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      He would not leave until they had all promised to take tea on board the yacht on the following afternoon, an engagement which was kept by Allegra and the colonel; but not by Isola, whose headache was worse after the little dinner-party; nor by the curate, who had parish business to detain him on shore.

      "Yes, ma'am."CHAPTER III

      "My dear Mrs. Crowther, what nonsense," cried Isola, growing crimson at this motherly officiousness. "I have never been out of health, or in the least likely to go into a decline. One cannot always look like a dairy-maid."

      [Pg 211]


      Calling one day upon Mme. de Montesson, Mme. de Valence was told by a new servant who did not know her, that Mme. de Montesson could not be seen; she never received any one when M. de Valence was there."There's nothing to fight with in her case," he said, "and there's very little to fall back upon. I can't make her out. She has gone off just like a girl who was simply fretting herself to death; and yet, if she's fond of her husband, what in Heaven's name is there for her to fret about?"


      On one occasion his friends made him believe that there existed the post of fire-screen to the King, and that it might possibly be given to him. In order to qualify himself, they persuaded him to stand frequently before the fire until his legs were quite scorched, assuring him when he wished to move away that if he did not persevere he would never be able to fill that post.


      In the evening at Byculla, in the street of the disreputable, in front of a house hermetically closed, and painted with a round red spot for each person who had died there, a fire of sulphur was burning with a livid glow. Only one gambling-house tried to tempt customers with a great noise of harmonium and tom-toms; and from a side street came a response of muffled tambourines and castanets. First the dead, wrapped in red stuff and tied to a bamboo, and then the procession turned into the lighted street. White shapes crowded by, vanishing at once, and the harmonium again rose above the silence with its skipping tunes, and the tom-toms beating out of timeand attracted no one.Lhistoire dun roi de vingt ans,