The next day, as Margeaux checks the menu for the evening fare, a sudden burst of activity from the main entrance of the cabaret draws her attention. Two Frenchman Margeaux doesn't recognize are asking Jacques about her whereabouts in a very rude and demanding manner. Jacques, seeking to protect her from their unruly attitude, says he doesn't know where she is. When it becomes apparent that they will not accept this answer, Margeaux comes out of the back room from where she has been listening.
"What can I do for you, gentlemen?" she asks calmly.
At the sound of her voice the two men turn to face her. The slighter of the two speaks. "I must ask that you accompany us, mademoiselle," he says shortly.
"I will go nowhere with you," she says with a dismissive gesture. "I don't even know who you are."
"Mademoiselle Jumeau, you have no choice, I am afraid. We represent the French Resistance that is operating in this area, and as members of this organization, we are insisting that you come with us."
At her obvious reluctance, he adds, "You can go willingly which would be what I would suggest, or you could resist. I definitely would not recommend the latter." Pulling back his vest, he reveals a large handgun resting in his waistband, and at his side, the larger, burlier man does the same.
Perplexed, Margeaux shoots a glance Jacques' way as he, horrified, looks on helplessly, as the two men grab onto her arms, one on each side. She has no time to think, let alone issue instructions. And before she knows what is happening, she is thrust rudely into the back of a waiting car, as a blindfold is being roughly tied into place around her eyes.
She is sure they are far out into the countryside when they stop, perhaps an hour later, where she is pulled from the car and ushered into a small house. When the blindfold is removed, she blinks for a few moments as her eyes adjust to the dim light of the room, and the first thing she notices is that all of the windows have blinds on them to block out the light, or perhaps more to the point, to keep her from recognizing where she is.
The two men who had accompanied her to this place step out of the room, and she is left alone with another man. She doesn't recognize this one either, but he is quick to make introductions in a formal, unsmiling manner. He tells her that he is the commander of the local forces, and she has been brought here on official business. She struggles to contain her mounting apprehension and hopes that outwardly, at least, she appears unmoved.
"Mademoiselle Jumeau," he begins. "I'm sure my people told you we were with the French Resistance." At her nod, he continues.
"I will come right to the point then. It has come to our attention that you are consorting with the Germans." At her incredulous expression, he says,
"No, don't bother to deny it. We have seen it with our own eyes. It is not everyone who has a German officer guarding her door throughout the night."
"I can only tell you, Monsieur, that it is not what you think," Margeaux says quietly.
"Your cabaret is quite popular, mademoiselle. What better place to get information, hmmm?"
His tone turns menacing.
"Must I remind you that you are French? I warn you, if it is discovered that you are giving information to the enemy, you will be tried and convicted...in our courts...for treason! I guarantee that the way will not be easy for you, and I cannot say what my compatriots would do in such circumstances."
A smirk plays across his features. "My guess is that they will not go lightly, and if I were you, I would fear greatly for my life should that happen."
"These allegations are completely false!" Margeaux insists.
Then you have nothing to fear, mademoiselle," he replies calmly. But the sneer on his face makes her shudder. "Nothing at all."
When she is brought back to the cabaret and left at the door, she is met by most of her staff who had gathered there when they heard she had been taken. As questions fly through the air, she makes her way through the press of people until she reaches the base of the stairs that leads to her rooms. It is then that she notices Herr von Warner standing quietly at the back of the hall. Her eyes meet his briefly, but it is long enough for him to see the pain filling them. And then, as he and all the others, silent now, watch her, she climbs slowly, wearily, to the top of the stairs and disappears from sight.
She doesn't remember much about that evening. She knows she got through her number all right, although she doesn't realize that the always attentive crowd is more riveted than usual as her love song comes from somewhere deep inside her tonight. The saxophone's lonely wail is perfectly in sync with her soulful outpouring of emotion, and her eyes hold another captive as she sings especially for him. When he leaves early, it doesn't especially surprise her. She is numb now, and the walls she has silently erected around her protect her somewhat from further pain.
Her employees look after her in apprehension, knowing that this strain she has been under the last few days has been more than any sane person should have to bear. Their concern is palpable, and she tries to draw strength as they encourage and support her throughout the evening. It is with relief that she closes the door tonight, and with Lisette accompanying her, they go to their rooms at the top of the stairs. As they reach the top, Lisette inquires if Margeaux is all right, and at her assurance, Lisette heads for her quarters.
When Margeaux reaches her room, she goes directly to the window, and sadly, she sees that Herr von Warner is not at his usual place under the mulberry tree. Margeaux slowly readies for bed, and after getting into it is surprised that sleep doesn't come to her as exhausted as she feels. But instead, her mind plays over the events of the day, and she thinks how ironic it is to be suspected by both sides of this war of being a spy of all things. The thought that someone could think she could be a traitor to her own country astounds her all over again, and as the incredulity of her reaction earlier in the day comes back to haunt her, she tosses and turns for what seems like hours before she hears something small and hard hit her window.
It doesn't occur to her that perhaps under the circumstances it is foolish to bound to the window as she does. She only knows that it has to be Herr von Warner, Helmut, who is summoning her now. When indeed he motions for her to come down into the yard, she doesn't hesitate, and soon, after having donned her robe and slippers, she is face-to-face with the man who has been in her thoughts all day. As ironic as it is that someone could suspect her of betraying her country, she also knows that she can't deny her feelings for this man as she throws herself into his outstretched arms. Even then, she is turning her face upward toward his so that he can place a crushing kiss upon lips that had been waiting for days to meet his.
"Oh, my beautiful Margeaux," Helmut says, looking deeply into her tear-filled eyes. "How I wish it could be different."
