The End Of The Rainbow – Episode 59

It was noon by the time Adam and Madeleine crossed the River Seine by the Pont Neuf. The sun was hot, but their journey south across the city had been pleasant in the cool of the morning. Adam had dallied here and there, entranced by a bustling city that was vibrant and alive with sound and colour, but Madeleine seemed anxious to reach Montparnasse and constantly urged him on, turning to take his hand more than once. Once, a waggoner leaned over and offered a lift, and they rode in state beside him on his cart of fruit and vegetables until he reached a small marketplace.Adam wanted to drink it all in, to absorb it, but his companion demanded that they hurry on. Just once, they stopped at a pavement caf for coffee, and Adam felt the faintest twinge of jealousy when the waiter fussed over his companion, calling her “la jolie mam’selle”.To his surprise, Madeleine treated the young man to a radiant smile. All morning, she was unusually animated and, to Adam, she became even more beautiful. In a simple white dress with beribboned, wide-brimmed hat, she turned heads, and made her companion’s heart beat just a little faster.As the sun grew hotter, they sought the shade of the lime trees around the Sorbonne, sitting in a pool of coolness while Madeleine talked of coming here to study, a dreamy look in her eyes.“And I could come here and paint.” Adam watched her face as he spoke.She looked into the distance, clearly returning to her usual enigmatic self.“Many famous artists live here,” she said. “Perhaps you should become famous before you leave Montmartre.”“I’m hungry.” Adam pulled her to her feet. “Let’s find a place to eat.”Every caf seemed busy and noisy with students. Adam was intent on finding a quiet place where he and Madeleine could talk, could get to know each other better. All morning, he had caught glimpses of warmth, of vivacity in this girl who so fascinated him. This, he told himself, was the real Madeleine . . . and today was an opportunity to get to know her better, to make himself known to her.At last, they found a reasonably quiet caf, still in the shade of lime trees. Its menu was elaborate, the prices on the far side of expensive. Adam hoped fervently that he had brought enough money with him.“No noisy students here.” Madeleine smiled, taking off her hat and studying a menu. “Still on holiday, but they come back early to get their books. Good bookshops here. Books not too . . . too . . .”She grimaced and flapped her hand.“Expensive?”“If you are poor, you must buy old books,” she agreed dismissively, and something in the way she spoke sounded the tiniest of alarm bells in Adam’s mind.He looked at her as she scanned the menu, her face expressionless. Where was the smallest sign of the scorn he had heard in her voice? Adam scolded himself for imagining it. Instead, he concentrated on ordering the most modest of lunches to accommodate his budget.


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