I n G e r m a n y ( 1 9 1 4 – 1 8 )
Still at the Hotel Drei Könige in Baden-Baden, Cyril King has established some sort of routine for his new life in semi-captivity:
15/10/14 “Coote and I buy Norwegian papers and an occasional Dutch one and greedily work out the French and British reports, trying to find accounts of violent victories on our side – but not with much success…
I have a job at the Red Cross which occupies my afternoons – a glorified errand boy, carrying fruit from private houses to a shed to be weighed before it is made into puddings and jam, which I then carry to the different hospitals. It is quite hard work, and I cannot learn what relation a German pound bears to an English one.
The rest of the day I spend reading the papers or walking about the streets looking at the maps and trying in vain to see big changes.”
25/10/14. “The people in the hotel are very nice – an old spinster who speaks very good English but is frightfully bitter, and a widow with three young daughters, all older than myself, who knits socks whilst I knit scarves; and a French lady of about 30 who gives us French papers to read which she has smuggled in. She is very enthusiastic about England.
Coote has gone to live in another hotel with some men from Oxford, some other Englishmen and a few Russians, and it is very pleasant not to have to work…
The local rag has started a campaign against us and complains that the populace is too friendly. The hotels are one by one changing their French, Russian and English names into German ones!
We have now to report once a week at the police station, which is quite amusing as I meet the other Englishmen there. But last week I was 20 minutes late, and after waiting for an hour till they were willing to attend to me, was fined 5 marks and 20 pfennigs costs (2d). I’m sure it cost them almost that in paper and ink alone, as they filled up huge forms minutely for the occasion. Five marks though is a lot of money just now!
Everyone I meet is very patriotic and would obviously sacrifice everything for his country, and no one seems to doubt the righteousness of his cause for a moment.”