She drew nearer to me, lowering her voice.
" And if I -were to tell you that the president of the republic himself . . . why, yes, my little one ! That gives you an idea of what my house is. There is not one like it in the world. Rabineau's is nothing side of my house. And stay! yester- day at five o'clock the president was so well pleased that he promised me the academic palms . . . for my son, who is chief auditor in a religious educational institution at Auteuil."
She looked at me a long time, searching me body and soul, and repeated:
"Oh! if you would! What a success! "
I offered a heap of objections, my lack of fine linen, of costumes, of jewels. The old woman reassured me.
"Oh! if that's all," said she, " you need not worry, because in my house, you understand, natural beauty is the chief adornment."
" Yes, yes, I know, but still "...
' ' I assure you that you need not worry, ' ' she insisted, with benevolence. " Listen, sign a con- tract with me for three months, and I will give you an outfit of the best, such as no soubrette of the Theitre-Frangais ever had. My word for it! "
I aÂ§}ied time to reflect.
" Well, all right! reflect," counseled this dealer in human flesh. " Let me give you my address, at any rate. When your heart speaks, â€” well, you