Rose-Pompon had just quitted her bed, as appeared by the negligence of her strange morning costume; no doubt, for want of any other head-dress, on her beautiful light hair, smooth and well-combed, was stuck jauntily a foraging-cap, borrowed from her masquerading costume. Nothing could be more sprightly than that face, seventeen years old, rosy, fresh, dimpled, and brilliantly lighted up by a pair of gay, sparkling blue eyes. Rose Pompon was so closely enveloped from the neck to the feet in a red and green plaid cloak, rather faded, that one could guess the cause of her modest embarrassment. Her naked feet, so white that one could not tell if she wore stockings or not, were slipped into little morocco shoes, with plated buckles. It was easy to perceive that her cloak concealed some article which she held in her hand.
“Good-day, Rose-Pompon,” said Mother Arsene with a kindly air; “you are early this morning. Had you no dance last night?”
“Don’t talk of it, Mother Arsene; I had no heart to dance. Poor Cephyse—the Bacchanal Queen—has done nothing but cry all night. She cannot console herself, that her lover should be in prison.”
“Now, look here, my girl,” said the old woman, “I must speak to you about your friend Cephyse. You won’t be angry?”
“Am I ever angry?” said Rose-Pompon, shrugging her shoulders.
“Don’t you think that M. Philemon will scold me on his return?”
“Scold you! what for?”
“Because of his rooms, that you occupy.”
“Why, Mother Arsene, did not Philemon tell you, that, in his absence, I was to be as much mistress of his two rooms as I am of himself?”
“I do not speak of you, but of your friend Cephyse, whom you have also brought to occupy M. Philemon’s lodgings.”
“And where would she have gone without me, my good Mother Arsene? Since her lover was arrested, she has not dared to return home, because she owes ever so many quarters. Seeing her troubles. I said to her: `Come, lodge at Philemon’s. When he returns, we must find another place for you.’”
“Well, little lovey—if you only assure me that M. Philemon will not be angry—”
“Angry! for what? That we spoil his things? A fine set of things he has to spoil! I broke his last cup yesterday—and am forced to fetch the milk in this comic concern.”
So saying, laughing with all her might, Rose-Pompon drew her pretty little white arm from under her cloak, and presented to Mother Arsene one of those champagne glasses of colossal capacity, which hold about a bottle.
“Oh, dear!” said the greengrocer in amazement; “it is like a glass trumpet.”
“It is Philemon’s grand gala-glass, which they gave him when he took his degrees in boating,” said Rose-Pompon, gravely.
“And to think you must put your milk in it—I am really ashamed,” said Mother Arsene.
“So am I! If I were to meet any one on the stairs, holding this glass in my hand like a Roman candlestick, I should burst out laughing, and break the last remnant of Philemon’s bazaar, and he would give me his malediction.”