And now, as we have started to make me beautiful, you had better arrange my hair in curls."
"To think," Marie commented, giggling, "that you were once the little gipsy who so much frightened Justine by arriving at the quai des Augustins, wanting to teil us both la bonne aventure!"
"Am I so different?"
"There's a certain difïerence, yes! Then you were thin, ill, half-starved! Now you are beautiful. Yes, really beautiful," Marie concluded with satisfaction, "in this magnificent dress by Monsieur Worth! And they teil me the Empress is dressed by him—she must indeed have good taste!"
And so in radiant white, with swirling tempestuous skirts and the glitter of diamonds at her breast, and her black hair disposed in the long glossy ringlets of the period, Lina went into the salon to await her guests.
A sudden spark of mischief made her start playing the love-song from the opera Mignon exactly as the door-bell rang, and De Beauvais, entering to these familiar strains, found her smiling at him across the room with a mocking, yet half-tender expression.
"My dear Lina! How delightful to see you again! And I hear that abroad you have enjoyed a succes jou!"
"Oh," said she, "I have been very fortunate."
"May I present to you," he said, "Madame Elise Rambert?"
This lady was his present mistress, an exceedingly pretty fair woman in a lilac dress with a splendid diamond necklace.
"Madame," she said enthusiastically, "I can scarcely even now believe that I am to have the honor of meeting the Ondine herself! The times I have applauded your delicious dancing! But Pierre will teil you how much, and how often your great talents have enthralled me!"