“Well, there are those whom the news will annoy, which is too bad, but can’t be helped. For myself, I cannot say that I shall shed tears. Madame...” He looked straight at Mabel. “Major...” He met Grim’s eyes and smiled. “Messieurs ...” It was my turn, and Narayan Singh’s; his steady stare was good and made you feel like shaking hands with him. “Monsieur Scapin (Clown)...” That was meant for Jeremy, and they both laughed. “You have been adroit, but do you think I could depend on your discretion?”
We did our best to look discreet.
“You see, Madame et Messieurs, this is not warfare. We desire to accomplish a definite object with as little unpleasantness as possible. I shall regret the necessity of sending you to Beirut, but that is for your safety. An additional and very sound precaution which you yourselves might take would be to preserve complete silence regarding the events of the last two days. Subject to that condition, you will be given facilities for leaving Beirut by sea in any direction you may wish. Do we understand one another? Good! Now, let me see whether I have your names correctly.”
He carefully wrote them down all wrong, described us as noncombatants, who should be allowed to leave the country, warned Jeremy that in a king’s clothes he looked too “intriguing,” provided plain clothes for him, returned our belongings (except the basket of provisions, which he kept) and sent us off in an ambulance on the first leg of the journey to Beirut, whence we got away in a coastwise steamer within the week. “Not all the French are swabs!” said Jeremy grievously as we took our leave of him.
“Not all of ’em. Let’s see—there was the Marne, the Aisne, the Somme, Verdun...”