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BOOK TWO--The Education of a Personage
CHAPTER 1. The Debutante
The time is February. The place is a large, dainty bedroom in the
Connage house on Sixty-eighth Street, New York. A girl's room: pink
walls and curtains and a pink bedspread on a cream-colored bed. Pink and
cream are the motifs of the room, but the only article of furniture
in full view is a luxurious dressing-table with a glass top and a
three-sided mirror. On the walls there is an expensive print of "Cherry
Ripe," a few polite dogs by Landseer, and the "King of the Black Isles,"
by Maxfield Parrish.
Great disorder consisting of the following items: (1) seven or eight
empty cardboard boxes, with tissue-paper tongues hanging panting from
their mouths; (2) an assortment of street dresses mingled with their
sisters of the evening, all upon the table, all evidently new; (3) a
roll of tulle, which has lost its dignity and wound itself tortuously
around everything in sight, and (4) upon the two small chairs, a
collection of lingerie that beggars description. One would enjoy seeing
the bill called forth by the finery displayed and one is possessed by
a desire to see the princess for whose benefit--Look! There's some one!
Disappointment! This is only a maid hunting for something--she lifts
a heap from a chair--Not there; another heap, the dressing-table, the
chiffonier drawers. She brings to light several beautiful chemises and
an amazing pajama but this does not satisfy her--she goes out.
An indistinguishable mumble from the next room.
Now, we are getting warm. This is Alec's mother, Mrs. Connage, ample,
dignified, rouged to the dowager point and quite worn out. Her lips move
significantly as she looks for IT. Her search is less thorough than the
maid's but there is a touch of fury in it, that quite makes up for its
sketchiness. She stumbles on the tulle and her "damn" is quite audible.
She retires, empty-handed.
More chatter outside and a girl's voice, a very spoiled voice, says: "Of
all the stupid people--"
After a pause a third seeker enters, not she of the spoiled voice, but
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