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But Mrs. Highcamp had one more touch to add to the picture.
She took from the back of her chair a white silken scarf, with
which she had covered her shoulders in the early part of the
evening. She draped it across the boy in graceful folds, and in a
way to conceal his black, conventional evening dress. He did not
seem to mind what she did to him, only smiled, showing a faint
gleam of white teeth, while he continued to gaze with narrowing
eyes at the light through his glass of champagne.
"Oh! to be able to paint in color rather than in words!"
exclaimed Miss Mayblunt, losing herself in a rhapsodic dream
as she looked at him,
"`There was a graven image of Desire Painted with red blood on
a ground of gold.'" murmured Gouvernail, under his breath.
The effect of the wine upon Victor was to change his
accustomed volubility into silence. He seemed to have abandoned
himself to a reverie, and to be seeing pleasing visions in the
"Sing," entreated Mrs. Highcamp. "Won't you sing to us?"
"Let him alone," said Arobin.
"He's posing," offered Mr. Merriman; "let him have it out."
"I believe he's paralyzed," laughed Mrs. Merriman. And
leaning over the youth's chair, she took the glass from his hand
and held it to his lips. He sipped the wine slowly, and when he
had drained the glass she laid it upon the table and wiped his lips
with her little filmy handkerchief.
"Yes, I'll sing for you," he said, turning in his chair toward
Mrs. Highcamp. He clasped his hands behind his head, and looking
up at the ceiling began to hum a little, trying his voice like a
musician tuning an instrument. Then, looking at Edna, he began to
"Ah! si tu savais!"
"Stop!" she cried, "don't sing that. I don't want you to sing
it," and she laid her glass so impetuously and blindly upon the
table as to shatter it against a carafe. The wine spilled over