters translated, and I knew a cobber who could read French. All went well for a while, but one day during a translation, my heart sank, for she wrote that her sweetheart was returning from Verdun, and she could not see me again. I thought it was a bit rough, but I accepted her decision.

Shortly afterwards, we were again billeted hear Gosnay, so a few of us went over to view the estaminets. Coming home, who did I meet but mam'selle and her supposed sweetheart, who was none other than my translator!

I summed up the joke instantly. He had exploited my ignorance of French to get the girl himself. I found out he told her I had gone to Blighty.