Tonight he would go down to the Cafe du Centre and take the temperature of Lavaurette. He presumed its dismal chorus was at least vaguely representative of what the small towns of France were thinking, if only in the degree of its ignorance.
He was also expecting to hear soon from the English girl who had dropped by parachute. She was surprisingly dark for what he had expected from an English person, but the hazel-husk intensity of her eyes in the lamp-lit farm kitchen was something he could not forget.
In the lavatory of the train that In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница was crawling towards Clermont Ferrand Charlotte read the scribbled feelings of previous travellers.
"War has been declared by the City of London," was one view, accompanied by a caricature of a Fagin-like face with wispy beard.
This had drawn agreement from another writer: "Saxon Jew + Tartar = the Beast'.
Did these statements, scored in the bold capitals of anonymity, express the true feelings of the French people? Was this what they would really say if they were free to speak? Charlotte chose to think not. Although the passion of anti-British feeling (anti-English as they mistakenly called it) continued In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница to shock her, she did not believe, and could not allow herself to believe, that it was universal. She had only to think, after all, of her reception on the night of her arrival.
She made her way back down the corridor and resumed her seat, which the obliging woman next to her had agreed to keep reserved. Charlotte smiled at her, then looked fixedly out of the window. It had taken her only a few minutes with the Michelin Guide to work out which of the two Citroen garages must be the one she wanted. Gregory had definitely In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница said "In the middle of Clermont'; the telephone directory confirmed that the owner was "A. Chollet'. She calculated that she could be back on the train by seven o'clock.
To her right she saw a branch line that wound up through the thermal station of la Bourboule to Le Mont-Dore. Clouds were drifting down off the mountain and the summer sun of Lavaurette seemed far away; it was beginning to feel cold in the unheated carriage.
Antoinette had woken her at nine o'clock with a tray on which was bread and jam and something that tasted reasonably In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница like coffee. She sat on the edge of the bed and watched while Charlotte ate; she was wearing her blue pinafore, and Gilberte was already dealing with the first customer downstairs.
Charlotte hurried through her farewells and promised to write to Antoinette from England when the war was over. As she was leaving Antoinette pressed a bottle into her hand: it was hair dye.
"Just in case," said Antoinette as she kissed her goodbye.
Half an hour from Clermont Charlotte began to feel a tightening of fear.
A police inspection of identity cards passed with its usual In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница swift indifference, but it reminded her of how alone and uncovered she was, without even the stories prepared for her in London. While she carried out the elementary task for Mr. Jackson and lived within the limited identity of Dominique Guilbert, she had felt a degree of protection and attachment: it had been like the moment in the Whitley when the sergeant showed her the firm connection of the static line that would ensure her safety. Now she was in free fall.
The train slunk in beneath the vaulted ironwork, snorting steam.
Charlotte gripped her suitcase and fought her way down In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница on to the platform.
In the forecourt of the station she studied a map which showed the tram routes. She crossed the street to what she hoped was the appropriate stop.
There was the usual confusion of pushing people: respectable men in felt hats with clipped moustaches, small widows with jabbing elbows. Squeezed upright between two people near the entrance to the tramcar. Charlotte lodged her case between her feet and grasped at a hanging strap as the tram jolted off" towards the middle of town.
She found her way to the street at the end of the rue Blatin In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница and looked down the broad and cloudy thoroughfare. In this weather it had a faded, monochromatic look, compounded by the fact that there were so few cars; it felt like looking back to before the war, even to before the last war. At the top of a five-storey building on one side was the painted name of Franck Gorce, Tailor. At ground floor level, behind curved railings, was a bar called the Faisan Dore with a few unoccupied chairs on the pavement.
Opposite was the curved facade of the Credit Lyonnais, its name cut in deep In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница italics in the stone above the towering doors.
