‘Some one would see us, and Lady Chisworth would declare war.’
‘Then let us dine in some obscure restaurant in Soho.’
’There’s no such thing, old dear. Soho is always full of the best people dining incog. Almost the only place where you are free from your friends is Claridge’s.’
’Well’—his nose crinkled at her remark—’then let us go to Claridge’s. Miss Durwent, I know I’m too persistent, but it would be a wonderful ending to a bully day. You know you’ll be bored at Lady Chisworth’s, and I shall be if you don’t come.’
‘Humph!’ She stood on the first of the stone steps, her agile gracefulness lending itself to the picture of healthy, roseate youth.
‘Where could we meet?’
‘Let me call for you.’
‘N-no. That wouldn’t do.’
‘Would your mother object?’
’Heavens, no!—but the servants would. You see, English morality is largely living up to your servants—and we met only last night.’
‘But you will come?’ He crossed his hands behind his back and swung the crop against his boots.
‘Mr. Selwyn,’ she said, ‘your books should be very interesting.’
‘From now on they will be,’ he said, ’if’——
‘All right,’ she interrupted him with something of the staccato mannerism of the evening before. ’I’ll motor down in my little car, and we’ll go to the Cafe Rouge.’
‘Good—wherever that may be.’
‘No one has discovered it yet but me,’ she said. ’Then I shall have a headache at four, and meet you outside Oxford Circus Tube at seven.’
‘You’re a real sport, Miss Durwent.’
’Ah, monsieur’—she smiled with a roguishness that completely unsettled him for the remainder of the day—’have you no sympathy for my headache?’
THE CAFE ROUGE.
Monsieur Anton Beauchamp was the proprietor of the Cafe Rouge in London. Monsieur Anton Beauchamp was once proprietor of the Cafe Bleu in Paris.
For many years he had cast envious eyes on London. Did not always his guests, those strange blonde people with the clothes like blankets, pay his prices without question? Did they not drink bad wine and never add the bill? Pardi! if he could have only English as patrons, madame and himself could purchase that wine-shop in the Bou’ Mich’, and never worry again.
For years the thought of London haunted Anton; and then one day, in a superb moment of decision, he announced his intention of journeying thither. A large entourage followed him to the Gare du Nord, and, with much the same feelings as those of an explorer leaving for the North Pole, he bade a dramatic farewell, and almost missed his train by running back to give a final embrace to Madame Beauchamp.