The happy foreigner

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TheProjectGutenbergEBookofTheHappyForeigner,byEnidBagnold ThiseBookisfortheuseofanyoneanywhereatnocostandwithalmostno restrictionswhatsoever Youmaycopyit,giveitawayorre-useitunderthe termsoftheProjectGutenbergLicenseincludedwiththiseBookoronlineat www.gutenberg.net Title:TheHappyForeigner Author:EnidBagnold PostingDate:November23,2011[EBook#9978]ReleaseDate:March,2006 FirstPosted:November7,2003 Language:English ***STARTOFTHISPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKTHEHAPPY FOREIGNER*** ProducedbySuzanneShell,CharlieKirschnerandthePGOnlineDistributed ProofreadingTeam THEHAPPYFOREIGNER by ENIDBAGNOLD 1920 CONTENTS PROLOGUE:THEEVE PARTI THEBLACKHUTATBAR CHAPTERI THETRAVELLER PARTII LORRAINE CHAPTERII METZCHAPTERIII JULIENCHAPTERIV VERDUNCHAPTERV VERDUN CHAPTERVI THELOVERINTHELAMPCHAPTERVII THETHREE"CLIENTS" CHAPTERVIII GERMANYCHAPTERIX THECRINOLINECHAPTERX FANNYROBBED ANDRESCUEDCHAPTERXI THELASTNIGHTINMETZ:THEJOURNEY PARTIII THEFORESTSOFCHANTILLY CHAPTERXII PRECY-SUR-OISECHAPTERXIII THEINNCHAPTERXIV THERIVER CHAPTERXV ALLIESCHAPTERXVI THEARDENNES PARTIV SPRINGINCHARLEVILLE CHAPTERXVII THESTUFFEDOWLCHAPTERXVIII PHILIPPE'SHOUSECHAPTERXIX PHILIPPE'SMOTHERCHAPTERXX THELASTDAY PROLOGUE THEEVE Betweenthegreywallsofitsbath—solikeitscradleanditscoffin—layoneof thosesmallandlonelycreatureswhichinhabitthesurfaceoftheearthfor seventyyears Asoneveryothereveningthesunwassinkingandthemoon,unseen,wasrising Theroundheadoffleshandbonefloateduponthedeepwaterofthebath "WhyshouldImove?"rolleditsthoughts,bewitchedbysolitude "Theearth itselfismoving "SummerandwinterandwinterandsummerIhavetravelledinmyhead,saying —'Allsecrets,allwonders,liewithinthebreast!'Butnowthatisatanend,and to-morrowIgouponajourney "Ihavebeenaccustomedtofindingsomethinginnothing—howdoIknowifI amequippedforalargerhorizon!…" Andsuddenlythelittlecreaturechantedaloud:— "Thestrangethingsoftravel, TheEastandtheWest, Thehillbeyondthehill,— Theyliewithinthebreast!" PARTI THEBLACKHUTATBAR CHAPTERI THETRAVELLER Thewarhadstopped TheKingofEnglandwasinParis,andthePresidentoftheUnitedStateswas hourlyexpected Humblerguestspouredeachnightfromtheterminiintotheoverflowingcity, andsoughtanxiouslyforsomebed,lounge-chair,orpillowedcorner,inwhichto restuntilthemorning StretcheduponthetableinabranchoftheY.W.C.A laya youngwomanfromEnglandwhoseclotheswereofbrand-newkhaki,andwhose namewasFanny ShehadarrivedthatnightattheGareduNordateighto'clock,andthefollowing nightateighto'clocksheleftParisbytheGaredel'Est Justassheenteredthestationasmallboywithabasketofvioletsforsalehelda bunchtoherface "No,thankyou." Hepursuedherandhelditagainstherchin "No,thankyou." "ButIgiveittoyou!Igiveittoyou!" AsshehadneithersleptontheboatfromSouthamptonnoronthetableofthe Y.W.C.A.,tearsofpleasurecameintohereyesasshetookthem Butwhileshe draggedherheavykitbagandhersuitcaseacrosstheplatformanotherboyofa differentspiritranbesideher "Mademoiselle!Mademoiselle!Waitaminute…"hepanted "Well?" "Haven'tyouheard…haven'tyouheard!Thewarisover!" Shecontinuedtodragtheweightysackbehindherovertheplatform "Shedidn'tknow!"howledthewickedboy "Noonehadtoldher!" Andinthetrainwhichcarriedhertowardsthedeadofnightthetauntandthe violetsaccompaniedher Athalf-pasttwointhemorningshereachedthestationofBar-le-Duc Therain rattleddownthroughthebrokenroofasshecrossedthelinesoftheplatformon