And next day she was sent to report a distribution of diplomas to graduating nurses by the Princess of Wales.
Buddha was not an adequate confidant. Elfrida found him capable of absorbing her emotions indefinitely, but his still smile was not always responsive enough, so she made a little feast, and asked Golightly Ticke to tea, the Sunday after the Saturday that made her a salaried member of the London press. Golightly’s felicitations were sincere and spasmodically sympathetic, but he found it impossible to conceal the fact that of late the world had not smiled equally upon him. In spite of the dramatic fervor with which the part of James Jones, a solicitor’s clerk, had been rendered every evening, the piece at the Princess’s had to come to an unprofitable close, the theatre had been leased to an American company, Phyllis had gone to the provinces, and Mr. Ticke’s abilities were at the service of chance. By the time he had reached his second cigarette he was so sunk in cynicism that Elfrida applied herself delicately to discover these facts. Golightly made an elaborate effort to put her off. He threw his head back in his chair and watched the faint rings of his cigarette curling into indistinguishability against the ceiling, and said he was only the dust that blew about the narrow streets of the world, and why should she care to know which way the wind took him! Lighting his third, he said, as bitterly as that engrossment would permit him, that the sooner—puff—it was over—puff—the sooner—puff—to sleep; and when the lighting was quite satisfactorily accomplished he laughed harshly. “I shall think,” said Elfrida earnestly, “if you do not tell me how things are with you, since they are bad, that you are not a true Bohemian—that you have scruples.”
“You know better—at least I hope you do—than to charge me with that,” Golightly returned, with an inflection full of reproachful meaning. “I—I drank myself to sleep last night, Miss Bell. When the candle flickered out I thought that it was all over—curious sensation. This morning,” he added, looking through his half-closed eyelashes with sardonic stage effect, “I wished it had been.”