“Altogether to the contrary, my friend! Do not mistake this lady. Youth would be an absolute bar to success. Age, dignity, a public reputation such as yours,—these are the only things which by any possibility could gain success; and, frankly, even these may fail. At least, I honestly wish you success, and there has been no jest in what I said about the support of Mr. Fillmore’s family and his party. You know that there is honesty even in politics, sometimes; and there is silence, I promise that. Take my advice. Put her in a sack, drop her overboard in mid-ocean. In return, all I ask of you is not to throw overboard the sack anywhere close to this country’s shore! It was done once before, on the Ohio River, but the sack was not tied tightly enough. Here she is again! Wherefore, have a care with your sack strings, I beseech you.
“Louis, my hat; and get my carriage! Have a second carriage waiting here at once.”
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN FROM NEW YORK
Meantime, the Countess St. Auban, innocent of these plans which had gone forward regarding her, completed her attendance at the entertainment which the evening was offering the elite of Washington, and in due time arrived at the entrance of her hotel. She found the private entrance to-night occupied by the usual throng, but hurried from the carriage step across the pavement and through the open door.
She made no ordinary picture now as she approached the brighter lights of the interior. Her garb, cut in that fashion which gave so scant aid to nature’s outlines, was widely though not extremely hooped, the fabric of daintily flowered silk. As she pushed back the deep, double fronted dolman which served her for a wrap, her shoulders showed white and beautiful, as also the round column of her neck, shadowed only by one long drooping curl, and banded by a gleaming circlet of many colored gems. Her dark hair, though drawn low upon the temples in acknowledgment of the prevailing mode, was bound in fashion of her own by a gem-clasped, golden fillet, under which it broke into a riot of lesser curls which swept over ears and temples. Here and there a gleaming jewel confined some such truant lock, so that she glittered, half-barbaric, as she walked, surmounted by a thousand trembling points of light. Ease, confidence, carelessness seemed spoken alike by the young woman’s half haughty carriage and her rich costuming. Midway in the twenties of her years, she was just above slightness, just above medium height. The roundness of shoulder and arm, thus revealed, bespoke soundness and wholesomeness beyond callowness, yet with no hint of years or bulk. Her hair certainly was dark and luxuriant, her eyes surely were large and dark, without doubt shaded by long and level brows. The nose was not too highly arched any more than it was pinched and meager—indeed, a triumph in noses, since not too strong, nor yet indicating a physique weak and ill nourished.