Canada would never forget that day. The day that France had returned home beaten and bandaged. The day that France looked so defeated and out of character, that Canada almost didn't recognize him. The day that France, Canada's beloved big brother, looked down at him, sadly and said those horrible words:
"I am sorry, Canada, but
you no longer belong to me."
The toddler didn't understand. How could he? What is a child supposed to think when his guardian says something that crazy?
"W-what do mean, mon frère?"
The wounded man smiled a sorrowful smile down at the tiny boy. He knelt down at the boy's level. France held his arms out to Canada. The boy hesitantly walked forward until France clutched him, gently by his little arms. France's cheerless smile never left as he tenderly stroked Canada's cheek and long, curly hair.
"You are so cute, Mathieu," France said in a horse whisper.
Canada hugged his stuffed bear tighter. His uneasiness grew at France's actionsnot that it wasn't normal for his big brother to cuddle him. France was one man who was never afraid to show affection, and it was certainly a common thing for France to complement Canada on his cute face. Usually, when these two were together, practically every other sentence out of the Frenchmen's mouth was a reminder to the child of how adorable he was. What frightened Canada, was his brother's attitude. France was acting so strange. Canada had never seen him this depressed. He could feel his guardian's strong hand on him waver before he continued with his unhappy news.
"Do you remember that I have been fighting a war with England?"
Canada nodded. He remembered. How could he forget? France was always away because of that. Canada had worried himself sick over his big brother every time France had set out to rejoin the battle.
France smiled his sad smile again.
"Of course you do. You were always so smart," France paused for the longest time after that statement. He said nothing. He only gazed lovingly at the confused child. Canada patiently waited for his brother to return to his explanation. At last, France put his sad smile away. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath as if he was trying to gather strength.
"Mathieu," he began. "I want you to listen to your big brother, France very carefully." France's face was now very serious. Yet somehow, it was still gentle
and sad. The sadness never left. Canada nodded again to show that he would listen. France went on.
"The war has ended, Mathieu, and by the will of God
Canada waited, silently.
"I have lost the war."
Canada said nothing, but he was shocked. France couldn't have lost! Wasn't he always bragging about how he was superior to England in every way?
"Because I lost," France continued. Apparently, there was more. Canada watched his brother's face fill with pain as if he was forcing himself to do something deeply unpleasant. "I have been stripped of many of my previous possessions. My superior has handed them all over to England." France looked away from Canada for a moment. Then, after another deep breath, he raised his head to look his little brother in the eye with determination. "Mathieu, it has been decided that you will be given to England
. I cannot be your big brother anymore."
Canada stood stone still and quiet as he tried to process everything his brother had just said. "Shocked" could not begin to describe how the small boy felt. When France had finished, it was as if someone had rung a large church-bell right in Canada's ears. France's words were like a loud "GONG" that had drowned out everything else. Canada could no longer hear the sounds of nature outside the house. He could not hear the crackling of the fire in the fireplace. He could not even hear the sound of his own breathing. Was he still breathing? He couldn't tell. He felt numb. There had to be some sort of mistake. The boy searched his brother's face, but France's serious expression was unwavering.
" Canada finally spoke in a whisper. "I don't want to. I-I don't want to live with England. I want to stay with you."
France looked away as if he could no longer bear to make eye contact with Canada.
"I am sorry," he replied. "We have no choice. England is your big brother, now."
Canada could feel himself beginning to panic. He could hear the sound of his breathing now. It was anxious and threatening to go out of control.
I don't want England to be my brother," Feeling was finally returning to Canada's limbs. The frightened child carefully moved closer to France and clutched the beaten nation by his long neckerchief, as he spoke. "I want you to be my brother," he softly pleaded.
France did not respond to Canada's advances. He continued to avoid the boy's eyes.
"It cannot be helped," he said simply. "In war, the defeated must give in to the victor's demands."
Canada felt like the world had suddenly become unsteady. He was feeling sick as the house seemed to shift and rock around him. How could his brother be so calm about this?
Canada didn't know what to say. He pulled at France for some sort of comfort or security, but his brother seemed to be ignoring him. No. This wasn't happening. This couldn't be happening. It had to be a bad dream!
why can't you
" Canada stumbled over his objections. He began to choke on his own words as rising sobs began to take hold of him.
