Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/399

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"My hats, Monsieur the Marquis? " responded Edgar, highly flattered, for the young Plerin, a robber at the races and a trickster at the gaming- table, was then one of the most famous personalities of Parisian society. "It is very simple; only it is like picking the -winner, — you must know how. Well, this is the trick. Every morning I make my ualet de chambre run for a quarter of an hour. He sweats, of course. And the sweat contains oil. Then, with a very fine silk handkerchief, he wipes the sweat from his brow, and rubs my hats with it. A stroke or two with the iron finishes the job. But it takes a clean and healthy man, preferably a man with nut-brown complexion, — for some blondes smell strong, and all sweats are not suitable. Last year I gave the receipt to the prince of Wales."

And, as the young marquis de Plerin thanked Edgar and slyly shook his hand, the latter added, confidently :

" Take Baladeur at seven to one. He is to be the winner. Monsieur the Marquis."

It is really funny when I think of it, but I finally came to feel flattered myself that William had such a relation. To me, too, Edgar was something admirable and inaccessible, like the emperor of Germany, Victor Hugo, or Paul Bourget. That is why I think it advisable to fix in these, pages, from all that William told me, the portrait of this more than illustrious, this hist