November 26, 1886
|Freiburg, 26 November 1886
I received your letter and it made me happy to hear from you again, for I had been waiting for a letter from you. Otherwise I would have written earlier, but I thought you could be in a different place. Now though, Father was with me a short time ago and told me that you had been sick, which is what I saw from your letter too, but that you have pretty much recovered again.
Well, do I want to write you about my life as a soldier? If I really wanted to start that, I would have to buy several more sheets of paper. The main thing is that one is well. The maneuvers were beautiful, but the Alsations still hate the German military, but it certainly is not our fault.* Everyone would leave if he were only allowed to. We do not get more to eat than they. Well the main thing is that a year has gone by again and someone would have to pay me a lot before I would start again from the beginning. Now one can see for the first time how stupid one was, since we have young ones again since the 6th of November. Now we do not willlingly submit to everything anymore and can not be bossed around as we could a year ago. I have learned a lot but many were mistreated and it is always better if someone gets a little money and something to eat. Now things are not really that bad for me at all. I have to run around in town most of the time but would still go home if I only could. I would be more useful there than here, for Father can not do much work. Otherwise we will not have him long anymore and would not succeed to the proposal since he has worked for so long for his estate, but I do not feel like running away from my parents either. Otherwise I would never have gone into the military. I only hope that I get away again next fall if I do not receive any penalty.
It was good that I joined last year. This year all recruits from the town of Waldkirch were drafted to the 112th Regiment, including Rieders in Kohlenbach. Some of them are in Colmar, in Rastatt, and Schlettstadt. Last night we were awakened at three o'clock to attend to a fire on Schwarzwald Street. We had to work quite hard.
Well, I want to conclude now. I wish you well. Best regards from Fr. Ant. Fahrlander
Write again soon.
* After the War of 1870 (Franco-Prussian), Alsace-Lorraine was made an "imperial dependence" under rule of Prussian military, whereas historians think that if it had been made a state, such as other areas of the German Empire, it might have been better accepted, but Prussia did not want another south Catholic state. The most hated burden to bear by the former French, in spite of their protest, was military conscription by Germany. Baron von Manteuffel as Prussian governor, had won some good will by a fairly enlightened administration, but after his death in 1885 the German officials did not think he had accomplished much fast enough and they pressed for a more severe administration. Natives were refused passports to cross borders into France; arrests were made for every possible cause, and there were incidents. So naturally Franz Anton and all German soldiers sent to the area were very much aware of their hated presence.