Felix quickly recognizes the poverty and hardship suffered by the people of Lille and arranges for food to find its way to his hosts' kitchen, for which the family is extremely grateful.
"Apparently we're going to set up quarters here; we will wait until the division has assembled and then there will be a showdown with the English. You see very few [French]men here. But many pale-faced women, who pursue our troops with desperate, worn-out - sometimes even vengeful - expressions.
Another teacher and her daughters also lived in the house, and I got on very well with all of them, enjoying many chats together, despite the fact that the ceaseless thunder of the canons was a constant reminder of the actual reason for our journey to France. A young lady, another teacher, also lived in the house, and I was able to expand my knowledge of French in conversation with her, as nobody spoke German.
Due to my knowledge of French I was entrusted with several tasks, including finding a stable for my Captain's horse, and pleasant quarters for him, as well as requisitions for all manner of possible and impossible things, including the constant negotiations with our hosts, who frequently cooked us up some meat or made us a salad or gave us some wine. But still, several things had to be discussed with them as a matter of form, and these tasks fell to me. I quickly started to realize the poverty and hardship being suffered by the people of Lille, and even though our hosts did not beg at our field kitchens like other people, it didn't mean that they were suffering less. I therefore had meat and bread sent to their kitchen, for which they were extraordinarily grateful.
One evening, exhausted from walking around and speaking, I asked if I could sit down in the large kitchen, together with the entire household, ostensibly to write my diary. But after just five minutes, I found myself in keen conversation which only stopped when I really considered it time to withdraw. And even though feelings of almost friendship bound us to each other, it was ultimately on these evenings, and in these chats, that we always finished up by wishing for a speedy peace.
In the meantime, I had, with the consent of my sergeant, moved to the former quarters of my Captain, where I slept in a room in a saloon close by with two comrades. Although the bed could not be compared with my mattress, it was still much more comforable than the straw mattress in the school".