Meanwhile, on the terrace, the two doctors were having an anxious conversation regarding their party’s state of health and, in particular, Miss Wilson’s ankle.
“I’ve asked Tante Anna about a doctor and she gave me the name of her own man in Chur,” Jack informed his companion. “I’ll pay him a visit tomorrow, see if I can get provisions. I’ll see to getting something for Joey as well. I slipped a dose in her milk this evening, but it was all your aunt had. It was left from when she had difficulty sleeping, apparently, after her husband died.”
Gottfried took a long drag on his cigarette, taking his time before he replied. “I believe that you will need to keep a close watch on Joey now, Jack. She will suffer far more now things are over and she has time to reflect on what has passed.”
Jack nodded in agreement, worry furrowing his brow, and the two men lapsed into silence. It was a few minutes before Gottfried spoke once more.
“Tomorrow I will go early to Geneva, to pay a visit to my cousin who works at the League. I will ask him to get word to the Sonnalpe and also to the girls’ parents. He will know the best way.”
“The girls’ parents shouldn’t be a problem. None of them are too far away.” Jack replied, as he stared across the gardens, just visible as dusk turned to night. “Lorenz informed me that her father is currently in Milan on business and has his wife and little Ilonka with him. I believe they plan to head to London once he’s done with his work. Even Mr. Flower is out of Austria. I saw him the day before we had to leave, and he told me he was heading to Paris that very day to carry out some business. And I believe the Lannises were due to meet him there not long afterwards. The two girls were to have joined them there. It’s just Jem and Madge who’ll be a bother to get word to.”
“Do not worry, Cousin Hannes will find a way.” Gottfried stubbed his cigarette out in the ashtray Tante Anna had provided and then heaved a sigh. “I have an early start tomorrow so I should retire to bed.”
Jack grinned. “Retire to bed. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?”
“It most certainly does.” Reaching out, Gottfried clapped Jack on the shoulder. “Good night, Jack, my friend.”
Jack smiled. “’Night old chap. Sleep well. See you on the ‘morrow.”
Gottfried disappeared back into the house, and Jack waited only to finish his smoke, before following on behind. Bidding Tante Anna goodnight, he made his way upstairs, checking briefly in each bedroom to make sure that the girls were all slumbering peacefully. The only person still awake was Hilary, who sat up as her door opened.
“Dr. Jack, is that you?”
“Yes, it’s me,” Jack whispered, hastily bringing a finger to his lips. “And do keep your voice down, you’ll wake Jeanne if you’re not careful.”
Hilary glanced guiltily at her slumbering roommate and lowered her voice. “Dr. Jack, how will our parents know where to find us?” she asked, voicing a question that had been troubling her all evening.
“Dr. Mensch will see to that in the morning, don’t you worry.”
“Oh, good’o!” Satisfied, Hilary snuggled back under her sheets again. “Goodnight!”
“Goodnight, Hilary. Make sure you get some sleep now or I’ll be back with a dose.”
Hilary hastily turned her back on him and closed her eyes, and Jack smiled to himself as he withdrew from the room and headed across the corridor to Joey. She was slumbering somewhat peacefully, thanks to the dose he had administered, but even in just the glow from the moonlight, he could see the high colour in her cheekbones, standing out against her pale skin. His brow furrowed with worry, he sat down carefully on the edge of her bed, placing the back of his hand on her forehead, thankful to find it only a little warm.
Moving his hand to her dark locks, he gazed down at the pale pointed face that was so dear to him, glad that she should at least be able to get this one night of peaceful slumber before being troubled by the nightmares that he was sure would come.
“I’ll get us to Guernsey safely my darling, I promise you,” he whispered, running his hand gently across her hair. “And Madge and Jem and everyone’ll be there waiting for us, you’ll see.”
Jo stirred slightly in her sleep and, wary of disturbing her in any way, Jack dropped a soft kiss on the side of her head and then stood up as carefully as he could and made his way out of her room and down the corridor to his own.
Taking off his shoes, he changed quickly into the enormous nightshirt that Tante Anna had provided, pulled out his rosary and knelt to say his prayers. Then, getting to his feet again, he slid between the sheets, savouring the comfort of being in a real bed at last, and within minutes he was fast asleep.