11.4 Mme Gabor Has Her Doubts

7 July, 2013 by katelaity

imageThey were all fast friends by the time the celebration at the bakery ended, the Rochesters promising to attend Gustave’s bohemian wedding and everyone expressing their eagerness to watch the airship challenge.

 

“But first we shall have to find accommodations for mademoiselle and her entourage,” Maggiormente said. “They must have a place to recover from their long journey.”

 

“Shouldn’t you consult your concierge? Are there not rooms at your building?” Gustave asked.

 

Maggiormente frowned. “Are there?”

 

The poet laughed. “There is a sign in the window saying ‘rooms to let’ anyway. I interpreted it to mean that.”

 

The alchemist opened and closed his mouth without a sound. “I had no idea,” he said at last. “That would be ideal, no?”

 

“Would it?” Rochester raised an eyebrow at the alchemist and looked over at his daughter.

 

“How convenient,” Helen said at once, clearly thinking about the efficiency of the situation. “Is it an amenable situation? Do you think your concierge would be willing to let the rooms to us for such a relatively short time?”

 

“I think we might persuade her,” Eduardo said darkly, which made the alchemist frown.

 

“I’m sure we can ask her nicely,” Maggiormente said at once.

 

Helen noticed the little exchange. “Do you think she might have some reason to say no?”

 

“I-I cannot say.” Maggiormente shrugged.

 

Gustave laughed. “His concierge had thought to bat her lashes at him. But he only had eyes for his vials and beakers.”

 

“She is a perfectly charming, er—” Maggiormente blushed.

 

“She was barking up the wrong tree, so to speak,” the poet said with finality. Since his engagement he had come to believe himself to be an expert on affairs of the heart. This despite his near disastrous first encounter with the woman of his dreams.

 

But he had noticed that his friend only had eyes for the English lady and he was determined to make much of that if he could. Being happy in love, he assumed everyone else must be, too.

 

Some might call it scheming: Gustave merely thought of it as helping a friend.

 

“Perhaps we should see if we can arrange something,” Helen Rochester said, thinking about the possibility of having to look further afield for rooms. “If not with your concierge, somewhere not too far. It would be convenient to be able to consult at leisure.”

 

“Yes, yes,” Maggiormente agreed at once, hopping to his feet and nearly upsetting the wine glass he had been drinking from. “That would be most expeditious.” He wasn’t entirely certain where that word had welled up from and was not entirely certain that he had the English version and not the French, but the alchemist was intent on impressing the English captain with his ability to think as that was more or less his strong point.

 

“Go,” Alain said, waving the champagne bottle at him, “But come back and we will continue our celebrations!”

 

“Come, Papa,” Helen said, wringing her father’s attention away with some reluctance on his part. He was enjoying the atmosphere of jubilation much more than she would have expected.

 

They trooped over to their residence en masse—”Safety in numbers!” Adèle had cried—and hallooed for Mme. Gabor, who seemed nonplussed to be greeted by this small crowd.

 

“Is this a revolution?” she asked, somewhat abashed. “I cannot lower the rent, monsieur!”

 

“No, no, calm yourself, madame,” Maggiormente said with a soothing tone. “We have good news for you!”

 

“Do you?” Her face betrayed that she thought that highly unlikely.

 

“You have rooms to let, yes?”

 

“Ye-es.”

 

“We have friends to let them!” He gestured behind him to indicate the airship captain and her father, but Mme. Gabor saw a huge crowd altogether and panicked.

 

“The rooms are the ones just below you. They are not suitable for such an…entourage.”

 

“Oh, madame, it is only for me and my father,” Helen reassured her, as Tuppence croaked agreement.

 

Mme. Gabor narrowed her eyes. She took an instant dislike to the English woman.

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