The Amazing Interlude
Yet for a day or two nothing much was changed. Mr. Travers sent Sara Lee a note that he
was taking up her problem with the Foreign Office; and he did indeed make an attempt.
He also requested his wife to ask Sara Lee to tea.
Sara Lee was extremely nervous on the day she went. She wore a black jacket suit with a
white collar, and she carried Aunt Harriet's mink furs, Aunt Harriet mourning thoroughly
and completely in black astrachan. She had the faculty of the young American girl of
looking smart without much expense, and she appeared absurdly young.
She followed the neat maid up a wide staircase to a door with a screen just inside, and
heard her name announced for the first time in her life. Sara Lee took a long breath and
went inside, to a most discouraging half hour.
Mr. Travers was on the hearth rug. Mrs. Travers was in a chair, a portly woman with a
not unkindly face, but the brusque manner many Englishwomen acquire after forty. She
held Sara Lee's hand and gave her a complete if smiling inspection.
"And it is you who are moving heaven and earth to get to the Front! You--child!"
Sara Lee's heart fell, but she smiled also.
"But I am older than I look," she said. "And I am very strong."
Mrs. Travers looked helplessly at her husband, while she rang the bell for tea. That was
another thing Sara Lee had read about but never seen--that ringing for tea. At home no
one served afternoon tea; but at a party, when refreshments were coming, the hostess
slipped out to the kitchen and gave a whispered order or two.
"I shall be frank with you," said Mrs. Travers. "I think it quite impossible. It is not getting
you over. That might be done. And of course there are women over there--young ones
too. But the army objects very seriously to their being in danger. And of course one never
knows--" Her voice trailed off vaguely. She implied, however, that what one never knows
was best unknown.
"I have a niece over there," she said as the tea tray came in. "Her mother was fool enough
to let her go. Now they can't get her back."
"Oh, dear!" said Sara Lee. "Can't they find her?"
"She won't come. Little idiot! She's in Paris, however. I daresay she is safe enough."
Mrs. Travers made the tea thoughtfully. So far Mr. Travers had hardly spoken, but he
cheered in true British fashion at the sight of the tea. Sara Lee, exceedingly curious as to