I have seen many beautiful things in my life, as happens to every one living in a world which hath little fault as to its appearance, if one can outlook the shadow which his own selfishness of sorrow and disappointment may cast before him; but it seemed that evening, when I saw Mary Cavendish dressed for the governor’s ball, that she was the crown of all. I verily believe that never since the world was made, not even that beautiful first woman who comprehended in herself all those witcheries of her sex which have been ever since to our rapture and undoing, not even Eve when Adam first saw her in Paradise, nor Helen, nor Cleopatra, nor any of those women whose faces have made powers of them and given them niches in history, were as beautiful as Mary Cavendish that night. And I doubt if it were because she was beheld by the eyes of a lover. I verily believe that I saw aright, and gave her beauty no glamour because of my fondness for her, for not one whit more did I love her in that splendour than in her plainest gown. But, oh, when she stood before her grandmother and me and a concourse of slaves all in a ferment of awe and admiration, with flashings of white teeth and upheavals of eyes and flingings aloft of hands in half-savage gesticulation, and courtesied and turned herself about in innocent delight at her own loveliness, and yet with the sweetest modesty and apology that she was knowing to it! That stuff which had been sent to my Lady Culpeper and which had been intercepted ere it reached her was of a most rich and wonderful kind. The blue of it was like the sky, and through it ran the gleam of silver in a flower pattern, and a great string of pearls gleamed on her bosom, and never was anything like that mixture of triumph in, and abashedness before, her own exceeding beauty and her perception of it in our eyes in her dear and lovely face. She looked at us and actually shrank a little, as if our admiration were something of an affront to her maiden modesty, and blushed, and then she laughed to cover it, and swept a courtesy in her circling shimmer of blue, and tossed her head and flirted a little fan, which looked like the wing of a butterfly, before her face.