Irene seems to have held out longer, and, doubtless, scornful of her more frivolous comrade’s defection, steadfastly kept the faith awhile unsupported, walking the world in bloomered loneliness—till a like event overtook her. Such is the end of every maid’s revolt! But Irene, to this day, retains more of her student seriousness than her more worldly-minded friend. Her face is of the round cherubic type, and her large heavy-lidded eyes have a touch of demureness veiling humour no less deep than Luccia’s, but more reflective, chuckling quietly to itself, though on occasion I know no one better to laugh with, even giggle with, than Irene. But, whereas Luccia will talk gaily of revolution and even anarchy for the fun of it, and in the next breath talk hats with real seriousness, Irene still remains the purposeful revolutionary student she was as a girl; while Luccia contents herself with flashing generalizations, Irene seriously studies the latest developments of thought and society, reads all the new books, sees all the new plays and pictures, and has all the new movements of whatever kind—art, philosophy, and sociology—at her finger ends; and I may add that her favourite writer is Anatole France. Whenever I need light on the latest artistic or philosophic nonsense calling itself a movement (cubism, futurism, Bergsonism, syndicalism, or the like) I go to her, certain that she will know all about it. Nothing is too “modern” for this wonderful “old” lady of seventy-nine; and, whenever I am in town, we always go together to the most “advanced” play in the newest of new theatres.
A propos our theatre-going together, I must not forget a story about her which goes back to that bloomer period. A little while ago, calling to take tea with her, I found her seated with a fine soldierly white-haired “old” man, and they were in such merry talk that I felt that perhaps I was interrupting old memories. But they generously took me into the circle of their reminiscence. They had been laughing as I came in—“Shall I tell him, General?” she said, “what we were laughing about?” Then she did. She and the General had been girl and boy together, and as they came to eighteen and nineteen had been semi-serious sweethearts. The embryo General—no doubt because of her pretty face—had taken all her student vagaries with lover-like seriousness, and had, on one occasion, assisted in a notable enterprise. The bloomers had not been definitely donned at that time, but they were on the way, glimmering ahead as a discussed ideal. Whether it was as a preliminary experiment, or only in consequence of a “dare,” I am not quite sure. I think it was a little of both, and that the General had dared Irene to go with him to the opera (in the gallery) dressed in boy’s clothes. She accepted the challenge, borrowing a suit of clothes from her brother for the purpose. Her figure, according to the General’s account, had looked anything but masculine, and her