Page:Court Royal.djvu/219

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‘Sit down, and don’t throw foolish speeches at me which you do not mean. I am so glad to see you again. Do you know, I have learned to dance since I saw you last—waltz, and cotillon, and lancers, and quadrille,—these last very imperfectly for want of enough to make up sets; for want of persons we danced with chairs.’

‘Where have you been? Who taught you?’

‘Those are secrets which even you may not know.’

‘Why are you not in the pink silk and pearls I gave you?’

‘I am more splendid now; do look at me well. What do you think of this gown—pulled and slashed at the sleeves? is it not lovely, like a lady in an old painting? Look down at my shoes. They are sweet. Once, do you recollect, you laughed at me because I was in my stocking-soles, and there were holes in the stockings. Now there is not even a thread wrong in my stockings, and the shoes are simply lovely.’

‘Have you worn out the pink silk?’

‘No. Mr. Lazarus spilt salt water over it, and it is spoiled. He was forced to give me this instead.’

‘I!’ cried the Jew. ‘I have not given you this. Do not believe the girl, it is not true. The gown is hired for the night, at one guinea.’

‘Hold your tongues, both of you!’ said Joanna. ‘The overture has begun.’

The Jew was not particularly pleased at Charles Cheek appearing in the box and remaining there, but he could not tell him to leave. He drew back among the folds of the coloured hangings, with his eyes on the curtain, and looked sulky. Charles Cheek and Joanna entirely disregarded him.

‘I say,’ whispered the girl during the overture, ‘why are there so few persons in the more expensive seats?’

‘Because,’ answered the young man, ‘the better-class people despise provincial theatres; it is chic to do so. It means that they have seen things so much better done in London that they cannot endure what is inferior.’

‘But they lose great enjoyment by this nonsense.’

‘Of course they do, but——' He shrugged his shoulders.

‘Hush! Oh, do hush!’ exclaimed Joanna. ‘See! see!’

The curtain rose. Then she had eyes and ears only for the stage. In the third scene Juliet makes her first appearance. Lazarus had been moving uneasily through the two former. He bit his nails, wiped his brow, and became every moment paler. Then he put his hand forward, touched Mr.