She looked at him quickly and flushed. When she reddened her pasty skin acquired a curiously mottled look, like strawberries and cream that had gone bad.
"No, thanks. What d'you think I want tea for? I've only just had lunch."
"I thought it would pass the time," said Philip.
"If you find it long you needn't bother about me, you know. I don't mind being left alone."
At that moment two men passed, in brown velveteens, enormous trousers, and basque caps. They were young, but both wore beards.
"I say, are those art-students?" said Philip. "They might have stepped out of the Vie de Bohème."
"They're Americans," said Miss Price scornfully. "Frenchmen haven't worn things like that for thirty years, but the Americans from the Far West buy those clothes and have themselves photographed the day after they arrive in Paris. That's about as near to art as they ever get. But it doesn't matter to them, they've all got money."
Philip liked the daring picturesqueness of the Americans' costume; he thought it showed the romantic spirit. Miss Price asked him the time.
"I must be getting along to the studio," she said. "Are you going to the sketch classes?"
Philip did not know anything about them, and she told him that from five to six every evening a model sat, from whom anyone who liked could go and draw at the cost of fifty centimes. They had a different model every day, and it was very good practice.
"I don't suppose you're good enough yet for that. You'd better wait a bit."
"I don't see why I shouldn't try. I haven't got anything else to do."
They got up and walked to the studio. Philip could not tell from her manner whether Miss Price wished him to walk with her or preferred to walk alone. He remained from sheer embarrassment, not knowing how to leave her; but she would not talk; she answered his questions in an ungracious manner.
A man was standing at the studio door with a large dish into which each person as he went in dropped his half franc. The studio was much fuller than it had been in the morning, and there was not the preponderance of English and Americans; nor were women there in so large a proportion. Philip felt the assemblage was more the sort of thing he had expected. It was very warm, and the air quickly grew fetid. It was an old man who sat this time, with a vast gray beard, and Philip tried to put into practice the little he had learned in the morning; but he made a poor job of it; he realised that he could not draw nearly as well as he thought. He glanced enviously at one or two sketches of men who sat near him, and wondered whether he would ever be able to use the charcoal with that mastery. The hour passed quickly. Not wishing to press himself upon Miss Price he sat down at some distance from her, and at the end, as he passed her on his way out, she asked him brusquely how he had got on.
"Not very well," he smiled.
"If you'd condescended to come and sit near me I could have given you some hints. I suppose you thought yourself too grand."
"No, it wasn't that. I was afraid you'd think me a nuisance."
"When I do that I'll tell you sharp enough."
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