The tale of a glove...Is it? Or shall I call it the tale of a perfume. Read and take your choice.
I received a luncheon invitation from the nicest man recently. Happening to be Father.
"Hello stranger!," he called as I ran into him on the stairs one night on my way out for the tenth time that fortnight. "Where do you keep yourself? Graciously condescend to lunch with me some day next week and let me get acquainted with you."
So I consented to arrange a rendezvous for Monday at one thirty at the Fifth Avenue restaurant where I arrived quite punctually on the dot. Father said my promptness was most flattering and that it encouraged him to believe I might even come to care for him in time.
He does you awf'Ily well, Father when we go on jaunts together. As I think I've mentioned and is most entertaining. I wish I saw more of him. Luncheon was rather interrupted. Several men Father knew came in and over to the table to speak to him and one of them Father invited to sit down. He was the head of the perfumery department in that wonderful establishment of Geo Borgfeldt & Co down on Irving Place and just back from France. Father is in the import business you know and they had things to say to each other. "This will interest you Angelina," said Father. And it did immensely. We ended by all getting into a taxi and going down to Borgfeldt's to look it over.
You've never seen such a place. It occupies three quarters of a block and contains specimens of even known imported commodity you can lay tongue to assembled from the four corners of the globe. It would he simpler to say what they didn't have than what they did. Well then they don't have lawn mowers. No. Nor men's clothing. No again. And they don't stock coal. Outside of that... tout ce que vous voulez.
My real interest however lay in the perfume department. First I had to greet my old friends, the perfumes Rigaud --"Mary Garden" and "Un Air Embaume." Then an introduction followed to the famous d'Orsay perfume "Chevalier" in his enchantingly quaint crystal bottle. Also to his d'Orsay brother and sister perfumes. And then I was further introduced to several other very wonderful imported odors those of Jaspy, of Fioret,of which I had been strangely ignorant. Thrilling exotic perfumes I had a beautiful informal chance to sniff long and luxuriously at each such as one doesn't get around the average busy shop counter. I indulged in an orgy of perfumes...
One of the essences was so intoxicating that I drenched the middle finger of my white silk glove with it. Whereby hangs the tale....
At the end of a perfect hour we said farewell to the Borgfeldt caravanserai and the First Lord of the Perfumes and Father and I went our respective ways. Mine eventually led home where I tossed my (no longer) white gloves in the basket for the maid to wash.
A few days passed. The gloves came back from Rosa's ministrations washed and fresh ready to be worn in their proper rotation and I bore them off for a dinner engagement. "You have a marvelous new perfume Angelina," said my escort after he had kissed my hand in the taxi.
"No," I said surprised. "Just the one you know. And I haven't even that on tonight." He uttered the usual banal fol de rol about my own natural sweetness which I didn't bother attending. For I was discovering that I did have a new perfume. Where could it come from? Suddenly I remembered Borgfeldt's and the intoxicating perfume and my glove. But the perfume couldn't have lasted through the washing. I sniffed my glove finger. Yes. How extraordinary! It had. Fainter but still unmistakable. What a perfume! And the end was not yet...
We dined. We danced. As we came away very late a gay party was breaking up at the entrance, among whom I was properly thrilled to recognize a certain visiting Crown Prince and his suite. In the crowd someone is shoved against me. I turn to hear a beautifully enunciated "Beg your pardon," and to look straight up into the eyes of a tall extremely good looking person. No not the Prince. You anticipate. One of his suite.... and far more intriguing even if it is lese majeste to say so.... with smooth olive skin and the high cheek bones of the Slav. Also the merriest dark eyes... but dazzlingly brilliant like the sun shining on little pieces of mica...Foreign men alone seem to have such shiny eyes.... I am afraid I am becoming weak and susceptible in my old age. Only he really was adorable.
Anyway I happened to drop one of my silk gloves. Was it an accident also that it happened to be the right hand one with the perfumed finger. The psycho-analysts say that nothing happens by chance. Walking with "level fronted" eyes down the steps and into the taxi, I yet saw through the back of my head women can do these things you know-- my Slavic gentleman pick up the glove hold it a moment hesitatingly and then dash down the steps after us.
"Quick, quick, driver!" I cried excitedly and the taxi leaped forward almost before my escort had time to close the door I looked back. My Unknown was standing on the curb, gazing after our disappearing car and holding the glove. I saw him examine it under the light, and hold it up to his face for a long minute. Then he turned and went into the hotel.
How romantic to be trailed by a perfume I thought. There is besides a white peacock surrounding my initial, embroidered in the margin of the glove. And if He should chance to speak to Teodoro, maitre d'hotel. He might... Teodoro knows that the white peacock is mine. He has found and returned to me on several occasions handkerchiefs that I have dropped marked with this, my emblem. If the Unknown keeps the glove...
My escort rudely interrupts my miraging.
"Angelina, you rascal, I believe you did that on purpose."
"Don't say purposely," I murmur, say "subconsciously."
"Never mind," he adds, cruelly, "they are sailing tomorrow."
But I am not disturbed. Never mind also on my own account. If he keeps the glove --and something tells me that he will --the perfume will remind him for a few short, sweet days anyway..... I fling a kiss to Borgfeldt!