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I'm passing on the torch. A boat passed, so close, that I had time to see its occupants, framed in the window, sitting at a table and eating, just like us. Gay Orlov? I believe she's dead. I must have met her two or three times.
I hardly knew her It was my mother who was a friend of old Giorgiadze. A little cucumber? Perhaps there's someone in America One dies everywhere, you know Was she your sister? We left the restaurant "de l'le" and he took my arm as we climbed the steps of the quay. A fog had come up, soft but with an icy feel to it.
It filled your lungs with such cold that you felt you were floating on air. On the quay again, I could barely make out the buildings a few yards off.
I guided him, as if he were a blind man, to his apartment building, with the staircase entrances yellow blotches in the fog, the only reference points. He clasped my hand. He stopped and waved to me. I stood, motionless, the large red box under my arms, like a child returning from a birthday party, and I felt certain at that moment that he was saying something else to me but that the fog was muffling the sound of his voice.
My dear Guy, your letter arrived safely. Here, every day is like the next, but Nice is a very lovely town. You must come and visit me. Strangely enough, I run into people on the street I have not seen for thirty years, or who I thought were dead. We give each other quite a turn. Nice is a city of ghosts and specters, but I hope not to become one of them right away. As to the woman you are looking for, the best thing would be to phone Bernardy, Mac Mahon He has kept in close contact with people in the various departments.
He will be happy to advise you. As you know, the premises of the Agency are at your disposal. Miss Orlov's parents and she herself, as Russian refugees, were not recognized by the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as its nationals.
Miss Orlov had an ordinary residence permit. Miss Orlov evidently arrived in France, in , from the United States. In the U. Waldo Blunt, then divorced. In Paris, there was no visible source of income, although she led a life of luxury. Miss Orlov died in at her home, 25 Avenue du Marchal-Lyautey, Paris 16, of an overdose of barbiturates. Waldo Blunt, her ex-husband, has resided in Paris since and has worked in various night club establishments as a professional pianist.
He is an American citizen. Born 30th September , in Chicago. Residence permit no. Attached to this typewritten memorandum, a visiting-card bearing Jean-Pierre Bernardy's name and the words: "This is all the information available. My best wishes.
Regards to Hutte.
He did not seem to understand me when I bent over him and asked if I might sit down, and when I did, he took no notice. American and Japanese customers came in, hailed each other and spoke louder and louder. They stood about between the tables. Several, glass in hand, leaned on the backs or arms of chairs. One young woman was even perched on the knees of a gray-haired man.
Waldo Blunt arrived a quarter of an hour late and sat down at the piano. A small plump man with receding hair and a thin moustache. He was wearing a gray suit.
First he turned his head and cast a glance around the tables where people were crowding. He stroked the keys of the piano with his right hand and played a few random chords.
I happened to be sitting at one of the closest tables. He began a tune which, I believe, was "Sur les quais du vieux Paris," but the noise of conversation and the bursts of laughter made the music barely audible, and even close to the piano, I could not catch all the notes. He continued imperturbably, sitting bolt upright, his head bent. I felt sorry for him: I supposed that at one time in his life he had been listened to when he played the piano.
Since then, he must have got used to this perpetual buzz, drowning out his music. What would he say, when I mentioned Gay Orlov's name? Would it temporarily jolt him out of the apathetic state in which he played? Or would it no longer mean anything to him, like these notes, unable to still the hum of conversation? The bar had gradually emptied. The only ones left now were the Japanese with the gold-rimmed spectacles, myself, and at the back of the room, the young woman I had seen perched on the lap of the gray-haired gentleman and who was now seated next to a fat, red-faced man in a light blue suit.
They were speaking German. And very loudly. Waldo Blunt was playing a slow tune which I knew well. He turned toward us. The Japanese next to me did not react. He remained motionless, his face smooth, and I was afraid he might topple from his seat at the slightest breath of air, since he was clearly an embalmed corpse.
Blunt gave a slight nod and started playing "Sag warum" The light in the bar dimmed, as it sometimes does in dance halls at the first notes of a slow step. The couple took the opportunity to kiss and the woman's hand slid into the opening of the fat, red-faced man's shirt, then lower down. The gold-rimmed spectacles of the Japanese flashed. At his piano, Blunt looked like an automaton being jolted spasmodically: "Sag warum" requires an endless thumping out of chords.
What was he thinking about? Behind him, a fat, red-faced man stroked a blonde's thigh and an embalmed Japanese had been sitting in his chair in the Hilton bar for several days.
I was sure he was thinking about nothing. He was enveloped in a fog of indifference that grew thicker and thicker. Did I have the right to rouse him from it, to force him to think of something painful? The fat, red-faced man and the blonde left the bar, no doubt to take a room.
The man was pulling her by the arm and she almost stumbled. The Japanese and I were the only ones left. Blunt again turned to us and said in his cold voice: "Would you like me to play something else? He played the tune in a strangely slow manner, and the melody seemed drawn out, trapped in a swamp from which the notes had trouble freeing themselves. From time to time he paused, like an exhausted walker who staggers a little. He looked at his watch, rose abruptly, and inclined his head for our benefit: "Gentlemen, it is 9 o'clock.
Good night. I fell into step behind him, leaving the embalmed Japanese in the crypt of the bar. He walked down the corridor and crossed the deserted lounge. I caught up with him. Waldo Blunt?
I would like to speak to you. A woman called Gay. There was a line of men and women in gaudy evening attire - long, green or pale-blue, satin dresses, and garnet-colored dinner-jackets - waiting for taxis.
But who are you? I'd like to find out a few things about her The family would like some information about her. I hurried to keep up with him. We had reached the Quai Branly. We stepped out on to the Pont Bir-Hakeim. Perhaps he had been walking quickly until then because he thought he was being followed.
Or to shake me off. Her grandfather was called Giorgiadze I could not do likewise, as it made me dizzy. So, I stayed upright, standing in front of him. He seemed reluctant to speak. I was married to her?
I played the piano. She asked me to marry her only because she wanted to stay in America, and not have any problems with the immigration people After that, she went with Lucky Luciano She'd known him when she was working in the Palm Island Casino She was with him when he was arrested, in Arkansas After that, she met a Frenchman and I heard she left for France with him He smiled at me.
Then a second one, going the other way. Their din drowned out Blunt's voice. He was saying something to me, I could tell by the movement of his lips. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again.
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Preview — Person to Person 2 by Jack C. Person to Person 2: Now available in three levels, Person to Person focuses on the language functions required for everyday life activities such as shopping, ordering in a restaurant, and arranging to meet a friend. The lessons are based on realistic conversations, and task-based listening sections consolidate language acquisition.
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