The train hadn't been stopped two minutes when it departed again, before I was even able to store my luggage. While I was standing with my arms above my head, hands full of packages, the jolt caused me to lose my balance. I tumbled onto a fat territorial soldier, and almost knocked him out with my parcels. He was understanding. Instead of shouting, he laughed, and he said, "I'd rather have you fall on me than a 420mm shell."
But I was conscious of disaster. The basket containing Hindenburg had fallen between the soldier and me and broken open. We fixed it as well as we could with bits of string donated by the other passengers.
"This is serious," said Zidore. "This dog is such a tracker. It'll be awkward if he starts running around just when we're embarking. We have to be careful."
The repairs completed, Hindenburg climbed into the basket. He stayed there with his head out and his paws holding the brim. He was in a friendly mood and made doggy smiles. He's like that whenever he sees French soldiers. We recounted his history, which interested our fellow travellers. They petted him and gave him sweets.
It's not a great distance from BLANK to the seaport where we were to embark. Shortly before we arrived, Monsieur Bertrand opened the door of our compartment. Do you think we rushed to cover Hindenburg? We hadn't told our masters that we were bringing him.
Certainly, it was not good of us to hide this from them, but I didn't understand that until later. Monsieur summoned us into the corridor, where he gave us our safe-conducts. He reminded us to stay close to him and Madame once we got off the train, and to watch what we said, because the ports are full of spies.
"Especially you, Bécassine," he said. "Use caution. If a stranger asks you any questions, the best thing is to remain silent." I promised, and went back to gather my luggage.
We entered the station. I stepped lively and followed Monsieur and Madame. That wasn't easy. There was a crowd, I was tangled up in everything I was carrying, and the basket with the dog kept banging against my legs.
I found myself a bit behind when I got towhere I must hand over my ticket and show the safe-conduct to the guard. After that little ceremony was over I had to run, but just at that moment a doubtful individual approached and offered to be my guide. He asked a lot of nosy questions: Was I going to England? Was I accompanying an officer? I didn't say anything, but put on an air, in a word, the kind of air reserved for grand occasions.
Only, I wasn'r able to hold it for long, because Hindenberg gave a growl and began to thrash about. Suddenly he puched with all his might against the basket cover, and it burst open. He leapt out of the basket. I can't remember seeing him so ferocious. He flew at the man and bit the tail of his jacket.
The man was able to tear himself away. He ran for it, and the dog ran after.
Me, I ran after the dog.
I yelled at the top of my voice, "Hindenburg! Hindenburg! Stop, Hindenburg!" You can imagine the emotions that produced in that town where nobody thinks about anything but the war and the spies. The next thing, I saw the man on the ground and my dog leaping for his throat.
That alarmed me so considerably that I half-fainted. When I came back to my senses, there were two customs agents leading me away. One of them sad to his comrade, "That must be a police dog. The guy he brought down is a Boche we've been pursuing for a long time." The other one said, "We have to figure out if this woman is his accomplice." Their suspicion seemed terrible, but then I felt something cold on my fingers. I looked. It was Hindenberg, licking my hand. That restored my courage.
The agents conducted Bécassine to the police station. One of the two, who was smal, thin, jaundiced and ill-tempered, said, "If it turns out that you're in league with that Boche, it'll add up to a firing squad." And Bécassine felt faint again.
But the other one chewed out his partner: "That's a fine way to talk to a lady," he said. "Especially one with such a pleasant face." Reassured, Bécassine gave a look that showed that her heart was overflowing.
They arrived at the station. The accused and her guards followed a corridor and came to a door, on which there was a plaque that said: BUREAU OF SUSPECTS, Monsieur Proey-Minans, Director. "Proey-Minans!" thought Bécassine. "I know somebody with that name. Where have I met a Monsieur Proey-Minans?"
Suddenly the memories crowded back on her. She recalled that at the start of the war she had been taken to Paris in a car by Monsieur Proey-Minans, a man of great intellect who dedicated himself to the study of personality, based on the lumps of the head, very short-sighted, very absent-minded, very kind, and a great friend of Madame de Grand-Air.
Addressing herself to Hindenburg, who was sitting philosophically, she said, "If that's the same man, we won't be going in front of any firing squad."
At the sound of a discrete tap at the door by the fatter agent, a voice so soft that they had trouble hearing it asked them to enter. The man belonging to the voice was at work, half hidden by a stack of books on one side, and a phrenological bust on the other.
He asked, "You brought a suspect?" "A suspect," certified the fat agent. "Is she dangerous?" "As gentle as a newborn lamb." "If she would sit in this chair beside my desk, I will be with her in a moment." Bécassine sat.
