One evening, he went to the theatre with two ladies, quite young, friends of his, whose husbands were also of the party, and after the performance he invited them to take ices at Tortoni's.
They had been sitting there for a few minutes when he noticed a gentleman at a neighbouring table staring obstinately at one of the ladies of the party. She seemed embarrassed and ill at ease, and bent her head. At last she said to her husband:
"There's a man staring at me. I don't know him; do you?"
The husband, who had seen nothing, raised his eyes, but declared:
"No, not in the least."
Half smiling, half in anger, she replied:
"It's very annoying; the creature's spoiling my ice."
Her husband shrugged his shoulders.
"Deuce take him, don't appear to notice it. If we had to deal with all the discourteous people one meets, we'd never have done with them."