Creme de Menthe
THEY MET again in the cafe several hours later. Gerald went through the push doors into the large, lofty room where the faces and heads of the drinkers showed dimly through the haze of smoke, reflected more dimly, and repeated ad infinitum in the great mirrors on the walls, so that one seemed to enter a vague, dim world of shadowy drinkers humming within an atmosphere of blue tobacco smoke. There was, however, the red plush of the seats to give substance within the bubble of pleasure.
Gerald moved in his slow, observant, glistening-attentive motion down between the tables and the people whose shadowy faces looked up as he passed. He seemed to be entering in some strange element, passing into an illuminated new region, among a host of licentious souls. He was pleased, and entertained. He looked over all the dim, evanescent, strangely illuminated faces that bent across the tables. Then he saw Birkin rise and signal to him.
At Birkin's table was a girl with dark, soft, fluffy hair cut short in the artist fashion, hanging level and full almost like the Egyptian princess's. She was small and delicately made, with warm colouring and large, dark hostile eyes. There was a delicacy, almost a beauty in all her form, and at the same time a certain attractive grossness of spirit, that made a little spark leap instantly alight in Gerald's eyes.
Birkin, who looked muted, unreal, his presence left out, introduced her as Miss Darrington. She gave her hand with a sudden, unwilling movement, looking all the while at Gerald with a dark, exposed stare. A glow came over him as he sat down.
The waiter appeared. Gerald glanced at the glasses of the other two. Birkin was drinking something green, Miss Darrington had a small liqueur glass that was empty save for a tiny drop.
`Won't you have some more -- ?'
`Brandy,' she said, sipping her last drop and putting down the glass. The waiter disappeared.
`No,' she said to Birkin. `He doesn't know I'm back. He'll be terrified when he sees me here.'
She spoke her r's like w's, lisping with a slightly babyish pronunciation which was at once affected and true to her character. Her voice was dull and toneless.
`Where is he then?' asked Birkin.
`He's doing a private show at Lady Snellgrove's,' said the girl. `Warens is there too.'
There was a pause.
`Well, then,' said Birkin, in a dispassionate protective manner, `what do you intend to do?'
The girl paused sullenly. She hated the question.
`I don't intend to do anything,' she replied. `I shall look for some sittings tomorrow.'
`Who shall you go to?' asked Birkin.
`I shall go to Bentley's first. But I believe he's angwy with me for running away.'
`That is from the Madonna?'
`Yes. And then if he doesn't want me, I know I can get work with Carmarthen.'
`Lord Carmarthen -- he does photographs.'
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