By the time the coffee was made, and the porridge, and Mary had emerged from the tent, washed and brushed and sparkling, she bethought her of the boy. "I'll fetch him," she told Senhouse. "He must be fed." Senhouse nodded, so she went back to her gîte of the night. The boy had disappeared, and with him her cloak.
Senhouse chuckled when he heard her faltered tale. "Nature all over -- bless her free way," he said. "She'll lap you like a mother -- and stare you down for a trespasser within the hour. She takes her profit where she finds it, and if she can't find it will cry herself to sleep. Don't you see that you were so much to the good for our friend? Well, what have you to regret? You warmed him, cuddled him, fed him -- and he's gone, warmed, cuddled, and fed. You've been the Bona Dea -- and he's not a bit obliged to you; very likely he thinks you were a fool. Perhaps you were, my dear; but I tell you, fools are the salt of the earth."
"Yes, I know," Mary said. "Of course I don't mind the cloak. He wanted it more than I did.