Page:The Yellow Book - 10.djvu/70

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He might quite reasonably have liked her voice, a delicate, clear, soft voice, somewhat high in register, with an accent, crisp, chiselled, concise, that suggested wit as well as distinction. She was rather tall, for a woman; one could divine her slender and graceful, under the voluminous folds of her domino.


She moved a little away from the door, deeper into the conservatory. The mandarin kept beside her. There, amongst the palms, a fontaine lumineuse was playing, rhythmically changing colour. Now it was a shower of rubies; now of emeralds or amethysts, of sapphires, topazes, of opals.


"How pretty," she said, "and how frightfully ingenious. I am wondering whether this wouldn't be a good place to sit down. What do you think?" And she pointed with her fan to a rustic bench.


"I think it would be no more than fair to give it a trial," he assented.


So they sat down on the rustic bench, by the fontaine lumineuse.


"In view of your fear that you re not Mr. Field, it's rather a coincidence that at a masked ball in Vienna you should just happen to be English, isn't it ?" she asked.


"Oh, everybody's more or less English, in these days, you know," said he.


"There's some truth in that," she admitted, with a laugh. "What a diverting piece of artifice this Wintergarten is, to be sure. Fancy arranging the electric lights to shine through a dome of purple glass, and look like stars. They do look like stars, don't they? Slightly over-dressed, showy stars, indeed; stars in the German taste; but stars, all the same. Then, by day, you know, the purple glass is removed, and you get the sun the real sun. Do you notice the delicious fragrance of lilac? If one hadn't