‘What a pretty boy!’ she exclaimed in ecstasy, trying to squeeze her picture hat under the hood of the perambulator.
‘Do you really think so?’ said the mother, enchanted.
‘Of course! The darling! How I envy you!’
May wanted to reciprocate this politeness.
‘I can’t tell you,’ she said, ’how I envy you your piano-playing. There’s one piece——’
‘Envy me! Why! It’s only a pianola we’ve got!’
‘Isn’t he the picture of his granddad?’ said May to Edward when they bent over the cot that night before retiring.
And as she said it there was such candour in her voice, such content in her smiling and courageous eyes, that Edward could not fail to comprehend her message to him. Down in some very secret part of his soul he felt for the first time the real force of the great explanatory truth that one generation succeeds another.
* * * * *
THE SISTERS QITA
The manuscript ran thus:
* * * * *
When I had finished my daily personal examination of the ropes and-trapezes, I hesitated a moment, and then climbed up again, to the roof, where the red and the blue long ropes were fastened. I took my sharp scissors from my chatelaine, and gently fretted the blue rope with one blade of the scissors until only a single strand was left intact. I gazed down at the vast floor a hundred feet below. The afternoon varieties were over, and a phrenologist was talking to a small crowd of gapers in a corner. The rest of the floor was pretty empty save for the chairs and the fancy stalls, and the fatigued stall-girls in their black dresses. I too, had once almost been a stall-girl at the Aquarium! I descended. Few observed me in my severe street dress. Our secretary, Charles, attended me on the stage.
‘Everything right, Miss Paquita?’ he said, handing me my hat and gloves, which I had given him, to hold.
I nodded. I could see that he thought I was in one of my stern, far-away moods.
‘Miss Mariquita is waiting for you in the carriage,’ he said.
We drove away in silence—I with my inborn melancholy too sad, Sally (Mariquita) too happy to speak. This daily afternoon drive was really part of our ‘turn’! A team of four mules driven by a negro will make a sensation even in Regent Street. All London looked at us, and contrasted our impassive beauty—mine mature (too mature!) and dark, Sally’s so blonde and youthful, our simple costumes, and the fact that we stayed at an exclusive Mayfair hotel, with the stupendous flourish of our turnout. The renowned Sisters Qita—Paquita and Mariquita Qita—and the renowned mules of the Sisters Qita! Two hundred pounds a week at the Aquarium! Twenty-five thousand francs for one month at the Casino de Paris! Twelve thousand five hundred dollars for a tour of fifty performances