I tried out one of my new aphorisms on her.
"The Chinese see the world from China," quoth I sagely, then sat back waiting for applause.
She favoured me with a searching look.
"What do you mean?" sez she sharpish.
I hastened to explain.
"It means that everyone sees things from their own point of view," I pronounced earnestly.
Lu Yi snorted.
"You could say that about any country," she shot out. "You could say the Irish see the world from Ireland. The Italians see the world from Italy. The Americans see the world from America."
Suddenly my great aphorism was looking a little peakish.
I cut my losses and headed into town.
In the afternoon met Marriedski for a Russian lesson.
In an unguarded moment she said: "You know I've really started to look forward to our meetings. They have become part of my life."
Yes folks the married one is the one that really likes me.
Why do you mock me oh Lord? Why do you mock me?
Tea time rendezvous with Hodders in the Mac Cafe on Grafton Street. I told her about Marriedski's comment which had moved me a bit.
Hodders snorted. (Second snort of the day.)
"Yup," sez she brightly. "You must really have her fooled. Wait till she knows you like I do."
Back at the old chateau there was an email from Jane Hapgoode.
The Keats House, Rome
Dear Mr Healy.
Thank you for your email and your poem. I am sorry to hear you will not be continuing with your booking.
That devil woman. She's leaving the field with all the honours. She's been exposed to the full glory of my personality and not a little of the splendour of my poems, and she hasn't shown the merest sign of cracking. She's remained courteous and professional throughout. Well by Gadfrey. I'm not having that.
The Chateau de Healy, Ireland
My lost English love.
Why do you torture me with these callous and indifferent words?
Our souls touched in the bleakness of a cold universe.
Did it mean nothing to you?
Ah, how can I crack that rarified reserve? How can I put to sleep the curator and awaken the woman in you?
But I'm rambling.
On my cheek a rose withereth too.
Our souls touched.
84 Charing Cross Road it wasn't. But it was... something.
I'm sending you a ham, some sliced bread and a pair of nylons.
These are the last things you shall have of me.