I say that I was confronted by the identical arrangement, the identical objects of furnishing, which had marked the luxurious boudoir of Helena von Ritz in Washington! The tables were the same, the chairs, the mirrors, the consoles. On the mantel stood the same girandoles with glittering crystals. The pictures upon the walls, so far as I could remember their themes, did not deviate in any particular of detail or arrangement. The oval-backed chairs were duplicates of those I had seen that other night at midnight. Beyond these same amber satin curtains stood the tall bed with its canopy, as I could see; and here at the right was the same low Napoleon bed with its rolled ends. The figures of the carpets were the same, their deep-piled richness, soft under foot, the same. The flowered cups of the sconces were identical with those I had seen before. To my eye, even as it grew more studious, there appeared no divergence, no difference, between these apartments and those I had so singularly visited—and yet under circumstances so strangely akin to these—in the capital of my own country!
“You are good enough to admire my modest place,” said a laughing voice at my shoulder. Then indeed I waked and looked about me, and saw that this, stranger than any mirage of the brain, was but a fact and must later be explained by the laborious processes of the feeble reason.
I turned to her then, pulling myself together as best I could. Yes, she too was the same, although in this case costumed somewhat differently. The wide ball gown of satin was gone, and in its place was a less pretentious robing of some darker silk. I remembered distinctly that the flowers upon the white satin gown I first had seen were pink roses. Here were flowers of the crocus, cunningly woven into the web of the gown itself. The slippers which I now saw peeping out as she passed were not of white satin, but better foot covering for the street. She cast over the back of a chair, as she had done that other evening, her light shoulder covering, a dark mantle, not of lace now, but of some thin cloth. Her jewels were gone, and the splendor of her dark hair was free of decoration. No pale blue fires shone at her white throat, and her hands were ringless. But the light, firm poise of her figure could not be changed; the mockery of her glance remained the same, half laughing and half wistful. The strong curve of her lips remained, and I recalled this arch of brow, the curve of neck and chin, the droop of the dark locks above her even forehead. Yes, it was she. It could be no one else.
She clapped her hands and laughed like a child as she turned to me. “Bravo!” she said. “My judgment, then, was quite correct.”
“In regard to what?”
“You do not show curiosity! You do not ask me questions! Good! I think I shall ask you to wait. I say to you frankly that I am alone here. It pleases me to live—as pleases me! You are alone in Montreal. Why should we not please ourselves?”