Then I went to this historic cafe, a fine edifice jutting into the sidewalks, with prominent pillars of azure blue and pink, and amber coloured glass panes and leaf motifs on primal walls, a few hundred yards away from city enceinte. Two hundred years might have passed since its birth, and once it was the château of the gentry and later converted to a garrison and then a cafe. Old honchos gave way to new ones. The cafe was thronged by silk-stockings and the au courant and mixed populace lending it cosmopolitan aureole… It was still morning and the sun was young and the guests went to and fro, some getting down from limousines and others leaving the quarter. Here in this swank bistro on that December morning, I met the old gentleman, quiet and doddery in demeanour.
He might have been in his late sixties, with hair partly white and partly cinereous. He sat in the bistro for an hour or more languishing and now and then, fiddling the little cigarette lighter he kept in his palm. He carried a Dobermann of rare Isabella fawn hue with him. He grinned at the watchman and attempted to enter decisively because it was where pooches were permitted entry. At that point, the gatekeeper objected and so did the administrator and there was a tussle between the portcullis and the counter. The supervisor argued that a significant number of visitors were kids underneath the age ten and the Dobermann might scare them. And the supervisor’s words prevailed. This was the moment he chose to sit opposite me.