‘It ees deefficult,’ she said, with that seductive formation of the lips used by her countrywomen when speaking English, ’for a magnet to attract putty. Still—there ees the American. At least I shall not be altogether bored.’
That noon, in a restaurant of Chelsea, the district of Pensioners and Bohemians, two young gentlemen, considerably in need of renovation by both tailor and barber, met at a table and nodded gloomily. One was Johnston Smyth, an artist, who, finding himself possessed neither of a technique nor of the industry to acquire one, had evolved a super-futurist style that had made him famous in a night. He was spoken of as ‘a new force;’ it was prophesied that English Art would date from him. Unfortunately his friends neglected to buy his paintings, and as his art was a vivid one, consisting of vast quantities of colour splashed indiscriminately on the canvas, it took more than his available funds to purchase the accessories of his calling. He was tall, with expressive arms that were too long for his sleeves, and a nose that would have done credit to a field-marshal.
The other was Norton Pyford, the modernist composer, who had developed the study of discord to such a point that his very features seemed to lack proportion, and when he smiled his face presented a lop-sided appearance. He had given a recital which set every one who is any one in London talking. There was but one drawback—they talked so much that he could persuade no one to listen, and he carried his discords about with him, like a bad half-crown, unable to rid himself of them. He was short, with a retreating forehead and an overhanging wealth of black, thread-like hair, gamely covering the retreat as best it could.
‘Hello, Smyth!’ drawled the composer, who affected a manner of speech usually confined to footmen in the best families. ‘Hah d’ do?’
‘Topping, Pyford. How’s things?’
’I say, you couldn’t’——
‘Just what I was going to ask you.’
The composer sighed; the artist echoed the sigh.
‘Have you seen Shaw’s show?’
‘Awful, isn’t it?’
’Putrid—but the English don’t’——
‘Ah! What a race!’
‘Just so. I say, are you going to Lady Durwent’s on Friday?’
‘Look here, old fellow—don’t dress, eh?’
‘Right. Let’s be natural—what? Just Bohemians.’
’The very thing. By-the-by, you don’t know a laundry that gives’——
‘No, I can’t say I do.’
‘Well, so long.’
‘See you Friday.’
Mrs. Le Roy Jennings looked up from her task of drafting the new Resolution to be presented to Parliament by the League of Equal Sex Rights and Complete Emancipation for Women, as a diminutive, half-starved servant brought in a letter on a tray.