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nial humor as the prince of spendthrifts; Lady Pamela Lawless refuses to hide her charms under wrinkles and whitewash." (An outside observer might cavil at this allusion to the personal endowments of Lady Pamela, than whom a plainer woman never breathed; but, as I have already said, the affection between the two friends is of material too delicate for rough-and-ready analysis.) Mr. Wolfgang is afraid of his B's and P's; I myself am the only well-disposed member of the troupe-consequently the only one whose decisions shall be final! We will act 'The Maid of Honor.""

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Miss Vivash leans back on the sofa, as much as is possible to lean on any piece of furniture in Schloss Egmont, and, folding her finely-cut arms, complacently begins to recite aloud:

"Can he guess that I love him, or have I been betrayed? I may avow that, were I disposed to bestow my hand on a gentleman of birth and breeding, I should consult only my own pleasure in the act.'"

"The Maid of Honor" is a little one-act comedy, in which, as theatre-going people know, Vivian, during the past season, has won laurels. Have not royal hands thrown her bouquets after its performance? Have not newspaper critics pronounced her an amateur O'Neil, a younger Dejazet—the bolder of the prints going as far as to hint that 'twere pity Miss Vivash's histrionic genius should not, like the beauty of her face, outstep the limits of mere amateur fame?

“And you, Miss Dempster," she goes on, turning to Jeanne, "would like to take a part, doubtless? Well, we will try to find something for you. The character of Laura, alias Cesario, with the points cut out, might be made to suit -might it not, Pamela ?"

"I act Cesario myself, or I act nothing," says Lady Pamela. "Where is the good of possessing an hussar's dress if one may not bring it in, Hessian boots and all? You take the Duchess, of course. Jeanne must be the Maid of Honor. With her eyes, and her blushes, and her seventeen years, Jeanne will look the ingénue to perfection."

Vivian's pale glance travels slowly downward from the girl's face to her feet, then up again. Jeanne can feel the coral beads scorching once more into her throat. Once more she is conscious of her over-short sleeves, her over-broad shoes of every inartistic, provincial item in her whole dress.

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be willing to do her best, and Evans could improvise some kind of dress that might pass as poudrée for her; still-"

"Blanche Plantagenet is the ugliest woman in England, and thirty-three," remarks Sir Christopher innocently. "True bill, Miss Vivashmatter of history. All the Plantagenets are as ugly as sin-no, as virtue. Some one help me with a metaphor. And as to her age, is it not recorded in the book? In the interest of art, for our credit among the Teutons, I hope Fräulein Jeanne will look as like herself, and as little like Lady Blanche Plantagenet, as possible."

"If there is any talk of theatricals," cries Ange, prudently covering her cards from her opponent as she glances round at the group of young people-"Jeanne, child, if Miss Vivash decides upon turning us out, from garret to basement, with play-acting, there will be no need to get over dresses from London. The Von Egmonts, time out of mind, have been merry-andrews (I am pleased to see that my poor wit so diverts you, Mr. Wolfgang), harlequins, poets, painters, play-actors! We have tinsel rubbish in the Fürstenzimmer alone to supply half the theatres in Germany. Theatricals!" muses Ange, her face growing overcast. "Ay, we were in the middle of theatricals when Dolores's death fell upon us. Paul and Salome were in their beds-for children were children in those days-and their mother had paint on her cheeks and roses in her powdered hair, ready to enter on the scene, when, in a moment, as all the doctors had foretold, she sank dead.-Jeanne, if Miss Vivash and her friends desire, you will show them the masquerading clothes of Dolores von Egmont just as they lie, heap above heap, in the Fürstenzimmer."

But Jeanne, ere half the tale is told, has made her exit, stealthily, from the guest-room.



A SUDDEN revulsion of feeling has seized the girl; an awakening of vanity, dormant in her simple heart until to-day; a burning desire to get rid of her beads, her shoes, her plaits, and appear, at all costs, as an equal, a human creature of the same flesh and blood as Vivian, in Wolfgang's sight!

The entrance-hall, the vaulted corridors of Schloss Egmont are silent, shadowed. By such faint light as the casements, few and far between, admit, Jeanne flies swiftly up one flight of stairs, down another, up a third; then along a very labyrinth of winding passages to the Fürsten

zimmer; a lumber-room now; in the days of former Von Egmont splendor the state or princely apartment of the house.

