" You cannot imagine. But the most moving thing â€” a thing that really transformed this emotion into a painful laceration of our souls â€” was when Frederic-Ossian Pinggleton sang the poem of the betrothal of his wife and his friend. I know nothing more tragically, more superhumanly beautiful."
" Oh! I beg of you," implored the Countess Fergus, " repeat this prodigious poem for our benefit, Kimberly."
" The poem, alas! I cannot. I can give you only its essence."
" That's it, that's it! The essence."
In spite of his morals, in which they cut no figure, Kimberly filled women with mad enthusiasm, for his specialty was subtle stories of transgres- sion and of extraordinary sensations. Suddenly a thrill ran round the table, and the flowers them- selves, and the jewels on their beds of flesh, and the glasses on the table-cloth, took attitudes in harmony with the state of souls. Charrigaud felt his reason departing. He thought that he had suddenly fallen into a mad-house. Yet, by force of will, he was still able to smile, and say:
' ' Why, certainly ... certainly. ' '
The butlers finished passing something that re- sembled a ham, from which, in a flood of yellow cream, cherries poured like red larvas. As for the Countess Fergus, half swooning, she had already started for extra-terrest