Charlotte looked down the unhindered vista of the street to the distant bulk of the Massif Central, many miles beyond but framed and set in perspective by the straight lines of the rue Blatin. It seemed typical of how the civilisation had imposed itself on the country and of how it had grown in a harmony that seemed both inevitable and impossible to disturb. The sight released in Charlotte the memory of another such street, one she had seen as a child on her first excursion across the Channel with In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница her father. It was the view that always came to mind when anyone mentioned France to her.
She made her way along the pavement, calculating the likely distance to her destination. It took her ten minutes to see the street name, high up on a corner, and five more to reach the garage itself, which was at the rundown end of the road, where it became commercial and unkempt.
Charlotte went through the double wooden doors into the oily gloom.
She was trembling. A woman in widow's black, bespectacled, with a tight, narrow mouth emerged from a partitioned area on the In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница right.
Charlotte had somehow not expected a woman. It was very dark.
"I'm looking for Monsieur Chollet."
"He's working on a car. He's down at the end there."
"Can I go and see him?"
The old woman looked Charlotte up and down. Her mouth declined at the corners.
"I won't keep him."
The widow shrugged, and Charlotte took it as permission. She made her way over the concrete floor, stained black by countless drained sumps towards where she could hear some activity in the gloom. A bulky figure In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница was bending over the engine of a large, black, front-wheel-drive Citroen of the kind favoured both by Vichy ministers and the Gestapo.
The man lifted his face from the engine.
"Are you Monsieur Chollet?"
"Yes. That's me." Chollet was a fat man with a purple face and shiny skin; he looked too old to be the son of the widow at the doorway, but it was possible that red wine and large meals had aged him prematurely.
The stub of an unlit yellow cigarette was wedged in the corner of his mouth.
Charlotte breathed in tightly and In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница spoke again.
"A friend of mine asked me to come and see you if I should need news. He was to contact you if he was in trouble. He said you would answer to the name Hercule." It was a difficult word to say in French; Charlotte tried to concentrate on its swallowed 'r' and whistling 'u'.
Chollet grunted, "I don't know what you're talking about."
In the dim light it was hard to make out his expression, but Charlotte could see just enough to think she had noticed fear in his eyes.
"It's very important In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница," she said.
"I just need to know if you've heard anything from him. He was due a little time ago and we've heard nothing from him." Chollet said nothing, but shook his head slowly from side to side, his whole plump body a refusal to engage.
Charlotte had not foreseen this: so preoccupied had she been by her own safety that it had not occurred to her that Gregory's contact might be suspicious of her. She could not think how she might persuade him that she was not an agent of some oppressive organisation. In In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница fact, she admitted Chollet was probably right not to trust her: he was doing the safe and proper thing.
"Monsieur, I understand your reluctance. I can't offer you the identification I should have because you are not my contact. But I beg you to believe me."
Chollet bent back over the engine and began to resume his work. Even to herself Charlotte had sounded like the worst kind of informer. The more the conversation went on the more she admired Chollet's response. Yet for her the situation was desperate. She had travelled many miles to find In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница this man, and now it was going to be useless.
Gregory might be alive and in need of help. She could get him out, just as she had got Yves to his destination, but without her Gregory could never make it.
"I'm British," she said.
"I'm not an informer, I'm not with any Vichy organisation. I can prove it to you. I'm going to speak English." She said in English: "Please believe me.
Monsieur Chollet, I desperately need your help. I can't say the whole war hinges on it, but my life certainly does. Please take In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница your head out of that car and listen to me. All I want to do is to give you a telephone number.
I'll speak more English if you like. Once upon a time there was a girl called Cinderella who had two ugly sisters who went to a ball and poor Cinderella didn't have a dress... God, I can't even remember the story.
I was never keen on fairy tales."
She leaned forwards and tapped Chollet on the back. He stood up and turned round to face her again. Charlotte tried to make herself cry In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница, to evoke pity that way, but tears were far away, and in any case some police sneak could presumably fake them as well as she could.
