The Amazing Interlude
For four days the gray car did not come again. Supplies appeared in another gray car,
driven by a surly Fleming. The waking hours were full, as usual. Sara Lee grew a little
thin, and seemed to be always listening. But there was no Henri, and something that was
vivid and joyous seemed to have gone out of the little house.
Even Marie no longer sang as she swept or washed the kettles, and Sara Lee, making up
the records to send home, put little spirit into the letter that went with them.
On the second day she wrote to Harvey.
"I am sorry that you feel as you do," she wrote, perhaps unconsciously using Henri's last
words to her. "I have not meant to be cruel. And if you were here you would realize that
whether others could have done what I am doing or not--and of course many could--it is
worth doing. I hear that other women are establishing houses like this, but the British and
the French will not allow women so near the lines. The men come in at night from the
trenches so tired, so hungry and so cold. Some of them are wounded too. I dress the little
wounds. I do give them something, Harvey dear--if it is only a reminder that there are
homes in the world, and everything is not mud and waiting and killing."
She told him that his picture was on her mantel, but she did not say that a corner of her
room had been blown away or that the mantel was but a plank from a destroyed house.
And she sent a great deal of love, but she did not say that she no longer wore his ring on
her finger. And, of course, she was coming back to him if he still wanted her.
More than Henri's absence was troubling Sara Lee those days. Indeed she herself laid all
her anxiety to one thing, a serious one at that. With all the marvels of Henri's buying, and
Jean's, her money was not holding out. The scope of the little house had grown with its
fame. Now and then there were unexpected calls, too--Marie's mother, starving in Havre;
sickness and death in the little town at the crossroads: a dozen small emergencies, but
adding to the demands on her slender income. She had, as a matter of fact, already begun
to draw on her private capital.
And during the days when no gray car appeared she faced the situation, took stock, as it
were, and grew heavy-eyed and wistful.
On the fifth day the gray car came again, but Jean drove it alone. He disclaimed any need
for sympathy over his wound, and with Rene's aid carried in the supplies.
There was the business of checking them off, and the further business of Sara Lee's
paying for them in gold. She sat at the table, Jean across, and struggled with centimes and
francs and louis d'or, an engrossed frown between her eyebrows.