Good Old Anna

Marie Belloc Lowndes
Good Old Anna, by Marie Belloc

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Title: Good Old Anna
Author: Marie Belloc Lowndes
Release Date: July 25, 2007 [EBook #22144]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

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Author of "The Chink in the Armour," "The Lodger," "The End of Her
Honeymoon," etc., etc.


"And now," asked Miss Forsyth thoughtfully, "and now, my dear Mary,
what, may I ask, are you going to do about your good old Anna?"
"Do about Anna?" repeated the other. "I don't quite understand what
you mean."
In her heart Mrs. Otway thought she understood very well what her old
friend, Miss Forsyth, meant by the question. For it was Wednesday, the
5th of August, 1914. England had just declared war on Germany, and
Anna was Mrs. Otway's faithful, highly valued German servant.
Miss Forsyth was one of those rare people who always require an
answer to a question, and who also (which is rarer still) seldom speak
without having first thought out what they are about to say. It was this
quality of mind, far more than the fact that she had been born, sixty
years ago, in the Palace at Witanbury, which gave her the position she
held in the society of the cathedral town.
But this time she herself went on speaking: "In your place I should
think very seriously of sending Anna back to Germany." There was an
unusual note of hesitation and of doubt in her voice. As a rule Miss
Forsyth knew exactly what she thought about everything, and what she

herself would be minded to do in any particular case.
But the other lady, incensed at what she considered uncalled-for, even
rather impertinent advice, replied sharply, "I shouldn't think of doing
anything so unkind and so unjust! Why, because the powers of evil
have conquered--I mean by that the dreadful German military
party--should I behave unjustly to a faithful old German woman who
has been with me--let me see--why, who has been with me exactly
eighteen years? With the exception of a married niece with whom she
went and stayed in Berlin three autumns ago, my poor old Anna hasn't
a relation left in Germany. Her whole life is centred in me--or perhaps I
ought to say in Rose. She was the only nurse Rose ever had."
"And yet she has remained typically German," observed Miss Forsyth
"Of course she has!" cried Mrs. Otway quickly. "And that is why we
are both so much attached to her. Anna has all the virtues of the
German woman; she is faithful, kindly, industrious, and thrifty."
"But, Mary, has it not occurred to you that you will find it very
awkward sometimes?" Again without waiting for an answer, Miss
Forsyth went on: "Our working people have long felt it very hard that
there should be so many Germans in England, taking away their jobs."
"They have only themselves to thank for that," said Mrs. Otway, with
more sharpness than was usual with an exceptionally kindly and
amiable nature. "Germans are much more industrious than our people
are, and they are content with less wages. Also you must forgive me if I
say, dear Miss Forsyth, that I don't quite see what the jealousy of the
average working-man, or, for the matter of that, of the average
mechanic, has to do with my good old Anna, especially at such a time
as this."
"Don't you really?" Miss Forsyth looked curiously into the other's
flushed and still fair, delicately tinted face. She had always thought
Mary Otway a rather foolish, if also a lovable, generous-hearted
woman. But this was one of the few opinions Miss Forsyth always

managed to keep to herself.
"I suppose you mean," said the other reluctantly, "that if I had not had
Anna as a servant all these years I should have been compelled to have
an Englishwoman?"
"Yes, Mary, that is exactly what I do mean! But of course I should
never have spoken to you about the matter were it not for to-day's news.
My maid, Pusey, you know, spoke to me about it this morning, and said
that if you should be thinking of parting with her--if
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