The Flirt - Booth Tarkington - Страница 1 из 270


THE FLIRT
BY
BOOTH TARKINGTON
To
SUSANAH
THE FLIRT
CHAPTER ONE
Valentine Corliss walked up Corliss Street the hottest afternoon
of that hot August, a year ago, wearing a suit of white serge
which attracted a little attention from those observers who were
able to observe anything except the heat. The coat was shaped
delicately; it outlined the wearer, and, fitting him as women's
clothes fit women, suggested an effeminacy not an attribute of the
tall Corliss. The effeminacy belonged all to the tailor, an artist
plying far from Corliss Street, for the coat would have
encountered a hundred of its fellows at Trouville or Ostende this
very day. Corliss Street is the Avenue du Bois de Boulogne, the
Park Lane, the Fifth Avenue, of Capitol City, that smoky
illuminant of our great central levels, but although it esteems
itself an established cosmopolitan thoroughfare, it is still
provincial enough to be watchful; and even in its torrid languor
took some note of the alien garment.
Mr. Corliss, treading for the first time in seventeen years the
pavements of this namesake of his grandfather, mildly repaid its
interest in himself. The street, once the most peaceful in the
world, he thought, had changed. It was still long and straight,
still shaded by trees so noble that they were betrothed, here and
there, high over the wide white roadway, the shimmering tunnels
thus contrived shot with gold and blue; but its pristine complete
restfulness was departed: gasoline had arrived, and a pedestrian,


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