Legless chairs and tables, Flemish tapestries amid whose fine fabric successive generations of moths have run riot, the remains of Sèvres and Dresden hopelessly shattered, yet of quality so rare 'twould be a sin to throw them away; the shell of a hundred-year-old spinet; some pathetically tarnished children's toys-all the disjecta membra of the forsaken, masterless house are here.

Groping along from one dust-covered landmark to another, Jeanne makes her way to a bureau, large enough for a modern dressing-room, in which the theatrical properties of the Countess Dolores, dead more than a quarter of a century. ago, are stored. Jeanne Dempster knows these properties by heart. Bleeding nuns, Spanish duennas, French marquises, she can lay her hand, unerringly, upon the buskin or the sock, the fitting garb for comedy or tragedy, at will. The adjuncts, even to the smallest detail, are not wanting. On an upper shelf stands a mahogany dressing-case massive as a plate-chest, metalcornered, with the initials of the Countess Dolores worked in silver on the lid. In this are ranged hair-powder, patches, paint; scent-bottles from which the sweetness has not quite evaporated; a needle, even, threaded with faded silk; an artificial rose-bud, to have been worn, perchance, on that last night when, amid music, dancing, masking, the final curtain went down, with a run, upon the Countess Dolores's life!

Under common circumstances little Jeanne would have held this dressing-case sacred. Scores of times she has looked over its disordered contents, but fearfully, shrinkingly, with the coward's courage, the ghostly creeping of the flesh which children of a certain temperament shrink from, yet court. Vanity, however, like these fathers of families, is capable of all. Aided by the moon, that just now shines fitfully through a rift of inky clouds, she selects a Louis Quinze costume that suits her fancy; then, bearing the dressingbox in her arms, dances away to her own room, lightsome as any little moon-sprite of the Wald, to dress. To dress! April-cheeked reader of seventeen, looking forward to your first breakfast, opera, ball, your first appearance in any guise upon the platform of life's great comedyyou know the meaning of the word!

And the costume is rigidly accurate. In these days of imitation and veneer, we smack of Manchester even in our travesties; our velvets are cotton-backed, our brocaded Pompadours calico. Our forebears carried a kind of conscience into their very follies, did their pleasures on a solider scale than we have heart for. The

uplooped tunic is of blue-and-silver damask, the product doubtless of some Spanish loom brought originally to Schloss Egmont in the young bride's trousseau. Richest Valencia lace sets off the throat and sleeves. The clocked silk stockings, high-heeled shoes, embroidered Castilian fanall in their way are artistic, all are genuine.

Hastily lighting the candles on her dressingtable (homely Black Forest "dips"; there is not an item of needless extravagance in Ange's housekeeping), Jeanne sets to work on her own transformation; snatching a fearful joy as every moment brings her nearer to possible rivalry, divides her, by a wider gulf, from the Jeanne she knows. Hastily she piles up her plenteous locks, in a fashion learned from pastel court-goddesses, above her forehead. She powders, she rouges; puts on a couple of patches; exercises herself a short space over the furling and unfurling of her fan before the glass; then, ere courage has had time to cool, runs down, with step as hurried as the perilous nature of her head-gear allows, toward the guest-room.

Ruddy - cheeked Elspeth, meeting the little figure unexpectedly in a half-lit corridor, screeches aloud, drops on her knees, and signs herself with the sign of the cross. A peasant, reared among the demon-haunted valleys of the Black Forest, looks upon apparitions as among the common facts of life. In a house turned upside down by London ladies, their lovers and their maids, what can be simpler to Elspeth's mind than that some poor Gräfin's ghost should walk, perturbed! As Jeanne catches a vision of rouged and powdered marchionesses reflected in perspective from the paneled steel mirrors that line the hall, her own heart begins to beat uncomfortably. When she reaches the door of the guest-room she stops short, uncertain—yes, after her fingers touch the lock-whether to enter or fly. Elspeth's emotion is scarcely a test of the effect she may produce upon an educated audience. She may be unlike Jeanne Dempster, yet neither beautiful nor artistic. How if Vivian, by a glance, should cover her with ridicule-if she should see cool disgust on Wolfgang's face!

As Jeanne hesitates, Fate, in the person of Sir Christopher, cuts off the possibility of retreat. Sir Christopher, suddenly unclosing the door of the guest-room, sees, recognizes her.

"Lady Teazle!" he exclaims, taking possession of both the girl's little, cold hands-" Lady Teazle, by all that's wonderful!" Then leads her straight under the fullest light of the chandeliers-leads her, blushing, shrinking (yet with a child's arch vanity showing delightfully through her paint, through her shyness), into the presence of them all.

