But even in the midst of her Lucullian repast Katy laid down her knife and fork. Her heart sank as lead, and a tear fell upon her filet mignon. Her haunting suspicions of the star lodger arose again, fourfold. Thus courted and admired and smiled upon by that fashionable and gracious assembly, what else could Mr. Brunelli be but one of those dazzling titled patricians, glorious of name but shy of rent money, concerning whom experience had made her wise? With a sense of his ineligibility growing within her there was mingled a torturing conviction that his personality was becoming more pleasing to her day by day. And why had he left her to dine alone?
But here he was coming again, now coatless, his snowy shirt-sleeves rolled high above his Jeffriesonian elbows, a white yachting cap perched upon his jetty curls.
“’Tonio! ’Tonio!” shouted many, and “The spaghetti! The spaghetti!” shouted the rest.
Never at ’Tonio’s did a waiter dare to serve a dish of spaghetti until ’Tonio came to test it, to prove the sauce and add the needful dash of seasoning that gave it perfection.
From table to table moved ’Tonio, like a prince in his palace, greeting his guests. White, jewelled hands signalled him from every side.
A glass of wine with this one and that, smiles for all, a jest and repartee for any that might challenge—truly few princes could be so agreeable a host! And what artist could ask for further appreciation of his handiwork? Katy did not know that the proudest consummation of a New Yorker’s ambition is to shake hands with a spaghetti chef or to receive a nod from a Broadway head-waiter.
At last the company thinned, leaving but a few couples and quartettes lingering over new wine and old stories. And then came Mr. Brunelli to Katy’s secluded table, and drew a chair close to hers.
Katy smiled at him dreamily. She was eating the last spoonful of a raspberry roll with Burgundy sauce.
“You have seen!” said Mr. Brunelli, laying one hand upon his collar bone. “I am Antonio Brunelli! Yes; I am the great ’Tonio! You have not suspect that! I loave you, Katy, and you shall marry with me. Is it not so? Call me ‘Antonio,’ and say that you will be mine.”
Katy’s head drooped to the shoulder that was now freed from all suspicion of having received the knightly accolade.
“Oh, Andy,” she sighed, “this is great! Sure, I’ll marry wid ye. But why didn’t ye tell me ye was the cook? I was near turnin’ ye down for bein’ one of thim foreign counts!”
FROM EACH ACCORDING TO HIS ABILITY
Vuyning left his club, cursing it softly, without any particular anger. From ten in the morning until eleven it had bored him immeasurably. Kirk with his fish story, Brooks with his Porto Rico cigars, old Morrison with his anecdote about the widow, Hepburn with his invariable luck at billiards—all these afflictions had been repeated without change of bill or scenery. Besides these morning evils Miss Allison had refused him again on the night before. But that was a chronic trouble. Five times she had laughed at his offer to make her Mrs. Vuyning. He intended to ask her again the next Wednesday evening.