THE PARCEL Mrs. Belloc Lowndes

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Published: January 21st 2010

Kindle Edition

29 pages


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THE PARCEL  by  Mrs. Belloc Lowndes

THE PARCEL by Mrs. Belloc Lowndes
January 21st 2010 | Kindle Edition | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, talking book, mp3, RTF | 29 pages | ISBN: | 7.73 Mb

an excerpt from the beginning of the story: THE fat German Landsturmer, Gustav Shenck--at once so much and so little a soldier—toiled up the steep central street of Douvenay, the Champagne village where were quartered General Prince Botho vonMorean excerpt from the beginning of the story: THE fat German Landsturmer, Gustav Shenck--at once so much and so little a soldier—toiled up the steep central street of Douvenay, the Champagne village where were quartered General Prince Botho von Bedingen and his Staff. Shenck was Chief Military Postman of the Staff, and as such felt himself to be an important personage.

But the work his position entailed was onerous to one who was stout and short of breath. This morning he was laden and overladen with the well-filled bags of the Field Post Service. They had been adjusted on to his shoulders, placed over his arm, one even hung about his neck by his zealous subordinates.

And the bags, in addition to postcards and letters, contained parcels—quantities of parcels—for the most part filled with delicatessen, humble and luxurious, according to whether they were for officers or men. Gustav Shencks load was heavy, and his heart was heavy too- for he himself had received a letter from home to-day, and it said that things were not going well in Saxony, that life was getting, even now, in these early weeks of war, more difficult every day. True, all through the letter there was the insistent hope and belief that soon glorious victory would send the warriors of Germany home to their hearths, each with his share of a huge indemnity wrung from wealthy France.

But as he read those words of cheer, the Landsturmer had shaken his head. There were curious rumours current, even in quiet Douvenay—persistent rumours that there had been some kind of defeat and halt just before Paris, and that all was not quite as well with the prospects of a quick campaign as every one had been led to expect would be the case.

Still, Shenck was a kindly, easy-going fellow, and he had a smile and a nod for most of the grey-clad soldiers who came hurrying out of the houses on either side of the village street. The French inhabitants of Douvenay kept, as much as was possible, out of sight, though certain of their small children played about on the sun-splashed cobbles.

With these the Saxon Field-Postman was on very kindly terms. Indeed, his heart sometimes yearned toward these little creatures who were, as he well knew, destined to become German- for this lovely backwater village was in the heart of that smiling, opulent province of Champagne which the Kaiser intended to keep after the war.

That being so, it seemed indeed a pity that these same childrens mothers and grandmothers—their fathers were far away fighting, and their grandmothers had mostly fled from the place at the approach of the dreaded enemy--should be so sulky, in some cases so disagreeable, to the Germans now in peaceful occupation of their homes. On Shenck trudged, up the sunny street. And then, gradually, his face cleared, for he was approaching a spot where he knew himself sure of courtesy, and even of something better than courtesy, of a smiling welcome.

Standing well back from the paved roadway, behind a high iron gate, above which swung a big gilt bell, was a delightful looking house, running partly round a spacious courtyard. Built of red brick, now faded to a delicate rose pink, the walls, though it was late September, were wreathed with white and yellow flowering climbers- and in the courtyard stood six green tubs filled with miniature orange trees. This was La Maison Bissonet, the property of Leon Bissonet, Mayor of Douvenay, in peace times a prosperous, and even in a modest way a famous, nurseryman.

It was in La Maison Bissonet that General Prince of Bedingen, a veteran of 1870, had fixed his own quarters, instead of in the rat-beridden, unlived-in Chateau outside the village.



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