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|Under the Andes||Rex Stout|
|Page 2 of 8||
I took the paper to Desiree in her room, and while she read the article stood gazing idly from a window. It was about eleven in the morning; Harry had gone for a walk, saying that he would return in half an hour to join us at breakfast.
"Well?" said Desiree when she had finished.
"But it is not well," I retorted, turning to face her. "I do not reproach you; you are being amused, and so, I confess, am I. But your name--that is, Le Mire--has been mentioned, and discovery is sure to follow. We must leave San Francisco at once."
"But I find it entertaining."
"Nevertheless, we must leave."
"But if I choose to stay?"
"No; for Harry would stay with you."
"Well, then--I won't go."
"Le Mire, you will go?"
She sent me a flashing glance, and for a moment I half expected an explosion. Then, seeming to think better of it, she smiled:
"But where? We can't go west without falling into the ocean, and I refuse to return. Where?"
"Then we'll take the ocean."
She looked up questioningly, and I continued:
"What would you say to a yacht--a hundred and twenty foot steamer, with a daredevil captain and the coziest little cabins in the world?"
"Bah!" Le Mire snapped her fingers to emphasize her incredulity. "It does not exist."
"But it does. Afloat and in commission, to be had for the asking and the necessary check. Dazzling white, in perfect order, a second Antoine for a chef, rooms furnished as you would your own villa. What do you say?"
"Really?" asked Le Mire with sparkling eyes.
"Here--in San Francisco?"
"In the harbor. I saw her myself this morning."
"Then I say--allons! Ah, my friend, you are perfection! I want to see it. Now! May I? Come!"
I laughed at her eager enthusiasm as she sprang up from her chair.
"Le Mire, you are positively a baby. Something new to play with! Well, you shall have it. But you haven't had breakfast. We'll go out to see her this afternoon; in fact, I have already made an appointment with the owner."
"Ah! Indeed, you are perfection. And--how well you know me." She paused and seemed to be searching for words; then she said abruptly: "M. Lamar, I wish you to do me a favor."
"Anything, Le Mire, in or out of reason."
Again she hesitated; then:
"Do not call me Le Mire."
"But certainly, Senora Ramal. And what is the favor?"
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