Nevertheless our heroine leaned over to examine the man upon whom her fate rested. She had no trouble recognizing him. Confiding in Hindenburg, she said, "It's all right, that's my Monsieur."
No doubt the dog took these words as an order. With a bound he jumped into the basket in which, through thick and thin, he served his mistress. And he stood upright in his favourite pose. He set his paws on the edge of the desk, and his big head was nearly level with Bécassine's.
Monsieur Proey-Minans was writing all the while. From time to time he stood up to consult the phrenological bust, then he returned to his manuscript. Deep in scientific curiosity he extended his left hand in the direction that he expected to find the suspect's head.
It was the skull of Hindenburg that he encountered. He massaged it, little by little, with great concentration. Taking this for a caress, the dog issued a contented snuffle.
Monsieur Proey-Minans intensified his examination. His face bore an expression of immense interest. He arose, as solemnly as if he were addressing a learned audience, and said, "Phrenology, what an admirable science! You bring me a suspect. I neither look at her, nor examine her, yet I know that she is guilty. Her skull speaks for her. She is a Boche!"
He would undoubtedly have continued his seminar, but at that moment Hindenburg, who very much enjoyed having his head rubbed, jumped up on the desk, sat up, and with his very large tongue licked the savant's face.
"What is this?" cried Monsieur Proey-Minans, suffocating with indignation. "Guards, arrest this impertinent dog!" The guards approached, trying hard to maintain a serious expression, and delivered the savant from the effusions of Hindenburg.
Never had Bécassine been so foolishly ammused. With a fierce effort she controlled herself and, between bouts of laughter, exclaimed, "Excuse us, M'sieur! It's only a dog who wants to show you his respect."
"I know that voice," said the intellectual. He affixed his pince-nez, and adding his spectacles, gazed closely at Bécassine. He cried, "I know you. You're the maid of my very good friend Madame de Grand-Air. What are you doing here? What about this dog? Explain to me, I pray you, my child, this strange adventure."
Today is Morton's day off from League Cup group stage action, so the club have arranged a friendly against the Swansea City U21 squad at Cappielow.
Swansea City Association Football Club are a Welsh club currently playing in the English Premier League. They are nicknamed the Swans, and accordingly wear white. They have been members of the FA since the early 1920s, but their only spells in the top division were the early 1980s and now in the 2010s. They won the English League Cup in 2012-13, and have won the Welsh Cup ten times.
Of course, this is the U21 squad, not the senior squad, so Morton stand a chance. This game is interesting in the context of the new format Scottish Challenge Cup (a.k.a. Irn-Bru Cup) which will include Scottish Premiership U20 sides, and some Welsh and Northern Ireland clubs. It's also an opportunity for Jim Duffy to scout for a Swansea player to sign on loan, or to sell some academy players.
The academy is getting a lot of the credit for Saturday's win in Kilmarnock, especially Jai Quitongo.
Alex Samuel will be playing for Swansea. There's a goal for them.
All eyes will be on the out-of-town scoreboard. Morton enjoy a five-point lead in Group H, which Killie and Albion Rovers can each reduce to two today. Conversely, Morton are guaranteed first place if both Clyde and Berwick win in the shootout.
Morton [1 - 2] Swansea City U21
[Morton's goal came from Jon Scullion. Byers and Jones scored for Swansea. Attendance 377.]
Albion Rovers [1 - 2] Clyde
Berwick [2 - 3] Kilmarnock
[Group H now looks like this:
Clyde have played their four games, so only Kilmarnock can catch Morton now.]
Japan was built by volcanoes. The city of Kagoshima in southern Kyushu has an active volcano right in the middle of the harbour, which has erupted as recently as 2012. The inner harbour is one enormous caldera. Sakurajima means "Cherry-blossom Island". Source.
Morton visit Kilmarnock for the highlight match of Group H. These two clubs have not met since August 25th, 2009, when Killie knocked Morton out of the League Cup of that year.
Currently, Morton sit atop Group H. But that's just because they've played one more game than Kilmarnock, who are still favourites to win the group. Morton's job is to finish among the top four second-place clubs, which means scraping for every point. It would be good to get a point off Killie, to make up for the one Morton lost to Albion Rovers.