thefurtherside,where,vaguelyexpectingtobemetshequestionedciviliansand militarypolice ButthepallofdeaththathungoverBarstretchedeventothe station,wherenobodyknewanything,expectedanything,caredanything,except tohurryoutandawayintotherain She,too,followedatlast,leavingherbagandboxinthecornerofadeserted office,andcrossingthestationyardtrampedoutinthethickmudontoabridge Therainwasfallingintorrents,andcrouchingforaminuteinadoorwayshe madeherbundlesfasterandbuttoneduphercoat Roofsjuttedaboveher, pavementssoundedunderherfeet,theclockstruckthreenearby Iftherewasan hotelanywheretherewasnoonetogiveinformationaboutit Thelasttrainhad emptieditself,thetravellershadhurriedoffintothenight,andnotafootrang uponthepavements Therainraninastreamdownhercapandontoherface; downhersleevesandontoherhands Alightfurtherupthestreetattractedherattention,andwalkingtowardsitshe foundthatitcamefromanopendoorwayabovewhichshecouldmakeoutthe letters"Y.M.C.A." Shedidnotknowwithwhatcomplicatedfeelingsshewouldcometoregard theseletters—withwhatgratitudemixedwithirritation,self-reproachwith greed Climbingthestepsshelookedinside Thehallofthebuildingwaspavedwith stone,andonacoupleofdozensummerchairsofcanesatasmanyAmerican officers,dozinginpainfulattitudesofunrest Byeachranastreamofwaterthat trickledfromhisclothes,andthestreams,joiningeachother,formedaimless riversuponthefloor Theeyeofacaptainopened "Comein,ma'am,"hesaidwithoutmoving Shewonderedwhethersheshould Theeyeofalieutenantopened "Comein,ma'am,"hesaid,androse "Takemychair." "Couldyoutellmeifthereisanyhotel?" "Thereissomesortofashantydownthestreet I'lltakeyou." Furtherupthestreetafaintlightshoneunderaslitbetweentwoboards There wasnodoornearit,nokeyholeorshutter TheAmericanthunderedattheboards withatinofjamwhichhetookoutofhispocket Thenoisewasmonstrousin theblackness,butthetownhadheardnoisesmoremonstrousthanthat,anditlay inabarredandblind,unansweringstupor "God!"saidtheAmerican,quicklyangered,andkickedtheboardtilltheslit grewlarger Thelightwentout "Someoneiscomingroundtothedoor,"saidFanny,intimetopreventthe destructionoftheboard Higherupthestreetboltswerebeingwithdrawnandalightfelluponthe pavement "Who'sthere?"creakedavoice TheAmericanmovedtowardsthelight "ThehotelisshuttoAmericans,"saidthevoice "Thedevilitis,"shoutedtheAmerican "Andwhy,then?" "Mankilledherelastnight,"saidthevoicebriefly Fannymovedtowardsthe lightandsawanoldmanwithashawluponhisshoulders,whoheldacandle fixedintheneckofabottle "IamEnglish,"shesaidtotheoldman "Iamalone Iwantaroomalone." "I'vearoom…Ifyou'renotAmerican!" "Idon'tknowwhatkindofaholethisis,"saidtheAmericanwrathfully "Ithink you'dbettercomerightbacktothe'Y.'Say,here,whatkindofarowwasthislast nightyougotamankilledin?" "Kindofrowyourcountrymenmake,"mutteredtheoldman,andadded "Bandits!" Soothing,ontheonehand,entreatingontheother,thegirlgotridofhernew friend,andeffectedanentranceintothehotel ("Ifhotelitis!"shethought,inthe briefpassageofapanicwhiletheoldmanstoopedtotheboltsofthedoor.) "I'vegotroomsenough,"hesaid,"roomsenough Nowthey'vegone Followme." Shefollowedhiscandleflameandhethrewopenadooruponthegroundfloor "I'venolighttogiveyou." "YetImusthavealight." Grumbling,heproducedhalfaninchofwaxcandle "Hurryintobedandthatwilllastyou It'sallIhave." Thebedworeacolouredrug,bareandthin,aneiderdown,dampandmusty Spreadingherwetmackintoshonthetopsherolledherselfupaswellasshe could,anddevelopingasortofwarmthtowardsmorning,sleptanhourortwo