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Selected Polish Tales online

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Online LibraryVariousSelected Polish Tales → online text (page 22 of 22)
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'Do you belong,' I said, 'to this detachment of machine gunners?'

'Unquestionably; I am, as you see, lady, a simple soldier.'

'I should like to see a machine gun at close quarters. Can I?'

I immediately perceived that I had asked something out of order. He was
confused and turned pale.

'I have never seen a machine gun,' I continued, 'up to now; but, of
course, if there are any difficulties...'

'It is not that,' he answered, with hesitation. 'I must tell you
honestly, lady, we haven't a single cartridge left.'

He checked himself and was silent; at that moment he did not show the
repose of a psychologist.

'Do you understand, lady?'

'I do.'

'And also we have absolutely no officers. There is nothing but what you
see there in the forest; the rest are pitiful remnants - some 200
soldiers left out of two regiments.'

Early next day Martin joyously informed me that in the night the
soldiers had gone away. They had burnt nothing, but it was likely that
another detachment would come in by the evening.

'And the soldier who helped you to pack was here very early. I told him
the lady was asleep, so he only left this card.'

_It was a visiting card with a bent edge; at the bottom was written,
in pencil and in Roman characters,_

'p.p.c.'

'Yes, my friend,' I thought to myself, 'that is just the souvenir I
should have expected you to leave me after plundering me right and
left... a "P.P.C." card! And my deliverance from you means destruction
to somebody else's woods, house, and garden.'








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Online LibraryVariousSelected Polish Tales → online text (page 22 of 22)