Red Masquerade eBook

Louis Joseph Vance
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 194 pages of information about Red Masquerade.

Harris opened the door.  Choking with rage, the prince shuffled out, Lanyard politely escorting him to the curb.  There, with a foot lifted to enter the four-wheeler, Prince Victor turned, shaking an impassioned hand in Lanyard’s face.

“You’ll pay me for this!” he spluttered.  “I’ll square accounts with you, Lanyard, if I have to follow you to the gates of hell!”

“Better not,” Lanyard warned him fairly, “if you do, I’ll push you in ...  Bon soir, monsieur le prince!”

BOOK II

THE LONE WOLF’S DAUGHTER

I

THE GIRL SOFIA

She sat all day long—­from noon, that is, till late at night—­on a high stool behind the tall, pulpit-like desk of the caisse; flanked on one hand by the swing door of green baize which communicated with the kitchen, on the other by a hideous black walnut buffet on which fruits of the season were displayed, more or less temptingly, to the taste of Mama Therese.

But for these articles of furniture, the buffet, the desk, and the door to the kitchen quarters, uninterrupted rows of tables, square, with composition-marble tops, lined three walls of the room.  The fourth was mainly plate-glass window, one on either side of the main entrance.

Back of the tables were wall-seats upholstered in red plush, dusty and threadbare; and, above, a frieze of mirrors.  The floor of the restaurant was a patternless mosaic of small hexagonal tiles, bare in warm weather, in the winter covered by a thick but well-worn Brussels carpet of peculiarly repulsive design.  The windows wore half-curtains of net which, after nightfall, were reinforced by ruffled draperies of rep silk.  Through the net curtains, by day, the name of the restaurant was shadowed in reverse by plain white-enamel letters glued to the glass: 

CAFE DES EXILES

The girl stared so constantly at these letters, during the off hours of the day, that she sometimes wondered if they were not indelibly stamped upon her brain, like this: 

[Reverse:  CAFE DES EXILES]

She gazed in the direction of the windows as a matter of habit, because Mama Therese objected to her reading at the desk (all the same, sometimes she did it on the sly) because the glimpses she caught, above the half-curtains, of heads of passersby gave her idle imagination something to play with, but mostly because it was difficult otherwise to seem unconscious of the stares that converged toward her from every table occupied by a masculine patron, whether regular or casual—­unless the patron happened to be accompanied by a lady, in which unhappy event he had to content himself with furtive, sidelong glances, not always furtive enough by half.

The feminine patrons stared, too, but from quite another angle of view.

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
Red Masquerade from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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