She now reasoned that had not her own despised people – the Hebrew race – been persecuted consistently for over six thousand years? She had never given its repercussions a second thought in the past. And perhaps she should have done so! But now some of that persecution and pain was about to pound on her own weakened front door she realised with alarm. Bringing its fear and its consequences as it marched towards her with menace. And she was suddenly concerned as the finger of suspicion by the state could be pointed in her direction. Maybe then to be arrested and with thousands of others. To then be forcibly deported to perhaps Madagascar (as had been suggested) shipped out on some overcrowded rusting tramp steamer ship? She shivered at the unwelcomed thought. This possibility had been seriously discussed somewhere by someone she recalled to her horror in the past. But she now thought ruefully with a smile she would certainly be held with some very interesting company for conversations on the voyage. But she doubted the cuisine would be five or even three-star!
But for now, she had no intention of being shipped as human cargo to that rat-infested remote island wherever it was! This and the thought and worry also of leaving her aged parents had caused her now many sleepless nights. And this is where surprisingly young Kurt Ludeke had unexpectedly entered her life like a welcomed donation from heaven. And perhaps indirectly to help as her future rescuer?
That foolish angry act of his by the roadside-that she had witnessed-of him smashing the water glass of the countess with his boot might just be the ace card that she could play in the coming uncertain political future of a new Germany. It was a long shot that might just pay a dividend for her survival. But hadn’t she always taken chances and usually they had been to her own advantage and often sadly at other people’s expenses. Being sometimes friends, and shamefully family innocent members.
A sudden roar of raucous laughter emanated from the mock wooden stage in the town square as something perhaps vulgar had been said or alluded to, bringing the crowd to its cheering feet. She watched the crowd, then looked away towards where the two red-coated dogs had been silently seated. But they and their master and that concerned kind bohemian stranger had simply just disappeared as a descending morning mist.
From the bathroom, she then heard the painful sound of physical exertion then followed by a heavy plop of an aged body collapsing into the bathwater. It was then repeated with the same utterance of annoyance from the ailing countess.
She immediately became aware of what she was hearing and what was happening. It was quite simply the countess who was now experiencing some difficulty in raising herself from the heavy bathwater. Simply because her arms were too weak to lift her withering weight out from the soapy water. She had of course expected this debilitation to happen. Simply because as a trained nurse she had witnessed it so many times with other aged patients that she had nursed. And including her own dear old mother only just recently when assisting her in her daily ablutions. But wasn’t that always the daughter’s expected role in society and never the son’s responsibility?.
She decided to wait before she heard another pitiful plea for help emanating from the bathroom before she entered. She placed herself behind the half-opened door, then gently smoothed down her auburn hair not that it ever needed it. Straightened her fitted starched uniform that also needed no attention. Then she removed a small sharp-pointed nail file from her pocket, that she had in the past used successfully as a handy needed weapon against a mental patient’s attack on her years ago. And then casually filed her usual immaculate nails and just simply waited. A minute later the call she had been expecting all along was heard as if a plea.
“Nurse Stanic, are you there? Can you come in please?” requested an exhausted Carin becoming very concerned at hearing no reply.
For some unknown reason, the nurse looked down at her faithful watch pinned to her uniform and decided to pause another full minute before entering the steamy bathroom.
Then she noticed that the expensive carriage clock on the marble mantelpiece was running five minutes late! This would never do! All of her professional life in her varied hospital ward duties as a sister her time and its commitments had been dictated by the accuracy of the clock and its constant demands. She strolled over to the clock, gently opened the glass front and slowly moved the large hand forward by five minutes. “There that’s done,” she said quietly to herself with a silent nod.
She straightened up, placed a concerned professional smile upon her unlined face, listened attentively then opened the bathroom door and entered with a fixed smile.
“Here I am now, countess, don’t you worry” she now cooed rather condescendingly. Then said softly: “So let’s just get you quickly dried and warmed with one of these nice fluffy towels shall we? and into your night attire.”
Carin quietly obeyed this emphasised suggestion offered to her. And was now shivering as the nurse lifted her easily without exertion from the cooling bath. Then wrapped her up rather akin to an Egyptian mummy into a heavy, oversize Turkish cotton towel. Carin snuggled into the welcoming folds suddenly feeling safe and secure and perhaps now being rather sleepy.
Minutes later an exhausted Carin Goring was settled into her bed by nurse Stanic. The nurse still concealed her growing annoyance that was rapidly turning to frustration, that Karen Auer-Kyper had still not responded to her repeated requests to return her medical bag.
She turned towards the bed asking rather absent-mindedly, Carin: “Shall I send down to the kitchen for a pot of tea? Perhaps chamomile? It might help you sleep a little better.”
Then she noticed that her patient was now sleeping soundly. She quietly departed the room after phoning down to reception and leaving a message for Carin’s husband as to what was happening. Feeling it was really not professional for her to leave her patient alone … well not just yet … anyway.
She first returned to the steamy bathroom, pulled out the plug and dreamily watched and listened to the used soapy bathwater gush down the open plug grill. Then looking up she noticed in the corner of the ceiling a beautifully crafted cobweb. But any sign of that past resident spider who had laboriously spun its intricate web here was somehow now long gone. To visit perhaps a new vacant hotel bathroom and eagerly search for its next coming meal from somewhere, but how did that children’s poem go she recalled from her childhood:
“Won’t you walk into my parlour said the spider to the fly
Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy.”
Then the silly fly was killed and then devoured by the spider.
But now more importantly she would go and search for Mr Kurt Ludeke. He was very much on her mind. Especially concerning the future survival plan that she hoped would not fail her after she had put her plan to him.
She then heard a timid knock on the door and on opening it, she found Gertrude was standing looking rather nervous. She invited her in and was informed that the captain had asked her to sit with his wife for a few hours. Nurse Stanic waited until the girl was seated in the bedroom by the bed, then wished her a pleasant goodbye. Then she placed her knee-length cloak carefully over her starched uniform. And quietly departed the room in search of Kurt Ludeke.
To be concluded…..
(C) Copyright G. Patrick Battell