In this dramatic story M. Leblanc is chiefly concerned with the mystery that surrounds the "Little Mother Coralie," a volunteer nurse working in a military hospital in Paris, and Captain Belval, one of her patients who has lost a leg in the war.
lescent patients of the hospital. I sleep there at night and have my wounds dressed in the morning. The rest of the time I spend in loafing: I stroll about, lunch and dine where the mood takes me and go and call on my friends. Well, this morning I was waiting for one of them in a big café-restaurant on the boulevard, when I overheard the end of a conversation. . . . But I must tell you that the place is divided into two by a partition standing about six feet high, with the customers of the café on one side and those of the restaurant on the other. I was all by myself in the restaurant; and the two men, who had their backs turned to me and who in any case were out of sight, probably thought that there was no one there at all, for they were speaking rather louder than they need have done, considering the sentences which I overheard . . . and which I afterwards wrote down in my little note-book."
He took the note-book from his pocket and went on: