The End Of The Rainbow – Episode 44

As Madeleine sat engrossed in her book, an untouched cup of coffee on the table beside her, Adam was busy with his sketch pad at another table. He had asked her permission beforebeginning to make a charcoal drawing of her. “Oui,” she’d said with a half-smile, a slight shrug.Now, as the tree behind her cast dappled shade over her slender form, Adam wished he’d been working in oils. As he studied her, she turned a page with an almost imperceptible flick of the wrist.Such stillness, such composure. Adam had spoken of it to Rhuari.“Madeleine would make a wonderful model!”Rhuari had laughed.“She’s been asked many times, and the answer’s always the same just, Non. She’s fascinating, but very distant.”Rhuari was able to tell Adam a great deal about her.“She’s Georges Duval’s daughter you know, Georges who owns the caf.”Adam knew Georges as a round, cheerful, talkative person.“She’s not a bit like her father.”Rhuari had laughed.“She’s his only child, and the apple of his eye. She’s studying hard, and intends to go to the Sorbonne. And she speaks some English.”Adam’s train of thought was interrupted at this moment by Georges himself, who arrived bearing a coffee-pot and a delicious-looking pastry. Waving away payment, he studied Adam’s drawing, which was almost complete.“Ah, ma belle Madeleine. Trs bien, Monsieur Adam!” He beamed before rushing off to attend to a flock of newly arrived tourists.Madeleine was still reading when Adam took his completed sketch across to her table. She looked at it, then smiled.“For me?”He nodded.She gathered up her books and the drawing.“Merci, Adam.” And she disappeared into the caf.All afternoon, as Adam toiled over a still life in a stifling studio, his mind kept wandering back to the beautiful, dark-haired girl. Disciplining himself, he worked doggedly for several days, finishing the still life plus several of his Montmartre watercolours.****Nearly a week had passed before he went back to the caf. The place was quiet. As Adam tried to ignore a slight jolt of disappointment, Georges emerged smiling and unleashed a torrent of French.“Avec moi, avec moi.” Grabbing Adam’s arm, he directed him into the cool recesses of the caf. It was low-ceilinged with rough white walls and a scatter of little tables which bore bright, blue-checked tablecloths and spindly wooden chairs.Madeleine was seated in the corner, deep in conversation with a handsome young man. Their table was littered with books and papers.“Voil!” Georges pointed triumphantly at Adam’s charcoal sketch of Madeleine, which had been framed and now hung in a very prominent position.Adam smiled. His work was obviously appreciated. As Georges began to speak again, Madeleine came to Adam’s rescue.“Papa is pleased with your picture. He says he will . . .” She hesitated, then waved her arms at the wall. “Will put your work up there if you wish, so that, so that . . .”Her handsome companion came to her rescue.“Andr.” He introduced himself with a brief nod, before explaining in flawless English, “Georges will hang your work here in the caf so that people can buy it. It will be like a gallery for you. And he would like you to paint a portrait of Madeleine.”Madeleine touched Adam’s arm.“He will pay, of course.”“Caf.” Georges had appeared with a tray bearing a coffee-pot, cups and pastries.“Merci,” Adam thanked him, and the three of them sat down to make arrangements.“A commission, and a wee gallery all to yourself without even trying! Now, that’s what I call good luck.” Rhuari sounded envious as he and Adam sat by the window sharing their usual lunchtime bread and cheese.“This may be a garret, but it doesn’t look as if you’re going to be starving in it, my friend.” He looked around the room. “And it’s the tidiest garret I’ve ever seen!”‘If you have to live in a small space, you learn to be tidy.” Adam’s mind flicked for an instant to the room and kitchen in Glasgow’s East End. “That fellow Andr? He’s not an admirer of Madeleine, he’s her tutor.” Rhuari’s voice broke into Adam’s thoughts.“It means she’ll have to come to the studio to sit for the portrait. You don’t mind, do you?”“Not at all, and I’ll keep out of the way. When do you start?”“Tomorrow. The sooner I finish the portrait, the sooner I’ll be paid.” Rhuari smiled.“Somehow, I don’t think that all this haste is about money,” he said mischievously.Adam didn’t answer. He was seeing again Madeleine’s dark eyes, feeling the warmth of her touch on his arm.


Used to make posts more anonymous, eg a criminal case where you don’t want to expose the actual journalist.