Von Rumpel sits in the kitchen of Etienne’s house. He’s been here for four days, trying to find the Sea of Flames. It occurs to him that the Sea of Flames could have been in the Museum of Natural History the entire time. It’s also possible that Claude Levitte could have snatched the diamond after taking Marie-Laure away. And of course it’s also possible that the diamond itself isn’t real—it’s just a legend.
It’s entirely possible that von Rumpel is about to leave the house altogether, allowing Marie-Laure to climb out of the wardrobe and head for the safety of the Allies. We can sense von Rumpel losing all hope—he knows he’s going to die soon, and there’s nothing he can do about it.
Suddenly, von Rumpel hears a shout. It is a German soldier, who explains that the Germans are evacuating the town of Saint-Malo immediately. There will be a cease-fire tomorrow at noon, with the purpose of evacuating French civilians safely. Afterwards, the Americans have informed the Germans, the bombing will continue. Von Rumpel nods and dismisses the soldier—he says, “I’m nearly done here.”
Just as von Rumpel seems ready to leave, a soldier enters the building, interrupting his days of solitude. Von Rumpel’s words to the soldier suggest a dark pun—he’s “nearly done” in the sense that he’s going to die very soon.