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Hugh Stowell Scott
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 217 pages of information about The Velvet Glove.

“To-morrow,” she said, “I shall think this has all been a dream.”

“So shall I,” said Marcos gravely.

He lifted her into the window, and she stood listening for a moment while she took from her finger the wedding ring she had worn for half an hour and gave it back to him.

“It is of no use to me,” she said; “I cannot wear it at school.”

She laughed, and held up one finger to command his attention.

“Listen!” she whispered.  “Sor Teresa is still snoring.”

She watched him bend the bars back again to their proper place.

“By the way,” she asked him.  “What was the name of the chapel where we were married—­I should like to know?”

Marcos hesitated a moment before replying.

“It is called Our Lady of the Shadows.”

CHAPTER XVI

The mattress beater
Englishmen are justly proud of their birthright.  The less they travel,
moreover, the prouder they are, and the stronger is their conviction that
England leads the world in thought and art and action.

They are quite unaware, for instance, that no country in the world is behind England (unless it be Scotland) in a small matter that affects very materially one-third of a human span of life, namely beds.  In any town of France, Germany or Holland, the curious need not seek long for the mattress-maker.  He is usually to be found in some open space at the corner of a market-place or beneath an arcade near the Maine exercising his health-giving trade in the open air.  He lives, and lives bountifully, by unmaking, picking over and re-making the mattresses of the people.  Good housewives, moreover, stand near him with their knitting to see that he does it well and puts back within the cover all the wool that he took out.  In these backward countries the domestic mattress is remade once a year if not oftener.  In our great land there is a considerable vagueness as to the period allowed to a mattress to form itself into lumps and to accumulate dust or germs.  Moreover, there are thousands of exemplary housekeepers who throw up the eye of horror to their whitewashed ceiling at the thought of a foreign person’s personal habits, who do not know what is inside their mattress and never think of looking to see from year’s end to year’s end.

In Spain, a country rarely visited by those persons who pride themselves upon being particular, the mattress-maker is a much more necessary factor in domestic life than is the sweep or the plumber in northern lands.  No palace is too royal for him, no cottage is too humble to employ him.

He is, moreover, the only man allowed inside a nunnery.  Which is the reason why he finds himself brought into prominence now.  He is usually a thin, lithe man, somewhat of the figure of those northerners who supply the bull-ring with Banderilleros.  He arrives in the early morning with a sheathe knife at his waist, a packet of cigarettes in his jacket pocket and two light sticks under his arm.  All he asks is a courtyard and the sunshine that Heaven gives him.

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