The Amazing Interlude HTML version

Chapter 12
That morning there was a conference in the little house--Colonel Lilias, who had come in
before for a mute but appreciative call on Sara Lee, and for a cup of chocolate; Captain
Tournay, Jean and Henri. It was held round the little table in the salle a manger, after
Marie had brought coffee and gone out.
"They had information undoubtedly," said the colonel. "The same thing happened at
Pervyse when an ammunition train went through. They had the place, and what is more
they had the time. Of course there are the airmen."
"It did not leave the main road until too late for observation from the air," Henri put in
"Yet any one who saw it waiting at the crossroads might have learned its destination. The
drivers talk sometimes."
"But the word had to be carried across," said Captain Tournay. "That is the point. My
men report flashes of lights from the fields. We have followed them up and found no
houses, no anything. In this flat country a small light travels far."
"I shall try to learn to-night," Henri said. "It is, of course, possible that some one from
over there--" He shrugged his shoulders.
"I think not." Colonel Lilias put a hand on Henri's shoulder affectionately. "They have
not your finesse, boy. And I doubt if, in all their army, they have so brave a man."
Henri flushed.
"There is a courage under fire, with their fellows round--that is one thing. And a courage
of attack--that is even more simple. But the bravest man is the one who works alone--the
man to whom capture is death without honor."
The meeting broke up. Jean and Henri went away in the car, and though supplies came up
regularly Sara Lee did not see the battered gray car for four days. At the end of that time
Henri came alone. Jean, he said briefly, was laid up for a little while with a flesh wound
in his shoulder. He would be well very soon. In the meantime here at last was mutton. It
had come from England, and he, Henri, had found it lying forgotten and lonely and very
sad and had brought it along.
After that Henri disappeared on foot. It was midafternoon and a sunny day. Sara Lee saw
him walking briskly across the fields and watched him out of sight. She spoke some
French now, and she had gathered from Rene, who had no scruples about listening at a
door, that Henri was the bravest man in the Belgian Army.