Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French. One of the things which Gertrude Butterwick had impressed upon Monty Bodkin when he left for this holiday on the Riviera was that he must be sure to practice his French, and Gertrude's word was law.
He did not like her father, considering him, indeed, a pig-headed old bohunkus, but there are times when it is politic to sink one's personal prejudices.
Ambrose Tennyson, the novelist, was there, asking the bookstall clerk if he had anything by Ambrose Tennyson.
An undertaker, passing at the moment would have looked at this young man sharply, scenting business. So would a buzzard. It would have seemed incredible to them that life still animated this limp frame. The Drones Club had given Reggie Tennyson a farewell party on the previous night, and the effects still lingered.
The place [Hollywood] is simply congested with people trying to break in. Authors especially. They starve in their thousands.They're dying off like flies all the time. This girl said that if you make a noise like a mutton chop anywhere within a radius of ten miles of Hollywood Boulevard, authors come bounding out of every nook and cranny, howling like wolves.
You can say "Oh, Reggie, for goodness' sake!" till you burst your corsets, but you won't get away from the fact that you are a foolish young pipsqueak and are making the floater of a lifetime.
He had earmarked the next hour and a half for silent communion with his tortured soul, and did not relish the prospect of having to talk to even an old friend.
In his heart, he had always hoped that the other's sciatica would not yield to treatment.
"Sounds like something out of a three-volume novel."
"She wouldn't see me. I rang her up on the telephone, and drew nothing but a butler with adenoids."
Mr Llewellyn's physique was such as to make it impossible for him, whatever the provocation, to turn like a flash, but he turned as much like a flash as was in the power of a man whose waistline had disappeared in the year 1912.
'I don't want to talk to you.'
Monty laughed like a squeaking slate pencil.
'Don't you worry. I'll do all the bally talking that's required.'
The stoutest-hearted girl is apt to quail when she finds herself confronted by the authentic cave-man.
He had a round, moon-like face, in which were set, like currents in a suet dumpling, two small brown eyes. And these eyes caused Monty, as he met them, to experience a slight diminution of the effervescing cheerfulness which he had brought with him to the room.
Besides, he felt, for the Bodkins, though amiability itself if you met them half-way, had their pride, what the hell?
He broke off, coughing. In order to give verisimilitude to his story, he had uttered the last nine words in a sardonic falsetto, and this had tried his vocal cords.
...it was her hair that caused the eye of the beholder to swivel in its socket and his breath to come in irregular pants...a vivid and soul-shattering red.
He's as jealous as billy-o. Smear a bit of burnt cork on him, and he could step right onto any stage and play Othello without rehearsal.
That things were looking a trifle glutinous, he could not deny.
Red hair and meekness are two things which seldom go together, and Lottie Blossom specialized in the former.
It beamed up at him with a wide-smiling cheerfulness which in the circumstances he found tasteless and intolerable.
Ambrose's ebullient gaiety was affecting him like some sort of skin complaint, causing him to tingle all over.
Albert Peasemarch had been resting easily against the door with one large red ear in close juxtaposition to the woodwork, absorbed in the drama within.
[On the ship] there was a long line of semi-conscious figures in chairs, swathed in rugs and looking like fish laid out on a slab, and before their glassy gaze the athletes paraded up and down, rejoicing in their virility, shouting to one another 'What a morning!' and pointing out that twice more round would make a mile.
'He's a darned ivory-domed, pig-headed son of an army mule!'
With the air of a female member of the Committee of Public Safety signing during the Reign of Terror, she did so.
She looked at him in a bewildered way, like an awakened somnambulist.
His was not an extensive vocabulary, and he found it impossible to think of anything which would really do justice to his feelings... Shakespeare might have managed it. So might Rabelais. Monty could not.
A look of anxiety came into Gertrude's shining eyes. In the dreams she had dreamed of this lovers' meeting she had not budgeted for a rigid Monty, a smileless Monty, a Monty who looked as though he had been stuffed by some good taxidermist.
For some twenty minutes he sat thus, then suddenly he shot up like a young, Hindu fakir with a sensitive skin making acquaintance with his first bed of spikes.
Had he been a Cro-Magnon Man, he would have been confined to expressing himself by means of painting paleolithic bisons on the wall of a cave, and everybody knows how unsatisfactory that is. Living in the twentieth century, he had pencils, envelopes and paper at his disposal, and he intended to make use of them.
There was a still longer interval this time, but eventually a sound of puffing heralded Albert Peasemarch's return.
Nobody who had studied the works of the poet Scott at school could fail to be aware that in such circumstances a woman's duty was clear.
His spine had begun to crawl about under his dinner-jacket like a snake.
'Step out of the frame, Mona Lisa,' said Reggie briskly. 'I want a couple of words with you.'
Mr Llewellyn left his chair and begun to strut up and down the room, satisfaction in every ripple of his chins.