The third item

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This item raises many interesting aspects of the system! Itís another letter-card, with a brown label affixed.

Raising the label reveals:

(There is nothing on the back.) The imprint is cancelled 3/2 WIEN 45 24.IX.16 5.10 which was a Sunday. The second cancel is 3/1 WIEN 40 24.IX.16 8.30 Both times are in arabic numbers, ie afternoon. It has been directed to office 25, then to 49, then to 40. It is addressed to: Herr Hauptmann / Sigmund Högler / Kriegsministerium Abt. 7 / Wien I. Added in a different hand is III Strohgasse 5.

The brown label is also addressed to office 25, and says: ## Strohgasse No. 5, laut / Auskunft des Portiers/ dort unbekannt / ausgezogen wohin unbek / zur Bestellung im/ Kriegsministerium Abt 7/ Squiggle, where ## is unreadable and Herr Squiggle probably wrote the note.

Somebody has redirected it in pencil to III Strohgasse 5 and added the blue routing 49 (office 49 was at III. Marokkanergasse 17). Then someone has changed that to 40; office 40 was at III. Landstrasse Hauptstrasse 65. Office 49 is much nearer to Strohgasse than office 40; however perhaps 49 were too busy (or wanted to shut for the night) and sent it "round the houses" back to Zentrale and on to office 40.

Who did the first redirection? It must surely have been Wien 25, since the item was first routed to them and only they would know where Herr Hauptmann Högler was. However, the tables in the Postbuch (see later) say that on Sundays the office was only open from 7am to 2pm. Our best guess is that the office was closed to in-the-building customers, but was still manned (this is after all in the War Ministry in the middle of the war!). Item 4 below shows it functioning at 18:20 on Thursday 2 July 1914.

Now we start to guess... It arrived at office 40 that evening, and was taken out to Strohgasse. There, the porter said "Heís not here". So somebody attached the brown label saying so, adding that it should be delivered to Kriegsministerium Abt 7 which they underlined. It then re-entered the Rohrpost; the slip received another 25; it was redelivered to Kriegsministerium; the addressee was still not there; so it was filed in the dead letter archive. Years or decades later, that archive fell amongst thieves, thence amongst philatelists.

The contents are also interesting, albeit not philatelicallyÖ

Liebís Schatzerl! Vergiss nicht dass wir heute in die Urania gehen und du pünktlich hier sein musst. Eine Verspätung wäre uns allen sehr peinlich. Es ist Kriegszeit und Du könntest bei deiner vielen Arbeit leicht die Zeit vergessen, deshalb erlaube ich mir, Dich nochmals auf deine Pflichten als fürsorglichen galanter Gatten aufmerkam zu machen. Ich freue mich schon echt auf den heutigen Abend. Servus Putz. Immer dein Maxl./

That is: Darling, Donít forget that weíre going to the Urania today and you must be here on time. Being late would be embarrassing to everybody. Itís wartime and you can easily forget the time because of all the work you do, therefore I allow myself to bring to your attention your duties as a considerate and gallant husband. Iím really looking forwards to this evening. Say bye to Putz for me. Always yours, Max

The gender of the German suggests that itís a note from a close male friend to Herr Högler. The wording is more like a male-to-female missive. Maybe Max and Sigmund were extremely close friends?

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