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She continued, more to herself than to Marie, smearing her face in a mask of cold cream that muffled her voice:

"How well I remember that night! It might have been yesterday. I was unhappy, having heard for the first time that Paul was not like other children. . . . I sat at the piano trying to play my shadow dance from The Ondine, and I couldn't play it—I could never play it. And then Guy came in when I was still in a rage, and angry, and crying out that I would sell my piano, since I couldn't learn to play it."

She stopped short, remembering how he had come upon her so suddenly, with no warning whatsoever, like a light in the midst of great darkness.

"I gave him my key. I had never done that for any one before. I never have since. But I gave it to him at once, directly he asked me for it."

"There are some people," Marie agreed, smoothing out the famous dress, "that one can not possibly refuse. Monsieur Guy was—is—one. Always he could wind me about his little finger. And how often he made me die of laughing! Will Madame wear the pearls?"


"And the yellow diamond ring?"

"No. Not that! Put it away—I don't even want to see it."

And she shuddered, as though she glimpsed for a moment a barred window overlooking the waters of the Rhine. Eitel Gustav's jewel was at once replaced in its little satin-lined box.

"One day," Lina announced, "I shall sell that diamond. A madman's ring! In the past it has brought me bad luck. Give me a cloth to wipe my face."

Marie obeyed, and then produced from the cupboard a fine petticoat, stiff with lace, a chemise more delicate