I go out of the hotel. I go to a café and order a bock. I smoke a cigarette. It is necessary that I think out plans. Shall I with my one thousand francs rent a studio in the Quarter and commence my life as artist? No. I have still the genius, the ent’usiasm, but I have not the training. To train myself to paint pictures I must study long, and even one thousand francs will not last for ever. Then what shall I do? I do not know. I order one other bock, and smoke more cigarettes, but still I do not know.

And then I say to myself, “I will go back to my uncle, and plead with him. I will seize favourable opportunity. I will approach him after dinner when he is in good temper. But for that I must be close at hand. I must be—what’s your expression?—‘Johnny-on-the-spot.’ ”

My mind is made up. I have my plan.

I have gone back to my uncle’s hotel, and I have engaged not too expensive bedroom. My uncle does not know. He still is in his private office. I secure my room.

I dine cheaply that night, but I go to theatre and also to supper after the theatre, for have I not my thousand francs? It is late when I reach my bedroom.

I go to bed. I go to sleep.

But I do not sleep long. I am awakened by a voice.

It is a voice that says, “Move and I shoot! Move and I shoot!” I lie still. I do not move. I am courageous, but I am unarmed.

And the voice says again, “Move and I shoot!” Is it robbers? Is it some marauder who has made his way to my room to plunder me?

I do not know. Per’aps I think yes.

“Who are you?” I have asked.

There is no answer.

I take my courage in my ’ands. I leap from my bed. I dash for the door. No pistol has been fire. I have reached the passage, and have shouted for assistance.

Hotel officials run up. Doors open. “What is it?” voices cry.

“There is in my room an armed robber,” I assure them.

And then I have found—no, I am mistaken. My door, you will understand, is open. And as I have said these words, a large green parrot comes ’opping out. My assassin is nothing but a green parrot.

“Move and I shoot!” it has said to those gathered in the corridor. It then has bitten me in the ’and and passed on.

I am chagrined, monsieur. But only for a moment. Then I forget my chagrin. For a voice from a door that ’as opened says with joy, “It is my Polly, which I ’ave this evening lost!”

I turn. I gasp for admiration. It is a beautiful lady in a pink dressing-gown which ’ave spoken these words.

She has looked at me. I ’ave looked at her. I forget everything but that she is adorable. I forget those who stand by. I forget that the parrot has bitten me in the ’and. I forget even that I am standing there in pyjamas, with on my feet nothing. I can only gaze at her and worship.

I have found words.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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