Thedaylightshowedhernothingtowashin,nojug,nobasin,nobelltopull Asnoonewouldcometoher,astherewasnothingtobegainedbywaiting,she gotup,andgoingintothehall,enteredadarkcoffee-roominwhichbreakfast wasservedatitslowestebb,blackcoffee,sugarless,andtwopiecesofdry bread Yet,havingeaten,shewasabletothink:"Iamasoldieroffivesous Iamhereto drivefortheFrenchArmy."Andherthoughtspleasedhersowellthat,atthe momentwhenhercircumstanceswereintheirstateofleastperfection,she exclaimed:"HowrightIwastocome!"andsetoffdownthestreettofindher companions AmileoutofthetownuponthebanksofatributaryoftheMeusestooda desertedglassfactorywhichhadbeenconvertedbytheFrenchintoagaragefor afleetofthirtycars Abovethegaragewasalargeatticusedasadormitoryfor themechanics,soldier-cooks,driversandclerks Inasmallerroomattheend sleptthenon-commissionedofficers—thebrigadierandthetwomaréchauxdes logis Ahundredyardsfromthefactory,builtuponthebrinkofthestreamwhichwas nowinflood,andreachedfromtheroadbyanarrowwoodenbridge,stooda tarredhutofwoodandtarpaulin Itwasbuiltuponsimplelines Anarrow corridorrandownthecentreofit,andoneitherhandwerefoursquarecells dividedonefromtheotherbygreypaperstretcheduponlathsofwood—making eightinall Atoneendwasasmallhallfilledwithmackintoshes Attheothera sitting-room Thiswasthehomeofthewomendriversattachedtothegarage Inoneofthese papercells,henceforwardtobeherown,Fannysetupherintimatelife ***** Outsidetheblackhutthejet-blacknightpouredwaterdown Inside,theeight cubiclesheldeachawoman,abed,andahurricanelantern Fanny,inherpaper box,listenedtothescratchingofapennextdoor,thenturnedhereyesasanew andnearerscratchingcaughtherear Abright-eyedratstaredatherthroughthe holeithadmadeinthewall "Foodisin!" Outoftheboxescametheeightwomentoeatpiecesofdarkmeatfromatinset onthetopofthesitting-roomstove—thencheeseandbread Thewaterynight turnedintosleetandrattledliketin-foilonthepanes "WhereisStewart?" "Sheisnotbackyet." Soontheeightcreptbacktotheirboxesandsatagainbythelampstoreador darnorwrite Theylivedsoclosetoeachotherthateventhemostgenialhad learnttocareforsolitude,andthesitting-roomremainedempty ThenoiseofStewart'sfeetsoundedinthecorridor Sheswungalanterninher hand;herfacewasshining,herhairstreaming "Isthereanyfood?" "It'sonthestove." "Isiteatable?" "No." Silenceforawhile,andthenonebyonetheycreptoutintotheblackmud beyondthehuttofilltheircanswithhotwaterfromthecook-house—andsoto bed,onstretchersslungontrestles,wherethosewhodidnotsleeplistened throughthelongnighttothosewhoslepttoowell "Areyouawake?"camewiththedaylight "Ah,youarewashing!Youaredoing yourhair!"Therewasnoprivacy "Howcold,howcoldthewater,is!…"sighedFanny,Andavoicethroughthe paperwall,catchingtheshiveringwhisper,exclaimed:"Useyourhot-water bottle!" "Whatfor?" "Emptyitintoyourbasin Ifyouhavekeptitinyourbedallnightyouwillfind thewaterhasthechilloff." Thosewhohadtobeoutearlyhadleftbeforethedaylight,stillwiththeir lanternsswingingintheirhands;hadbattledwiththecoldcarsintheunlighted garage,andweremovingaloneacrossthelongdesertofthebattlefields Onthefirstmorningshewastestedonanoldambulance,andpassedthetest On thesecondmorningshegotherfirstrunuponaCharroncarthathadbeen assignedtoher DrivingintoBar-le-Ducintheearlymorningunderagreyfloodofrainshe askedofapasser-by,"WhichistheRueThierry?"Shegotnoanswer The French,toopoorandwet,didnottroubletoreply;theAmericansdidnotknow Asshedrovealongatthesideoftheroadtherecamearoaroutofthedistance,
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