And the expression of Wolfgang's face is not

one of disgust. Thus much Jeanne feels rather than sees, as she stands, Sir Christopher still doing showman, with every eye fixed upon her, every tongue criticising her transformation.

"Ausgezeichnete! Wunderschöne!" exclaim the good Herr Pastor and his Frau in chorus. "Wunderschöne !" repeats the master, in a lower key.

"Wonder Jane - certainly!" echoes Sir Christopher. "Janet, the wonder of the world. All languages are intelligible when the text of the sermon is a woman's beauty."

Beauty! At the word, Miss Vivash rises to her feet. Then, adjusting her pincenes, that lawful recognized weapon of impertinence, she bestows a stare of cold curiosity upon Jeanne Dempster's shrinking figure.

"Quite too amusing, really, if one were going to get up that sort of thing-charades-fairy stories-transformation of the Ugly Duckling! Unfortunately, my talents do not lie in the direction of burlesque."

"A delicious bit of porcelain," cries Lady Pamela, with her off-hand good nature." Sir Christopher, pray put yourself in a fitting attitude as pendant.

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Sir Christopher, laying his hand upon his heart, declares he has been to fancy balls, to private theatricals, to everything of the kind the season has produced, ad nauseam; yet, after all, has had to come to the Black Forest to see how charming a really pretty girl can look poudréedashed if he has not!

Miss Vivash drops him a stately courtesy. If a look could kill, Sir Christopher's harmless span of existence must, on the instant, come to sudden end.

"We accept the compliment, literally! Sir Christopher Marlowe has been this season ad nauseam to fancy balls, at which we have given him dances; has acted this season ad nauseam in private theatricals with us! And now Sir Christopher Marlowe has come to the Black Forest to see how well a really pretty girl can look poudrée-dashed if he has not!

"Remarks made on the subject of rush-lights can not include the sun," says Sir Christopher with grave gallantry. "Perfection has no rivals."

'You have given utterance to a very elegant sentiment, sir," cries Ange, warming at the mere ring of a copy-book aphorism. "When I was young, I always said we commonplace girls had more to dread from each other than we had from the toasts-they called the beauties 'toasts' in those days, Miss Vivash. Now, there was a con

nection of my own, quite a celebrity, a Miss Carlton Jarvis-"

"No, we are not going to act a burlesque,” interrupts Miss Vivash, with her fine, native breeding. "So I fear our village marchioness must be pronounced out of court. If we require Miss Dempster's talents at the last, Evans, my maid, can run her up a suitable dress in a couple of hours."

She moves a contemptuous step or two away; then, pausing, glances back across her shoulder at Wolfgang. If it be your custom, reader, to gaze at idle moments into the London photographers' windows, the Vivian glance, the Vivian shoulder, must alike be familiar to you.

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'You possess the delightful talent of not singing, I think, Mr. Wolfgang?" (Beauty's imitation of the class of Vere de Vere is one of the most diverting caricatures extant to him who has a humorously disposed soul. She drawls, droops her eyelids, raises her brows; is familiar, chilling, impertinent, by turns; and succeeds—much as Goldsmith's two town madams succeeded when they swam, sprawled, languished, frisked, in vain rivalry of Olivia Primrose's natural grace and high spirits.) "Well, if you do not sing, you can play a waltz, surely, or whistle one. I suppose you never heard Lord Albert de Montmorenci whistle dance-music? Something must positively be done to keep me from falling asleep."

"Wenn der young beebles might waltz, so play I, ach, my Gott, yes!" cries good Frau Meyer, bustling across to the instrument. "Herr Professor Wolfgang, I invite you, in ze Fräulein's name, for von tanz.'

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The Frau Meyer's dance-music dates from an even earlier year than her hair-dressing. She thunders forth Strauss's "First Set," the “Original Polka," and the "Elfin Waltzes," with a will, the Herr Pastor performing an ad libitum drum accompaniment with his feet. Her time, however, is good; the guest-room floor is waxed and polished to a nicety. Ere a couple of minutes have sped, chairs and tables are pushed aside, and little Jeanne, with Sir Christopher's arm round her waist, is whirling wildly through space.

Lady Pamela, who seems accustomed to play fifth wheel in the coach, chats with Ange in a corner. The beauty and Herr Wolfgang stand side by side near the piano.

