Raven’s Run 63

We need to move on, but we also need to stay here and look some more. It seems that we should split up.”

“I agree.”

“If I listed the places I to went yesterday, you could visit them again today. And tonight you could make the rounds where the street musicians congregate.”

“I could do that,” Susyn said, with merry mischief in her eyes. “Why are you being so reticent, General? Why no orders?”

“I’m trying to cut back.”

“Thank you, Ian.”

“If you stay here, I can go on to Montreaux and do the same thing there. If either of us finds anything significant, we can telephone. Montreaux is only about an hour away by train.”

“Sounds good to me.”

The waiter brought our food and moved away again. Susyn stretched mightily, and said, “I really needed that night’s sleep. I hardly slept at all on the train.”

“I did.”

“I know, I heard you!” She broke a piece of bread and buttered it. “This is all new to you isn’t it?”


“Luxury. This hotel, breakfast on the terrace, that kind of thing. Not that this is really luxurious, but you seem to think it is.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Now don’t get embarrassed. You haven’t been tucking the tablecloth into your pants. You just don’t look comfortable.”

Life isn’t all one thing or another. My immediate attention had been spent on finding Raven, and thinking about what our time together had meant filled up the rest of my hours. But my other reactions were equally valid, however little I had been paying attention to them. I was uncomfortable, now that I thought about it.

Susyn was patient while I considered the matter. “I think,” I said, “that it is not so much a matter of discomfort as it is caution. I’m living well on Senator Cabral’s money, but if we find Raven tomorrow, I’ll be back on my own. This is the kind of life I would like to become accustomed to, but until I can pay my own way, I don’t want to get too used to it.”

“So if you don’t like being poor, why not get a job?”

“I am.” I explained that I was waiting to be posted to a consulate. Susyn was so easy to talk to and so comfortable to be with, that it was hard to remember that we knew nothing about each other. “But there is more to it than that. I like this, good food, good company, good scenery, but it’s froth, not beer. If we were walking along the quai de Belgique instead of sitting here, and eating a fresh loaf of bread instead of this meal, the sun would be as warm, the lake would be as blue, and you would be just as lovely.”

Susyn smiled like sunlight, squeezed my arm, and said, “You old charmer.”

*       *       *

In Paris, the Orsey museum is in a converted train station. There, in a room dedicated to the salon painters of the late nineteenth century, is a statue of a nude young girl or nymph. I don’t remember which, but it doesn’t matter; in sculpture, each is a metaphor for the other. She is slender, but fully formed; a girl just five minutes into womanhood. She is half kneeling, obviously just risen from her bath. She is holding her hair up with her hands. It falls through her fingers in strands so limp that even the stone looks wet. Her eyes look out at you from under a cascade of marble tresses with impish sensuality. The sculptor has caught the very essence of innocent awakening in her eyes and her grin. It’s the only statue I ever saw grin.

You could go to the Orsey forty times for the cost of last night’s suite. Money has little to do with living a rich life. more tomorrow


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