THAT MR. G. SLADE OF DETROIT
A number of moments in the rapid passing of the next few months I have wondered what would have resulted if I had taken that vacant chair between very agreeable Mr. William Raines and very proper Mr. Peter Scudder so evidently reserved for the young, beautiful and charming Marquise of Grez and Bye. I have decided that in about the half of one hour young Mr. Robert Carruthers would have been extinct and the desired and beloved Marquise in her place between them sipping her tea while making false excuses for forgiveness. I did not take that seat but I accepted one which a garcon offered me next to them and did regard them with both fear and wistfulness, also with an intense attention so that I might acquire as much as possible from them of an American gentleman’s manner.
“I suppose the dame’s fussing up for us to the limit, Peter,” observed that Mr. Saint Louis while he emptied a glass of amber liquid and removed a cherry from its depths with his fingers and devoured it with the greatest relish. “Gee, but the genuine American cocktail is one great drink! Have another, Peter. You’re so solemn that I am beginning to believe that belle Marquise did put a dent in your old Quaker heart after all.”
“There was something in that girl’s eyes as they followed us, William, that no cocktail ever shaken could get out of my mind,” made answer the very grave Mr. Peter Scudder of Philadelphia. “Do you suppose her Uncle got there or that anything happened? I wish I had waited with her.”
“Well, either Uncle did arrive or we’ll see her in the Passing Follies week after next, third from the left, in as little as Comstock allows. When I’ve had a good look at bare arms my judgment connects mighty easily with bare—”
By that moment I had poised in my hand a very fragile cup of nicely steaming tea and it was a very natural thing that I should hurl its contents in the face of that Mr. William Raines of the country of Saint Louis.
Voila! What happened? Did I stay to fight the duel with that, what I know now to call a cad, and thus be put back into the person of the Marquise de Grez and Bye for a wicked Uncle to murder. I did not. I placed upon the table two large pieces of money and I lost myself in the crowd of persons who had risen and gathered to sympathize with poor Mr. Saint Louis. No one had remarked my escape, I felt sure, as I had been very agile, but as I sauntered out into the entresol of the Hotel of Ritz-Carlton, to which I had given so great a shock in its stately tea room, a finger was laid upon my arm in its gray tweed coat. I turned and discovered a very fine and handsome woman standing beside me and in her hand she had a book of white paper with also a pencil.