She walks out and away,
not looking back. Mrs. Miler chokes
sobbing into the black stuff of her thick old jacket.
Supper-time in a small room at “The Gascony” on Derby Day. Through the windows of a broad corridor, out of which the door opens, is seen the dark blue of a summer night. The walls are of apricot-gold; the carpets, curtains, lamp-shades, and gilded chairs, of red; the wood-work and screens white; the palms in gilded tubs. A doorway that has no door leads to another small room. One little table behind a screen, and one little table in the open, are set for two persons each. On a service-table, above which hangs a speaking-tube, are some dishes of hors d’ouvres, a basket of peaches, two bottles of champagne in ice-pails, and a small barrel of oysters in a gilded tub. Arnaud, the waiter, slim, dark, quick, his face seamed with a quiet, soft irony, is opening oysters and listening to the robust joy of a distant supper-party, where a man is playing the last bars of: “Do ye ken John Peel” on a horn. As the sound dies away, he murmurs: “Tres Joli!” and opens another oyster. Two Ladies with bare shoulders and large hats pass down the corridor. Their talk is faintly wafted in: “Well, I never like Derby night! The boys do get so bobbish!” “That horn—vulgar, I call it!”
ARNAUD’S eyebrows rise, the corners of his mouth droop. A Lady with bare shoulders, and crimson roses in her hair, comes along the corridor, and stops for a second at the window, for a man to join her. They come through into the room. Arnaud has sprung to attention, but with: “Let’s go in here, shall we?” they pass through into the further room. The manager, a gentleman with neat moustaches, and buttoned into a frock-coat, has appeared, brisk, noiseless, his eyes everywhere; he inspects the peaches.
Manager. Four shillin’ apiece to-night, see?
Arnaud. Yes, Sare.
From the inner room a young man and his partner have come in. She is dark, almost Spanish-looking; he fair, languid, pale, clean-shaved, slackly smiling, with half-closed eyes-one of those who are bred and dissipated to the point of having lost all save the capacity for hiding their emotions. He speaks in a——
Languid voice. Awful row they’re kickin’ up in there, Mr. Varley. A fellow with a horn.
Manager. [Blandly] Gaddesdon Hunt, my lord—always have their supper with us, Derby night. Quiet corner here, my lord. Arnaud!
Arnaud is already at the table, between screen and palm. And, there ensconced, the couple take their seats. Seeing them safely landed, the manager, brisk and noiseless, moves away. In the corridor a lady in black, with a cloak falling open, seems uncertain whether to come in. She advances into the doorway. It is Clare.
Arnaud. [Pointing to the other table as he flies with dishes] Nice table, Madame.