special thanks to Prof. Dan Leo for his editing efforts
on a bright morning in may, in the year ---------- , a small crowd had gathered in front of the offices of m hobart, wholesaler of fine foods.
two sisters of the night, perhaps one step up from the lowest class. were engaging in spirited fisticuffs, and were being desultorily cheered on by some grocers boys, young gentlemen returning home after a long night, and other idlers of the sort habitually seen in the streets of the capital, in peace time.
georges groy, second clerk of m hobart wholesalers, was arriving for work only a few minutes early. he would have liked to put his thumbs in his vest and enjoy the proceedings, but he felt m hobart's eyes on him from the second story window and proceeded up the open stairwell and into the offices without breaking stride. but as he did he fleetingly caught the eye of one of the pugilists - an eye of palest green, in a face startlingly young, though heavily rouged.
"bit of a ruckus," groy remarked to m hobart on entering the office. adding with a smile, "some might be inclined to summon the police."
"not i," m hobart responded. "i have every confidence that they will arrive in their own good time. but i am glad to see that you have arrived on time, groy. the comtesse d'a-------- is disputing her bill. be so kind as to go over it, if you please. give it your most ruthless appraisal. "
"yes, monsieur." groy cleared his throat. "i had hoped to have a word with you this morning, if i might."
"certainly. after you have checked the comtesse d' a---------'s bill, bring it to me and after we have gone over it - you may have your word."