Chapter 60THEY dined in Soho. Philip was tremulous with joy. It was not one of the more crowded of those cheap restaurants where the respectable and needy dine in the belief that it is bohemian and the assurance that it is economical. It was a humble establishment, kept by a good man from Rouen and his wife, that Philip had discovered by accident. He had been attracted by the Gallic look of the window, in which was generally an uncooked steak on one plate and on each side two dishes of raw vegetables. There was one seedy French waiter, who was attempting to learn English in a house where he never heard anything but French; and the customers were a few ladies of easy virtue, a menageor two, who had their own napkins reserved for them, and a few queer men who came in for hurried, scanty meals.
Here Mildred and Philip were able to get a table to themselves. Philip sent the waiter for a bottle of Burgundy from the neighbouring tavern, and they had a potage aux herbes, a steak from the window aux pommes, and an omelette au kirsch. There was really an air of romance in the meal and in the place. Mildred, at first a little reserved in her appreciation - "I never quite trust these foreign places, you never know what there is in these messed up dishes" - was insensibly moved hy it.
"I like this place, Philip," she said. "You feel you can put your elbows on the table, don't you?"
A tall fellow came in, with a mane of gray hair and a ragged thin beard. He wore a dilapidated cloak and a wide-awake hat. He nodded to Philip, who had met him there before.
"He looks like an anarchist," said Mildred.
"He is, one of the most dangerous in Europe. He's been in every prison on the Continent and has assassinated more persons than any gentleman unhung. He always goes about with a bomb in his pocket, and of course it makes conversation a little difficult because if you don't agree with him he lays it on the table in a marked manner."
She looked at the man with horror and surprise, and then glanced suspiciously at Philip. She saw that his eyes were laughing. She frowned a little.
"You're getting at me."
He gave a little shout of joy. He was so happy. But Mildred didn't like being laughed at.
"I don 't see anything funny in telling lies."
"Don't be cross."
He took her hand, which was lying on the table, and pressed it gently.
"You are lovely, and I could kiss the ground you walk on," he said.
The greenish pallor of her skin intoxicated him, and her thin white lips had an extraordinary fascination. Her anaemia made her rather short of breath, and she held her mouth slightly open. it seemed to add somehow to the attractiveness of her face.
"You do like me a bit, don't you?" he asked.
"Well, if I didn't I suppose I shouldn't be here, should I? You're a gentleman in every sense of the word, I will say that for you."
They had finished their dinner and were drinking coffee. Philip, throwing economy to the winds, smoked a three-penny cigar.
"You can't imagine what a pleasure it is to me just to sit opposite and look at you. I've yearned for you. I was sick for a sight of you."
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