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The Happy Foreigner   By: (1889-1981)

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First Page:

THE HAPPY FOREIGNER

by

ENID BAGNOLD

1920

CONTENTS

PROLOGUE: THE EVE

PART I. THE BLACK HUT AT BAR

CHAPTER I. THE TRAVELLER

PART II. LORRAINE

CHAPTER II. METZ CHAPTER III. JULIEN CHAPTER IV. VERDUN CHAPTER V. VERDUN CHAPTER VI. THE LOVER IN THE LAMP CHAPTER VII. THE THREE "CLIENTS" CHAPTER VIII. GERMANY CHAPTER IX. THE CRINOLINE CHAPTER X. FANNY ROBBED AND RESCUED CHAPTER XI. THE LAST NIGHT IN METZ: THE JOURNEY

PART III. THE FORESTS OF CHANTILLY

CHAPTER XII. PRECY SUR OISE CHAPTER XIII. THE INN CHAPTER XIV. THE RIVER CHAPTER XV. ALLIES CHAPTER XVI. THE ARDENNES

PART IV. SPRING IN CHARLEVILLE

CHAPTER XVII. THE STUFFED OWL CHAPTER XVIII. PHILIPPE'S HOUSE CHAPTER XIX. PHILIPPE'S MOTHER CHAPTER XX. THE LAST DAY

PROLOGUE

THE EVE

Between the grey walls of its bath so like its cradle and its coffin lay one of those small and lonely creatures which inhabit the surface of the earth for seventy years.

As on every other evening the sun was sinking and the moon, unseen, was rising.

The round head of flesh and bone floated upon the deep water of the bath.

"Why should I move?" rolled its thoughts, bewitched by solitude. "The earth itself is moving.

"Summer and winter and winter and summer I have travelled in my head, saying 'All secrets, all wonders, lie within the breast!' But now that is at an end, and to morrow I go upon a journey.

"I have been accustomed to finding something in nothing how do I know if I am equipped for a larger horizon!..."

And suddenly the little creature chanted aloud:

"The strange things of travel, The East and the West, The hill beyond the hill, They lie within the breast!"

PART I

THE BLACK HUT AT BAR

CHAPTER I

THE TRAVELLER

The war had stopped.

The King of England was in Paris, and the President of the United States was hourly expected.

Humbler guests poured each night from the termini into the overflowing city, and sought anxiously for some bed, lounge chair, or pillowed corner, in which to rest until the morning. Stretched upon the table in a branch of the Y.W.C.A. lay a young woman from England whose clothes were of brand new khaki, and whose name was Fanny.

She had arrived that night at the Gare du Nord at eight o'clock, and the following night at eight o'clock she left Paris by the Gare de l'Est.

Just as she entered the station a small boy with a basket of violets for sale held a bunch to her face.

"No, thank you."

He pursued her and held it against her chin.

"No, thank you."

"But I give it to you! I give it to you!"

As she had neither slept on the boat from Southampton nor on the table of the Y.W.C.A., tears of pleasure came into her eyes as she took them. But while she dragged her heavy kitbag and her suitcase across the platform another boy of a different spirit ran beside her.

"Mademoiselle! Mademoiselle! Wait a minute..." he panted.

"Well?"

"Haven't you heard ... haven't you heard! The war is over!"

She continued to drag the weighty sack behind her over the platform. "She didn't know!" howled the wicked boy. "No one had told her!"

And in the train which carried her towards the dead of night the taunt and the violets accompanied her.

At half past two in the morning she reached the station of Bar le Duc. The rain rattled down through the broken roof as she crossed the lines of the platform on the further side, where, vaguely expecting to be met she questioned civilians and military police. But the pall of death that hung over Bar stretched even to the station, where nobody knew anything, expected anything, cared anything, except to hurry out and away into the rain.

She, too, followed at last, leaving her bag and box in the corner of a deserted office, and crossing the station yard tramped out in the thick mud on to a bridge. The rain was falling in torrents, and crouching for a minute in a doorway she made her bundles faster and buttoned up her coat. Roofs jutted above her, pavements sounded under her feet, the clock struck three near by... Continue reading book >>




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