CAUSETTE DE LUNDI.
What did Butterfield know of -
"An honest old friend and a merry old song,
And a flask of old port let me sit the night long,
And laugh at the malice of those who repine
That they must drink porter whilst I can drink wine."
Butterfield knew nothing of these things. What did he know again of a "petit souper de garcon," the poetry of such an occasion had never touched him.
The warm, bright room with the crackling logs at one end and the bottle-beleagured sideboard at the other, with more glasses than crockery on the table, and friends not less than the Graces nor more than the Muses in number. What a picture. Who does not remember such an one? But still more bewitching is the picture of this same room a few hours later when the smoke is curling about overhead; tongues are loosened, faces tinged with a rosy flush, the flowers and fruit strewn about the table, and all "ennuies de convention" are forgotten and wine and wit make gods of men. Still less did Butterfield know of these things in store for him.
And then as Butterfield was twenty-five years old and was not a cynic, of course we all know he had never been in love. In fact, he frankly admitted that he knew nothing of women. He knew none of the secrets of flowers, fans, gloves, smiles and the like which I believe come under the head of "Feminine Fancies." I say I believe, because I myself am rather an unromantic chap, and only know about these things from what I have heard on occasions like the one described above, when a last glass had caused the friend on my right to discover to me the intricacies of a prolonged flirtation of half an hour with Miss L. the evening before, and I wondered then, as I always do, that it takes three times as long to describe a flirtation with a woman as the flirtation itself lasts; in fact, I know one man who has been a whole year telling me about a woman whom he never saw more than four times; he knows far more about her than he does about certain subjects which he has been working at for years. I am beginning to believe that some men have a sixth sense given them at birth by some heathen deity, which may be called the intuitive sense, which tells them all about any one they love, just as the sense of taste discovers the whole secret of a favorite dish in an instant. What did Butterfield know of such a discovery as the one recently confided to me by a connoisseur, of whom it is said:
"When Florio speaks, what virgin could withstand?"
He said he had often been in the unpleasant predicament where it was necessary to accompany a woman to some place of amusement with another man, and he had experienced great difficulty in arranging the manner of sitting together. "If you put the woman in first," said he, "and let the other fellow sit between you she does not like it." I wondered why, but said nothing. "And if you put the woman in the middle," he continued, "it bothers her to keep up the conversation; she is obliged to do all the 'running,' because if you talk to her the other man cannot hear, and vice versa; but," he continued with a smile, "if you sit between them yourself she can talk to the other man with her eyes and her mouth and make love to you with her elbow, and if you have never had any experience I cannot describe to you the amount of expression a woman can put into her elbow and fore-arm; she begins by leaning over and making a commonplace remark and then dodges back seemingly shocked that she has touched your sleeve; next time she stays a little longer, and if you remain perfectly quiet presses your arm a bit, and if you remain passive she gradually becomes confidential and allows you to support her arm and shoulder and then half her weight, and finally your arm and her shoulder and elbow become so well acquainted that they exchange frequent visits without any formality whatever, and when you get on intimate terms with her arm and shoulder 'alors vous savez le reste.'"