Finally, France scooped Canada up in his arms and held him in a tight hug. Canada clung to his brother as if his life depended on it. He lost control of himself and wept as France held him, protectively.
"Forgive me, mon cher," Canada heard France whisper, pitifully. "I have failed you."
Canada was screaming at France on the inside.
Stop apologizing! Stop saying these terrible things! It's not true! I'm not going to be given away! You wouldn't have let that happen!
Canada wanted to shout all these things. He wanted to kick and hit and throw a tantrum, but he didn't have the energy. All he could do was cry, uncontrollably into his brother, who was petting him and rocking him in an unsuccessful attempt to sooth his sobs.
"Je suis vraiment désolé."
England, himself, would not be coming to officially claim Canada for some time. France said that it was because the brute had other new acquisitions to tend to, first. Canada was curious as to what that meant, but he did not question any further. France had seemed very bitter when he had explained it, for some reason. Whatever the reason, France definitely didn't seem like he wanted to talk about it. Canada decided that it was not important. For now, the boy was just thankful that he would have his father figure with him for a little while longer.
Over the next few days, France spent as much time as he could with Canada. The day after he delivered the bad news, the Frenchmen switched back to his usual self. He smiled at Canada as if nothing was wrong. He seemed to be making an attempt to comfort Canada by pretending like everything was fine and creating a sense of normality. He probably didn't want to ruin what little time he had left with the boy by talking or thinking about sad events.
To Canada, it was almost like the way things had been when he had first met France. The two had met long ago when France had arrived to create settlements in the New World. Soon after arriving, France claimed Canada as his new little brother. Canada missed that time in his life. In those days, France had given Canada his undivided attention. France had shamelessly spoiled the little boy. He had given Canada extravagant presents, cooked delicious meals and sweets for him, played with him, cuddled with him, told him stories, amazed him with all the things he brought with him from Europe, and had even let the child sleep with him. Those had been very happy times for Canada.
But as the years had passed, France gradually spent less and less time with the boy. Soon, it had seemed like France's life was getting busier. He would often leave Canada home alone. When Canada would ask where he was going and what he was doing, sometimes France would say he had official business to attend to in the colony. Most of the time though, he would smile a charismatic smile and give Canada a mischievous wink, as he told the boy that he was simply sharing his love with the deprived new world. Canada didn't know what that meant, but it sure took up a lot of France's time.
There had also been times when France had had to return to Europe. When France did stay with Canada he would often invite important guests over to socialize. Sometimes France would have lavish parties at Canada's house. Canada had been allowed to attend these parties, but he was treated as little more than a trophy for France to show off. Many nights, France would have "very special guests" over which always meant that Canada would be sent to bed early.
During this time in his life, Canada had wished that France's schedule did not have to be so demanding. Canada loved and trusted his big brother with all of his heart. Yet, sometimes when Canada took the time to really think about it, he would wonder if his brother would want to spend time with him even if he had the chance. Perhaps France had gotten bored with him.
Then, there had come the time when France had become involved in some major wars in Europe. The wars had kept France away for a very long time. Soon, the war between France and England had spread to Canada's side of the globe. Canada had been lucky enough to receive brief visits from France during this time. France would come every now and then to give good news from the battlefield. Canada had not cared much for France's glorious stories of his victory in battle. Canada had just wanted the scary war to end. Canada had hoped that maybe after the long war ended, France would want to take a rest from everything. Canada had thought that maybe then France would have more time to spend with him.
Now, the war was over at last, but it had not been the blessing that Canada had wanted. France was spending time with him now, and it was nice to be babied again, but Canada knew that it was only temporary. After the life-shattering news, Canada became like France's shadow. He attached himself to his brother as if he were afraid that he would disappear at any moment. He even slept with France just like he used to do.
One morning, Canada awoke alone in the bed. Canada rubbed his eyes and scanned the bright room. The room was empty. Feeling nervous, he called France's name. He waited, but no answer came. Now feeling very nervous, little Canada quickly rolled out of the luxurious bed (his faithful teddy-bear in hand) and rushed for the open bedroom door. His eyes searched the area outside of France's room, but he didn't see his brother anywhere. Panic now began to take over the small boy as he called out for France again. Still, there was no answer, but by this time, Canada's nose had picked up the smell of something delicious. Of course! France had to be making breakfast! Canada called for France again and he ran through the house. The "pitter-pattering" of his tiny, bare feet echoed around him as he ran.
