“Madame, what are you doing far from your quarters in the house at this hour of the morning?”
“It should be obvious, Monsieur. I am attempting to escape. Now that you have accosted me, I shall return to the house.”
“ My father has pledged to keep you safe on his estate. If you escape he will be blamed, possibly accused of aiding your escape. How can you be so ungrateful after all we have done for you! We have feed, house and clothed—“
“—Clothed? One laughs. I wore the uniform of the Army Napoleon? You dress me as a maidservant. Isaac and I were comfortable sleeping under our wagon in the open fields. Now I am imprisoned in a tiny room with a window that will not open and a bed that might have been designed as a torture device. The animals in the Paris Zoo are fed. Do you think they are grateful for their cages?”
“ Friend George described you as a well-bred, innocent young widow. Now you tell me were a willing follower of the Army. And show yourself to be an ungrateful guttersnipe.”
“What is this ‘guttersnipe?’ Snipe, a bird, is it not? And a gutter? A trough for collecting the rain from the—the—plafond?”
“The English word is roof.”
“Ah, so you know French. What a surprise.”
“ We speak English in this house. You don’t like your room? Would you rather be in Calabria?
“Non, non non.” She stopped walking, dropped the bag she was carrying and covered her ears with both hands. She stood rigid, her eyes closed. The area around her lips had gone white. Her breath came in shuddering gasps.