She took his oil-grimed, fleshy hand in hers and said in French: "Now do you believe me?" She smiled at him, summoning up as she did so every last particle of charm, candour and shameless sexual invitation.
Chollet's eyelids slid down over his protuberant eyes like a reluctant toad and his mouth pursed a minimal affirmative.
"And have you heard?"
His head moved half an inch either way.
Rain was falling In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница on the streets outside, which seemed nevertheless bright after the interior of the garage. Charlotte walked a few yards, then leaned against a lamp-post. The fear of discovery and the exhilaration of penetrating Chollet's defences now gave way to despair.
She had come to find her lover, all the way to the volcanoes, in the darkness, and he was not there. She had come and she had failed, and Gregory was dead.
Madame Cariteau was slightly loosening the bonds she had set on Andre and Jacob Duguay. To begin with, she never left them; now, she In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница was prepared to shuffle up to the shops for half an hour if she had impressed on Andre with sufficient urgency that he and Jacob were not to leave the house or answer the door.
In the front room was an old piano that her husband had occasionally played.
On the one occasion Andre and Jacob had been allowed into the room they had opened the lid and begun to pick at the keys. While Jacob could only hit them with his fist, Andre could make melodic runs of single notes and, so far as the width of his In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница hands would allow, play simple chords.
There was a piano at school, he told Madame Cariteau, and he had been encouraged by the mistress.
The stationer halfway up the hill had some sheet music which Madame Cariteau had noticed without interest on previous visits, and when she had bought some bread she went into the shop to have a look through it.
There was the odd sonata or concerto by Franck, Faure or Saint Saens, but most of the music was folk songs. She chose what appeared to her to be the simplest of these- the two with the fewest In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница notes--and took them home for Andre.
She went through the back door and into the kitchen, put down her basket and went to find the boys. The hall of the house was a spacious area that led to the barred front door at one end and, at the other, a broad, handsome staircase that rose for fourteen steps to a half-landing.
Bumping down it as Madame Cariteau came into the hall was a suitcase in which Jacob Duguay was letting out terrified screams of pleasure, as he hurtlingly tobogganed over the polished wood. Andre stood on the half In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница-landing, where his expression of glee turned to one of doubtful innocence when he saw Madame Cariteau.
Jacob arrived at her feet, whimpering with pleasure. When he looked up and saw her, he had no reflex of guilt but began to explain what they were doing.
"We take the suitcase up and Andre puts me in and--"
" Yes, I can see what you're doing. You don't have to tell me. Andre, where did you find the suitcase?"
"It was just there," said Andre.
"It was just lying around." Madame Cariteau tipped Jacob out of the In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница case and inspected if.
"This lives in my bedroom cupboard. Have you been in my room?"
"No," said Andre; "Andre got it," said Jacob simultaneously. Madame Cariteau scolded them for being noisy and for not staying upstairs, as she had instructed them. When Andre began to protest, she shouted at him to go to his room and stay there for the rest of the day. He turned on his heel and tried to conceal from her his trembling lip; down the dark corridor he made his damp and noisy way, slamming the door behind him when he reached his room.
Julien In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница Levade was sketching a design for the converted cloisters when the telephone rang.
Pauline Bobotte's voice had the slightly affronted edge it always assumed when the caller was female.
"Someone called Daniele to speak to you, Monsieur Levade."
"Thank you, Mademoiselle Bobotte. Put her through, please. Hello?
Daniele? Everything all right?"
"Fine, thank you. I'm back in Lavaurette. I'm outside the station."
"You must be tired." Julien looked at his watch. He could leave the office for lunch at twelve thirty and take Daniele to his apartment for the time being.
"Do you know the In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница church? Yes? I'll meet you there at a quarter to one.
It's not long."
Charlotte replaced the receiver and breathed out heavily. She had spent a night of dim waiting rooms and arthritic trains; she wanted to sleep for several days, to restore the speed to her slow limbs, to dispel the fizzing little pain in her temple and to purge the pressing anguish in her chest.
