Eden 23:4

Eden did not see Caroline again. July arrived at last.

“The American newspaper has an article that mentions Aphrodite. You come off as quite mysterious, having refused to give an interview,” Eleanor announced one morning when Eden came out to the garden for breakfast.

Eden reached for the paper, open worry on her face.

“It’s alright, mysterious is good—for now,” Eleanor assured her. They do call you M. Smith.” Eleanor reached into her breast pocket. “Cigarette?” she asked and Eden nodded as the maid brought out a tea service and poured Eden a cup.

Eden sat and skimmed the story. “The picture is widely considered to be one of the best in the Independents this season. There is no doubt that the mysterious M. Smith has an interesting career ahead of him,” the article closed.

“You had a letter from M. Durand-Ruel this morning as well. He is probably hoping to snare you for his gallery before the other dealers get to you.” She laid the letter on the table, where it sat, untouched.

Eden still said nothing. She pulled long on the cigarette Eleanor had lit for her and stared at the newspaper on the table. At last she picked up the letter and put it, unopened in her pocket. “I don’t know if it was worth it,” was all she said.

A week later, Sophia arrived in Paris.

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