A small girl with flying pigtails skidded along the oil-cloth corridors, clashing open class-room doors. “It’s over. It’s over. It’s over,” she shouted and ran on, while the shrill, uncontrollable, uncompre­hending excitement of schoolgirls blazed up behind her.

Howard and John.
Two subalterns linked arms, swung dizzily into Trafalgar Square, charged through the roaring crowd, leant against the cold, bland lions, vowed eternal friendship, and were swept apart for ten years.

A V.A.D. probationer stood on the fringe of the crowd at Roehampton, crumpling her apron and choking back tears. Over … after one week …

Isabel Snow.
A greyish-haired W.A.A.C. was kissed by an elderly Major in the lounge of the Ritz. She gulped down her brandy and soda and joined in the cheering, muzzily aware that for her more than the war had ended.

A thin boy in shabby flannels stood in a cold attic bedroom, miserably turning over a pile of snapshots. They were men, these schoolboys in khaki. He was eighteen to-morrow—and the War was over to-day.

A long-legged girl pedalled an ancient bicycle furiously down the steep hill leading to the Market Square of a Wiltshire village. She wore no hat over the red hair that was cut square across the nape of her neck. A coat collar of shabby grey tweed was turned up round her ears. In a few minutes the church clock would strike and she would be too late to see the end of that chapter because she had been dawdling and dreaming of the next.

In room C.33 of the Ministry of Pensions, work was still going on. The girls were stacking buff papers in lop-sided piles, cramming blue forms into wire baskets, opening and slamming filing cabinets. At her desk, Alice Gedge stood and watched them, one hand ready to pounce on the buzzer whenever the mutterings became audible. She was waiting for the desk telephone to ring, but when it sounded she could hardly lift the receiver. Every one looked up in a medusa stillness, hands suspended over baskets, pens over inkpots, fingers over typewriters.
    “Yes, sir ... Speaking, sir ... In ten minutes. Certainly, sir …” The receiver slipped back into its rest with a ping. “You may go in ten minutes. It’s over,” said Alice, turning to face the room again.
    Then she sat down quickly: the room was sud­denly dark: the narrow oblong window at which she had so often stared for reassurance split up into odd triangles of light. She shut her eyes, and, as she opened them again, the scene jerked back into focus and she saw, with sudden exasperation, that one pert junior clerk was fox-trotting down the narrow ink-stained table, scattering baskets, blotters, pin trays, pens and ink-pots. Alice brought her fore­finger imperiously down on the buzzer.
    “Stop that row this minute,” she said. “Joan Drew, you must be clean crazy. Get off the table. Clear up that mess at once. You can make all the noise you want in ten minutes.”
    “That’s right, Mrs. Gedge, there’s a good time coming…” shouted someone.
    “What’ll you do, girls?”
    “Oo cares? Ain’t it enough the blinking war’s over?”
    “Marry your boy, dearie.”
    “Have a good time …”
    “What’ll you do, Mrs. Gedge?”
    “What’ll happen to us girls?”
    “Us?” said Alice. “We’ll go home, I suppose.”
    “Go home, dear, wot to?”
    “What for? When we can earn good money?”
    Alice said: “Do you suppose any one in their senses will want to give you ninnies a job when the men come back?”
    “That’s right, Mrs. G. Keep the Home Fires Burn—ning ... Leave the work for the Heroes … ”
    “Work!” said Alice. “There’s not one of you wants a job except for the fun of it. The War’s been your good time all right, it has. And no mistake ... It’s back to your homes for those that’s got them. And back to the wash-tub and the pram for me.”
    “Catch me …”
    “We’ll have our bit of fun first …”
    “Beginning now!” “Pack up Yer Troubles in Yer Ole Kitbag … ” “Keep the Home Fires … ” “It’s a long, long way to Tipperary … ”        “There’s a long, long trail a
windin’ … ” Everybody was singing a different tune, and somebody had begun to cry ... The girls drifted out into the passages.
    Alice went round the long room, tidying method­ically till all the papers and baskets were back in their places and the room looked as though the Armistice had come and left it unamazed.

                   “I don’t know,” said Alice, half aloud, as she, too, went down the passage to the cloakroom. “Peace at any price, I say ... But I daresay we shan’t be that thankful when we’ve had it a bit. Bound to be upsetting.” She reached her own peg where her hat and coat hung; she pulled on her blue felt, twisted a fur round her neck, decided against taking her umbrella, and went out by a side entrance.