eyes were bloodshot, and he wore a little queue tied with black ribbon. He was the Marquiss father- in-law, the old Duke de Laverdiere, once on a time favourite of the Count dArtois, in the days of the Vaudreuil hunting-parties at the Marquis de Conflans, and had been, it was said, the lover of Queen Marie Antoinette, between Monsieur de Coigny and Monsieur de Lauzun. He had lived a life of noisy debauch, full of duels, bets, elopements; he had squandered his fortune and frightened all his family. A servant behind his chair named aloud to him in his ear the dishes that he pointed to stammering, and constantly Emmas eyes turned involuntarily to this old man with hanging lips, as to something extraordinary. He had lived at court and slept in the bed of queens!
Iced champagne was poured out. Emma shivered all over as she felt it cold in her mouth. She had never seen pomegranates nor tasted pineapples. The powdered sugar even seemed to her whiter and finer than elsewhere.
The ladies afterwards went to their rooms to prepare for the ball.
Emma made her toilet with the fastidious care of an actress on her debut. She did her hair according to the directions of the hairdresser, and put on the barége dress spread out upon the bed. Charless trousers were tight across the belly.
My trouser-straps will be rather awkward for dancing, he said.
Dancing? repeated Emma.
Why, you must be mad! They would make fun of you; keep your place. Besides, it is more becoming for a doctor, she added.
Charles was silent. He walked up and down waiting for Emma to finish dressing.
He saw her from behind in the glass between two lights. Her black eyes seemed blacker than ever. Her hair, undulating towards the ears, shone with a blue lustre; a rose in her chignon trembled on its mobile stalk, with artificial dewdrops on the tip of the leaves. She wore a gown of pale saffron trimmed with three bouquets of pompon roses mixed with green.
Charles came and kissed her on her shoulder.
Let me alone! she said; you are tumbling me.
One could hear the flourish of the violin and the notes of a horn. She went downstairs restraining herself from running.
Dancing had begun. Guests were arriving. There was some crushing. She sat down on a form near the door.
The quadrille over, the floor was occupied by groups of men standing up and talking and servants in livery bearing large trays. Along the line of seated women painted fans were fluttering, bouquets half hid smiling faces, and gold stoppered scent-bottles were turned in partly-closed hands, whose white gloves outlined the nails and tightened on the flesh at the wrists. Lace trimmings, diamond brooches, medallion bracelets trembled on bodices, gleamed on breasts, clinked on bare arms. The hair, well- smoothed over the temples and knotted at the nape, bore crowns, or bunches, or sprays of mytosotis, jasmine, pomegranate blossoms, ears of corn, and corn-flowers. Calmly seated in their places, mothers with forbidding countenances were wearing red turbans.
Emmas heart beat rather faster when, her partner holding her by the tips of the fingers, she took her place in a line with the dancers, and waited for the first note to start. But her emotion soon vanished,
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