"Look, Marie, look!"
"C'est vraiment magnifique!" Marie agreed enthusiastically, and they both continued to stare, enraptured, at a motley crowd of rowdy merrymakers, all masked and wearing either dominos, or shabby clowns' dresses. This crowd danced along, whooping, immediately behind the band; its members seemed in excellent spirits; they paused, frequently, in the course of their grotesque capers to cuff one another over the head with painted bladders or to fling in one another's eyes showers of confetti and paper rose leaves.
"Mademoiselle," urged Marie, "you will assuredly fall out of the window if you lean forward any more."
"Look, Marie, one of them is coming here!"
And Marie, awestruck: "C'est un monsieur parjaitement bien comme il faut!"
The two women were framed in a window immediately above the canal, which reflected, with all the fidelity of a mirror, their two selves—the dark-eyed girl in her mulberry-colored frock, with her hair combed back from her forehead, and the rosy-faced maid, so misleadingly prim in her starched and snowy goffered cap. Both were young and gay and laughing, and the masked gentleman, very tall in his blue cloak, and wearing his beaver at a rakish angle, dropped ostentatiously out of the procession in order to observe them more closely.
Apparently he liked what he saw, for he called across to them cheerfully:
"Mademoiselles! Mademoiselles! What are you doing up there lilce nuns in your window? This is Carnival, and I adjure you to come along with me and take part in the procession!"
"What an impertinence!" Marie gasped, with cheeks redder than peonies.
Lina burst out laughing, and began to explain in dumb