By the time the maid, Maree, knocked on their doors, Sir Parlane MacFarlane and Dominic Doubleday were ready and presentable: their bags had been brought up to their rooms along with their wives, and all four went down together; Maree showed them into the dining room, where they found the Marquis and Eunice Eglantine there already and MacFarlane went straight to de Sade, shook his hand warmly and thanked him profusely for agreeing to this meeting; for his part, de Sade, a man in his mid-thirties – after asking Sir Parlane to call him Donny, at which MacFarlane said that his friends call him Parry, and Dominic hearing the Boss's blatant lie, quickly looked away – behaved with the impeccability of a French aristocrat, despite being quite otherguess in his beliefs and practices, while his eyes lingered on the two Gypsy women – no, girls, for they were by far the youngest people in the room and clearly unused to being in such exalted company and Donny said softly to Parry: "there seems to be a dearth of buxom wenches hereabouts, maybe it's because I'm here," and laughed; Eunice played the part of hostess, showing each of the visitors where to sit – the Marquis, naturally, sat at the top of the table, the girls on either side of him, MacFarlane and Doubleday beside them, and Miss Eglantine at the other end, facing de Sade; Eunice explained that this was the informal dining room, which they used daily, or for dining with close friends, while the formal Dining Room (with capitals) was used for larger gatherings and whenever local dignitaries or neighbouring estate owners and aristocrats were invited, more as a social duty than for the pleasure of their company, she asked the girls their names – something neither MacFarlane nor Doubleday had bothered with and they were surprised to learn that they were Daphne and Maggie and their family name was Maro, which translated to Brown in English: "they're only fuckin Broons," whispered Dominic to Sir Parlane and they giggled like schoolboys; de Sade's English was perfect, but he seemed content to let Eunice do most of the ice-breaking and only interjected whenever she indicated that his local knowledge was required to supplement her mention of certain people or places in the vicinity; his descriptions of the local Mayor, the Duc de Gaulois, or Comte Aristide de Pomade, among others, were highly entertaining and quite scurrilous and soon everyone was laughing and visibly relaxing – even the two girls seemed able to follow the conversation although it was obvious that their own knowledge of the world in which they were now living was sketchy, to say the least, a sketchiness which de Sade was happy to fill in for them; although MacFarlane – whose own French was good – was able to follow all of this, the girls knowing no English – Doubleday's knowledge of the language was restricted to Oui and Non and a few other one-word sentences, so Eunice interpreted for him and this went well for the scheme the two Scotchmen had decided upon; as the meal progressed, Eunice and Dominic quickly developed a closer bond: he looked to her for clarification, explanation and guidance and she clearly enjoyed playing the tutor to his student as he asked her about her travels and how she had come to la Coste – not that she gave anything away about Worm Holes, Space/Time or Bridget Riley – and for her part, she seemed delighted to be admired, praised and respected as she blossomed under his flattery; Sir Parlane just hoped that Dom wouldn't pile it on too thickly, concerned that Miss Eglantine might suspect his motives in giving her so much attention, but then, Vanitas vanitatum dixit Ecclesiastes omnia vanitas, and certainly, in that respect, Miss Eunice Eglantine was the living, breathing, glowing proof, so when Dominic held out his right hand and she took it in hers, turned it palm up and began tracing the lines, it certainly seemed that they may indeed be able to look forward to counting their chickens, which was a promising prospect, when their fortunes, otherwise, were rather abeyant; MacFarlane turned to Donny and asked: "we noticed a strange squiggly symbol set above the front door, it's not familiar to me as a coat-of-arms, can you tell me what it means?" and Donny laughed heartily: "oh, Parry, dear friend, it means, only what it is, itself," and Parry (how he hated that contraction of his name!) said: "but that is tautegorical, is there any way of pronouncing it? it is in no language I know of," at which Donny leaned forward and said, confidentially: "as I said, it is only what it is, and I have chosen it as my name, to replace the inherited one I was given at birth and no longer represents who I am," and MacFarlane's memory poked him in the ribs, as much as to say: I have encountered this conundrum before, or will in Time yet to come, but I can't for the life of me remember exactly what it was, so he said: "You are now therefore the Symbol ডিসাডrepresenting the Explorer of Human Sensuality previously known as Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade?" his host smiled, then said: "I rather like the ring of that, dear Parry, let us drink to our collaboration in my Grand Scheme!"