Soon, he came upon the kitchen. The child was hoping to see the familiar sight of his brother standing at the stove, cooking away. However, the kitchen was empty as well. No one was cooking anything. There was not even a sign of culinary preparation. There were no pots or pans left out. No ingredients showed themselves. The room was immaculately clean. The smell of food was coming from the far table. Canada stood on tip-toe to examine the top of the table. Breakfast had already been made at set out.
The table was set for one.
Canada became desperate. France had to still be in the house somewhere! He just had to be! The frantic child hurried to the front door; telling himself the whole way that his worst fears were not coming true. Canada stopped short when he reached the door. What he saw, made him feel as if he was trapped in some sort of nightmare.
France was standing at the door, fixing his fancy coat around him. When he was finished, raised his head and noticed Canada staring at him. France looked taken off guard; almost as if he had seen a ghost.
"Oh, Mathieu!" he said in surprise. "I-I thought you were asleep."
Canada said nothing. He clutched his soft bear and shook his head, no.
"It is still so early," France seemed to be attempting to act natural, but he didn't sound natural. He sounded flustered and nervous. "Why don't you go back to bed?" he suggested with a fake smile.
Canada shook his head again. He was glued to that spot on the floor. France paused. He seemed unsure of how to handle the awkward situation.
"If you are hungry, you may go into the kitchen," France made another effort at distracting Canada. "I made a fabulous breakfast for you," the Frenchmen sang in his most temping voice.
Canada's stomach was aching, but it wasn't from hunger. Slowly, Canada shook his head once more. France tried a few more times to convince Canada to return to bed, to eat his breakfast, or to go play. Canada silently refused every suggestion. Finally, France said the kind of thing that Canada had been dreading he would say:
"I am only stepping out for a moment."
That snapped Canada out if his frozen state. The boy scurried over to France and grasped his leg.
"Don't go, mon frère. Please don't go," Canada quietly begged his brother.
"I-I have to go," France replied as he tried to make the boy release him. "There is no need for this. It will only be for a little while," the comforting words did not affect Canada. Who did France think he was kidding? Canada knew France only wore clothes as extravagant as the ones he was now wearing for world travel. Tears began to spill out of Canada.
"Let me come with you," Canada pleaded with all his heart. "Please, mon frère. Please don't let England take me. "
With a sigh, France gave up on his façade.
"There is no fooling you, is there?" France asked wearily, after a moment of silence. The older nation kneeled down and embraced the crying child. France allowed Canada to cry into him for a time before he pulled a handkerchief from his coat and started to dab at the boy's eyes. "I am sorry, Mathieu," he apologized. "I received word that England would come sometime today. I could not bear to stay and watch him take you away from me. I thought that it might be easier on you, as well, if I left quietly. Tearful farewells are always so difficult."
Canada continued to cry. How could France think that just walking out, without even saying goodbye, would make things "easier" on him?!
"There, there, shhhh," France soothed as he dried Canada's tears. "You should not cry. It makes you look terribly unattractive. You do not want my last memory of your face to be this pitiful expression, do you? Please cheer up, for me?" France implored. "Let me see that cute smile of yours again."
Canada sniffled, but did his best to stop crying. He wanted to please his brother, even though he felt as if he was being abandoned by him. With a little more encouragement from France, Canada was eventually able to give him a weak smile.
"Très bien!" France praised. " That is much better, non?"
Canada hung his head. He nodded slightly. Satisfied, France took a moment to put his handkerchief back in his coat. As France was returning the damp cloth to its place, Canada reached up and held France by his coat.
"Please don't leave me," he tried to appeal to his brother once more.
"I do not wish to," he sounded tormented; as if he was fighting tears, himself. "But I must."
" Canada could feel his sobs coming back. "I'm scared."
"Oh, but there is nothing at all to fear!" France waved his hands in front of Canada anxiously. He gave a nervous laugh as he hastily tried to calm Canada's fears. It seemed as if France had suddenly realized how worried the child must be about meeting his sworn enemy. "E-England is not half as bad as I always made him out to be! He will no doubt be hard on you at first, but as long as you do as he says, I am sure no harm will come to you!"
Canada kept his head down and his hand on France's coat. He doubted the words of encouragement, and (judging by the sound of his brother's speech) he was not convinced that France fully believed his own words, either. After France's nervous laughter died down, he sighed and gently lifted Canada's chin up so that the boy could look at him.
