The Amazing Interlude
Henri sat on his sofa and watched Sara Lee. Also he shamelessly listened to the
conversation, not because he meant to be an eavesdropper but because he liked Sara Lee's
voice. He had expected a highly inflected British voice, and instead here was something
entirely different--that is, Sara Lee's endeavor to reconcile the English "a" with her
normal western Pennsylvania pronunciation. She did it quite unintentionally, but she had
a good ear and it was difficult, for instance, to say "rather" when Mr. Travers said
Henri had a good ear too. And the man he was waiting for did not come. Also he had
been to school in England and spoke English rather better than most British. So he heard
a conversation like this, the gaps being what he lost:
MR. TRAVERS: ---- to France, anyhow. After that ----
SARA LEE: Awfully sorry to be ---- But what shall I do if I do get over? The
chambermaid up-stairs ---- very difficult.
MR. TRAVERS: The proper and sensible thing is ---- home.
SARA LEE: To America? But I haven't done anything yet.
Henri knew that she was an American. He also realized that she was on the verge of tears.
He glared at poor Mr. Travers, who was doing his best, and lighted a French cigarette.
"There must be some way," said Sara Lee. "If they need help--and I have read you Mabel
Andrews' letter--then I should think they'd be glad to send me."
"They would be, of course," he said. "But the fact is--there's been some trouble about
Henri's eyes narrowed.
"Spies! And they think I'm a spy?"
"My dear child," remonstrated Mr. Travers, slightly exasperated, "they're not thinking
about you at all. The War Office has never heard of you. It's a general rule."
Sara Lee was not placated.
"Let them cable home and find out about me. I can give them references. Why, all sorts
of prominent people are sending me money. They must trust me, or they wouldn't."