The Beautiful Blonde Liked Emeralds 107
pleasure of my company from now until breakfast-time. I'm absolutely broke." She pressed into my hand her ivory card and disappeared with a wave of the hand among the milling crowd.
"A delightful woman," said Monsieur Gotin, leaning over and taking the card out of my hand before I knew what he was doing. "Not the ordinary putain. She comes of excellent family and had a convent education. But," he added dispassionately, "she is passionate"—he tapped the table—"unaccountable"—another tap—"restless"—tap—"and fearfully extravagant. She has ruined at least two fils de famille and will doubtless ruin more. I am not going to have her play with you, my young friend."
"But you introduced me to her?" I said, bewildered.
"Precisely. Hence it is my responsibility that you should go no farther with her." He tore the little card into tiny pieces.
"The emeralds," I stammered, for their lustre had been more on my mind than the beauty of their wearer. "They are lovely. And she says she is broke."
"Ah, the emeralds," he said. "They are Margot's true passion. She would not part with one of them if she were starving, I believe. And she nevej wears anything but emeralds. She is a good judge and makes her admirers buy her the best."
However, I was less interested in the handsome Margot than in her emeralds, and less interested in emeralds than, at that moment, finding my feet in Paris and holding down my job. My principal occupied a six-room bachelor apartment in the vicinity of the Grand Opera. One room