Most of the Titles were slightly worm-eaten and spotted with Scale, but nevertheless Genuine.
It was Nuts for Claudine to assemble all of the Noblemen to be picked up around the Lobby and give them a free run and jump at the Carte du Jour.
Her Dinners soon became the talk of the Chambermaids employed at the Hotel.
Any one willing to cut loose on Caviar and stuff raised under Glass will never have to dine alone in gay Paree.
Whenever Elam made a noise like 1000 Frongs he found a lot of well-bred Connoisseurs at his Elbow, all ready to have something unusual brought up from the Cellar.
The securing of an Invitation to one of Claudine’s formal Dinners was almost as difficult as getting into Luna Park.
However, the list of guests sounded Real when sent back to America and printed for the entertainment of persons living in Boarding-Houses.
Claudine became slightly puffed. When she found herself between a couple of perfumed Lads wearing Medals she would give Friend Husband the Office to move to one side and curl up in the Grass and not ruin the Ensemble by butting in.
Elam was usually at the foot of the Table behind a mass of Orchids. Once in a while he would try to crowd into the Conversation just to let them know that old Ready Money was still present, but every time he came up Dearie would do her blamedest to Bean him and put him out of the Game.
Claudine could make a stab at the new Pictures in the Salon and even run nimbly around the edge of the Futurist vogue.
Elam was ready to discuss Steamship Lines or Railway Accommodations, but when he was put against the Tall Brows he began to burn low and smell of the Wick.
Often, when surfeited with Truffles, he would wonder what had become of the Green Corn, the K. and K., the regular Chicken with Giblets, the Hot Cherry Pie, the smoking Oyster Stew, and the Smearcase with Chives, such as Gusta used to send in.
These reminders of a lowly Past were very distasteful to Claudine.
Once he talked in his Sleep about Codfish Balls, and next morning she lit on him something ramfugious.
After the Parisian triumphs it seemed a safe bet to return home and make a new effort to mingle with the Face-Cards.
This time they took a House in New York and went after Grand Opera as if they knew what it was about.
The Son of an Earl consented to Buttle for them. He refused them Butter with their Meals and kept them trembling most of the time, but they determined to do things Right, even if both died of Nervous Prostration.
When they began making real Headway and were recognized in the Park by some of the Headliners, Claudine would chide Elam for his early Doubts and Fears.
“This has got the Middle West skinned forty ways from the Jack,” she would exclaim, gayly, as they motored up the Avenue. “Me for the White Lights! It’s a good thing you had a Pacemaker or you would now be wearing detachable Cuffs and putting Sugar on your Lettuce.”
Two years had elapsed since the escape from being Buried Alive.
They were, to all outward appearances, City-broke.
One day Claudine allowed that she was tired of Bridge and the gay Routine. She announced that she was slipping away to Virginia Hot Springs to cool off and rest.
Elam said that while she was lying up, he would inspect certain Mining Properties in Canada.
He drove Honey to the train, then he tore back to the palatial Home, chucked a few Props into a Suit Case and headed for the Grand Central.
He never stopped going until he ducked in the Back Way, through the Grape Arbor, past the Woodshed, into the Kitchen of the old Homestead in which he first saw the Light of Day.
Gusta nearly keeled when she lamped the long-lost Boss.
“Get busy,” he said. “One fried Steak, the size of a Lap-Robe, smothered with Onions, two dozen Biscuits without any Armor Plate, one bushel of home-made Pork and Beans, much Butter, and a Gallon of Coffee in a Tureen.”
“You will have to wait a while,” said the faithful Gusta. “There is a double order of Ham and Turnips ahead of you. While you are waiting you might go up and call on the Missus. She has put on her old Blue Wrapper and the Yarn Slippers and is now lying on a Feather Tick in the Spare Room.”
MORAL: The only City People are those born so.