From my latest newsletter:
The captain and the showgirl.
I am besotted with beauty. And when I was transferred to Paris, for a time, for too short a time, I found paradise. Maison Paradis.
The village of Montmartre has a wild, natural beauty, green fields and small vegetable gardens. A few shattered windmills. I strolled upward through the fields, passing two artists painting the landscape. They were amused at my uniform, but greeted me politely.
Near the brow of the hill, three windmills and some ramshackle buildings, a pleasant grouping of trees, I unfolded my ancient box easel and my military camping stool - at last something useful from the army!
"Bonjour Capitaine." My artist friends were looking for lunch.
"Do you know the story of this windmill?" The older one asked me.
"It is a terrible tale. When the German army could not conquer Paris, they attacked this village. The people resisted, and this mill was one of their strongholds. They were brave, but doomed. I am sorry to tell you that the French Army did not intervene. The owner was nailed to the vanes of his windmil. The nails are gone, but the blood and the holes are still there."
We sat in silence... Such beauty, such courage, such horror. And yet, there is beauty in sadness.
"Are you new in Paris, Captain? We can tell of you some beautiful places." And they told me of the river, the bridges, the markets.
"Now you see this building there? The house among the trees? At night this house comes to life. It is the heart of Montmartre."
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