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Bath, followed by immediate bed, was decreed the order of the day for Nell Wilson, Joey and the two youngsters who, now that they were safe and the adrenaline had begun to wear off, were almost asleep on their feet.  Joey protested lamely that she was “simply famished”, but Jack refused to budge, informing her that her dinner could just as easily be put on a tray and carried to her room. The others were deemed well enough to partake of their meal downstairs, even Jeanne who had perked up slightly since their arrival at Tante Anna's, and an hour later, they were all to be found gathered around the large dining table, chattering amongst themselves as delicious smells wafted through from the kitchen.

Having settled Miss Wilson as comfortably as possible, the two men finally arrived to join them, eliciting a shout of laughter from those around the table. Tante Anna had done her best to rustle up some clean clothes for them all and had come up with an interesting array of old things that had belonged to herself and her daughter.  For the doctors, she had unearthed some of her late husband’s things.  Herr von Hessel had been somewhat on the large side, to say the least, and the trousers in particular were quite literally falling off Gottfried and Jack.  The contrast to their usual smart, dapper appearance had to be seen to believed. Still, as Jack pointed out as he took his seat and helped himself to a large portion of cold meats, they didn’t really look much funnier than the others, especially Jeanne and Evadne who were mere slips of things and appeared to be drowning in Tante Anna’s full skirts.

Over the delicious meal of cold cuts, vegetables and fresh bread, still warm from the oven, Gottfried explained everything to his aunt and once she had finished exclaiming in disbelief and wringing her hands, telling him over and over again how awful it all was, she said that she was happy to have them stay as long as they needed. Assuming the role of matriarch over the girls now in her care, she watched them like hawks as they ate their meal, ensuring they all had a good amount before allowing them to put down their knives and forks.  Then, as soon dinner was over, while Jack and Gottfried retired to the garden for a smoke, she sent the girls upstairs, with strict instructions to go straight to bed. Not that they needed telling twice.  The promise of a comfortable mattress, clean sheets and a good night’s sleep was enough to move them on in double-quick time, and more than one of them was tucked up between the covers in record time.




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