Bismarck's Dream
(a fantasy)

It's evening. Inside his tent, silent and dreamy, Bismarck ponders, a finger on the map of France. A blue wisp of smoke billows from his huge pipe.
Bismarck ponders. His small claw-like index finger strolls - along the vellum - from the Rhine to the Moselle, from the Moselle to the Seine. Imperceptibly, at Strasbourg, his nail makes a scratch on the paper; he carries on regardless.
At Saarbrucken, at Wissembourg, at Woerth, at Sedan, the small claw-like index finger quivers with excitement; it caresses Nancy, tickles Bitche and Phalsbourg, scratches Metz, plots a route along the borders of the little broken lines, and stops...
Triumphantly, Bismarck covers Alsace and Lorraine with his index. Ah! what frenzies of avarice inside that yellow skull! And what perfumed clouds gushing from his pipe!...

Bismarck ponders. Ooh! a fat black dot seems to halt his fidgeting index. It is Paris.
Then, the nasty little nail, it scratches, it scratches along the paper, angrily, and finally it stops... There the finger rests, half-twisted, motionless.
Paris, Paris! But alas, the good man's been dreaming so much with his eyes open that, gradually, he's overcome by drowsiness. His brow tilts down towards the paper. Mechanically, his pipe falls from his lips, the bowl thudding onto the ugly black dot...
Poor sod! Abandoning the unfortunate head, his nose, the nose of Mr. Otto von Bismarck plunges into the burning bowl... Poor bugger! - right into the glowing bowl of the pipe... Poor sod! He had his finger on Paris... but now it's over, the dream of glory!

It was so delicate, so spiritual, so blessed, the nose of this venerable high-ranking diplomat - Hide it, hide the nose!... Ah yes, my dear sir, when you return to the palace to divide up the royal sauerkraut (...)* the proceeds of your crimes (...)* with your women in history books, you'll be carrying the incinerated nose between your dimwitted eyeballs.
There you go! Shouldn't have been daydreaming!

Jean Baudry

*(...) damaged lines.

Notes:
- * Some lines were damaged as they were on the folding of the newspaper. The correct phrase is  (...)* with your cries of... woman (...)* in history books,  not (...)* the proceeds of your crimes (...)* women in history books.
- Niall McDevitt translated Hi povero! from Italian and replaced it by Poor sod! or Poor bugger! which means Poor he! in English.