She reckoned it would take her twenty minutes to walk to the church, which left her with about forty to kill. The best place would be the station In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница waiting room, but to sit there would be to invite a document inspection by some uniformed official. She lifted her case and trudged along the avenue until she found a track opening off between the plane trees. After a few yards she came across a fallen tree-trunk. She sat down and pulled out Dominique's detective story.
It was a strange and conspicuous thing to do, but she had the confidence of fatigue; she would not need to feign irritation if anyone questioned her.
She was five minutes early at the church and was inspecting one of the stained glass windows In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница when she heard the door grind open.
Julien walked swiftly up the aisle to where she stood and shook her hand.
"I think it would be better if we weren't seen together. I'll go ahead.
It's the second street above the church, the third house on the right.
I'll leave the street door open so with any luck you can get in without being seen by the concierge. I'm on the first floor."
Charlotte gave him three minutes, then set off. She found the house easily enough and made her way into the tiled In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница hall. A young woman was emerging from a ground-floor apartment: she had wide-set blue eyes, waved blonde hair and a coquettishly thick application of red lipstick.
She smiled at Charlotte.
"Hello. You must be Monsieur Levade's fiancee."
"I ... I'm pleased to meet you," said Charlotte noncommittally.
"He's on the first floor. Well- you know, of course. He's just got in."
The woman went out of the front door.
"See you later," she said genially as she closed it behind her.
Charlotte climbed the stairs and knocked on the open door In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница of Julien's apartment. He emerged from the sitting room and took her case.
"Come and sit down. I'm making some lunch."
"I met someone in the hall. A rather beautiful woman who seemed to think I was your fiancee."
"Oh, that's Pauline Benoit. She's nice, isn't she?" said Julien from the kitchen.
"Who is she?"
"She's the concierge."
"I thought concierges were supposed to be old and nosey and have their hair in curlers."
"You've been reading too many detective stories," said Julien, returning to the sitting room and holding out In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница a chair at the dining table for Charlotte.
"No, I haven't. I hate detective stories," said Charlotte. To her irritation she found that her denial sounded unconvincing.
Julien laid a place in front of her.
"My life is run by two Paulines," he said.
"Pauline Benoit at home and Pauline Bobotte at work.
Bobotte's actually much nosier than Benoit. She listens to all my telephone calls. Benoit just likes to know about any romance that might be in the air.
I have to keep her guessing. She thinks I'm a bigamist."
He disappeared to the kitchen and In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница returned with a plate of food and a glass of wine, which he set down in front of Charlotte.
"I'm sorry about this," he said.
"It's all I've got. It's not as bad as it looks. I had it for dinner last night."
"What is it?"
"It's a stew."
"What sort of stew?"
"Don't ask. I didn't."
"Aren't you having any?"
"No. I'll... I'll have something later."
Charlotte put a little of the reheated food in her mouth.
"I understand you'll be going home next week."
"Has it In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница been confirmed?"
"Yes. Of course, it'll depend on the weather. But it's been very clear recently and I haven't heard that it's likely to change. Will you be glad to be back in England?"
"I suppose so." Charlotte filled her mouth with the rough wine.
"I've done what I came to do," she said untruthfully.
"If you'd like to rest after lunch, you'll be quite safe here. You can sleep in my bed if you like."
"Thank you. Please don't go to any trouble."
"It's no trouble. I'll In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница lock the front door and tell Pauline no one's to come up."
When he had cleared her plate, Julien showed Charlotte into his bedroom.
He closed the shutters and indicated the large bed with its lordly hangings.
"If anyone knocks at the door, don't answer. I've got the key and I'll let myself in at about seven. Sleep well." He gave her another of his guileless smiles and Charlotte reciprocated tiredly.
She pushed off Dominique heavy shoes, but thought she had better stay dressed in case she needed to move in a hurry. When she had heard In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница Julien depart, she closed the double doors into the sitting room and went back to the bed.
