In January 1913, a young army officer, Edward Cobb, passing through London on his way home after a tour of duty in South Africa, was taken by a friend to a party in Chelsea. There he found himself among people he had never encountered before - actors, artists, writers, publishers and young women who smoked cigarettes, drank gin and danced the Boston and the Tango. Edward was drawn to one young woman in particular who was dark and pretty and taught him the steps of the Turkey Trot, the latest craze. When they went out on to a narrow balcony to escape the heat and noise, she became more serious and asked him about South Africa: what were the differences between General Herzog and General Botha? Had he seen the effects of the recent drought?
- From Alice in Exile by Piers Paul Read