It was pink—the pink of her cheeks to a shade. And scattered about it were birds, and butterflies, and snaky, emaciated dragons, with backs like saw-teeth, and prodigious fangs, and claws, and very curly tails, such as they breed in Nankeen plates and used to breed on packages of fire-crackers—all done in gold, the gold of her hair. Moreover, one might catch a glimpse of her neck—which was a manifest favour of the gods—and about it mysterious, lacy white things intermingling with divers tiny blue ribbons. I saw her in it once—by accident.
And now I fancy, as she stood rigid with indignation, her cheeks flushed, it must have been a heady spectacle to note how their shell-pink repeated the pink of her fantastic garment like a chromatic echo; and how her sunny hair, a thought loosened, a shade dishevelled, clung heavily about her face, a golden snare for eye and heart; and how her own eyes, enormous, cerulean—twin sapphires such as in the old days might have ransomed a brace of emperors—grew wistful like a child’s who has been punished and does not know exactly why; and how her petulant mouth quivered and the long black lashes, golden at the roots, quivered, too—ah, yes, it must have been a heady spectacle.
“Now,” she announced, “I see plainly what he intends doing. He is going to destroy that will, and burden me once more with a large and influential fortune. I don’t want it, and I won’t take it, and he might just as well understand that in the very beginning. I don’t care if Uncle Fred did leave it to me—I didn’t ask him to, did I? Besides, he was a very foolish old man—if he had left the money to Billy everything would have been all right. That’s always the way—my dolls are invariably stuffed with sawdust, and I never have a dear gazelle to glad me with his dappled hide, but when he comes to know me well he falls upon the buttered side—or something to that effect. I hate poetry, anyhow—it’s so mushy!”
And this from the Miss Hugonin who a week ago was interested in the French decadents and partial to folk-songs from the Romaic! I think we may fairly deduce that the reign of Felix Kennaston is over. The king is dead; and Margaret’s thoughts and affections and her very dreams have fallen loyally to crying, Long live the king—his Majesty Billy the First.
“Oh!” said Margaret, with an indignant gasp, what time her eyebrows gesticulated, “I think Billy Woods is a meddlesome piece!—that’s what I think! Does he suppose that after waiting all this time for the only man in the world who can keep me interested for four hours on a stretch and send my pulse up to a hundred and make me feel those thrilly thrills I’ve always longed for—does he suppose that now I’m going to pay any attention to his silly notions about wills and things? He’s abominably selfish! I shan’t!”
Margaret moved across the room, shimmering, rustling, glittering like a fairy in a pantomime. Then, to consider matters at greater ease, she curled up on a divan in much the attitude of a tiny Cleopatra riding at anchor on a carpeted Cydnus.