"Just continue to be your sweet self, and everything will be fine," France said more honestly. "After all, who could resist your charms?"
Canada lowered his head again in despair and buried it in France's chest. France patted the boy's back.
"Matheiu, you must promise me something," France spoke after a time. He sounded gravely serious. "You must promise me that you will be a good boy for England. Can you do that?"
Canada squeezed France tighter. His eyes began to fill with fresh tears.
"I-I p-p-promise, mon frère," Canada choked out.
France hugged Canada back.
promise me one thing more," France whispered. "Do not forget me? Never forget me and the things that have I taught you."
Canada felt like he was going to die!
"I promise," he weakly whispered back.
The two held onto each other for a few more minutes. At last, France began to gently push Canada away. Canada sadly allowed his brother to go free.
"I am so proud of you," France said as he admired the boy one last time. "You were always so good. I wish that I could stay and watch you mature into the handsome man I am sure you will be
but it seems that it has been fated for us to part ways now."
Canada did not look at France. He was afraid he would start crying again.
I regret that I did not fully take advantage of the short time I had with you," France continued after a long pause. "I took you for granted and we are both paying for it now," France's voice became softer. "If I could only have that time back
Canada rubbed at his eyes. As far as Canada cared, France could ignore him all he wanted if he would only stay.
"Ah well! That is life, non?" France sounded as if he was trying to cheer them both up. "No sense in regretting things that cannot be changed, is there?" he said as he patted Canada on the head. "Let us not dwell on the sad events of the past. If you remember the wonderful times we had together, then at least you will always have me in your heart." With that, France kissed Canada on his fore-head. Then, he quickly stood and readied himself to depart. "England should be arriving soon," he informed. "Stay here and wait for him. Do not forget your promise."
Canada hugged his bear for security. He closed his eyes and tried to imagine that France was only leaving to run a few errands. He would be back in no time. That didn't stop his heart from breaking when he heard France open the door. The nation took one last look at his former charge before he took his leave.
"Remember, I will always love you," France assured.
The door closed.
Canada whimpered as if the sound of the door shutting had physically hurt him. He did not budge from his spot. Before what had just happened could really sink in, he heard France locking the door from the outside. Canada's head shot up. He suddenly had a painful urge to see France again. He quickly stepped up to the door.
"F-France?" he timidly called as he came to the door. The poor boy could barely reach the high door-knob. He tried in vain to open it. The door really was locked. "France?" Canada called again, a little louder. He listed to the door, but he heard nothing. "France!" Canada pulled desperately on the door. He just wanted to see him. Just one more time! Why didn't his brother answer him?!
Canada called for France a few more times before he finally broke down and began to sob, uncontrollably. No. France couldn't just leave him like this! What was he supposed to do now?! France had taken care of him for practically as long as he could remember. France just couldn't leave! He was supposed to stay with Canada forever! France was his friend. France was his big brother.
But he was even more than that to the tiny Canadian.
Hours later, Canada sat on the kitchen floor. He had cried all the tears he could cry. The boy was now playing, unconsciously with his stuffed bear. Cold food rested on the table behind him, untouched. Canada didn't feel like eating. He didn't feel like doing anything. All he could do was wait. France had said that England would be arriving that day. Canada made himself sick whenever he wondered what England would be like, so he was trying not to think about it. He had never met England before. All he had to go on was everything he had ever heard France say about Englandand France had never had anything good to say about England, so that didn't help.
Canada was not really thinking about anything as he sat on the floor. He was in a kind of daze. He felt drained. His heart was not even into playing with his favorite toy. He just sat in his lethargic state, lifting his bear up and down, moving his bear's limbs, turning his bear over and over; it was all mechanical.
Canada was jolted out of his daze by the sound of a sharp knocking at the front door. The sudden noise made Canada freeze in his place. He quietly waited. Inevitably, the knock came again. It had not been his imagination. Had this been any other day, Canada might have bounded to the door, hoping that it was France. But today, Canada barely dared to move a finger. He knew France wasn't at the door. Now that Canada thought about it, France never knocked, anyway. He always came in on his own. Canada was afraid of who was most likely at the door.
