Onderstaande tekst is niet 100% betrouwbaar

tree for her, for this eccentricity had become an almost daily diversion in their lives. It gave him exquisite pleasure to dress these trees with candles and tinsel and with glass balls of silver and gold; even more did it delight him to deck the dark fir branches with all that was left to him of the crown jewels of Brandenstein. These jewels it was his custom to hang about her neck, after a speech in which, oblivious of the time and season, he was wont to extol what he still persisted in regarding as the typically Russian custom of the Christmas tree. The fact that at his elbow there waited a lackey, bearing a velvet cushion upon which, after a proper demonstration of gratitude on Lina's part, the jewels were invariably replaced, so that the lackey in his turn, might replace them, according to orders, in the safe indicated for such purposes, worried Eitel Gustav not at all. Like a child, he lived in the present, and when he pretended to present his jewels to Lina he honestly believed that he did give them to her, and that the lackey, and the cushion, and the inevitable safe, were all a part of the game that was best forgotten.

And Lina, who was always pitifrl of Eitel Gustav, played this game admirably, crying out with delight as each dirty, badly set diamond necklace was hung about her neck. When at last her arms were heavy with bracelets, and when finally the royal crown of Brandenstein itself pressed painfully upon her brow, the lackey, realizing that his master's playtime was over, would step forward to announce briskly:

"Highness, it is time to lock up the safe."

He might have said instead that it was time for the toys to be put away for the night. Eitel Gustav always sulked for a while and then pretended not to see that Lina was obediently employed in taking off the jewels and replacing them upon the velvet cushion. When this cere-

Sluiten