The Amazing Interlude (Chapter 3, page 1 of 10)


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Chapter 3

The first thing that struck Sara Lee was the way she was saying her
nightly prayers in all sorts of odd places. In trains and in hotels and,
after sufficient interval, in the steamer. She prayed under these novel
circumstances to be made a better girl, and to do a lot of good over
there, and to be forgiven for hurting Harvey. She did this every night,
and then got into her narrow bed and studied French nouns--because she
had decided that there was no time for verbs--and numbers, which put
her to sleep.

"Un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq," Sara Lee would begin, and go on, rocking
gently in her berth as the steamer rolled, "Vingt, vingt-et-un,
vingt-deux, trente, trente-et-un--" Her voice would die away. The
book on the floor and Harvey's picture on the tiny table, Sara Lee would
sleep. And as the ship trembled the light over her head would shine on
Harvey's ring, and it glistened like a tear.

One thing surprised her as she gradually met some of her fellow
passengers. She was not alone on her errand. Others there were on
board, young and old women, and men, too, who had felt the call of mercy
and were going, as ignorant as she, to help. As ignorant, but not so
friendless. Most of them were accredited somewhere. They had definite
objectives. But what was more alarming--they talked in big figures.
Great organizations were behind them. She heard of the rehabilitation
of Belgium, and portable hospitals, and millions of dollars, and Red
Cross trains.

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