Now and then a ripple of stifled laughter told how greatly they enjoyed their disguise.
When all had been greeted, Mrs. Dainty raised her sceptre, and when the little figures were all attention she spoke.
“Dear little subjects, we are happy to have you with us, and for a short time we wish you to wear the long dominoes which keep us guessing who you are. And now we will listen to some music, and while you listen you shall enjoy a wealth of royal bonbons.”
At a signal from the queen the little Watteau maid entered, followed by five other maids in similar costumes, each bearing trays of candies.
At the same moment sweet strains of music sounded through the room, coming from behind a group of palms and flowering plants.
The bonbons were delicious, and the merry music set little feet tapping beneath the long cloaks.
Two figures sat very close together. One wore a bright yellow cloak, the other domino was a quiet tan color. They were Arabella and Patricia, and while they sat eating their bonbons, they talked softly, that no one might hear them. A little figure in a long red cloak leaned against the wall, listening to the music, and at the same time watching the two who talked together.
It was Reginald who watched them, and his eyes twinkled as he whispered: “I just know that those two are girls, and they’ve gone and told each other who they are. I’d like to know who they are, too, and I guess I’ll walk over there.”
He made his way across the room, and soon was standing just behind them.
The musicians were playing a sprightly polka. A triangle marked the measures, and Reginald’s red shoe tapped the floor beneath his long red cloak.
The two who sat upon the divan were talking in what they thought to be a very low tone, but when suddenly the music ceased, Patricia’s voice could be plainly heard.
“Why, Arabella!” she said, and then, surprised at hearing her own voice, she said no more.
Reginald laughed softly, and Patricia turned to look at him, but of course could not guess who the red-cloaked figure might be. Oh, it was fun to be hiding behind the gay-colored dominoes! It was almost like hide-and-seek.
And now the beautiful queen was speaking.
“We will have a pretty march now,” she said. “My king and I will lead, my lady-in-waiting will follow me, while you, my merry subjects, shall form, two by two, and march to grandest music. After the march, the dominoes shall be cast aside, and then—” she paused, then laughing gaily she concluded, “then I shall know who my guests are.”
The trumpet’s blare told all to be ready! The king and queen came down from their red velvet throne, the stately lady-in-waiting followed, and then the bright-hued figures, two by two, marched like a moving rainbow after the tall figures who led. Around the great drawing-room in graceful figures the gorgeous little procession moved. How bright their colors appeared, the light shimmering upon a pink cloak beside a blue one, a green cloak walking with a yellow one, a scarlet one with a white, a buff one with bright cherry-hued domino!