She had them pinned on her corsage. We entered our carriage and drove to the Hotel de Londres, discussing the parts we were going to play. Would the Russian Bear be caught? I wondered. When we arrived, I saw that the hotel was pretty well filled. Everybody who was anybody seemed to be there. I noticed a number of prominent American society ladies. Experience has taught me that there are three places where you meet sooner or later every known person in the world,--Piccadilly Circus, the terrace of Shephard's Hotel, Cairo, and Monte Carlo.
Remembering our diplomatic conversation of the afternoon, the ma?tre d'h?tel came rushing forward and with profound bows directed us to our table, which was tastefully decorated with La France roses, the Countess' favorites (charged to expenses). As we walked slowly down the passage to our table, many eyes were turned toward us. The Countess appeared unconscious of it all. Lazily, half insolently observant, yet wholly unconcerned, she was without doubt the most strikingly beautiful woman in the assembly; this, the world seemed to fill the Londres that night. Poor Galitzin!
As we seated ourselves, a hush fell about the immediate table to our right and left. It was followed by a low buzzing of curious or interested, wise or ignorant, human bees. On our right I saw the Prince Galitzin. From the moment of our entrance he had kept looking at the Countess. I watched him out of the corner of my eye, and abruptly he changed seats with one of the gentlemen at his table. Obviously his view of the Countess' face was not at the angle he wished. Screwing his monocle in his eye, he began to stare pretty consistently.
Of course this delighted me. The avidity with which his Serene Highness was swallowing the bait promised much. I thought it advisable, however, to create a little diversion, something that would drive away a possible suspicion that this was a "plant." It was perfectly obvious to all that the Prince was becoming fascinated. Also, he was losing his head, for he was showing his fascination in a rather rude manner. His staring began to attract some attention.
That was the opportunity I was looking for. Calling the ma?tre d'h?tel, I requested him, pitching my voice so that it would be easily audible at the surrounding tables: