“African Romance, a Story”
Doris and Marcel didn’t know much about each other, although they practically lived together. Their intimacy was natural—indeed, inevitable—under the circumstances. Foreigners made themselves rare in French Morocco in those days. Most tourists left as soon as the war broke out, while others stayed until the day France collapsed. Then, all sorts of dire rumors began to circulate. According to the head waiter of the Palace Arabe, Morocco was on the point of declaring war on Germany, making an alliance with Hitler, becoming an American colony, an Italian sphere of influence, the headquarters of General de Gaulle, or alternately the private playground of Field Marshal Hermann Goering. The concierge had information to the effect that all British subjects still residing in this part of Africa would be shortly interned, if not court-martialed and executed.
The French district of Fez—once teeming with gaudy life—gradually assumed the bleak aspect of a ghost town. As for the Palace Arabe—a fancy caravansary situated in the Arabian town proper—it might as well have closed, if it had not been for Doris and Marcel. At lunch time, they were all by themselves in the vast, empty dining hall. It would have been fatuous—indeed, frightening—to eat at two separate tables. So they shared their meals and their apprehension. ← 45 | 46 →
It was only about the cocktail hour that some people dropped in—natives of high social standing, French officers and officials, and, time...
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