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    Chapter Two

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    Chapter 2
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    The chairmen swarmed in the street at Lady Malbourne's door, where the joyous vulgar fought with muddied footmen and tipsy link-boys for places of vantage whence to catch a glimpse of quality and of raiment at its utmost. Dawn was in the east, and the guests were departing. Singly or in pairs, glittering in finery, they came mincing down the steps, the ghost of the night's smirk fading to jadedness as they sought the dark recesses of their chairs. From within sounded the twang of fiddles still swinging manfully at it, and the windows were bright with the light of many candles. When the door was flung open to call the chair of Lady Mary Carlisle, there was an eager pressure of the throng to see.

    A small, fair gentleman in white satin came out upon the steps, turned and bowed before a lady who appeared in the doorway, a lady whose royal loveliness was given to view for a moment in that glowing frame. The crowd sent up a hearty English cheer for the Beauty of Bath.

    The gentleman smiled upon them delightedly. "What enchanting peopie!" he cried. "Why did I not know, so I might have shout' with them?" The lady noticed the people not at all; whereat, being pleased, the people cheered again. The gentleman offered her his hand; she made a slow courtesy; placed the tips of her fingers upon his own. "I am honored, M. de Chateaurien," she said.

    "No, no!" he cried earnestly. "Behol' a poor Frenchman whom emperors should envy." Then reverently and with the pride of his gallant office vibrant in every line of his slight figure, invested in white satin and very grand, as he had prophesied, M. le Duc de Chateaurien handed Lady Mary Carlisle down the steps, an achievement which had figured in the ambitions of seven other gentlemen during the evening.

    "Am I to be lef'in such onhappiness?" he said in a low voice. "That rose I have beg' for so long - "

    "Never!" said Lady Mary.

    "Ah, I do not deserve it, I know so well! But - "

    "Never!"

    "It is the greatness of my onworthiness that alone can claim your charity; let your kin' heart give this little red rose, this great alms, to the poor beggar."

    "Never!"

    She was seated in the chair. "Ah, give the rose," he whispered. Her beauty shone dazzlingly on him out of the dimness.

    "Never!" she flashed defiantly as she was closed in. "Never!"

    "Never!"

    The rose fell at his feet.

    "A rose lasts till morning," said a voice behind him.

    Turning, M. de Chateaurien looked beamingly upon the face of the Duke of Winterset.

    "'Tis already the daylight," he replied, pointing to the east. "Monsieur, was it not enough honor for you to han' out madame, the aunt of Lady Mary? Lady Rellerton retain much trace of beauty. 'Tis strange you did not appear more happy."

    "The rose is of an unlucky color, I think," observed the Duke.

    "The color of a blush, my brother."

    "Unlucky, I still maintain," said the other calmly.

    "The color of the veins of a Frenchman. Ha, ha!" cried the young man. "What price would be too high? A rose is a rose! A good-night, my brother, a good-night. I wish you dreams of roses, red roses, only beautiful red, red roses!"

    "Stay! Did you see the look she gave these street folk when they shouted for her? And how are you higher than they, when she knows? As high as yonder horse-boy!"

    "Red roses, my brother, only roses. I wish you dreams of red, red roses!"
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