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    Chapter 8

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    Chapter 8
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    A stoutish woman out of a Paris fashion-plate came trotting across the room, smiling in welcome: "Meester Rosythe!" She had black earrings flapping from each ear, and her face was white, with a streak of scarlet for lips. She took the critic by his two hands, and the critic, laughing, said: "Respondez, Madame! Does God bring the ladies to this place?"

    "Ah, surely, Meester Rosythe! The god of beautee, he breengs them to us! And the leetle god with the golden arrow, the rosy cheeks and the leetle dimple--the dimple that we make heem for two hundred dollars a piece--eh, Meester Rosythe? He breengs the ladies to us!"

    The critic turned. "Madame Planchet, permit me to introduce Mr. Carpenter. He is a man of wonder, he heals pain, and does it by means of love."

    "Oh, how eenteresting! But what eef love heemself ees pain--who shall heal that, eh, Meester Carpentair?"

    "O-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-h!" came the moan.

    Said Rosythe: "Mr. Carpenter thinks you make the ladies suffer too much. It worries him."

    "Ah, but the ladies do not mind! Pain? What ees eet? The lady who makes the groans, she cannot move, and so she ees unhappy. Also, she likes to have her own way, she ees a leetle--what you say?--spoilt. But her troubles weel pass; she weel be beautiful, and her husband weel love her more, and she weel be happy."

    "O-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-oh!" from the other room; and Madame Planchet prattled away: "I say to them, Make plenty of noises! Eet helps! No one weel be afraid, for all here are worshippers of the god of beautee--all weel bear the pains that he requires. Eh, Meester Carpentair?"

    Carpenter was staring at her. I had not before seen such intensity of concentration on his face. He was trying to understand this situation, so beyond all believing.

    "I weel tell you something," said Madame Planchet, lowering her voice confidentially. "The lady what you hear--that ees Meeses T-S. You know Meester T-S, the magnate of the peectures?"

    Carpenter did not say whether he knew or not.

    "They come to me always, the peecture people; to me. the magician, the deputee of the god of beautee. Polly Pretty, she comes, and Dolly Dimple, she comes, and Lucy Love, she comes, and Betty Belle Bird. They come to me for the hair, and for the eyes, and for the complexion. You are a workair of miracles yourself--but can you do what I do? Can you make the skeen all new? Can you make the old young?"


    "Mary Magna, she comes to me, and she breengs me her old grandmother, and she says, 'Madame,' she says, 'make her new from the waist up, for you can nevair tell how the fashions weel change, and what she weel need to show.' Ha, ha, ha, she ees wittee, ees the lovely Mary! And I take the old lady, and her wrinkles weel be gone, and her skeen weel be soft like a leetle baby's, and in her cheeks weel be two lovely dimples, and she weel dance with the young boys, and they weel not know her from her grandchild--ha, ha, ha!--ees eet not the wondair?"

    I knew by now where I was. I had heard many times of Madame Planchet's beauty-parlors. I sat, wondering; should I take Carpenter by the arm, and lead him gently out? Or should I leave him to fight his own. fight with modern civilization?


    Madame turned suddenly upon me. "I know you, Meester Billee," she said. "I have seen you with Mees Magna! Ah, naughtee boy! You have the soft, fine hair--you should let it grow--eight inches we have to have, and then you can come to me for the permanent wave. So many young men come to me for the permanent wave! You know eet? Meester Carpentair, you see, he has let hees hair grow, and he has the permanent wave--eet could not be bettair eef I had done eet myself. I say always, 'My work ees bettair than nature, I tell nature by the eemperfections.' Eh, voila?"

    I am not sure whether it was for the benefit of me or of Carpenter. The deputee of the god of beautee was moved to volunteer a great revelation. "Would you like to see how we make eet--the permanent wave? I weel show you Messes T-S. But you must not speak--she would not like eet if I showed her to gentlemen. But her back ees turned and she cannot move. We do not let them see the apparatus, because eet ees rather frightful, eet would make them seek. You will be very steel, eh?"

    "Mum's the word, Madame," said Rosythe, speaking for the three of us.

    "O-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-oh!" moaned the voice.

    "First, I weel tell you," said Madame. "For the complete wave we wind the hair in tight leetle coils on many rods. Eet ees very delicate operations--every hair must be just so, not one crooked, not one must we skeep. Eet takes a long time--two hours for the long hair; and eet hurts, because we must pull eet so tight. We wrap each coil een damp cloths, and we put them een the contacts, and we turn on the eelectreeceetee--and then eet ees many hours that the hair ees baked, ees cooked een the proper curves, eh? Now, very steel, eef you please!"

    And softly she opened the door.
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