THE YOUNG GIRL.
In her blue dress, with her cheeks lightly flushed, her blue, blue
and her gold curls pinned up as though for the first time--pinned
up to be
out of the way for her flight--Mrs. Raddick's daughter might have
dropped from this radiant heaven. Mrs. Raddick's timid, faintly
astonished, but deeply admiring glance looked as if she believed
but the daughter didn't appear any too pleased--why should she?--to
alighted on the steps of the Casino. Indeed, she was bored--bored
though Heaven had been full of casinos with snuffy old saints for
and crowns to play with.
"You don't mind taking Hennie?" said Mrs. Raddick. "Sure
There's the car, and you'll have tea and we'll be back here on this
right here--in an hour. You see, I want her to go in. She's not
before, and it's worth seeing. I feel it wouldn't be fair to her."
"Oh, shut up, mother," said she wearily. "Come along.
Don't talk so much.
And your bag's open; you'll be losing all your money again."
"I'm sorry, darling," said Mrs. Raddick.
"Oh, do come in! I want to make money," said the impatient
all jolly well for you--but I'm broke!"
"Here--take fifty francs, darling, take a hundred!" I
saw Mrs. Raddick
pressing notes into her hand as they passed through the swing doors.
Hennie and I stood on the steps a minute, watching the people.
He had a
very broad, delighted smile.
"I say," he cried, "there's an English bulldog.
Are they allowed to take
dogs in there?"
"No, they're not."
"He's a ripping chap, isn't he? I wish I had one. They're
such fun. They
frighten people so, and they're never fierce with their--the people
belong to." Suddenly he squeezed my arm. "I say, do look
at that old
woman. Who is she? Why does she look like that? Is she a gambler?"
The ancient, withered creature, wearing a green satin dress, a
cloak and a white hat with purple feathers, jerked slowly, slowly
steps as though she were being drawn up on wires. She stared in
her, she was laughing and nodding and cackling to herself; her claws
clutched round what looked like a dirty boot-bag.
But just at that moment there was Mrs. Raddick again with--her--and
lady hovering in the background. Mrs. Raddick rushed at me. She
brightly flushed, gay, a different creature. She was like a woman
saying "good-bye" to her friends on the station platform,
with not a minute
to spare before the train starts.
"Oh, you're here, still. Isn't that lucky! You've not gone.
fine! I've had the most dreadful time with--her," and she waved
daughter, who stood absolutely still, disdainful, looking down,
her foot on the step, miles away. "They won't let her in. I
swore she was
twenty-one. But they won't believe me. I showed the man my purse;
didn't dare to do more. But it was no use. He simply scoffed...And
I've just met Mrs. MacEwen from New York, and she just won thirteen
thousand in the Salle Privee--and she wants me to go back with her
the luck lasts. Of course I can't leave--her. But if you'd--"
At that "she" looked up; she simply withered her mother.
"Why can't you
leave me?" she said furiously. "What utter rot! How dare
you make a scene
like this? This is the last time I'll come out with you. You really
too awful for words." She looked her mother up and down. "Calm
she said superbly.
Mrs. Raddick was desperate, just desperate. She was "wild"
to go back with
Mrs. MacEwen, but at the same time ...
I seized my courage. "Would you--do you care to come to tea
"Yes, yes, she'll be delighted. That's just what I wanted,
darling? Mrs. MacEwen...I'll be back here in an hour...or less...I'll--"
Mrs. R. dashed up the steps. I saw her bag was open again.
So we three were left. But really it wasn't my fault. Hennie looked
crushed to the earth, too. When the car was there she wrapped her
coat round her--to escape contamination. Even her little feet looked
though they scorned to carry her down the steps to us.
"I am so awfully sorry," I murmured as the car started.
"Oh, I don't mind," said she. "I don't want to look
would--if they were seventeen! It's"--and she gave a faint
stupidity I loathe, and being stared at by old fat men. Beasts!"
Hennie gave her a quick look and then peered out of the window.
We drew up before an immense palace of pink-and-white marble with
trees outside the doors in gold-and-black tubs.
"Would you care to go in?" I suggested.
She hesitated, glanced, bit her lip, and resigned herself. "Oh
seems nowhere else," said she. "Get out, Hennie."
I went first--to find the table, of course--she followed. But the
it was having her little brother, who was only twelve, with us.
the last, final straw--having that child, trailing at her heels.
There was one table. It had pink carnations and pink plates with
blue tea-napkins for sails.
"Shall we sit here?"
She put her hand wearily on the back of a white wicker chair.
"We may as well. Why not?" said she.
Hennie squeezed past her and wriggled on to a stool at the end.
awfully out of it. She didn't even take her gloves off. She lowered
eyes and drummed on the table. When a faint violin sounded she winced
bit her lip again. Silence.
The waitress appeared. I hardly dared to ask her. "Tea--coffee?
tea--or iced tea with lemon?"
Really she didn't mind. It was all the same to her. She didn't
want anything. Hennie whispered, "Chocolate!"
But just as the waitress turned away she cried out carelessly,
"Oh, you may
as well bring me a chocolate, too."
