She tossed back little sprays of flowers, or quiet bonbons, or now and then mischievously let drop a sprinkling of confetti balls through her half-closed fingers. To do this she drooped her hand low over among the balcony trimmings, following the soft shower with her eyes, as some straight soldier would wipe the tiny minie balls from his face and glance up to see where they came from. If he looked up once, he never failed to look again, and generally darted around the nearest corner to return with his offering, in the shape of flowers or other pretty carnival nonsense. Mae rather satisfied her conscience, which was tolerably fast asleep for the time being, at any rate, with the fact that she didn’t smile at these strangers—she only looked!
Her pleasure was heightened by the knowledge that she was watched. If she glanced across quickly, Miss Rae’s eyes were invariably fixed on her and Norman Mann would be gazing in the opposite direction in the most suspicious manner. From above her strange friend leaned over admiringly and once, as Mae looked joyously upwards, clapped her white hands softly together, while beyond her a tall figure stood motionless, Mae had pretended not to see Bero yet, but as the Italian applauded her in this gentle manner, her eyes sought his involuntarily. He was gazing very fixedly and rapturously down on her, without any apparent thought of the beautiful girl by his side. After that, Mae looked up often, in a glad, childlike way, for spite of this first lesson in wholesale coquetry, and the new conflict of emotions within her mind, she was enjoying herself with the utter abandon of her glad nature.
Toward the close of the afternoon, the Italian was suddenly surrounded by a great mass of flowers, over which she waved her hand caressingly and pointed down at Mae. “For you,” the gesture seemed to say. The veiled lady appeared to summon several of her friends, for a number of gentlemen left the other window and its group of girls, and began the difficult task of attempting to toss the bouquets from their height down to Mae. This was rendered the more difficult as the Madden balcony was covered, and the best shots succeeded in landing their trophies on this awning, where they were speedily captured and drawn in by the occupants of the next flat, an ogre of an old woman and her hook-nosed daughter, who wore an ugly green dress and was otherwise unattractive.
The entire Madden party became interested and stood looking on with the most encouraging smiles. The very last bouquet was vainly thrown, however, and gathered in by the ogre, when Bero suddenly appeared, a little behind the party in the window. The flowers in his hand were of the same specimens as those he had given Mae the day before, although different in arrangement. He lifted the bouquet quickly to his lips, so quickly that perhaps only Mae understood the motion, and flung it lightly forward. Mae leaned over the balcony, reaching out her eager hands, and caught it in her very finger tips. The party above bowed and applauded, as she raised the flowers triumphantly to her face.