Mina “Jerry” McDonald

Schloss K, Austro-Hungarian Empire

Schloss K, Austro-Hungarian Empire

Please note the date is approximate:

Therese, when she came one morning to waken me, was sobbing violently ; and on my inquiring what was wrong, said ” Lemberg (modern day Lviv) has fallen ! We shall have the Russians here in no time at all. We’re just on their way to Pressburg (Bratislava), and it’s the end of Austria and it’s those Germans who have done it.”

” It may not be true,” I suggested.

“It’s quite true. The Herr Gartner told me, and his bad news is always true.”

The newspapers again disappeared that day, which was really very useless when the Man of Art told me all I wanted to know.

“Fraulein has perhaps heard that Lemberg has fallen ? ” he asked.

“Yes. And what will you do if the Russians come here on their way to Vienna?”

“Fraulein, if the Russians came here tomorrow, I should have no fear. We are all Slavs in this village and would know what to do. Fraulein is British, so she would not fear either. We know the Russians, we Slavs.”

“You would not be sorry, then, if the Russians came ? ”

“Na, Fraulein . . . one doesn’t say such things. . . . But there are few in this district who wouldn’t prefer to be under the Russian than the Austrian. I was talking to the innkeeper last night, and he said …”

“Well, what did he say?” asked Claire, whose head suddenly appeared above the yew-hedge.

“That the taxes on alcohol are going to be enormous, and that I shall have to do without my sligovitz (plum brandy) in future, Highness ;” and the Man of Art resumed the tying up of a Dorothy Perkins that would climb in the wrong direction.

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