|THE GERMANS COME BACK
As the Germans and the "Miliciens" were disappearing into the night,
our first concern was the wounded. The telephone had come back to
life and a short time later our local doctor arrived. He examined
Jean and found that the ricocheting bullet had entered the inside of his
thigh just below the groin. There was a large entrance wound but
the bullet had not left the body. Exploring the wound with two fingers,
the doctor could still not locate it. It had apparently lodged in
the bone. Fortunately, the impact had not severed any arteries and
there was hardly any blood lost. The doctor's verdict was that Jean
could spend the night at home, but that he would have to be brought to
a hospital within twenty-four hours for the removal of the bullet.
Otherwise, his life could be in danger. The doctor said he hoped
that Jean could sleep, but he had no morphine, having used his supply attending
to the German's wounded during the battle.
Jean was somewhat in shock. We covered him with blankets and hoped
that no fever would set in. The needed tetanus shots had been administered.
Jean's cousin's wound was found to be strictly superficial, caused by
a rock splinter thrown by one of the bullets. A band-aid was large
enough to dress her wound. The remarkable thing about her was the
fact that Jeanne, always excitable and emotional, even slightly neurotic,
had been perfectly calm throughout the whole ordeal. There were no
tears or outbursts, even when she realized that she was bleeding from a
wound. I have always believed, after this experience, that people
respond with much more emotion to imagined dangers than to truly serious
The next step was to assure the transport of Jean to the hospital in
Alčs. Aimé called the Lasalle taxi company, but was
told that the charcoal-fueled car was out of order. We suspected
that the owner was afraid to make such a dangerous run after yesterday's
events. We thus postponed further search for a vehicle until morning,
though the prospects of finding one were dim.
By midnight we decided that it was best to catch a few hours of sleep.
Madame Soulier was supposed to be on the first watch with Jean; then Aimé
would take over. At four in the morning it would be my turn.
In the meantime I stretched out, fully dressed, on a bed in the main
bedroom of the house. My sleep must have been deep and sound, since
Madame Soulier had to wake me up.
She was in terror; outside the house the noise of tanks and the digging
of artillery emplacements could be heard. The shouts were all in
the tongue of Goethe, Schiller, and Götz von Berlichingen.
What were the Germans doing here again, and this time with tanks and
artillery? They had routed the Maquis, Cornelly was in flames - there
was no military objective left. Were they coming for a punitive expedition?
Were they going to obliterate Lasalle in revenge for their casualties,
one of which was, as I had heard, the Captain? There was no doubt
that they were up to something. Anything