The knocking sounded out again. Canada flinched and held his bear close. He prayed that whoever was at the door would give up and leave. The knocking only increased. It was not long before the visitor was pounding on the door. Still, Canada did not get up. He could not have opened the door even if he wanted to. It was locked. The knocking seemed to be getting louder all the time. It was echoing throughout the house and terrifying its young resident. Canada shut his eyes and squeezed his bear. He tried to ignore the ominous banging. If he just ignored it long enough, surly the knocker would go away, eventually! Canada just wanted to be left alone.
Canada jumped. Did what he thought just happened, really happen? The loud noise was followed by the sound of heavy footsteps in the house. Yes, the door had been forced open.
"FRANCE!" a booming voice echoed through the house.
Canada flinched again at the angry-sounding voice. He hugged his bear as tight as he could. He didn't know what to do. He certainly did not want to answer, or go looking for that loud voice. Part of him wanted to hide from it, but he was too scared to move. He heard the hard footsteps exploring the house.
"France!" the voice sounded out again. "Where are you?! Don't think you can get away with ignoring me!"
Canada had no idea what the voice was saying, but it sounded furious. He thought he could make out France's name being called a few times. Maybe this person was looking for his brother? The footsteps came closer. Canada stiffened and braced for the worst as the mystery intruder appeared in the kitchen doorway.
It was a tall man in a red uniform. He was not quite as tall as France, but somehow he was still much more intimidating. The man had short, wild, blond hair and prominent eyebrows which were lowered in a scowl. The man did a quick scan of the room. Canada clenched his teeth as the man's gaze feel on him, but instead of noticing the boy right away, the man's hasty eyes continued their inspection of the room as if Canada had not been there. The man made an annoyed sound before storming off to another part of the house.
"I know you are here, frog! Stop wasting my time!"
Canada relaxed a bit when the man left. That was weird. Why had the man not noticed him? Although, the boy was not exactly upset about that. At least the man was gone for now. Canada wondered if that man might have been England. If it was, he was nowhere near as scary as Canada had imagined him to be. (Maybe that was because Canada had always imagined him as a cruel monster.) He was scary, but it was not as bad as Canada had been expecting. Maybe France was right about what he had told Canada before he had left.
After the sounds of more stomping and yelling, the man came into view again. He walked into the kitchen, muttering to himself.
"Where the bloody he" the man stopped short. He had finally noticed Canada. "What are you doing here?" the man suddenly demanded with a stunned look on his face.
Canada blanked out. The man was talking to him, but what was he saying?! The French-Canadian couldn't understand him. Before Canada could think of how to respond, the man began to walk over to him. He continued to speak to Canada as if he knew him.
"You little sneak. I thought I made it clear that you couldn't come with me this time. How on earth did you even
" the man kneeled down for a closer look at Canada. He watched closely as Canada backed down under his scrutinizing eyes. "You're not
.Who are you?" the man quickly returned to his feet. "Explain yourself, at once."
Canada realized that the man was asking him something. He opened his mouth, but nothing happened. The boy was still taken off guard by the man's appearance. He seemed to have lost his voice.
"Come now, speak up! I don't have all day!" the man spoke again with an impatient attitude.
Canada began to panic, but that only made things worse. His mind was pushing him to say somthing...anything! But the boy's unfriendly audience was giving him major stage fright. Canada hugged his bear over his mouth, shyly. He could only utter a few, soft sounds. This did not seem to please the man at all.
"Are you deaf? I asked you a question. Where I come from, children respect their
" the man's voice trailed off once more. Something seemed to have occurred to him. He slapped himself on the face. "Where is my head?" he appeared to be speaking to himself. The seemingly irritated man returned his attention to the small boy on the floor. "Parlez-vous Français?"
Canada felt somewhat relieved. The intruder could speak French! (Badly, but he could speak it.) Canada slowly nodded at the man.
"Oui." he whispered, humbly.
The man's bad mood seemed to improve just a bit.
"Ah, good," he said. "Now we are getting somewhere. Tell me, Qui êtes vous?"
The man's stunned expression returned.
"You are Canada?" he pointed at the boy as he asked his question in disbelief.
Canada gave an uncertain nod. The question had been spoken in English, but the boy thought he knew what the man was asking. Amazingly, the man gave a small smile and chuckled a bit to himself.
