Spencer Holt faces Paul's challenge that the girl he's brought from Berlin actually is the result of a wartime liaison with a nurse.
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Chronology of Events
Tuesday, October 25
Recalling the sustenance she'd gotten from the skiing in Greece after her father died, I timidly suggested going out in the snow, and was amazed that Kate agreed.
Limiting ourselves to a couple hours cross country in the privacy of her own land, I was astonished at how much better we both felt when we came in, for the first time seeing a little life in Katie's eyes again. Dr. Owen, who's devoting himself totally to her at the moment, was also encouraged.
Violet had just arrived from Krieger's for lunch, but the better mood was quicly extinguished by an upsetting phone call from Spence Holt, saying he was in a desperate situation.
With the election only a week from today, he has received a letter from a girl in Germany, claiming to be his daughter from a wartime liaison.
She's apparently flying to America on the weekend, and he wants me to meet her, find out who she is, and try and stop her.
Knowing he can't spare anyone he can trust with something this intimate, and with me so near Berlin, I really have no choice but to go.
Kate is 100% behind me, and will be tied up with business from tomorrow anyway, so I've made travel arrangements, and phoned the German detective Spence has hired.
While in Switzerland Paul receives an urgent call from his dear friend and former law professor Spencer Holt who's received a letter from a girl in Germany, claiming to be his daughter - one week before he stands before voters in a race for Governor.
En route to Berlin
Wednesday, October 26
Was amazed at Kate's level of composure this morning. Her entourage is starting to assemble around the complex, and Violet and her husband are coming over from Krieger's to stay here, so I feel OK about leaving - very handy with the helicopter delivering me to Zurich Airport.
Thursday, October 27
Spence had been so purposely vague with the detective that the man had gotten nowhere, but going straight to the house where Karen Mueller lived, I found out that she was singing in a folk club, and made her acquaintance there last night.
We met again today, and I queried her about plans for going to America, then let her know that I'd come on Spence's behalf, and how dangerous her proposed trip was for him.
At first I thought this was some convoluted dirty trick of the political opposition, and was sure her claim was impossible.
But more and more I'm moving to an alternate possibility - that the girl is genuine, and just maybe is Spence's daughter - despite his avowal that she can't possibly be.
Karen showed me a photo of her mother with Spence, then some unsent letters Eva Mueller had written to him just after the war, including one saying that she was expecting his child. I've handed this one over to the detective for chemical analysis.
What I can't understand is that, if she feels Spence is her father, she's willing to possibly destroy him by insisting on going to see him tomorrow - and not wait until after the election.
But this is some determined girl - one of those who climbed over the Berlin Wall - all on her own.
Paul flies to Berlin and meets the girl singing in a folk club.
The girl admits that she is going to America the next day to claim Spencer Holt as her father, and shows Paul an unsent letter her mother wrote to the candidate, telling him that she was expecting his child.
New York City
Friday, October 28
Try as I might, there was no stopping Karen, so to keep my eye on her, have taken the same flight. She told me a lot about her life in East Germany, her mother, and how she collected American folk songs.
Very delightful much of the time - and then you come to that hard edge. I shared my own - sanitized - adventures on both sides of The Wall, and she was fascinated.
Kate seemed sound enough when we talked last night. She moved back into the main house today, so I'm going to ring her now and see how she's doing.
Saturday, October 29
Talked to the detective in Berlin, who confirmed that the chemical analysis on the paper of Eva Mueller's letter is pre-war.
I don't know what to think now, but have to confront Spence with this information. At least I'll be able to hide the girl at the lakeside cabin outside Emerson City that the travel agent in the hotel here has reserved for my “fishing trip.”
There was lightning flaring between Spence and me today - with the whole campaign organization just on the other side of the door. Maybe I had fallen too much for Karin's natural charm and a sympathy for what she'd gone through and achieved.
Still feel a little caught in between - but don't see how I can doubt the re-doubled word of a man I have always respected so thoroughly - someone I would have asked to be my best man.
For some crazy reason, before election day, Spence wants to meet Karen, and size up what her danger to him may be. I'll take him out to the lake, but don't like the idea.
Meanwhile, he put me to work on his electioneering trail, and we're hoping maybe a bit of the Formula One glitz rubbed off on the old professor of the great Pete Gaffney - and partner.
