The Last Tea by Dorothy Parker

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Dorothy Parker
The Last Tea

The young man in the chocolate-brown suit sat down at the table where the girl with the artificial camellia had been sitting for forty minutes.
"Guess I must be late," he said. "Sorry you been waiting."
"Oh, goodness'" she said "I just got here myself, just about a second ago. I simply went ahead and ordered because I was dying for a cup of tea. I was late, myself. I haven't been here more than a minute." "That's good," he said. "Hey, hey, easy on the sugar - one lump is fair enough. And take away those cakes. Terrible! Do I feel terrible!' "Ah," she said, "said do? Ah. Whadda matter?"

"Oh, I'm ruined," he said. "I'm in terrible shape."
"Ah, the poor boy" she said. "Was it feelen’ mizzable? Ah, and it came way up here to meet me! You shouldn't have done that, I'd have understood. Ah, just think of it coming all the way up here when it’s so sick!"

"Oh, that's all right," he said. "I might as well be here as any place else. Any place is like any other place, the way I feel today. Oh, I’m all shot."
"Why, that's just awful," she said. "Why, you poor sick thing, goodness, I hope it isn't influenza. They say there's a lot of it around." "Influenza!" he said. "I wish that was all I had. Oh, I'm poisoned. I’m through. I'm off the stuff for life. Know what time I got to bed? Twenty minutes past five, A. M., this morning. What a night! What an evening!" "I thought," she said, "that you were going to stay at the office and work late. You said you'd be working every night this week." "Yeah, I know," he said. "But it gave me the jumps, thinking about going down there and sitting at that desk. I went up to May's, she was throwing a party. Say, there was somebody there said they knew you." "Honestly?" she said. "Man or woman?"

"Dame," he said. "Name's Carol McCall. Say, why haven't I been told about her before? That's what I call a girl. What a looker she is!" "Oh, really?" she said. "That's funny - I never heard of anyone that thought that. I've heard people say she was sort of nice-looking, if she wouldn't make up so much. But I never heard of anyone that thought she was pretty." "Pretty is right," he said. "What a couple of eyes she's got on her!" "Really?" she said. "I never noticed them particularly. But I haven't seen her for a long time - sometimes people change, or something." "She says she used to go to school with you," he said.

"Well, we went to the same school," she said. "I simply happened to go to public school because it happened to be right near us, and Mother hated to have me crossing streets. But she was three or four classes ahead of me. She's ages older than I am." "She's three or four classes ahead of them all," he said. "Dance! Can she step! 'Burn your clothes, baby," I kept telling her. I must have been fried pretty." "I was out dancing myself, last night," she said. "Wally Dillon and I. He’s just been pestering me to go out with him. He's the most wonderful dancer. Goodness! I didn't get home till 1 don't know what time. I must look just simply a wreck. Don't I?" "You look all right," he said.

'Wally's crazy," she said. "The things he says! For some crazy reason or other, he's got it into his head that I've got beautiful eyes, and, well, he just kept talking about them till I didn't know where to look, I was so embarrassed. I got so red. I thought everybody in the place would be looking at me. I got just as red as a brick. Beautiful eyes! Isn't he crazy?" "He's all right," he said. "Say, this little McCall girl, she's had аll kinds of offers to go into moving pictures. 'Why don't you go ahead and go?' I told her. But she says she doesn't feel like it." "There was a man up at the lake, two summers ago," she said. "He was a director or something with one of the big moving-picture people — oh, he had all kinds of influence! — and he used to keep insisting and insisting that I ought to be in the movies Said I ought to be doing sort of Garbo parts. I used to just laugh at him....
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