Yesterday I was very please to find included in an anthology of short stories I was kindly given by Dover Publishing a story by Ford Madox Ford (1873 to 1939). "Pink Flannel" was originally published in Land and Water a literary and political journal focusing on World War One, May 8, 1919. Land and Water was published weekly in England from 1914 to 1920. It is a stream of consciousness story centering on an English soldier in the trenches in France thinking about his up coming 36 hour furlough. (Ford volunteered for frontline duty in the war even though he was above the age of required service.)
The man is in a panic as he cannot find a letter he received from a married woman arranging their meeting during his short leave. He needs to find out if she wants to continue the affair. He is afraid some malicious individual will show the woman's husband the letter. As German gun fire and artillery rain over him he racks his brain to try to recall where he might have hidden the letter. He can identify the weapon by the sound and knows which are most dangerous. There are not a lot of hiding places in his base in the trenches. He seemingly shrugs off the threat of death but is in a panic over the lost letter. Ford does a marvelous job of displaying the stream of thoughts of the soldier.
I read this in a forthcoming in 2015 anthology 100 Great Short Stories selected and introduced by James Daly, published by Dover Thrift Editions. The selection of stories is first rate, with a combination of must includes and more creative selections. The formatting, of course this may be fixed upon publication, is a total mess, with no clickable index. Translator information is not given and date of first publication information, very important, is left out. I had to Google Ford's story to find out when it was first published.
In my brief research I could not find the story online.
Note added Feb 19- I got in touch with Max Saunders, leading authority on FMF, he advised me that Ford wrote just over twenty short stories but more are still being discovered in little known his journals from the period.
Ford Madox Ford is one of my favorite writers. I have read most of his novels, but somehow I missed the point that he also wrote short stories. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
Fred, I did not know that Ford wrote short stories, I have never before finding this story seen one anthologized. Thanks as always for your comment
I wonder if this is the only one he wrote. I guess the short story collection isn't out yet, as I couldn't find it in a search of the Dover site.
Was this an ebook or a printed book?
Fred, it was in a not yet published E book. I just sent you e mail on what I could find on ford's short stories, looks like he published two of them.
Got it. Thanks for the information.
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