At least the hubbub took my mind briefly off the negative things that are at the forefront of my brain, and it was an enjoyable experience.
But after the last event, I was overcome by the thought that it should have been my own election day coming up - and the reason it wasn't was the hardest thing of all to take.
Unable to stop her, Paul and the girl fly to the US
Spencer Holt and Paul exchange strong words over the veracity of the candidate's certainty that the girl is not his daughter.
Sunday, October 30
Somehow, Spence managed both to find an hour out of his schedule, and to get away surreptitiously from his headquarters to see Karen.
Wasn't on the scene when they met, but driving back to town, was keen to get his reaction to the encounter. It was difficult to fathom what he really thought. Despite what she's doing, Spence said he liked Karen, found her vulnerable, and believed that she thought herself to be his daughter.
Then he nearly caused an accident when he expressed the wish to give her $5,000. I thought that was crazy, and he wrote me a check for $2,500 instead. If she isn't his daughter, then ……
He's going to give a big speech tonight, and I'm heading back to the cabin to view it with Karen.
There we were in front of the TV to watch the speech. We'd been joking around, and I'd just promised Karen to take her to California.
When Spence appeared on the screen, he didn't read the excellent address he'd shown me, but stated that the opposition candidate had sanctioned a story which would appear in tomorrow's newspaper .
One saying Spence had been treated during the war by a nurse who'd borne a child, a girl who had just arrived in America to see her father, Spence admitting that he was the man she came to see.
After all he'd sworn to me, here Spence was saying something different to the public. I felt struck down, and Karen ran out of the house. Then came the call summoning us to the Holt's weekend lodge to meet his family.
All of a sudden Karen started worrying that Spence would lose the election now, and I just couldn't get my head around the fact that I'd warned her about this countless times - and so apparently did Spence.
In tears she declared being sorry she ever came to America, and wanted to go home. I told her that was exactly where we were going, and kept wondering how the opposition party got the story.
Had Karen contacted them, or had I not taken enough care with diversionary driving? All the questions teemed around in my head to form a giant headache.
But when we got to the lodge, everything was amazing serenity,Sally acting as if she were welcoming a niece she'd never met before, but knew well. And best of all, she presented me with two beautiful aspirins.
Karen went to bed after dinner, and I asked Spence what was going on. I was angry that he lied to me. But he said he didn't, explaining that so much of what the girl purported was false.
For one thing, Eva Mueller, who nursed him for nearly a year, spoke almost no English, whereas all the unsent letters Karen showed him were in near-perfect English.
Spence also explained the great mystery of why Karen absolutely had to arrive this very weekend of all weekends. She'd told him tonight.
It was simply that she had saved a long time to buy an excursion ticket, and would have lost all her money if she hadn't flown on October 28.
I felt like hitting my (very sore) head against a wall. Had I been able to get that out of her in Berlin, could have bought her an open ticket which would have solved all election-related problems.
Still curious as to why Spence admitted Karen was his daughter in the speech, but he said it was a long, long day, and he couldn't talk about it any more.
I felt the same, but believing it important, have stayed awake long enough to put all this down.
Spencer Holt meets the girl and has a very serious question and answer session with her at the lakeside cabin where Paul has hidden her. Unbeknownst to any of them, a reporter followed Paul's car, and observed the meeting with the girl.
The story will be in the opposition paper the next day, so the candidate changes his campaign closing speech to say that a wartime nurse bore the child of her patient, and that daughter has come to the US to meet her father - and he is that man. Paul and the girl are then invited to the Holt's weekend lodge. Though she is welcomed there, the girl is obviously upset, confused and feeling unwanted.
Monday, October 31
Went for a walk before breakfast, finding a miserable Karen at the river. Questioning why she was so dejected after finally connecting with her father, she retorted it was because he wasn't happy to see her.
I suggested that could be from his guilt over doubting her, and Karen broke down, moaning that she didn't know what to do about how she felt.
After Spence's explanation about the letters being in English, and finally certain that this girl was not his daughter, I asked if she felt guilty, and Karen replied that was obvious, since she'd caused him to lose the election.
But I kept playing along about the justice of her visit, kindly but relentlessly repeating the validity of her cause to the point of harassment. If I'd only been able to break Rick Fletcher down that easily.
“All right!” she began screaming repeatedly, and I met her hysterics with further gentleness, inquiring what she meant, and it all came out.
