David and Bethia waved to Greta when they spotted her across the rows, but didn't stop to speak with her. As they continued up the hill, David said, "Tante Bethia, think on this for a while. The general sympathy in the western and southern parts of Switzerland is with the French. But here in the northern and eastern parts of the country, the sympathy is with Germany, based on their proximity, common language and similar culture."
"Yes, but that's been changing as the Germans continue committing atrocities. Jacob was telling me that there are many here now who've changed their view of the Germans. He said it's now even more after their use of poisonous gas at Ypres."
"I was given a lot of background on that while in Bern. There seems to be no action except the divergent tones of the stories in the newspapers. I was shown papers from each side of Switzerland that reported events in completely different ways, each favourable to their own sympathies. There's no action evident, but there's a war of thoughts being waged, both publicly and privately. Can we trust Greta? Where are her sympathies?"
"She's very quiet. Reclusive, almost a hermit... No friends except Jacob and Maddie. She's never learned to read and seems to have no deep thought. I like her, she's pleasant and industrious, but she's simple."
"Likely why Franz was able to manipulate her for so long. Able to take advantage of her and her inheritance."
"That's what I've surmised. She talks about her sons often and of wanting to find them now that Franz is gone."
"If we have their names, Michael would know how to find them through the Swiss Army. Every man over seventeen has to register and after twenty, train and serve. They'd be listed unless they've left the country."
"I'll talk with her. I don't think she has any idea how to even begin looking for them. She really is simple, but so sweet."
A while later as they strolled across the courtyard toward the kitchen door, Maria stepped out to greet them and took David's hand. "Mama and I set up the darkroom. Come see if everything is correct — actually hard to go wrong with it. I want to show Tante our new clothes, and I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to shoot some pictures of us in them." She giggled. "We can pretend they're our wedding photographs."
She led him inside and showed him the room. "We still need a seal for the bottom of the door, but we can put a towel across it for now. What do you think?"
David switched the lights from white to red to off, then back to white. "These work well." He looked at the small sink and turned the faucet. "So they did manage to find a way to get water in here. That will be much more convenient."
"I tried to remember where things were in the drawers, but gave up and just used logic."
"Then they're perfect." He pulled her to his chest and kissed her, and they merged in a tight hug.
"So you and Tante were looking at the vineyards at the border."
"Why do you think that?"
"From the letter you wrote. Mama, Grandma and I discussed it last night while you were out on the patio with Grandpa. We know you're coming back after your training. We know you'll be digging a tunnel, we know you're planning to blow up bridges, and we all know all this must be kept secret."
He slowly nodded as she spoke. "Stupid of me not to realise how obvious it was. From that letter, you'd all have to be stupid not to have sorted out events."
"I don't want to know the details, David, but I'd like you to share the overview with me so I can support you with my thoughts."
"I'm still trying to grasp what it's all about myself. I'm near overwhelmed by the response and by the people who are involved. It appears there are few between the Prime Minister and me. I'm being groomed to run a small network of saboteurs and spies."
"I figured out the spy and sabotage, and that something like this needs to be authorised high up. See, you don't have to keep the broad picture from me, but I have no interest in knowing any of the details — they'd likely bore me. Kiss me, you silly man."
YOU ARE READING
In the early months of the First World War, a young Canadian soldier uses quick thinking and ingenuity to evade capture after being wounded fighting in Flanders. While escaping through Germany to the Swiss border, he becomes intimately entwined with...