"I Did Know Fadder, Don't You See?"
Drivers of Capt. Fisher's Section Two at Meal Time
Dorothy knows that John has been homesick for his family for some time, and when he admits it in a letter to her in June, it made me feel as though I ought to start by the next steamer. In fact, she's not so sure [she] can hold out much longer without John. As soon as she puts her affairs her order, she and the children set off for France. In Paris, they move in with a friend, Celine, who lives at the Villa Montmorency, in the suburb of Passy. A high iron fence, thick with ivy, encloses the villa. There's an iron gate, as well, which locks with a great big key, Dorothy writes her family in Vermont, like a key to a prison. Three concierges guard the place. And Celine, like a true, suspicious city-dweller, goes around every evening, shutting all the iron shutters, locking every door that has a key. Dorothy feels secure in her new home. She and the children live upstairs in a large room. Sally sleeps in the big bed with her while Jimmy has the couch all to himself. There's also a bathroom, an unheard of luxury, beams Dorothy.
It's 12 September, when John, eager to see his family, boards the train from Rampont, a few kilometers southwest of Verdun, for the long, tedious ride to Paris. The train is due at the Gare de l'Est at seven in the evening. Dorothy and the children wait for him there, as anxious as he for the family reunion. Sally teases Jimmy, saying he won't recognize their father. Jimmy says he will too. At seven the train fails to show. The hours creep on, and still no train. Now Dorothy's not so sure she has the right date. Because John's section has just moved to Rampont, perhaps at the last moment he isn't able to get away. She waits for more than four hours and still no train. Finally, at eleven she takes the children home and puts them to bed. She climbs in next to Sally and tries to stay awake in case John does arrive and she can hear him at the gate. Another hour slips by, and she falls asleep.
Dorothy After Paris
John's Destination: Villa Montmorency
Dorothy lights a gas lamp and lets John in. They kiss and hug and for a long time look each other over. He looks older to her, "very brown and hard and weather beaten and bald!" He's also shaved off his trademark beard. "His meditative, mild look of thoughtfulness, which is his characteristic expression, has apparently all gone with his beard." After a cold dinner she takes him upstairs to bed. When Sally sees her father she breaks into tears of joy. Jimmy sits up in bed. "Is he here?" he asks, rubbing his eyes. And, triumphantly to Sally, he says, "I did know fadder, don't you see?" And then he falls back, sound asleep.