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her shoulders. It was the color of her skin, without the glow, the
myriad living tints that one may sometimes discover in vibrant
flesh. There was something in her attitude, in her whole
appearance when she leaned her head against the high-backed chair
and spread her arms, which suggested the regal woman, the one who rules,
who looks on, who stands alone.
But as she sat there amid her guests, she felt the old ennui
overtaking her; the hopelessness which so often assailed her, which
came upon her like an obsession, like something extraneous,
independent of volition. It was something which announced itself;
a chill breath that seemed to issue from some vast cavern wherein
discords waited. There came over her the acute longing which
always summoned into her spiritual vision the presence of the
beloved one, overpowering her at once with a sense of the
The moments glided on, while a feeling of good fellowship
passed around the circle like a mystic cord, holding and binding
these people together with jest and laughter. Monsieur Ratignolle
was the first to break the pleasant charm. At ten o'clock he
excused himself. Madame Ratignolle was waiting for him at home.
She was bien souffrante, and she was filled with vague dread,
which only her husband's presence could allay.
Mademoiselle Reisz arose with Monsieur Ratignolle, who offered
to escort her to the car. She had eaten well; she had tasted the
good, rich wines, and they must have turned her head, for she bowed
pleasantly to all as she withdrew from table. She kissed Edna upon
the shoulder, and whispered: "Bonne nuit, ma reine; soyez sage."
She had been a little bewildered upon rising, or rather,
descending from her cushions, and Monsieur Ratignolle gallantly
took her arm and led her away.
Mrs. Highcamp was weaving a garland of roses, yellow and red.
When she had finished the garland, she laid it lightly upon
Victor's black curls. He was reclining far back in the luxurious
chair, holding a glass of champagne to the light.
As if a magician's wand had touched him, the garland of roses
transformed him into a vision of Oriental beauty. His cheeks were
the color of crushed grapes, and his dusky eyes glowed with a
"Sapristi!" exclaimed Arobin.