She sometimes found that if she lay on her front, the physical weight of her body slightly helped to crush the misery in her abdomen. She pulled the eiderdown over her and tried to sleep. His face had gone again.
Peter Gregory was sitting up in bed, anxiously watching as the local veterinary surgeon inspected his leg.
There was a fracture of the tibia, suspected but undiagnosed by the vet, owing to the primitive manner in which he had had to make In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница his examination, by probing with his fingers. His major field of expertise was in the digestive illnesses of sheep, though he was competent with all ruminants and would even give opinions, if asked, on domestic pets.
An English airman posed problems of a different nature, largely because he could not be taken to a surgery. The vet had been contacted by a smallholder who knew that his sympathies were reliable, whereas the local human doctor was an uncomplicated Petainist, who in his spare time organised youth groups to go camping and sing songs with a marching, militaristic snap.
The In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница vet looked up from Gregory's skinny leg and said something fast, in the regional accent, that Gregory did not understand. The elderly peasant couple who were sheltering him nodded their heads in wise agreement. As the vet explained his thoughts in greater detail, Gregory wished he had paid more attention to Madame Fanon's tedious French lessons or more often accepted Charlotte's offer of instruction. For the rest, he had escaped with bruising and cuts; what seemed to be a broken elbow now gave him no pain and the swelling had gone down. A long gash In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница running from his thigh, over his hip and up into the small of his back had now closed sufficiently for them all to see that its swollen, septic edges had started to subside.
The bruises beneath his eyes had gone from shiny purple to a jaundiced yellow, and the puffed skin had resumed its former adhesion to the contours of the skull. What hurt most was his neck and shoulders, where he had hung upside down in his straps, waiting to be cut free.
"You were lucky," they told him for the hundredth time, and for the hundredth time In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница he said, "I know." Gregory the unsinkable, the unkillable: lucky to have survived the crash, lucky that it was so near the landing zone, lucky that he was picked up by sympathetic people ...
There was, as he already knew before taking off from England, no apparent end to his good fortune.
He had asked to be shown on a map exactly where he was, but they had no map.
They told him the names of the nearest villages, but these meant nothing to Gregory. From the window of his bedroom he could see fields of wheat divided In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница by dwarf oaks and messy hedgerows; beyond them were woods and spinneys that climbed the undulating land, and on a distant hilltop was a tower. He supposed it was a water-tower, but its grey stone and castellated rim made it look like the remnant of a fortification. There were no houses and no roads within his view. He was lost and he could not move.
What kept him from despair was the admiration that he felt for the couple who had taken him in. They knew nothing about him and could not even converse with him, yet they were risking In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница their lives for his.
It was not as though they could have had a sophisticated understanding of the situation; presumably they were as bewildered and scared as anyone else in this occupied country. But every morning the old woman, who had told him by shoving a finger at her breastbone and repeating the word that she was called Beatrice, brought him bread and milk; every evening the old man, whose name was Jacques, sat with him and fed him cigarettes and vinegary wine.
The vet explained that he must stay in bed. With vigorous hand movements - both palms at first In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница pressing down, suggesting gravity and stasis, then becoming fists whose index fingers pointed firmly to the bed he made himself understood.
"How long?" asked Gregory.
The vet shrugged.
Luckily, he still had some notes left on the roll of francs the raf had given him before take-off; his hosts had been able to supplement the produce of their field with butter and wine from the black market.
The vet left the room and Gregory sank back against the pillow. He took a cigarette from the packet on the bedside table. There In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница was nothing to do but stare from the window over the vacant fields. He thought of Charlotte, of her eyes, of the life-saving intensity of her passion.
