Peter Ruff and the Double Four
II.6. The Seven Suppers Of Andrea Korust
Peter, Baron de Grost, was enjoying what he had confidently looked forward to
as an evening's relaxation, pure and simple. He sat in one of the front rows of the
stalls of the Alhambra, his wife by his side and an excellent cigar in his mouth. An
hour or so ago he had been in telephonic communication with Paris, had spoken
with Sogrange himself, and received his assurance of a calm in political and
criminal affairs amounting almost to stagnation. It was out of season, and, though
his popularity was as great as ever, neither he nor his wife had any social
engagements; hence this evening at a music hall, which Peter, for his part, was
finding thoroughly amusing.
The place was packed - some said owing to the engagement of Andrea Korust
and his brother, others to the presence of Mademoiselle Sophie Celaire in her
wonderful danse des apaches. The violinist that night had a great reception.
Three times he was called before the curtain; three times he was obliged to
reiterate his grateful but immutable resolve never to yield to the nightly storm
which demanded more from a man who has given of his best. Slim, with the worn
face and hollow eyes of a genius, he stood and bowed his thanks, but when he
thought the time had arrived, he disappeared, and though the house shook for
minutes afterwards, nothing could persuade him to reappear.
Afterwards came the turn which, notwithstanding the furore caused by Andrea
Korust's appearance, was generally considered to be equally responsible for the
packed house - the apache dance of Mademoiselle Sophie Celaire. Peter sat
slightly forward in his chair as the curtain went up. For a time he seemed utterly
absorbed by the performance. Violet glanced at him once or twice curiously. It
began to occur to her that it was not so much the dance as the dancer in whom
her husband was interested.
"You have seen her before - this Mademoiselle Celaire?" she whispered.