While we waited she took out a little, gold powder-box with a mirror
lid, shook the poor little puff as though she loathed it, and dabbed
"Hennie," she said, "take those flowers away."
She pointed with her puff
to the carnations, and I heard her murmur, "I can't bear flowers
table." They had evidently been giving her intense pain, for
positively closed her eyes as I moved them away.
The waitress came back with the chocolate and the tea. She put
frothing cups before them and pushed across my clear glass. Hennie
his nose, emerged, with, for one dreadful moment, a little trembling
of cream on the tip. But he hastily wiped it off like a little gentleman.
I wondered if I should dare draw her attention to her cup. She didn't
notice it--didn't see it--until suddenly, quite by chance, she took
I watched anxiously; she faintly shuddered.
"Dreadfully sweet!" said she.
A tiny boy with a head like a raisin and a chocolate body came
round with a
tray of pastries--row upon row of little freaks, little inspirations,
little melting dreams. He offered them to her. "Oh, I'm not
hungry. Take them away."
He offered them to Hennie. Hennie gave me a swift look--it must
satisfactory--for he took a chocolate cream, a coffee eclair, a
stuffed with chestnut and a tiny horn filled with fresh strawberries.
could hardly bear to watch him. But just as the boy swerved away
up her plate.
"Oh well, give me one," said she.
The silver tongs dropped one, two, three--and a cherry tartlet.
know why you're giving me all these," she said, and nearly
shan't eat them; I couldn't!"
I felt much more comfortable. I sipped my tea, leaned back, and
if I might smoke. At that she paused, the fork in her hand, opened
eyes, and really did smile. "Of course," said she. "I
But at that moment a tragedy happened to Hennie. He speared his
horn too hard, and it flew in two, and one half spilled on the table.
Ghastly affair! He turned crimson. Even his ears flared, and one
hand crept across the table to take what was left of the body away.
"You utter little beast!" said she.
Good heavens! I had to fly to the rescue. I cried hastily, "Will
But she had already forgotten Hennie. I was forgotten, too. She
trying to remember something...She was miles away.
"I--don't--know," she said slowly, from that far place.
"I suppose you prefer it to London. It's more--more--"
When I didn't go on she came back and looked at me, very puzzled.
"Enfin--gayer," I cried, waving my cigarette.
But that took a whole cake to consider. Even then, "Oh well,
depends!" was all she could safely say.
Hennie had finished. He was still very warm.
I seized the butterfly list off the table. "I say--what about
Hennie? What about tangerine and ginger? No, something cooler. What
about a fresh pineapple cream?"
Hennie strongly approved. The waitress had her eye on us. The order
taken when she looked up from her crumbs.
"Did you say tangerine and ginger? I like ginger. You can
bring me one."
And then quickly, "I wish that orchestra wouldn't play things
from the year
One. We were dancing to that all last Christmas. It's too sickening!"
But it was a charming air. Now that I noticed it, it warmed me.
"I think this is rather a nice place, don't you, Hennie?"
Hennie said: "Ripping!" He meant to say it very low,
but it came out very
high in a kind of squeak.
Nice? This place? Nice? For the first time she stared about her,
to see what there was...She blinked; her lovely eyes wondered. A
good-looking elderly man stared back at her through a monocle on
ribbon. But him she simply couldn't see. There was a hole in the
where he was. She looked through and through him.
Finally the little flat spoons lay still on the glass plates. Hennie
looked rather exhausted, but she pulled on her white gloves again.
some trouble with her diamond wrist-watch; it got in her way. She
at it--tried to break the stupid little thing--it wouldn't break.
she had to drag her glove over. I saw, after that, she couldn't
place a moment longer, and, indeed, she jumped up and turned away
went through the vulgar act of paying for the tea.
And then we were outside again. It had grown dusky. The sky was
with small stars; the big lamps glowed. While we waited for the
come up she stood on the step, just as before, twiddling her foot,
Hennie bounded forward to open the door and she got in and sank
oh--such a sigh!
"Tell him," she gasped, "to drive as fast as he
Hennie grinned at his friend the chauffeur. "Allie veet!"
said he. Then
he composed himself and sat on the small seat facing us.
The gold powder-box came out again. Again the poor little puff
again there was that swift, deadly-secret glance between her and
We tore through the black-and-gold town like a pair of scissors
through brocade. Hennie had great difficulty not to look as though
hanging on to something.
And when we reached the Casino, of course Mrs. Raddick wasn't there.
wasn't a sign of her on the steps--not a sign.
"Will you stay in the car while I go and look?"
But no--she wouldn't do that. Good heavens, no! Hennie could stay.
couldn't bear sitting in a car. She'd wait on the steps.
"But I scarcely like to leave you," I murmured. "I'd
very much rather not
leave you here."
At that she threw back her coat; she turned and faced me; her lips
"Good heavens--why! I--I don't mind it a bit. I--I like waiting."
suddenly her cheeks crimsoned, her eyes grew dark--for a moment
she was going to cry. "L--let me, please," she stammered,
in a warm, eager
voice. "I like it. I love waiting! Really--really I do! I'm
waiting--in all kinds of places..."
Her dark coat fell open, and her white throat--all her soft young
the blue dress--was like a flower that is just emerging from its