De Loteling (Hendrik Conscience)

De loteling

The illustration is a page of a book ‘The Conscript’ by Hendrik Conscience.

In 1833, when the newborn Belgian kingdom still fears a Dutch invasion, recruits were selected annually from an age cohort by a draw of lots in each locality.  Jan Braems, a poor and naive farmboy, accepts the  offer by a rich family to sell his lucky ticket out to their son for a big sum compared to the miserable labor wages at the time. Sub sole nihil novi est – There’s nothing new under the sun …

This is one of the pages of the copy I cherish. On different pages members of the army’s library left their comments, even though they were ‘en campagne’ , on the battlefield of WW1 at that time. I am still very grateful they were willing to give their lives so we could live in a free world.