Morton wear blue and white hoops. Kilmarnock wear blue and white stripes. But it hasn't always been so. Sometimes Morton have worn stripes, and sometimes Killie have worn hoops. Have they ever shown up in the same kit? Sounds like a job for Historical Football Kits:
1887-1890 black and white stripes
1895-1904 blue and white stripes
1906-1961 blue and white hoops
1961-1962 blue and white stripes
1962-1963 blue and white hoops
1963-1972 blue and white stripes
1973-1977 white with three blue stripes
1977-1989 blue and white hoops
1989-1993 blue and white stripes
1994-1997 blue and white stripes
1998-today blue and white stripes
1874-1886 blue and white hoops
1886-1892 blue and white stripes
1896-1955 blue and white hoops
1963-1967 blue and white stripes
1969-1974 blue and white hoops
1974-1976 blue and white stripes
1977-1989 blue and white hoops
1989-1991 white with a blue diagonal
1991-1993 blue and white zigzags
1995-1996 blue and white stripes
1996-today blue and white hoops
1906-1955 both wore blue and white hoops
1963-1967 both wore blue and white stripes
1977-1989 both wore blue and white hoops
1995-1996 both wore blue and white stripes
How many of those years did Morton and Killie play in the same division? 42. They played 32 seasons together from 1906 to 1955 wearing hoops, two seasons together in the Sixties wearing stripes, and eight seasons together from 1977 to 1989 wearing hoops.
Which SPFL teams wear blue? Cowdenbeath, Dundee, Falkirk, Forfar, Morton, Inverness CT, Kilmarnock, Montrose, Peterhead, Queen of the South, Raith, Rangers, Ross County, St Johnstone, Stranraer. Which SPFL teams wear green? Celtic, Hibs. Which team has never worn green? Greenock.
What was Morton's worst showing in the League Cup? In the years when the League Cup was strictly a knockout tournament, a bad showing meant going out in Round One. But in the group stage era, it meant sticking around for as many as six losses. Did Morton ever do that? Yes, in 1959-60, Group 8. They lost to Alloa, Cowdenbeath, St Johnstone, then Alloa, Cowdenbeath, and St Johnstone again. They scored 6 goals, and allowed 17. And in the middle of that they played their first league match and lost 3 - 1 . . . to East Stirlingshire.
Declan McManus has signed with Raith Rovers.
[Morton win 0 - 2. Goals by Oliver and Quitongo. Group H now:
Morton have Tuesday off, which will allow the others to gain ground on them. But as Albion and Killie have yet to play each other, they cannot both finish with 9 points.]
In other competitions:
Cobh Ramblers [1 - 1] UCD
Tomorrow: TB [0 - 1] B36
Tomorrow: Tochigi [1 - 0] Blaublitz Akita
Day after tomorrow: Elfsborg vs Östersund
The International Champions Cup begins today. What is the International Champions Cup? It's a world tour of big European clubs looking to turn brand recognition into money, money, money. This is the third edition. Today Celtic play Leicester City in Glasgow. [1 - 1. Leicester win on penalty kicks.]
"I must tell you, madame and mademoiselle," began the little soldier, "that my name is Evariste, and that Zidore and I are a true pair of friends. We knew it as soon as he joined the infantry to be with Lieutenant de Grand-Air. The day he arrived, he said to me, 'I like your head.'"
"I told him in return, 'Yours pleases me equally.' We shook hands, and there was a feeling between us that it was for life and for death. I could have been jealous, seeing as he was to replace me as the Lieutenant's orderly, but jealousy is not among my number of faults."
"It was settled. We each polished one of the Lieutenant's boots. When one mended his jacket, the other repaired his trousers. Sometimes the Lieutenant said to us, 'This isn't regulation. I have no right to an orderly, and I've got two.'"
"We let him talk, and we enjoyed working for him, as Lieutenant de Grand-Air is as good an officer as you could find. When we were at the divisional rest station, we cooked up meals together that would make you lick your fingers. Oh, those were good times!"
"One day, a few weeks after the wedding of Monsieur de Grand-Air, Zidore told me, 'We're going to have to part, my friend. The Lieutenant is being sent to the Grand Chiefs, and he's taking me with him.' We embraced, and I confess, though it's peculiar for soldiers, we cried fountains."
It this point in Evariste's story, Bécassine suddenly interrupted. "Since you love my little Zidore so," she said, "you are my friend, and I must embrace you as he would." Evariste let her kiss him.
After this touching interlude, he continued. "For me, the following weeks were the worst of the war. We were in the trenches, near the Somme, very close to the Boches. It never stopped raining. There was nothing going on, not even the smallest attack to distract us. We didn't even shoot."
One day, I was trying to get some sleep in the shelter to forget about my boredom. Suddenly, I heard a shout, some laughter and a voice that reminded me of Zidore. As you can imagine, I wasnpt slow about getting on my feet and running along the trench."
"It was my pal. We fell into each other's arms, and then he told us that his lieutenant was nearby at the English headquarters, and that he would use the opportunity to come and see us often. And suddenly he added ..."
"'We should play a trick on the Boches.' You know how jokes are his strong point. In no time he assembled a mannequin and lifted it up over the parapet. In the other trench they took it for one of us. I don't know how many rounds they fired at it. It was fun to see them waste so much ammunition for nothing."