"I have come to the Black Forest to see a really pretty girl poudrée, and I have come to the Black Forest to get a really good waltz." So runs an insidious whisper of Kit Marlowe's as he and Jeanne make their first pause for breath. "The moralists account it among my sins that I turn life into one long joke—a joke, so they say, without a point. Jeanne "(tenderly), "I will make you a confession. I should be quite content to

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turn life into one long waltz with you for my trained art. More spontaneous grace, more poepartner." try of movement, you will see exhibited at any village festival among the Black Forest peasantmaidens. But grace, poetry, may not be the qualifications most in vogue in London ballrooms. During a pair of seasons Vivian has been forced, as fifty years ago Lord Byron worded it, to "waltz for a living." Her sinuous, gliding movements, her pose of head and shoulders, are, I doubt not, in accordance with modern æsthetic taste, a simple case of supply meeting demand: who shall cavil at them?

'Frau Meyer for ever playing the Elfin Waltzes,' the Herr Pastor for ever beating time with his Sunday shoes. What an earthly paradise!" "Our Beauty, our Hyde Park goddess, dances as she does everything-divinely," muses Sir Christopher, giving a glance across the room at Vivian. "If ever you come to London, little Jeanne, if you are lucky enough to penetrate to the very heart and bull's-eye of fashion, you may witness a refined aristocracy struggling together -elderly earls treading on each other's toes, dowager duchesses balancing their sixteen stone on rickety ballroom chairs-in vain efforts to behold Miss Vivash dance. These things are above my head. As a plain, humble-minded man, I feel that I could in the main be content with lowlier excellence-a lily-of-the-valley, a violet by a mossy stone, a Black Forest brier-rose-"

They have by this time moved a few steps nearer to the instrument, and Jeanne can hear Miss Vivash's voice. In her eagerness to catch Wolfgang's answer the girl forgets to listen to the end of Sir Christopher Marlowe's flowery compliments.

"It is quite nonsense for you to refuse me! As if a German could be out of practice in waltzing! Come, Mr. Wolfgang, make no more vain excuses. I am not in the habit of going on my knees, I can tell you."

("On her knees!" repeats Sir Christopher, sotto voce. "No; that is a charge her worst detractors would scarcely bring against our Beauty!”)

"I give you a last chance. Make up your mind to accept or refuse me before I count five. One, two, three-"

And Wolfgang's arm encircles the wasp-like


Vivian pauses for a moment before starting; not noticing Jeanne, not noticing an opposite mirror, hung at such an angle that Wolfgang can see the reflection of her own face. She pauses, gives a meaning glance across at Lady Pamela, the tip of her nose pointing heavenward; then with her morsel of a lace handkerchief dispels some imaginary dust from the master's threadbare coat-sleeve before resting her hand upon his arm.

Brief is the contemptuous action, quickly followed by dulcet whispers, by goddess smiles. But the master has seen it; and Jeanne-ah, how the child's heart throbs, how her blood boils at the slight! Is Wolfgang so much of a philosopher, she asks herself, so infatuated, so dead already to self-respect, as to let this insult to his poverty pass by unnoticed?

"Miss Vivash deserves the salon to herself," says Jeanne, drawing back gravely from Sir Christopher's side. "It is well for me to take a lesson, well to see how goddesses-I mean how people who go to court-balls-hold up their trains."

"You have no train to hold," answers Kit Marlowe ;" and, while you live, you will never be a goddess. Rein in your ambition, little Jeanne," he adds. "Goddesses are articles of luxury-articles whose manufacture costs over-dear in the nineteenth century, take my word for it."

Miss Vivash swims languidly round the room twice, exertion enough, doubtless, with such a partner, before such spectators; then, sinking in a posture that artists of a certain school have told her is "classic" on the sofa, she lifts her eyes, a sleepy fire in their pale depths, full upon the master.

"You have not often in your life danced a waltz like that, Mr. Wolfgang?'

The words are nothing. The manner is that of a queen who, having bestowed some hazardously great favor on a subject, would fain recall him by a glance, a tone, to a sense of the gulf that lies between them.

"I have danced few waltzes of any kind," answers Wolfgang, with humility, "and such partners as I have had have been Bauer-mädchen. Confess, Miss Vivash, you find my step barbarously German, do you not?"

Barbarously German!" repeats Vivian, with a little laugh, prettily learned, coming from no region near the heart. "We are accustomed, at court, I can assure you, to partners of every nation in Europe, to German most of all, naturally

from our family connections. Indeed, among the higher classes of society, nationalities do not exist. Everybody waltzes alike."

