The Amazing Interlude
While she was breakfasting the next morning there was a tap at the door, and thinking it
the maid she called to her to come in.
But it was Jean, an anxious Jean, twisting his cap in his hands.
"You have had a message from the captain, mademoiselle?"
"He was to have returned during the night. He has not come, mademoiselle."
Sara Lee forgot her morning negligee in Jean's harassed face.
"But--where did he go?"
Jean shrugged his shoulders and did not reply.
"Are you worried about him?"
"I am anxious, mademoiselle. But I am often anxious; and--he always returns."
He smiled almost sheepishly. Sara Lee, who had no subtlety but a great deal of intuition,
felt that there was a certain relief in the smile, as though Jean, having had no message
from his master, was pleased that she had none. Which was true enough, at that. Also she
felt that Jean's one eye was inspecting her closely, which was also true. A new factor had
come into Henri's life--by Jean's reasoning, a new and dangerous one. And there were
dangers enough already.
Highly dangerous, Jean reflected in the back of his head as he backed out with a bow. A
young girl unafraid of the morning sun and sitting at a little breakfast table as fresh as
herself--that was a picture for a war-weary man.
Jean forgot for a moment his anxiety for Henri's safety in his fear for his peace of mind.
For a doubt had been removed. The girl was straight. Jean's one sophisticated eye had
grasped that at once. A good girl, alone, and far from home! And Henri, like all soldiers,
woman-hungry for good women, for unpainted skins and clear eyes and the freshness and
bloom of youth.
All there, behind that little breakfast table which might so pleasantly have been laid for
Jean took a walk that morning, and stood staring for twenty minutes into a clock maker's
window, full of clocks. After which he drew out his watch and looked at the time!