“I had a rotten night,” said Thomas. “Simpson fell out of bed in the middle of it.”
“Oh, poor Samuel!”
“You don’t mean to say you gave him the top berth?” I asked in surprise. “You must have known he’d fall out.”
“But, Thomas dear, surely Samuel’s just falling-out-of-bed noise wouldn’t wake you up,” said Myra. “I always thought you slept so well.”
“He tried to get back into my bed.”
“I was a little dazed,” explained Simpson hastily, “and I hadn’t got my spectacles.”
“Still you ought to have been able to see Thomas there.”
“Of course I did see him as soon as I got in, and then I remembered I was up above. So I climbed up.”
“It must be rather difficult climbing up at night,” thought Dahlia.
“Not if you get a good take-off, Dahlia,” said Simpson earnestly.
“Simpson got a good one off my face,” explained Thomas.
“My dear old chap, I was frightfully sorry. I did come down at once and tell you how sorry I was, didn’t I?”
“You stepped back on to it,” said Thomas shortly, and he turned his attention to the coffee.
Our table had finished breakfast. Dahlia and Myra got up slowly, and Archie and I filled our pipes and followed them out.
“Well, we’ll leave you to it,” said Archie to the other table. “Personally, I think it’s Thomas’s turn to step on Simpson. But don’t be long, because there’s a good view coming.”
The good view came, and then another and another, and they merged together and became one long, moving panorama of beauty. We stood in the corridor and drank it in ... and at intervals we said “Oh-h!” and “Oh, I say!” and “Oh, I say, really!” And there was one particular spot I wish I could remember where, so that it might be marked by a suitable tablet—at the sight of which Simpson was overheard to say, “Mon Dieu!” for (probably) the first time in his life.
“You know, all these are olive trees, you chaps,” he said every five minutes. “I wonder if there are any olives growing on them?”
“Too early,” said Archie. “It’s the sardine season now.”
It was at Cannes that we saw the first oranges.
“That does it,” I said to Myra. “We’re really here. And look, there’s a lemon tree. Give me the oranges and lemons, and you can have all the palms and the cactuses and the olives.”
“Like polar bears in the arctic regions,” said Myra.
I thought for a moment. Superficially there is very little resemblance between an orange and a polar bear.
“Like polar bears,” I said hopefully.
“I mean,” luckily she went on, “polar bears do it for you in the polar regions. You really know you’re there then. Give me the polar bears, I always say, and you can keep the seals and the walruses and the penguins. It’s the hallmark.”
“Right. I knew you meant something. In London,” I went on, “it is raining. Looking out of my window I see a lamp-post (not in flower) beneath a low, grey sky. Here we see oranges against a blue sky a million miles deep. What a blend! Myra, let’s go to a fancy-dress ball when we get back. You go as an orange and I’ll go as a very blue, blue sky, and you shall lean against me.”