The Place of Honeymoons (Chapter 5, page 2 of 15)


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Chapter 5

Half after three, on Wednesday afternoon, Abbott stared moodily at the
weather-tarnished group by Dalou in the Luxembourg gardens--the Triumph
of Silenus. His gaze was deceptive, for the rollicking old bibulous
scoundrel had not stirred his critical sense nor impressed the delicate
films of thought. He was looking through the bronze, into the far-away
things. He sat on his own folding stool, which he had brought along from
his winter studio hard by in the old Boul' Miche'. He had arrived early
that morning, all the way from Como, to find a thunderbolt driven in at
his feet. Across his knees fluttered an open newspaper, the Paris edition
of the New York Herald. All that kept it from blowing away was the tense
if sprawling fingers of his right hand; his left hung limply at his side.

It was not possible. Such things did not happen these unromantic days to
musical celebrities. She had written that on Monday night she would sing
in La Bohème and on Wednesday, Faust. She had since vanished, vanished
as completely as though she had taken wings and flown away. It was unreal.
She had left the apartment in the Avenue de Wagram on Saturday afternoon,
and nothing had been seen or heard of her since. At the last moment they
had had to find a substitute for her part in the Puccini opera. The maid
testified that her mistress had gone on an errand of mercy. She had not
mentioned where, but she had said that she would return in time to dress
for dinner, which proved conclusively that something out of the ordinary
had befallen her.

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