Monday, August 15, 2011

Quote of the Day

Susan choked on her ice-cream. By the time that she had been thumped on the back by Midge, drawn a few gasping breaths and wiped her eyes, the beautiful Russian spy was comfortably settled at their table, with at least three waiters hovering. We were right when we thought that the waiters at Quadri's weren't so nice, Midge thought gloomily, not one, far less three, ever hovered over us. All this hovering made it almost impossible to hit that blessed spy over the head with a plate and run for it, which was what she terribly wanted to do.
"I startled you, I am sorry," the spy was saying sweetly, "you did not see me coming -"
You're absolutely right, thought Susan, still drawing painful, gasping breaths like a hen with the gapes, or you wouldn't have seen us for dust... "No - gasp - no - gasp - we didn't - gasp -" she said.
"Oh, you poor girl," said the spy, "you are still choking, you must have water." She signalled imperiously and the three waiters were round her. She ordered something in rapid Italian and the waiters hared off as if they were competing in a race for the fastest waiter, and in no time at all one of them was back with a glass of iced water.
Susan eyed it dubiously. It looked like water all right, but as the waiters were no doubt in league with that spy, it could easily be stuffed with Mickey Finns... She took the smallest possible sip. But she didn't swallow it, no fear, she held it in her mouth and then carefully spat it into her handkerchief. "Better now," she said, terrified in case she would be urged to have some more water. "It was just that a bit of ice-cream went down the wrong way-"
The spy smiled. "Won't you let me get you something else? Lemonade? Or-?"
"No, thank you," said Susan hurriedly. "I'll just finish my ice-cream. Wouldn't you like something?" she asked politely, for her mother and Aunt Lucy had always been dinning it into her that it wasn't polite to eat in front of people without offering them something.
"Yes, yes, I think I shall have something cool," said the spy, and again with the speed of light some foreign drink with ice clinking in it arrived.

From WHERE IS SUSAN? Chapter 6, Move and Counter-move. This is the only Jane Shaw story set in Venice.