Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/228

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Institute.



The portrait-painter, Jacques Rigaud.

The psychological novelist, Maurice Fernancourt. • The society reporter. Poult d'Essoy.

The invitations were sent out, and, thanks to the mediation of influential persons, all were accepted.

The Countess Fergus alone hesitated:

" The Charrigauds? " said she. " Is theirs really a proper house ? Has he not been engaged in all sorts of pursuits on Montmartre, in the past? Do they not say that he sold obscene photographs, for which he had posed, with an artificial bust? And are there not some disagreeable stories afloat regarding her? Did she not have some rather vulgar experiences before her marriage ? Is it not said that she has been a model, — that she has posed for the altogether? "What a horror! A woman who stripped before men who are not even her lovers ? ' '

Finally she accepted the invitation, on being assured that Mme. Charrigaud had posed only for the head, that Charrigaud, who was very vindic- tive, would be quite capable of disgracing her in one of his books, and that Kimberly would come to this dinner. Oh ! if Kimberly had promised to come ! Kimberly, such a perfect gentleman, and so delicate and so charming, really charming!

The Charrigauds were informed of these negotia- tions and these scruples. Far from taking offence, they congratulated themselves that they had