williams had just finished trimming the crusts of the last roast beef sandwich for conrad and his two guests, when he heard the front door open. he stopped and listened, then relaxed and proceeded with the sandwiches when he heard cosima's unmistakable authoritative steps approaching.
he was neatly arranging the sandwiches on a china plate with olives and radishes when cosima entered the kitchen.
"good morning, miss."
"these are for mister conrad and his guests. then i will make yours. your guest is not due for another twenty minutes or so, correct?"
"sure, sure. no problem. no rush." cosima took a pack of tareytons out of her pocket and lit one with a match from a box on top of the gleaming white stove. she leaned back against the kitchen counter.
"tell me, williams. did conrad and his friends arrive in a cab?"
"i assume they did, miss. they didn't say otherwise. and i took a quick look at the street outside and there were no private vehicles."
"did you notice a cab on the street, between lexington and park?"
williams thought a moment. "i might have seen one. headed west?"
"there may have been one. a fair way up the street though."
"probably not the cab they came in?"
"i suppose it could have been, if it made a u turn or backed up half a block. " williams was used to curious and apparently pointless questions from all the family. also to their artless prying into each other's affairs.
NUGGETS FROM THE VAULT By popular demand: below you will find tables of contents of various of our ongoing features; the most recent installments are listed first. Simply click on a particular item to be whisked magically to a very special place.
"Railroad Train to Heaven", the unexpurgated memoirs of Arnold Schnabel
"Young Marcel" by Francis X. Armstrong (Oxford University Press, 649 pp, $39.99): Teenage Marcel Proust stows away on a freighter to the New World, joins Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders, experiences war, malaria, and first love in the arms of the fiery daughter of a Cuban revolutionary.