"How amusing," he remarked as he kneeled down and reached a hand out to touch Canada. "For a moment, I could have sworn you were"
Canada shrank back from the man's outstretched hand. He scooted away backwards in sudden fear. He was not sure who this man was, but he did not trust him. The boy's retreat seemed to have startled the man. He stared blankly at Canada for a moment before slowly retracting his hand with a frown.
"Never mind," he said quietly.
Canada studied the man in front of him. Was it his imagination, or did the man's face seem almost
sad? Canada began to feel guilty. Had he hurt the man's feelings? But then, the look on the man's face switched back to an impatient scowl. The man swiftly rose to his feet once more.
"So, Canada is it? Où est la France?"
Canada lowered his head. In a whisper he told the man that France had left already.
"Typical," he heard the man spit out above him. "Just typical. Loathsome, perverted coward. Most likely he's out there having one last go at the natives before his ship departs."
Canada raised his head to see the man rubbing his chin as if he was thinking.
"I'll have to send someone to see that he is on his ship when the time comes."
Canada could actually feel himself starting to get angry. He still didn't have a clue as to exactly what the Englishman was saying, but it sounded like he was probably insulting his brother. Unfortunately, his anger returned to fear when the tall man sharply turned his attention back on him.
"Pouvez-vous parler l'anglais à tous?" the man seemed to want to know if Canada could speak any English whatsoever.
"Non, monsieur," Canada said apologetically. "Je suis désolé."
"Why am I not surprised?" the man asked himself. "He had all this time to prepare and he couldn't even teach you a few, simple English phrases. Then he simply leaves you on your own, while he goes off to do God-knows-what, and he expects me to tend to you and any trouble you could have caused in his absence."
Canada didn't understand, but the man was acting really upset over something. After finishing with his rant, the man looked back to the boy. He spoke to Canada in a strict tone. His words were in French, but what he said roughly translated to this:
"Pay attention. I don't know what France has told you, but from this point on, things are going to change for you. I am England."
(Canada was afraid of that.)
"You belong to me, now. I won't have any blubbering or resisting. What's done is done, and there is nothing you can do about it. I have graciously decided to allow you to keep your religion and your language. You will also retain your land and law, so you should be grateful.
"I have precious little time to waste dealing with you. I am a very busy man. I will have my hands full setting up British control here, and on top of that, I also have other colonies to think about. I expect you to behave yourself. Make any trouble for me, and you will regret it," after a short pause, as if he was trying to decided if there was anything else left to add, England continued.
"Also, you must learn English right away. You are British property now, and I will not have you being ignorant of your sovereign's language. In my spare time, I will teach you. You may speak French when you are alone and in your own lands if you choose, but when I am around and whenever we go anywhere else, I expect you to only converse in perfect English.
"Our relationship does not have to be an unpleasant one. All you need to do is obey me. Submit to my rule and everything will be fine. Are we clear?"
Canada felt sick. He thought that he had emptied himself of tears, but he could feel fresh ones welling up in his eyes. He wanted to weep. He wanted to scream. He wanted to run. He wanted to hide.
He wanted France.
But France was gone forever. His big brother was not there. England was. Canada felt so small compared to the powerful man looking down on him. He looked away from England as his lip started to tremble.
"Comprenez-vous?" Canada heard England repeat.
"Oui, Monsieur Angleterre," Canada spoke in a very soft and sad whisper.
Canada thought that England seemed put off by his timid attitude. The powerful nation kneeled in front of Canada and forced the boy to look at him.
"We shall have you're first English lesson here and now. It is not 'Monsieur Angleterre,' it is 'Mister England.'" England coldly instructed. "Do you understand?"
"Oui, Monsieur Angleterre," Canada answered in French without even thinking about it. He realized his mistake the moment he made it. Canada was horrified with himself! What if England thought he was trying to be impertinent?"
"Yes. Sir. Mister. England." England carefully corrected. His voice held a warning.
Canada guessed that England wanted him to repeat the words.
"Y-yes sehr, Miss-stahr Ee-gu-land."
Canada cringed as he forced the words out of his mouth. He had given his best effort to say the sentence the same way England had said it, but he knew he had failed, miserably. His English was probably worse than England's French. He was sure England would be furious with him for his shameful pronunciation. France had always told him that, like everything else, language was supposed to be a beautiful thing. There was no excuse for abusing it. He heard England grunt before he stood again.
"I suppose that's a start."