show, that it was impossible to escape from the house. The masked gentleman then dropped down on one knee and pretended to serenade them, which* caused more laughter, obviously so encouraging to one of festive spirit that he sprang to his feet, ran nimbly across the bridge, climbed like a cat on to the arch and stood there smiling only a few yards away from them.
"Come along!" he called to them, "jump, if you like, and I'll catch you, but come quickly, or we shall miss the fun!"
"Impossible!" Lina explained, shaking her head.
"Mademoiselle, you are ravishing, and I adore your mulberry dress. Furthermore, it is Carnival, and I want first to dance with you, then to feed you with sugarplums 1"
"Alas!" she mocked, "I'm a prisoner, and you can not rescue me. What is more, you will most certainly in another moment fall into the canal, and that would be a pity, for your clothes are very fine."
He laughed at that, still poised straddling on the arch of the bridge. Beneath the black velvet mask his mouth was wide and gay, the mouth of one who lives for and loves the pleasures of the world.
"Mademoiselle, you are an ingrate, and I shall waste no more time upon you. But one day, when next I cross your path, I shall assuredly carry you off and make you dance with me. Therefore I shall say, not adieu, but au revoir. As for the sugar-plums, here they are. Catch!"
He flung through the window a handful of crystallized violets and rose-leaves, doffed his hat with exaggerated deference, jumped off the bridge and ran away without another word. But they thought they heard him laughing as he disappeared.
"Mademoiselle," Marie announced solemnly, kneeling