The Arrow of Gold HTML version

Chapter I.3
Mills lowered the hands holding the extinct and even cold pipe before his big face.
"H'm, shoot an arrow into that old man's heart like this? But was there anything done?"
"A terra-cotta bust, I believe. Good? I don't know. I rather think it's in this house. A lot of
things have been sent down from Paris here, when she gave up the Pavilion. When she
goes up now she stays in hotels, you know. I imagine it is locked up in one of these
things," went on Blunt, pointing towards the end of the studio where amongst the
monumental presses of dark oak lurked the shy dummy which had worn the stiff robes of
the Byzantine Empress and the amazing hat of the "Girl," rakishly. I wondered whether
that dummy had travelled from Paris, too, and whether with or without its head. Perhaps
that head had been left behind, having rolled into a corner of some empty room in the
dismantled Pavilion. I represented it to myself very lonely, without features, like a turnip,
with a mere peg sticking out where the neck should have been. And Mr. Blunt was
talking on.
"There are treasures behind these locked doors, brocades, old jewels, unframed pictures,
bronzes, chinoiseries, Japoneries."
He growled as much as a man of his accomplished manner and voice could growl. "I
don't suppose she gave away all that to her sister, but I shouldn't be surprised if that timid
rustic didn't lay a claim to the lot for the love of God and the good of the Church. . .
"And held on with her teeth, too," he added graphically.
Mills' face remained grave. Very grave. I was amused at those little venomous outbreaks
of the fatal Mr. Blunt. Again I knew myself utterly forgotten. But I didn't feel dull and I
didn't even feel sleepy. That last strikes me as strange at this distance of time, in regard of
my tender years and of the depressing hour which precedes the dawn. We had been
drinking that straw-coloured wine, too, I won't say like water (nobody would have drunk
water like that) but, well . . . and the haze of tobacco smoke was like the blue mist of
great distances seen in dreams.
Yes, that old sculptor was the first who joined them in the sight of all Paris. It was that
old glory that opened the series of companions of those morning rides; a series which
extended through three successive Parisian spring-times and comprised a famous
physiologist, a fellow who seemed to hint that mankind could be made immortal or at
least everlastingly old; a fashionable philosopher and psychologist who used to lecture to
enormous audiences of women with his tongue in his cheek (but never permitted himself
anything of the kind when talking to Rita); that surly dandy Cabanel (but he only once,
from mere vanity), and everybody else at all distinguished including also a celebrated