It was five o'clock when Charlotte awoke, having slept more deeply than she expected. She lay on her back for a minute, believing herself still to be in Antoinette's bedroom in Ussel. This room was bigger, however, and more bare; there was a glass-fronted bookcase against one wall and a small rush-seated chair with a pair of man's trousers thrown over it. A moment In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница of panic and disorientation subsided as the memory of Julien came back to her: his black hair, receding a little at the temples, but the face still youthful with its dark, active eyes and swiftly changing expression. She remembered lunch, the stew, a conversation about when she would be picked up.
Charlotte stretched beneath the eiderdown and yawned. She felt a sudden need for tea: nothing else would switch her back from her sleepy siding on to the main line of the day. She climbed out of bed and straightened her clothes, then went through into the kitchen. The closest In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница thing she could find to tea was a glass pot with some dried leaves which she thought might be camomile or verveine. She boiled some water and poured it over a handful of leaves in a cup which she took through into the sitting room and left on the table to infuse.
Soon she would be going home. She would return to her flat with Daisy and Sally, she would await further calls from Mr. Jackson. They would presumably post her to one of their holding schools, where she could help with the last-minute preparation of other agents In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница, teach French or drive the staff cars. Since G Section had started to pay her a wage there would be no need for her to look for another job, and in the meantime she "would be free to explore London, to go to galleries or shops; she could even go up to Scotland and visit her parents. She would-resume a life, and men like Cannerley would telephone to ask her out to dinner; it was a privileged and pleasant existence that lay ahead of her: it was normal life, it was what most young women wanted. She In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница should count herself lucky.
Yet, at the thought of it, she trembled in revolt. To leave France at this stage was unthinkable. Although she had efficiently completed both her official and her private errands, she had been drawn into the frightening destiny of the people she had met. She could not leave until she had seen whether Antoinette's prediction of resistance was fulfilled; she wanted to see the big schoolboy Cesar load up another horse-drawn cart with stores; she wanted to understand why the English were so deeply hated. And Julien also intrigued her: what made In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница a man like him buzz round a little town like Lavaurette, alighting for a moment here, then there, in his pollination, while the majority of men of his kind and generation went quietly about their business in the tranquil streets of German-occupied Paris?
She took an end of bread from the remains of lunch on the table, dipped it in the tea and sucked. No gateway of unconscious memory swung gloriously open, but through the dusty crumbs a not unpleasant herbal taste slid across her tongue and encouraged her to take a sip directly from the cup.
She would not go In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница back. She would stay in France until she felt she had done something worthwhile. More urgent even than this was her need to find Gregory. To fly home now would be to admit that he was dead, and this was something that she could not do. She had no idea how she would set about finding him, but merely by being in France she had a better chance. At the very least she could telephone Chollet again.
But to return to London was to give up; and if she gave up on Peter Gregory, then she was giving In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница up faith in her own life.
She had identified her own troubles with those of the country in which she found herself. They seemed to her like two long journeys that had lost their way, each struggling now to rediscover the doubtful paradise from which they had set out. Her need to stay in France was probably, she had to admit, neurotic; certainly it seemed more compulsive than rational. But although she had long had the habit of self-analysis.
Charlotte found it tiresome.
Presumably the link between these public and private worlds was the presence in In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница France of the man she loved, and on whom she depended for the resolution of her life. But if that was the motivation, it was buried too deep to be felt. All that she knew was a compelling urgency of personal and moral force; and she was certain that, whatever its tangled roots, she must obey it.
Julien returned at six with a noisy ascent of the stripped staircase.
Charlotte heard him calling down some mocking retort to the woman's voice that followed him from the hallway. He was kicking off his shoes as, slightly out of breath, he In memory of my father Peter Faulks 1917-1998 With love and gratitude 15 страница came into the sitting room.
"How are you? Did you sleep?"
"Yes, thank you."
"Good. Now, dinner. The housekeeper doesn't come on Wednesday so I have to improvise. We can't go out because I've used all my coupons."
"I've got some money," said Charlotte.
"Couldn't we ' " My dear Daniele, what are you suggesting? Not the black market, surely?"
Charlotte thought of the arrangements Antoinette had described to her in Ussel.
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