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No. 14.

March 5th, 1902.


I have run away, you realise this, don't you, simply turned tail and run. That long dinner which seemed so short; the British Museum the next day, and your illuminating lecture so abruptly ended—that dreadful lunch … boiled fish and ginger beer! Ye Gods! Greek or Roman, how could you appear satisfied, eat with appetite? I sickened in the atmosphere. Thursday at the National Gallery was better. Our taste in pictures is the same if our taste in food differs. But perhaps you did not know what you were given in the refreshment room of the British Museum? I throw out this suggestion as an extenuating circumstance, for I find it difficult to forgive you that languid cod and its egg sauce. Our other two meals together were so different. That first lunch at the Café Royal was perfect in its way. As for our dinner, did I not myself superintend the ménu, curb the exuberance of the chef and my stepmother; dock the unfashionable sorbet; change Mayonnaise sauce into Hollandaise; duck and green peas into an idealised animal of the same variety, stuffed with foie gras, enriched and decorated with cherries? For you I devoted myself to the decoration of the table, interested myself in the wine list my father produced, discussed vintages with our pompous and absurd butler. I must tell you a story about that butler. You said he looked like an Archdeacon. Can you imagine an Archdeacon in the Divorce Court? No! No! No! Nothing to do with mine. Had it been I could not have written of it, the very thought sets me writhing again.