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Jeannine D. Van Eperen
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Caroline lie in bed listening to the drip drop of rain as it beat against her bedroom window and as it fluttered down from the eaves. It was still dark but soon would be morning and she had yet to fall asleep. Her mind raced remembering Mama and Papa whom she would never see again. She sighed and stifled a sob. If only Papa had not died -- if only Mama had not acted like the little fool she was, I would still be able to call this room my own. But die they did, and tonight, is the last night I will ever sleep in this bed, in this, my home. My life is ruined!
Ludwig Rietow stood outside of one of the buildings that his brigade was using as a barracks. He looked about at the surrounding tents and buildings that garrisoned the Prussian soldiers who were called in to quell the rioting at Baden. He drank in the scenery, so different from his native Pomerania. As he stared at the mountains that were black with forests, he wished he were in Baden to visit the spa or for a family outing instead of for fighting. Why would anyone want to revolt against the Prussian prince? Could life be better than it now was? He was thinking about the other possibilities when two of his comrades joined him.
“Ah, Ludwig, why so serious?” Louis Spak asked.
“I was just thinking how different this is from Stettin. I have never before seen mountains such as these.”
“Yes, the north country is certainly different from this.”
“If I lived here, I think I would miss the blue Baltic Sea,” Ludwig said. “Traveling is interesting, and I think if it were not for the fighting, I would enjoy the army. Imagine—we have seen the Rhine River, Heidelberg, and the Black Forest!”
“I miss my Annie,” Louis said. “Our baby is to be born soon, and I’d like to be there to see my son.”
“You should be there,” Ludwig said. “Why are you so quiet, Ernie?”
“Just listening to you two talk, I’m getting homesick. I’d be out in the fields at home at this time of day. We should have a good cabbage crop this year,” Ernie said.
“Just as soon as my soldiering is done, I’m going to buy myself a farm,” Ludwig said. “I want my land to reach to the Bay of Stettin, so that when I’ve a mind, I can walk down to the sea and look at it from my own land.”
“You’ve that much money, Ludwig?” Ernie asked jokingly, “I didn’t know your last name was von Bülow.”
“Didn’t you know that Ludwig is rich, Ernie?” Louis teased.
Ludwig shook his head. “Not rich, not a von Bülow, my friends, but I’ll buy my farm. Then I’ll court the prettiest fraulein in the county of Stettin and marry her.”
Louis laughed. “What makes you so sure she’ll marry you?”
“I didn’t know they had any pretty girls in Stettin,” Ernie said. “From what the men in the barracks said, the prettiest frauleins are in nearby Heidelberg.”
“No, they are wrong,” Ludwig said. “The fairest women are in Stettin.”
A group of young officers were walking by. One left the group. “Soldier,” the officer said, addressing Ludwig, “Did you mention Stettin?”
“Yes, sir,” Ludwig answered. “I’m from Stettin. I was born and raised there.”
“Then you are just the man I’d like to talk with,” the officer said. “Can you spare a minute?”
“To talk of Stettin, I can even spare an hour,” Ludwig said with a smile. “I have no duties right now.”
“Good. My name is Frederick Froehlich. I’m from Berlin, but I have a good friend living near Stettin.” As he spoke, he deftly led Ludwig away from the others so they could speak in private.
“If your friend lives near Stettin, I could know him.” Ludwig laughed. “I know almost everyone around there. Is he stationed at the garrison?”
“Her,” Frederick said. “My friend is a young woman. She lives with some people named Fechtnis who have a farm near Stettin, actually in Guilsow. They have two or three sons, I believe.”
Ludwig’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. “You don’t mean Caroline Bartel?”
“Yes, that is exactly who I do mean,” Frederick said. “Do you know her?”
Slowly, Ludwig answered, “I know who she is, and I know Max and Hedwig Fechtnis. They are fine people.”
“Good.” Frederick sighed. “I worry about her. Caroline and I were friends in Berlin. I hope to be able to marry her some day.”
“You are going to marry Caroline Fechtnis?” Ludwig asked dumbly.
Jeannine believes her life can be described as this: mother of Dan, wife of Lou, and writer of many books. She came from a family that all read books and just naturally loved books from the time her sister taught her to read before she started school. As a small child, living on a farm in Wisconsin, her older sister, Shirley, amused not only herself but Jeannine and brother Don by reading to them and then acting out the stories. She recalls not only acting out Dickens’ Pickwick Papers, but also westerns by Zane Grey. As you can probably tell, there was no television. Those times are some of Jeannine’s fondest memories. She just got into the habit of reading and also making up stories even after her sister went to high school and the family moved to Chicago. Make-believe stories factored into her life for ever after. Always interested in family history and genealogy, Jeannine thought a fictionalized story of her ancestors might be interesting and worked on A New Day for some time in between working on her other novels. Since this is her thirteenth book for Wings ePress, you can find other biographies with her various books that will tell other things if you’re interested.
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 435
Paper Weight (lb): 18.0
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