Table of Contents
Franz: The Lady Kid
That morning the narrator was late for school and was expecting insult from his teacher (M. Hamel). He had resisted the urge to skip the classes and went straight to the school.
While passing the bulletin-board (the hub of bad news), the blacksmith, Wachter addressed the narrator and told him not to hurry. He thought that the blacksmith was making fun of him.
Usually, the school started with a lot of noise and chaos, but it was all quiet that day. The quietness made it difficult for the narrator to sneak into the class. M. Hamel told the narrator in a kind manner to sit in the class.
Something Is Not Right
The narrator made some observations in his mind and had concluded that something was unusual about that day. His teacher dressed very differently. Moreover, the benches on the back (which usually were empty all the time) were occupied by some older men, old Hauser, the former mayor, and many more.
M. Hamel told the class that an order came from Berlin that morning to teach only the German language in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine. Their new master would come the tomorrow and M. Hamel would deliver his last French lecture. The narrator was dumbstruck. He suddenly started to love M. Hamel, his books and his whole class.
The Enemy Takes Over
The narrator had understood as to why those older men were sitting there. They were there to attend their last lectures from their teacher too (M. Hamel) and as a token of respect for their country that was not theirs anymore. The Prussians had captured the districts of Alsace and Lorraine that belonged to France. These orders came from the Prussian government.
French: The Logical Language
M. Hamel invited the narrator (Little Franz) on the stage to recite. However, he was unable to say anything. M. Hamel decided not to scold little Franz. He told him that since he did not know French, those Germans would taunt him.
M. Hamel also blamed Frantz parents for not encouraging their kid to learn his language. He also blamed himself for not teaching him full enthusiasm. According to M. Hamel, the French language was the most beautiful globally, and it was very unfortunate that his pupils could not even read or write it.
Then M. Hamel taught them a French lesson, and Franz seemed to understand it eloquently. Suddenly, he realised that he never paid attention to the French language earlier.
Vive La France
M. Hamel gave them new copies with “France, Alsace, France, Alsace” written all over them. Pigeons cooed very low that days and little Franz thought if the Germans would make them sing in German as well.
M. Hamel sat restlessly on his chair, watching everything with great attention. His sister was packing everything as they had to leave the country the next day.
Old Hauser also cried. It was twelve, and the Germans came with their trumpets blowing loud. M. Hamel became pale and could not talk. He wrote, “Vive La France!” on the blackboard and made a hand gesture (as he could not talk), “School is dismissed — you may go.”