Peter supposed he would.
The club entrance was full up with officers, and more and more kept pouring in. Donovan was just leaving the counter on the right with some tickets in his hand as they pushed in. “See you later,” he called out. “I’ve got to sleep here, and I want to leave my traps.”
Peter wondered where, but was too much occupied in keeping well behind the Fusilier to think much. At a kind of counter a girl in a W.A.A.C. uniform was serving out tickets of one sort and another, and presently the two of them were before her. For a few francs one got tickets for lunch, dinner, bed, a bath, and whatever else one wanted, but Peter had no French money. The Fusilier bought him the first two, however, and together they forced their way out into the great lounge. “Half an hour before lunch,” said his new companion, and then, catching sight of someone: “Hullo, Jack, you back? Never saw you on the boat. Did you ...” His voice trailed off as he crossed the room.
Peter looked around a little disconsolately. Then he made his way to a huge lounge-chair and threw himself into it.
All about him was a subdued chatter. A big fire burned in the stove, and round it was a wide semicircle of chairs. Against the wall were more, and a small table or two stood about. Nearly every chair had its occupant—all sorts and conditions of officers, mostly in undress, and he noticed some fast asleep, with muddied boots. There was a look on their faces, even in sleep, and Peter guessed that some at least were down from the line on their way to a brief leave. More and more came in continuously. Stewards with drinks passed quickly in and out about them. The Fusilier and his friend were just ordering something. Peter opened his case and took out a cigarette, tapping it carefully before lighting it. He began to feel at home and lazy and comfortable, as if he had been there before.
An orderly entered with envelopes in his hand. “Lieutenant Frazer?” he called, and looked round inquiringly. There was no reply, and he turned to the next. “Captain Saunders?” Still no reply. “Lieutenant Morcombe?” Still no reply. “Lieutenant Morcombe,” he called again. Nobody took any interest, and he turned on his heel, pushed the swing-door open, and departed.
Then Donovan came in, closely followed by Bevan. Peter got up and made towards them. “Hullo!” said Bevan. “Have an appetiser, padre. Lunch will be on in twenty minutes. What’s yours, skipper?”
The three of them moved on to Peter’s chair, and Bevan dragged up another. Peter subsided, and Donovan sat on the edge. Peter pulled out his cigarette-case again, and offered it. Bevan, after one or two ineffectual attempts, got an orderly at last.
“Well, here’s fun,” he said.
“Cheerio,” said Peter. He remembered Donovan had said that in the saloon.