was a ring at the bell-pull. I went to the door and there was the count. Behind him was the chauffeur carrying a basket of champagne. "Where should I have him put it, sir?" asked the count. "In the kitchen," Brett said. "Put it in there, Henry," the count motioned. "Now go down and get the ice." He stood looking after the basket inside the kitchen door. "I think you'll find that's very good wine," he said. "I know we don't get much of a chance to judge good wine in the States now, but I got this from a friend of mine that's in the business." "Oh, you always have some one in the trade," Brett said. "This fellow raises the grapes. He's got thousands of acres of them." "What's his name?" asked Brett. "Veuve Cliquot?" "No," said the count. "Mumms. He's a baron." "Isn't it wonderful," said Brett. "We all have titles. Why haven't you a title, Jake?" "I assure you, sir," the count put his hand on my arm. "It never does a man any good. Most of the time it costs you money." "Oh, I don't know. It's damned useful sometimes," Brett said. "I've never known it to do me any good." "You haven't used it properly. I've had hell's own amount of credit on mine." "Do sit down, count," I said. "Let me take that stick." The count was looking at Brett across the table under the gaslight. She was smoking a cigarette and flicking the ashes on the rug. She saw me notice it. "I say, Jake, I don't want to ruin your rugs. Can't you give a chap an ash-tray?" I found some ash-trays and spread them around. The chauffeur came up with a bucket full of salted ice. "Put two bottles in it, Henry," the count called. "Anything else, sir?" "No. Wait down in the car." He turned to Brett and to me. "We'll want to ride out to the Bois for dinner?" "If you like," Brett said. "I couldn't eat a thing." "I always like a good meal," said the count.
"Should I bring the wine in, sir?" asked the chauffeur. "Yes. Bring it in, Henry," said the count. He took out a heavy pigskin cigar-case and offered it to me. "Like to try a real American cigar?" "Thanks," I said. "I'll finish the cigarette." He cut off the end of his cigar with a gold cutter he wore on one end of his watch-chain. "I like a cigar to really draw," said the count. "Half the cigars you smoke don't draw." He lit the cigar, puffed at it, looking across the table at Brett. "And when you're divorced, Lady Ashley, then you won't have a title." "No. What a pity." "No," said the count. "You don't need a title. You got class all over you." "Thanks. Awfully decent of you." "I'm not joking you," the count blew a cloud of smoke. "You got the most class of anybody I ever seen. You got it. That's all." "Nice of you," said Brett. "Mummy would be pleased. Couldn't you write it out, and I'll send it in a letter to her." "I'd tell her, too," said the count. "I'm not joking you. I never joke people. Joke people and you make enemies. That's what I always say." "You're right," Brett said. "You're terribly right. I always joke people and I haven't a friend in the world.
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