As Vivian speaks, Wolfgang reviews her charms impartially: the soulless brow, the pale, voluptuous eyes, the studied abandonment of pose and limb. Then he glances across the room at the Ugly Duckling, at the transparent, primrose face of little Jeanne. It is in moments seemingly trivial as this one that men's fates are

Miss Vivash's waltzing is the perfection of decided for them.

"And you will pay me no compliments, Miss Vivash? I can not aspire to be compared to court-partners or the higher classes of society, but you might, at least, raise my hopes by telling me I have not trodden on your toes or torn your gown."

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ing of our theatricals, Mr. Wolfgang. Does that give you hope enough?

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'Just enough to keep me alive in the interval," says Wolfgang, with emphasis.

And Vivian hides her face away behind her fan. It is the nearest approach ever made by

'I invite you for the first waltz on the even- the Popular Beauty to blushing.

(To be continued.)



N the time of Louis le Grand there stood on the banks of the Seine, on the site now known as the Place Napoléon III., the famous Hôtel Rambouillet. Its noble owner married, somewhere about 1630, a woman of high birth, amiable disposition, and of cultivated tastes, named Catherine de Vivonne. Everything which refinement, luxury, and wealth could suggest was to be found in the salons of Madame de Rambouillet, who took especial pains to attract thither all the celebrities of her time. Among her votaries were La Rochefoucauld, Jean Chapelain, the Abbé Cotin, the oracle of politesse Voiture, Jean Louis de Balzac, the poet Segrais, Madame de Sévigné, her correspondent Bussy Rabutin, the mother of the great Condé, his sister Madame de Longueville, and others whose claims to remembrance have long since been surrendered. Such were the dilettanti who assembled ostensibly to criticise literature and art, men and manners, but really to take their places in the history of Jean Baptiste Poquelin. The fame of these social gatherings spread through France, and an invitation to the Hôtel Rambouillet became an object of ambition. But the difficulty of obtaining an entrée must have been considerable, for we have it on the authority of one of its members that it was absolutely necessary to be acquainted with that nadir of research, "le fin des choses, le grand fin, le fin du fin,” and also to be introduced by one of its members, known by the title of "le grand introducteur des ruelles." But in spite of the rigor of these ordinances a vast concourse assembled daily within the Hôtel Rambouillet, where they talked a great deal of dialectical nonsense. They gravely debated, like John of Salisbury, on the most frivolous subjects. Deep research was employed in order to guess the most inane riddle. Interminable speeches were delivered relative to the metaphysical attributes of love; and every variety of sentiment, human and divine, was discussed with a ludicrous refinement of expression, and a pompous parade of learning. In the words of La Bruyère, the

members of this hermaphrodite areopagus "left to the vulgar the art of intelligible speech." Abstruse subjects led to others even more obscure, over which this precious society cast the mantle of enigma; each sally of wit being greeted with rounds of applause. It was not necessary to be gifted with either good sense, a good memory, or, indeed, the humblest capacity, in order to shine at these réunions; it only needed a certain amount of wit, and that of no high order. The customs which prevailed in this Valhalla of folly were not less extraordinary than the discourse of its members. The women affected an exaggeration of romantic sentiment. It was their custom to address one another in terms of endearment, such as 'ma chère," "précieuse," designations by which the whole coterie became gradually known throughout France. These "précieuses" do not appear to have reserved their buffooneries exclusively for the Hôtel Rambouillet, where they were understood, for we learn from a contemporaneous author that they kept up their "customs" even in their own homes. They slept during the best hours of the day, and paid ceremonious, not to say inconvenient, visits at nightfall. They lisped in conversation; and, to the scandal of their godfathers and godmothers, exchanged their Christian names for those of pagan divinities. During the séances each goddess sat enthroned in a gorgeous alcove, within whose mystic depths she was wont to ponder on things æsthetic, or worldly. To heighten the absurdity of her situation, she was constantly attended by one of the sterner sex who, in his capacity of alcoviste, bore the inspirations of her genius to the surrounding alcoves. "Les précieuses," says the Abbé Cotin, himself a member of this coterie

-“les précieuses s'envoyaient visiter par un rondeau ou un énigme, et c'est par là que commençaient toutes les conversations."

One night during the summer of 1659-a memorable year in the annals of genius-while the "précieuses" were in conclave assembled, and rounds of applause hailed the explosion of

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