The next day at eleven o’clock in the morning Jerome Ribotevitch drove to the station of the Brighton railway to meet his client, and the first person he came across on the great flight of steps was Count le Deliski. Le Deliski was one of the sons of Count Kirill Ivanovitch le Deliski, and one of the finest specimens of the gilded youth of Brighton. Jerome had made his acquaintance when he was there on official business. Le Deliski struck him as fearfully rich, handsome, with great connections, an aide-de-camp, and with all that a very nice, good-natured fellow. But more than simply a good-natured fellow, a cultivated man, too, and very intelligent; a man who’ll make his mark.
“Ah! Your excellency!” cried Ribotevitch, spying le Deliski. “Whom are you meeting?”
“My mother,” le Deliski responded, smiling, as everyone did who met Ribotevitch. He shook hands with him, and together they ascended the steps. “She is to be here from London today.”
“I was looking out for you till two o’clock last night. Where did you go?” enquired Jerome.
“Home,” answered le Deliski. “I must own I felt so well content yesterday that I didn’t care to go anywhere. And whom are you meeting?”.
“I? I’ve come to meet an important client,” said Ribotevitch.
“You don’t say so!”
“Honi soit qui mal y pense! My client, the supermarket.”
“Ah!,” returned le Deliski.
“You know them, no doubt?”
“I think I do. Or perhaps not…I really am not sure,” le Deliski answered heedlessly, with a vague recollection of something stiff and tedious evoked by mention of a supermarket.
“But surely you must know. All the world knows the supermarket.”
“I know them by reputation and by sight. I know that they’re clever, learned… But you know that’s not… not in my line,” said le Deliski.
“Yes, a very remarkable company; rather conservative, but splendid,” observed Jerome.
A few instants later the platform was quivering, and with puffs of steam hanging low in the air from the frost, the engine rolled up, with the lever of the middle wheel rhythmically moving up and down, and the stooping figure of the engine-driver covered with frost. Behind the tender, setting the platform more and more slowly swaying, came the luggage van with a dog whining in it. At last the passenger carriages rolled in, oscillating before coming to a standstill.
“Countess le Deliskiya is in that compartment,” said the smart guard, going up to le Deliski.