Page:Court Royal.djvu/100

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unlocked one of the sedan chairs. At the bottom was an iron chest. He opened it and took out some jewel cases. ‘No, my daughter,’ he said, ‘you cannot appreciate the darlings by this light. See this necklace, Joanna, it is made of pearls, and this brooch is of diamonds, so is the circlet for the hair. Get along with you; light another candle, curse the expense! and put the rose silk dress on you. Do up your hair as if for a ball, and I will try the jewels on you. I allow you a quarter of an hour for rigging yourself out. Take whatever you require, but mind and replace all when you have done; also, don’t remove the tickets.’

In about twenty minutes Joanna returned. When she entered she found a brass chandelier hung from the ceiling full of candles and alight, filling the room with unwonted splendour. The Jew sat on his bed rubbing his hands, and when she came in he laughed aloud and clapped his palms on his knees, and kicked his heels against the board at his bedside.

Joanna looked taller in her dress of rose silk. Her neck, bosom, and arms were bare. She had edged the breast and sleeves with rich old lace. Her raven hair was brushed back and rolled over her head, exposing her ears. Thinking her boots too heavy, she had thrown them off, and came in her stocking soles, but as the gown was long her lack of shoes was unperceived. She entered the room of Lazarus without a blush or a smile, perfectly composed in manner, and stood before him under the chandelier.

‘Give me the diamonds,’ she said.

‘No,’ he answered, ‘you shall have the pearls. An unmarried woman does not wear diamonds. I have a chain of Roman pearls for your hair, and another for your pretty throat.’

Lazarus looked at her with amazed admiration. She was extraordinarily beautiful; her neck long and graceful, her hair rich and lustrous, her features finely cut, and her magnificent eyes full of intelligence. The grub had developed into a gorgeous butterfly.

The Jew contemplated her in silence for some minutes, and then he screamed with laughter.

‘Joanna! your hands, your hands!’

She put her hands behind her, and coloured. ‘I could find no gloves,’ she said, looking down.

‘A pair of dirty hands is a badge of honour,’ said the pawnbroker. ‘Don’t be ashamed of them.’

‘They are not dirty,’ answered the girl, sullenly, ‘but grimy