He moves his hands to her shoulders and gently casts her away from him. "I must tell you I am here in an official capacity." At his words, she finally notices that there are several men standing some distance hehind him, discreetly averting their gaze. She looks back to him with the questions in her eyes firing bullets, and he continues. "We set a trap this evening to determine who might be passing information to the Resistance. We now know who this person is."
Slowly, with disbelief, it occurs to her who he must be referring to. Lisette, who at this hour is the only one other than herself who is at the cabaret. Lisette, who she thinks of as a sister.
Numbly, she stands back to let him pass. Then she stops him. "I want to be there when you confront her," Margeaux says. "I want to know what her explanation is for putting me through all of this."
Helmut nods in understanding, then asks her to wait while he and his men go to get her and bring her downstairs. Margeaux heads into the cabaret to wait, nerves jangling, and is startled when an arm comes around her neck and something sharp pokes her in the back of the head. "Don't move, and don't make a sound," a voice behind her whispers, and she is stunned to hear that it is Mathieu who holds her captive.
Befuddled, Margeaux tries to process this information through her overloaded mind when the lights suddenly flare to life in the cabaret and Helmut stands there with a Luger trained in their direction. There is no sign of the other men, but the sounds of an obvious struggle going on somewhere upstairs suggests their whereabouts.
"Get back," Mathieu shouts, "or I will be forced to kill her!"
Margeaux winces in pain as his hold on her becomes more fierce and the gun presses even harder against the base of her scalp.
"So," Helmut begins in a calm, steady voice.
"You are the one who has been taking our secrets to your French compatriots. Would you like to explain why to your employer who has been nothing if not the most kind to you? Don't you think you owe her that much?"
"I owe her nothing," Mathieu says. The steely tone he uses chills Margeaux to the bone. She is sure that he will indeed kill her. She pleads silently, the emotion filling her eyes, as she looks fearfully toward Helmut. It frustrates her that he appears to be unmoved as he again addresses Mathieu.
"You have been at La Femme Jolie for several years now, haven't you, Mathieu? Everyone speaks of your talent, yet no one understands what has held you here. Would you care to enlighten us?"
Margeaux holds her breath as she waits for Mathieu to speak. She's not sure she's ready to hear what he has to say. But she is powerless to stop it, as he replies in a flat tone.
"Margeaux, you just don't seem to care that your father died at German hands." When she starts to protest, he stops her with a shove of the gun. "Oh, you appeared to grieve, all right, you even closed the cabaret for a few days, but then you went on as usual. I thought then that you were an extremely strong woman to be willing to go on at a time like that, to run the cabaret in his stead. I admired you. But then, when the Germans advanced on us, you refused to close down. You catered," he spit the word out violently, "to those dirty scoundrels who killed your father. How could you, Margeaux? How could you?"
So engrossed is he in his dialogue that Mathieu doesn't see the German soldier advancing behind him. Helmut makes sure his gaze never wavers from him as Mathieu rambles on. "I loved your father, Margeaux. He understood me. I thought of him as more of a father than you ever did! So I stayed on here even when I had offers to go elsewhere because I was more loyal than you ever were. And when he died, and you didn't do everything you could to get back at those blackhearts who killed him, when you served them, for God's sake, I vowed I would do anything I could to get revenge for him. And if I could ruin your life in the bargain as well, then that was all the better!"
Just then, the German soldier behind Mathieu rears back and brings the butt of his gun down hard on the back of Mathieu's head. Mathieu grunts in surprise and pain, and then loosens his hold on Margeaux who then spins quickly out of his grasp and runs to Helmut. As Mathieu falls to his knees, he is quickly disarmed, and weeping now, his hands covering his face, he is no longer a threat.
"Are you all right?" Helmut asks as he searches Margeaux' tear streaked face.
She nods, but then remembers Lisette with a start. Just then, Lisette appears, flanked by the soldiers as they make their way downstairs.
"Are you in on this too, Lisette?" Margeaux asks in disbelief.
Lisette doesn't answer. She only stares at Margeaux for several long moments with undisguised disdain before being whisked outside into a waiting car.
"She and Mathieu were lovers," Helmut says, knowing that what he has to say will hurt her.
"Lisette got the information as she waited on tables, picking up snippets of conversation here and there as she went along. She passed the information to Mathieu who made sure the Resistance got it, and then they would act upon it. We had no idea he was here tonight." Turning her to face him, Helmut goes on.
"I know that your loyalty is with your countrymen, mein liebling, but you must see that we had to stop them."
Blinded by tears, she admits to herself that she does indeed understand, and as she looks away from him, she nods slightly. But then, after a long moment, she regains her composure and turns her attention back to him. She utters the words now that will determine their future together.
"I am glad you understand where my loyalty lies, Helmut." It is the first time she has used his given name, and it sears him through the heart, because he senses what she will say. "You know, don't you, that we can go no further with this...friendship. My allegiance has to be with the country of my birth. I can never thank you enough for the protection and comfort you have given me during these trying days, and for believing in me when you didn't know who to blame for the acts committed against your country. But don't ask me to turn my back on mine. I can't blame them for what they did, and had I known how, I would have helped them in any way I could. I may not have had an active part in their actions, but I will say it again, I can not blame them." The force behind her words sends their point home, and Helmut has no choice but to accept them.
He smiles with compassion in his eyes. "I would have expected nothing less from you, Margeaux. You are quite a woman. I am so honored to have known you," he says with regret. "Maybe someday we won't be on opposite sides, and who knows what will happen then. I know this...I will never forget you."
With that, he removes his hat and bends to tenderly place a bittersweet kiss with lips that are reluctant to let her go. Then, replacing his hat on his head, he turns to leave without a backward glance as Margeaux longingly watches his every step. The picture of him will be seared into her memory forever.