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like mantles of snow upon the floor, its conservatory, that was always brilliant with the rainbow blooms of rare azaleas, and its aviary, in which screamed and chattered a score of gaudy, bright-winged tropical birds. There were French windows in the little salon, and these overlooked an ornamental pond in the middle of which a group of dolphins clustered about a conch shell that was in reality a fountain, flinging jets of water like glittering silver plumes, to splash and babble in the grave stillness of the garden outside.

And it was here, in this little toy house, that the Grand Duke, for the first time in his life, found happiness, catching it, capturing it, as though it were one of the gay birds fluttering in the aviary near by.