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There were years that this venerable old swell was leading asomewhat-variegated existence, in company with rather-funny ladies,you know. And as he was not exactly calculated to be adored at par,why, it cost papa's stockholders a pretty lively premium. But,anyhow, he must have carried off a handsome nugget."And, bouncing to the piano, she began an accompaniment loud enoughto crack the window-panes, singing at the same time the popularrefrain of the "Young Ladies of Pautin:

Cashier, you've got the bag;Quick on your little nag,And then, ho, ho, for Belgium!

Any one but Marius de Tregars would have been doubtless strangelysurprised at Mlle. de Thaller's manners. But he had known her forsome time already: he was familiar with her past life, her habits,her tastes, and her pretensions. Until the age of fifteen, Mlle.

Cesarine had remained shut up in one of those pleasant Parisianboarding-schools, where young ladies are initiated into the greatart of the toilet, and from which they emerge armed with thegayest theories, knowing how to see without seeming to look, andto lie boldly without blushing; in a word, ripe for society. Thedirectress of the boarding-school, a lady of the ton, who had metwith reverses, and who was a good deal more of a dressmaker thana teacher, said of Mlle. Cesarine, who paid her three thousandfive hundred francs a year,"She gives the greatest hopes for the future; and I shall certainlymake a superior woman of her."But the opportunity was not allowed her. The Baroness de Thallerdiscovered, one morning, that it was impossible for her to livewithout her daughter, and that her maternal heart was lacerated bya separation which was against the sacred laws of nature. She tookher home, therefore, declaring that nothing, henceforth, not evenher marriage, should separate them, and that she should finishherself the education of the dear child. From that moment, in fact,whoever saw the Baroness de Thaller would also see Mlle. Cesarinefollowing in her wake.

A girl of fifteen, discreet and well-trained, is a convenientchaperon; a chaperon which enables a woman to show herself boldlywhere she might not have dared to venture alone. In presence ofa mother followed by her daughter, disconcerted slander hesitates,and dares not speak.

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Under the pretext that Cesarine was still but a child and of noconsequence, Mme. de Thaller dragged her everywhere, - to the boisand to the races, visiting and shopping, to balls and parties, tothe watering-places and the seashore, to the restaurant, and toall the "first nights" at the Palais Royal, the Bouffes, theVarietes, and the Delassements. It was, therefore, especially atthe theatre, that the education of Mlle. de Thaller, so happilycommenced, had received the finishing touch. At sixteen she wasthoroughly familiar with the repertoire of the genre theatres,imitated Schneider far better than ever did Silly, and sang withsurprising intonations and astonishing gestures Blanche d'Autigny'ssuccessful moods, and Theresa's most wanton verses.

Between times, she studied the fashion papers, and formed herstyle in reading the "Vie Parisienne," whose most enigmatic articleshad no allusions sufficiently obscure to escape her penetration.

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She learned to ride on horseback, to fence and to shoot, anddistinguished herself at pigeon-matches. She kept a betting-book,played Trente et Quarante at Monaco; and Baccarat had no secretsfor her. At Trouville she astonished the natives with the startlingnovelty of her bathing-costumes; and, when she found herself thecentre of a reasonable circle of lookers-on, she threw herself inthe water with a pluck that drew upon her the applause of thebathing-masters. She could smoke a cigarette, empty nearly a glassof champagne; and once her mother was obliged to bring her home,and put her quick to bed, because she had insisted upon tryingabsinthe, and her conversation had become somewhat too eccentric.

Leading such a life, it was difficult that public opinion shouldalways spare Mme. and Mlle. de Thaller. There were sceptics whoinsinuated that this steadfast friendship between mother and daughterhad very much the appearance of the association of 'two women boundtogether by the complicity of a common secret. A broker told how,one evening, or one night rather, for it was nearly two o'clock,happening to pass in front of the Moulin-Rouge, he had seen theBaroness and Mlle. Cesarine coming out, accompanied by a gentleman,to him unknown, but who, he was quite sure, was not the Baron deThaller.

A certain journey which mother and daughter had undertaken in theheart of the winter, and which had lasted not less than two months,had been generally attributed to an imprudence, the consequencesof which it had become impossible to conceal, They had been inItaly, they said when they returned; hut no one had seen themthere. Yet, as Mme. and Mlle. de Thaller's mode of life was, afterall, the same as that of a great many women who passed for beingperfectly proper, as there was no positive or palpable fact broughtagainst them, as no name was mentioned, many people shrugged theirshoulders, and replied,"Pure slanders,"And why not, since the Baron de Thaller, the most interested party,held himself satisfied?

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To the ill-advised friends who ventured some allusions to the publicrumors, he replied, according to his humor,"My daughter can play the mischief generally, if she sees fit. AsI shall give a dowry of a million, she will always find a husband,"Or else, "And what of it? Do not American young ladies enjoyedunlimited freedom? Are they not constantly seen going out withyoung gentlemen, or walking or traveling alone? Are they, for allthat, less virtuous than our girls, who are kept under such closewatch? Do they make less faithful wives, or less excellent mothers?

Hypocrisy is not virtue."To a certain extent, the Manager of the Mutual Credit was right.