Ironically, although this final chapter is narrated from Christine's point of view it's really Gustave's backstory, just as the previous chapter was as much Christine's backstory as Raoul's...
Ch 4: Mort pour la France
Paris in the autumn was as busy as ever. The leaves on the trees were dusty as the streets and beginning to turn brown, and the sun through the windows of the tramcar struck hot on Christine’s cheek as it had not done all summer — or perhaps, she thought, adjusting her blue uniform cloak, perhaps it had, and she had not been in any condition to notice it.
She descended from the tram at the corner of the boulevard Mont-St-Fleury with a nod to the lady conductress — the war had changed many things — and began to walk rather slowly towards the little café further down. In the pocket of her dress, behind the red cross sewn at her breast, lay the letter that had brought her here, dragging at her steps like a weight from which she had believed herself cut free. She was tired: too tired to feel anything, she told herself, with a bone-deep weariness born of long nights of strain and endless exhausting days of labour over shattered bodies in improvised wards behind the lines.
There was nothing romantic in nursing; Raoul had been right — poor Raoul! But that reflex jolt of memory was nothing more than a dull echo now.( Read more... )