Karen was a war orphan adopted by Eva Mueller, a woman who indeed loved Spence. But it was probably a love known only to Eva. The letters she'd written to him, but never sent, had indeed been in German.
To have the handwriting match the fake one about a pregnancy, Karen translated them into English on an old tablet, then completely made up the one about expecting Spence's child.
Before she died, Eva Mueller had revealed her love for an American officer, and in Karen's mind, this was the man to be her father. She'd assumed they were lovers, and figured that Spence could never be sure that Karen wasn't his daughter.
My wise old friend had perceived Karen's vulnerability at the cabin by the lake. When I asked sympathetically why she had done all this, it came out that she yearned for a father, and after her tenuous existence in West Berlin, wanted a safe home.
When Karen had calmed down, we went back to the house. She wanted to make a confession, but Spence said that was unnecessary. He knew it was impossible for him to be her father. He'd never once been alone with Eva Mueller.
I couldn't understand why he gave the election away with that speech, but he said it was a choice of evils - to tell the truth, and have too little time for the facts to come out before voting started - or to tell a half truth that Eva had borne a child who thought Spencer Holt was her father.
Spence even believes the situation might give him an advantage. I obviously have a lot to learn about politics, and there was more to come in the afternoon.
With media interest hot, a TV interview was arranged for Karen on a woman's program - with Sally Holt at her side.
Talking about life in East Berlin, Karen gave the detailed story about her mother's unrequited love for Spence, the forged letters and the excursion ticket that brought her here at election eve.
She was in tears most of the time, and so probably was all the audience. Sally explained the raison d'etre of Spence's speech, his statement of facts and his worry about Karen's delicate state of mind as a refugee who'd escaped over the Berlin Wall.
The interviewer asked Karen to tell about it, and her dramatic tale was the perfect end to the piece.
Meeting her by the river, Paul probes the girl kindly, and repeatedly acknowledges the righteousness of her actions, until she breaks down, admitting that she is not even the real daughter of Eva Mueller, but was adopted, and forged the letters to Spencer Holt - just wanting a father and protector.
Paul questions the rationale of the speech, and apparent admission that he is the girl's father, but the candidate explains that he could not deny what looked like facts, with so little time before the voting - and hopes the scandal may even help him
En route to Switzerland
Tuesday, November 1
Though she'd been made so welcome (hundreds of supportive calls came into the TV station) by everyone, Karen was eager to return to Europe immediately, embarrassed by all the publicity and confused by all the emotions.
Even before arrival, we learned Spence was winning in a landslide. I'd love to have stayed to congratulate him, but want to get back and have a day with Katie before the Israel trip.
Wednesday, November 3
Violet had arranged for someone to look after Karen, and involve her in some snow sports, but she never even made it to Zermatt. At Zurich Airport she ran into a musician friend, and was off with her guitar in a trice - as if nothing had happened.
I started to wonder if this girl had merely found Eva Mueller's letters, not being related to her at all. Maybe never even came over The Wall.
Kate really wanted to be with me on the Holy Land trip, but there is so much of Armand's estate to familiarize herself with, people to talk to - and none of it can wait.
Dr. Owen called me aside, and said Kate had been doing especially well while I was away. Somehow, I think he views me as some Angel of Death inhibiting her recovery from Armand's passing.
Not said in so many words, but implied. Kate herself was strangely ambivalent, very caught up in the business affairs, perhaps even a little uncomfortable having me living in her house with all Armand's people around. Despite all that, she set aside the whole evening for us to be alone together.
On television, when he meets her, Paul tells the girl that Spencer Holt rang him a week earlier, but considering the urgency of the matter, it is difficult to believe that Paul would just continue skiing, rather than go immediately to Berlin.
Karen admits that the letters - other than the one about the pregnancy she supposedly had the ability to forge - were genuine, but Spencer Holt said earlier that they were in English - whereas Eva Mueller didn't really speak much English - thus in conflict with Karen's statement to Paul at the end.
3 - 7 November 1966 ("The Dead on Furlough")
Paul and the girl fly back to Europe, and learn that Spencer Holt is winning in a landslide.
Instead of going to Zermatt with Paul. Karen disappears into the crowd at Zurich Airport. With Kate busy over Armand's estate, Paul decides to go ahead and keep his meeting with Lisa Sorrow for a tour of the Holy Land.