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"She has plenty of impudence, all the same," Marie pursued, "a young girl, fresh from the Milan school, prepared to make a fooi of herself dancing Madame's röles in public! What next, one asks oneself?"

"You have grown very gray, lately, Marie," Lina observed disconcertingly, as sole reply to this comment.

Marie said nothing, but diplomatically continued brushing.

Lina continued, after a pause: "It's many years, isn't it, since we sat together at a window to watch the Bruges carnival, and Monsieur de Beauvais threw comfits to us, and I wore my mulberry dress?"

"Certainly it is not yesterday," Marie agreed with an air of sapience.

And Lina murmured, almost to herself:

"C'est finie, la jeunesse ... and I have not made enough of it . . . but thank God that I can still dance ... I can still make even a Carlotta Rosa seem clumsy. . . ."

"Ah, Madame," cried Marie suddenly, inexplicably breaking the reserve of many years, "may I at last say that I shall never, as long as I live, cease regretting the departure of Monsieur Guy! Never, never, never!"

She stopped short, fearful, aghast at having, after so long, brought back to life that long forgotten name. It called forth so many memories—spring at Fontainebleau, the rue d'Antin, all the gaiety and glamour of the Second Empire. It was like shouting aloud, carelessly, the name of some one's sacred dead, and she trembled, dreading an outburst.

But Lina only said, very sweetly: "Mais enfin, Marie, what's the matter with you to-night? We mustn't live in the past, but in the present. And the name you mentioned belongs to the past. It is the same as talking of Bruges, and of Monsieur Rosing. All that is finished and done with. Don't be ridiculous!"