"It is private," said the interpreter.
"Yes, but what is she saying?"
"It is very private," said the interpreter, shaking his head and smiling.
"But she seems petulant. She is petulant."
"It is the way of the Brussels girls," said the interpreter.
Merckx appeared in the lobby, dressed and ready for the race. The Molteni cycling hat, brim up to reveal the sponsor's name, obscured the padding on his head, MOLTENI showed in five places on the hat and was on the front, the back and both sleeves of his shirt. Molteni was getting its money's worth. Eddy went to Claudine, kissed her lightly, handed her his wallet and left.
Claudine and the manager waited at the table. Women were not allowed in the official cars that follow on the course, said the manager, and that was not the way to watch the race, anyway. They would drive to a place farther on, see how it was going there as the cyclists passed and then speed ahead to other vantage points.
The manager ushered the men outside to his Peugeot; Claudine Merckx glided through the crowd to her husband's silver 3�-liter Mercedes. The two cars moved off.
"Did Eddy break many hearts when he married Claudine?" asked the American.
"Ah, yes, many," said the manager.