When he turned into the bar he travelled the twenty feet of green carpet with his eyes fixed straight ahead by old habit; and then, with his foot firmly on the rail, he turned and surveyed the room, encountering only a single pair of eyes that fluttered up from a newspaper in the corner. Passing through the corridor, he heard only a single, bored voice in the once-clamorous women's room.The two men clasped hands in a friendly way and Lincoln Peters rested his for a moment on Charlie's shoulder. The three children moved intimately about, playing through the yellow oblongs that led to other rooms; the cheer of six o'clock spoke in the eager smacks of the fire and the sounds of French activity in the kitchen. " "She loved you very much." "I loved her too." They were silent for a moment. You'll grow up and meet somebody your own age and go marry him and forget you ever had a daddy." "Yes, that's true," she agreed tranquilly. He was coming back at nine o'clock and he wanted to keep himself fresh and new for the thing he must say then.
I didn't realize it, but the days came along one after another, and then two years were gone, and everything was gone, and I was gone." He was thirty-five, and good to look at.
The Irish mobility of his face was sobered by a deep wrinkle between his eyes.
"I've stuck to it for over a year and a half now." "How do you find conditions in America? I'm in business in Prague, representing a couple of concerns there. "Remember the night of George Hardt's bachelor dinner here? And when Paul finally told him he had to pay, he gave him a bad check." Alix shook his head sadly. Now he's all bloated up--" He made a plump apple of his hands.
"No, no more," Charlie said, "I'm going slow these days." Alix congratulated him: "You were going pretty strong a couple of years ago." "I'll stick to it all right," Charlie assured him. " Alix lowered his voice confidentially: "He's in Paris, but he doesn't come here any more. He ran up a bill of thirty thousand francs, charging all his drinks and his lunches, and usually his dinner, for more than a year.
My income last year was bigger than it was when I had money. They were as anxious as he was to get into the question. The people I represent are more than satisfied with what I've done, and I'm bringing my sister over from Burlington to keep house for me, and I want awfully to have Honoria too. "Permanently, I hope." "How can anybody count on that?
You see, the Czechs--" His boasting was for a specific purpose; but after a moment, seeing a faint restiveness in Lincoln's eye, he changed the subject: "Those are fine children of yours, well brought up, good manners." "We think Honoria's a great little girl too." Marion Peters came back from the kitchen. He opened it almost immediately: "I suppose you know what I want to see you about--why I really came to Paris." Marion played with the black stars on her necklace and frowned. It keeps the matter in proportion." "I get you," said Lincoln. You know that even when her mother and I weren't getting along well we never let anything that happened touch Honoria. Lincoln spoke first: "We've been talking it over ever since we got your letter last month. She's a dear little thing, and we're glad to be able to help her, but of course that isn't the question--" Marion interrupted suddenly. " "You know I never did drink heavily until I gave up business and came over here with nothing to do.
I haven't settled on a hotel yet." He was not really disappointed to find Paris was so empty.
At the corner of the Boulevard des Capucines he took a taxi.
"Really extremely well," he declared in answer to Lincoln's question. His heart leaped; he had wanted it to come like this. Good-by, dads, dads, dads, dads." He waited in the dark street until she appeared, all warm and glowing, in the window above and kissed her fingers out into the night. Marion sat behind the coffee service in a dignified black dinner dress that just faintly suggested mourning.
"There's a lot of business there that isn't moving at all, but we're doing even better than ever. I'm bringing my sister over from America next month to keep house for me. Lincoln was walking up and down with the animation of one who had already been talking.