Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/244

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closing again on an illuminating apparition. It was Botticellina, draped in a flowing robe, of the color of the moonlight. Her floating hair shone around her like artificial fire. In her hand she held a golden key. An ecstasy was on her lips, and the night-sky in her eyes. John-Giotto rushed forward, and disappeared behind the drapery. Then Frederic-Ossian Pinggleton lay down again on the triple row of cushions, of the color of sea-weed. And, while he buried his nails in his flesh, and while the blood streamed from him as from a foun- tain, the golden algas, now scarcely visible, gently quivered upon the wall, which was gradually tak- ing on a coating of darkness. And the heart- shaped palette and the lyre-shaped easel resounded long and long, in nuptial songs."

For some moments Kimberly was silent ; then, while the emotion that prevailed around the table was choking throats and compressing hearts, he concluded :

" And this is why I have dipped the point of my golden knife in the preserves prepared by kanaka virgins in honor of a betrothal more mag- nificent than any that our century, in its ignorance of beauty, has ever known. ' '

The dinner was over. They rose from the table in religious silence, but thrilled through and through. In the salon Kimberly was. closely sur- rounded and warmly congratulated.