The letter C brings the third of 26 short stories – 250 words or fewer - about Alice.
Charles was the eldest child in the family and took his responsibilities seriously. From an early age his parents had exhorted him to be a good example to his brothers and it was a natural extension of this that he should look after Alice. He pushed her in her pram, negotiating kerbs with care and ensuring that no draughts chilled her. His friends often accompanied them and so, from an early age, Alice had many surrogate brothers.
Charles hoped to become a teacher and enjoyed reading to his little sister and playing with her. She couldn’t pronounce his name and called him Dars. The name stuck and before long it was difficult to remember a time when he had not been Dars.
Charles was nineteen the summer that Alice was five. When he arrived home from college she rushed towards him. ‘Dars, Dars,’ she cried and screamed with delight as he swept her up and swung her round.
During the long, hot days the boys took her into the countryside to fish and swim. As soon as she tired a strong pair of arms scooped her up and let her ride on broad shoulders. She favoured Charles to carry her because he was the tallest and she liked being up high. At other times Daniel and Edward would link hands to make a chair for her and swing her along between them. They sang as they walked and her musical voice made a pretty counterpoint to their deeper tones.