"But they weren't long in discovering the joke, and they followed up with one of their own. We saw appear over the edge of their defences a small replica of a soldier that jumped around this way and that. We couldn't get a clear view of it, though, because of the ground fog."
"We had our guns to our shoulders when Zidore shouted, 'Don't fire, it's a dog!' And that proved once again the heartlessness of those Boche bandits. Our joke was funny but not cruel. Theirs could have ended in the shooting and injuring of a poor animal.'
"But then something surprising happened. The dog suddenly broke away from them and ran towards us. It jumped into our trench. It greeted us with boundless affection and, since then, it hasn't left."
"Probably the conduct of its previous owners set it off. It's angry at them. Whenever we take a prisoner it jumps at him and bites his calves. Other times, it leaps onto the parapet and barks furiously at the Boches."
"Then Zidore told me, 'This will end with the dog getting shot. The next time you get leave, take him to Mam'zelle Bécassine.' I have done the job, and now I ask you, mam'zelle, if you'll look after the dog."
The story recounted by Evarists entirely changed the feelings of the brave girl. She caressed Hindenberg, who allowed it with the greatest politeness.
But, a moment later, he jumped up, ran to the door and barked joyously. "Funny," said Evariste. "That's what he does whenever he hears Zidore, who of all of us is the one he loves best. But Zidore isn't on leave."
As he said these words, the door opened, and there was Zidore. "Greeting, one and all," he cried. "We leave for England. The orders arrived this morning. Madame will accompany us. You, too, Bécassine. Quick, pack the trunks. It seems it's forbidden to take dogs to England. Still, we should at least try to take Hindenburg."
It was a real hurly-burly preparing for the move. Monsieur Bertrand said that the trunks must be ready to go by dinnertime. We all worked at it, Monsieur, Madama, Zidore, I, and even Madame Ferluyr.
It's not that she was that much help. She had the will, but not the energy, and she loved so much to see that everything she touched was neat and tidy, that she stopped to brush, shine and sew. I don't blame her, but it wasn't the time for all that.
And then, suddenly, she even stopped brushing and shining. She collapsed on a pile of Madame's dresses that I had just folded -- just think if that made them neater and tidier -- and burst into tears. We asked her what was the matter.
She groaned through her tears, "Sorrow and calamity! To think that I will never see you again, because surely the Boche U-boats will sink your vessel." When you're trying not to worry, that's something to hear the day before departure.
Happily, Monsieur assured us that there was nothing to fear. And Zidore, who at that moment was stuffing I don't know how many cigarette packs into the Lieutenant's bag, said, "These are cork-tipped, just what you want in the event of a shipwreck." That little guy always knows when to make you laugh.
The work was finished about seven o'clock. I was heading down to the kitchen to eat, when Zidore detained me. He had a conspiratorial air, and he said, "Now that it's just us, let's do something about Hindenburg."
I had completely forgotten about him. On hearing his name, he came over to rub against us and get patted. He's not much to look at, but he's a good dog.
"Look," continued Zidore. "Here is how we can get him into England without anyone suspecting. See, I'll put him in one of these baskets we use at the Front. If things get dangerous we can close the lid."
"Do it like this, and the customs men will be in the dark." We shut the lid and stood watching. At first Hindenburg was as crazy as a devil inside it, but soon he calmed down. Lady! In the trenches he had learned how to sit still and put up with discomforts.
Next I tried carrying the basket. I put the strap over my shoulder. It was heavy, but Zidore lent a hand. After that, we went to dinner.
Departure came at eight the next morning. There were people of every kind at the station to say goodbye to my mistress and master: Nurses, friends of Madame, officers, Monsieur's comrades, and even a general!
As a matter of course, we stayed respectfully to one side. Then I had a surprise -- I saw Major Tacy-Turn. That filled me with happiness. He's so courageous and fine, despite his cold exterior! I gave him a warm greeting.
He came right over to me. He was just as stiff as ever, and he spoke haltingly. He's like that whenever he is feeling his emotions. He said to me, "Arrived ... for you. Give me your hands." And he took them in his with a crushing grip.
He went on: "When you are in ... London ... bring greetings to Miss Grace ... my fiancée ... Address is on the envelope ... Please give her ... this." It was a tiny little flower that he took from the envelope, and as he looked at it he seemed to fill with emotion.
He continued: "Picked it for her ... on the field of battle ... I'm afraid it would be lost in the mail." And then once again he shook hands with me, and with Zidore whom I introduced. And he walked off with his long, unworried strides.
I was left amazed and moved by that little scene. But the train was pulling into the station. I barely had time to collect my bags and climb with Zidore into our second class car, which was just behind the first class carriage of my master and mistress.