- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
I asked the clerk, who was sitting across from me, if he had seen the man with the deerstalker. "Oh, him," he replied. He groped for the name. "Trench-Jones. He's been here every Christmas I can remember. Strange sort of bod. Rarely comes to table. Sometimes the boys tell me his bed hasn't been slept in. They seem to think he spends the night in the forest. They say he is haunted."
"Perhaps he favors the morels," said the Frenchman.
"No," the clerk answered mulishly. "He takes a pack lunch."
A rather tepid English couple sat kitty-corner to the clerk. The place card read "Galsworthy." They ate like marionettes, matching each other mouthful by mouthful. I recalled they were among the croquet players we had seen when we arrived. Occasionally Mrs. Galsworthy broke the rhythm to turn and pass a morsel of pig to a large Alsatian bitch. I asked if the animal belonged to the inn.
"Not her," said Galsworthy. "You're looking at 50 quid of dog there. More, I expect, if you count the six-month quarantine when we shipped her here." He claimed he never let her out of his sight. He was terrified of interbreeding with the village pye-dogs. "They gang rape, you know," he said. "I've seen them."
Everyone put on party hats for dessert, a sherbet served with a cannonball of a plum pudding flamed with brandy. With his magician's hat, Dowle looked like a beardless Merlin. Suddenly, the Frenchman said, "I believe your American politicians are ponces and poseurs."
The comment was so startling, so out of place, that those within earshot stopped eating. But it was not an insult. It was simply a Frenchman's way of announcing he wishes to change the subject to politics. Besides, he was right.
"They are �go�stes and in constant need of massaging," he added. "They are incompetent and order wars that we must die in. They spend your money and touch your flesh. They are d�go�tant, you understand. And in my language that is worse than in yours."
Down the table someone lifted a horn and blew a Bronx cheer.
I asked him about DeGaulle, who was said to be restoring the honor of France.