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Chapter 12

She was sensible enough to appreciate to the full the advantages of her new position. The exquisite cleanliness of Rosing's house appealed all the more to her own fastidiousness because she had come to it straight from the squalor of Nurdo's van. The delight of wearing as many fresh underclothes as she wanted, without having to wash them herself at night when she was dead tired, was in itself a treat that endured for many weeks.

Plenty of sleep and nourishing food soon caused her to lose the half-starved look that had made her seem so delicate. She would always be slender and extremely small, but Rosing was quick to perceive that this very fragility, which gave her a fairy-like quality, was probably her greatest asset.

He thought dispassionately: "She will never really be beautiful, but she will have enough charm for people to believe that she is."

He was able, sooner than he supposed, to put this theory to the test.

She had submitted with docility to his stern decree of banishment whenever his friends came to the house, but as the months passed and she saw no one but himself, Justine and Marie, she began to resent very vigorously these almost weekly incarcerations in the solitude of her bedroom.

One night, as was so often his custom, Rosing entertained in his house Doctor Silvercroys, Vanderkerk and Paul Martens. The four men lingered a long time in the dining-room, where Rosing produced for them a precious brandy colored like the sun, that was reverently drunk