The General was just removing his pickelhaube as the aide ran into the tent, and he troubled himself to put it back on quickly in order to properly receive and return the salute of his subordinate, despite the enormous gulf in rank between them both. Apart from the striking twisted Gold shoulder straps and the gold and red 'farben' of the General's uniform, there was not too much difference in their appearances.
The salutes were exchanged in precise Prussian form, and the messenger handed over the letter. The General bid the corporal to wait in case there was a return message. He looked at the letter for a few seconds, drinking in the slight hint of perfume, the neat handwriting of the address, the Swiss postmark, then he opened it (or rather re-opened it, for it had undoubtedly been through the censor's hand) and greedily drank in the contents.
"Dear Uncle, it had been a very dreary week in Antwerp, for as much as Mama tried we could not get hold of any eggs and we were so determined to have pancakes for supper last Thursday as old Gustav does so like them..." Pages and pages were filled with similar girlish drivel, but the General devoured it all with a keen interest, absently removing his spiked helmet and placing it on the map table.
The monocle fell from his eye as he finished reading the missive and he looked at the map with a frown, his face turning an ashen white and sweat beads spawning on his brow. "Müller, get me General Falkenhayn on the Field Telephone!" he snapped, and began to scribble on the map before him, muttering to himself.
"Yes, yes, the right flank units must form a defensive flank in the north, from La Bassée to Armentières and Menin. XIX Corps will need to send the 40th Division round the North of Armentières and ..." he stabbed a finger at the map "...the 24th Division to the south to head off the British 4th Division at Le Gheer and Ploegsteert..."
Müller dashed over to the field telephone and began frantically winding the handle to build up an electric charge before he could make the call.To contact the Chief of the Imperial General Staff! What an honor!! Still, he was certainly glad that he didn't receive letters like that: just the usual worried ones from his mother and maybe, if he was very lucky, a badly scrawled love letter from Liselotte.