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"Whatever It may be," she exclaimed, "I say in advance, I am glad!"And as M. de Traggers turned his head in some surprise,"Yes, I am glad!" she repeated, "because it would be a change; andI am sick of the life I lead. Yes, sick to be eternally andinvariably happy of that same dreary happiness. And to think thatthere are idiots who believe that I amuse myself, and who envy myfate! To think, that, when I ride through the streets, I hear girlsexclaim, whilst looking at me, 'Isn't she lucky?' Little fools!

I'd like to see them in my place. They live, they do. Theirpleasures are not all alike. They have anxieties and hopes, upsand downs, hours of rain and hours of sunshine; whilst I - alwaysdead calm! the barometer always at 'Set fair.' What a bore! Doyou know what I did to-day? Exactly the same thing as yesterday;and to-morrow I'll do the same thing as to-day.

"A good dinner is a good thing; but always the same dinner, withoutextras or additions - pouah! Too many truffles. I want somecorned beef and cabbage. I know the bill of fare by heart, you see.

In winter, theatres and balls; in summer, races and the seashore;summer and winter, shopping, rides to the bois, calls, tryingdresses, perpetual adoration by mother's friends, all of thembrilliant and gallant fellows to whom the mere thought of my dowrygives the jaundice. Excuse me, if I yawn: I am thinking of theirconversations.

"And to think," she went on, "that such will be my existence untilI make up my mind to take a husband! For I'll have to come to ittoo. The Baron Three Sixty-eight will present to me some sort ofa swell, attracted by my money. I'll answer, 'I'd just as soonhave him as any other; and he will be admitted to the honor ofpaying his attentions to me. Every morning he will send me asplendid bouquet: every evening, after bank-hours, he'll come alongwith fresh kid gloves and a white vest. During the afternoon, heand papa will pull each other's hair out on the subject of the dowry.

At last the happy day will arrive. Can't you see it from here?

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Mass with music, dinner, ball. The Baron Three Sixty-eight willnot spare me a single ceremony. The marriage of the manager of theMutual Credit must certainly be an advertisement. The papers willpublish the names of the bridesmaids and of the guests.

"To be sure, papa will have a face a yard long; because he willhave been compelled to pay the dowry the day before. Mamma willbe all upset at the idea of becoming a grandmother. Thebridegroom will be in a wretched humor, because his boots will betoo tight; and I'll look like a goose, because I'll be dressedin white; and white is a stupid color, which is not at all becomingto me. Charming family gathering, isn't it? Two weeks later, myhusband will be sick of me, and I'll be disgusted with him. Aftera month, we'll be at daggers' points. He'll go back to his cluband his mistresses; and I - I shall have conquered the right to goout alone; and I'll begin again going to the bois, to balls, toraces, wherever my mother goes. I'll spend an enormous amount ofmoney on my dress, and I'll make debts which papa will pay."Though any thing might be expected of Mlle. Cesarine, still M.

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de Traggers seemed visibly astonished. And she, laughing at hissurprise,"That's the invariable programme," she went on; "and that's why Isay I'm glad at the idea of a change, whatever it may be. You findfault with me for not pitying Mlle. Gilberte. How could I, sinceI envy her? She is happy, because her future is not settled, laidout, fixed in advance. She is poor; but she is free. She is twenty;she is pretty; she has an admirable voice; she can go on the stageto-morrow, and be, before six months, one of the pet actresses ofParis. What a life then! Ah, that is the one I dream, the one Iwould have selected, had I been mistress of my destiny."But she was interrupted by the noise of the opening door.

The Baroness de Thaller appeared. As she was, immediately afterdinner, to go to the opera, and afterwards to a party given by theViscountess de Bois d'Ardon, she was in full dress. She wore adress, cut audaciously low in the neck, of very light gray satin,trimmed with bands of cherry-colored silk edged with lace. In herhair, worn high over her head, she had a bunch of fuchsias, theflexible stems of which, fastened by a large diamond star, traileddown to her very shoulders, white and smooth as marble.

But, though she forced herself to smile, her countenance was notthat of festive days; and the glance which she cast upon herdaughter and Marius de Tregars was laden with threats. In a voiceof which she tried in vain to control the emotion,"How very kind of you, marquis," she began, "to respond so soon tomy invitation of this morning! I am really distressed to have keptyou waiting; but I was dressing. After what has happened to M. deThaller, it is absolutely indispensable that I should go out, showmyself: otherwise our enemies will be going around to-morrow, sayingeverywhere that I am in Belgium, preparing lodgings for my husband."And, suddenly changing her tone,"But what was that madcap Cesarine telling you?" she asked.

It was with a profound, surprise that M. de Traggers discovered thatthe entente cordiale which he suspected between the mother anddaughter did not exist, at least at this moment.

Veiling under a jesting tone the strange conjectures which theunexpected discovery aroused within him,"Mlle. Cesarine," he replied, "who is much to be pitied, was tellingme all her troubles."She interrupted him.

"Do not take the trouble to tell a story, M. le Marquis," she said.

"Mamma knows it as well as yourself; for she was listening at the door.""Cesarine!" exclaimed Mme. de Thaller.

"And, if she came in so suddenly, it is because she thought it wasfully time to cut short my confidences."The face of the baroness became crimson.