Benjamin seated in the forest, clutching his briefcase. Benjamin seated in the forest, clutching his briefcase. Lisa has changed into pants and sturdy boots for the long walk. Benjamin explains that since he has already walked one-third of the route, he will not go back: if he had to walk the entire way tomorrow, he could have a heart attack. Benjamin tells Lisa that the damp night in the woods has caused dye from his glasses to stain his face.

Professor Benjamin suggested we take a walk the first part of the route this afternoon to test whether we would find our way. I don't remember it as being difficult. We sat down and rested for a while. When we were ready to start the descent, he didn't get up.

My staying would not be reasonable, he explained quietly. It was essential that I be able to guide the Gurlands back before sunrise without possible error or delay.
Above all, I had to get hold of some bread without ration stamps, and perhaps some tomatoes and black-market ersatz marmalade, to keep us going during the day.

The closer we came to the clearing the next morning, the more tense I grew. Will Benjamin be there? Will he be alive? Finally. Here is the clearing. Here is old Benjamin. Alive. He sits up and gives us a friendly look. Then I stare at his face—what has happened? Those dark purple blotches under his eyes—could they be a symptom of a heart attack?
He guessed why I stared.

My heart stopped beating in my throat and slipped back down to where it belonged.
From here on, the ascent was steeper. »