Jaffery protested. It was dear of her, sweet of her, miraculous of her, but he couldn’t dream of it.
“Then don’t,” she retorted. “Put it out of your mind. And there’s Franklin. Come to dinner.”
“I’m not a bit hungry,” he said gloomily.
We dined; as far as I was concerned, very pleasantly. Liosha, who sat on my right, refreshingly free in her table manners (embarrassingly so to my most correct butler), was equally free in her speech. She provided me with excellent entertainment. I learned many frank truths about Albanian women, for whom, on account of their vaccine subjection, she proclaimed the most scathing contempt. Her details, in architectural phrase, were full size. Once or twice Doria, who sat on my left, lowered her eyes disapprovingly. At her age, her mother would have been shocked; her grandmother would have blushed from toes to forehead; her great-grandmother might have fainted. But Doria, a Twentieth Century product, on the Committee of a Maternity Home and a Rescue Laundry, merely looked down her nose . . . I gathered that Liosha, for all her yearning to shoot, flay alive, crucify and otherwise annoy her enemies, did not greatly regret the loss of the distinguished young Albanian cutthroat who was her affianced. Had he lived she would have spent the rest of her days in saying, like Melisande, “I am not happy.” She would have been an instrument of pleasure, a producer of children, a slaving drudge, while he went triumphantly about, a predatory ravisher, among the scattered Bulgarian peasantry. In fact, she expressed a whole-hearted detestation for her betrothed. I am pretty sure, too, that the death of her father did not leave in her life the aching gap that it might have done.
You see, it came to this. Her father, an American-Albanian, wanted to run with the hare of barbarism and hunt with the hounds of civilisation. His daughter (woman the world over) was all for hunting. He had spent twenty years in America. By a law of gravitation, natural only in that Melting Pot of Nations, Chicago, he had come across an Albanian wife. . . .
Chicago is the Melting Pot of the nations of the world. Let me tell you a true tale. It has nothing whatever to do with Jaffery Chayne or Liosha—except perhaps to shew that there is no reason why a Tierra del Fuegan foundling should not run across his long-lost brother on Michigan Avenue, and still less reason why Albanian male should not meet Albanian female in Armour’s stockyards. And besides, considering that I was egged on, as I said on the first page, to write these memoirs, I really don’t see why I should not put into them anything I choose.