IN A WINTER CITY. 201
Duchesses in Europe only come to winter cities
for play. He must know that."
" My dear Mila, how you do put yourself out
about it," said the Lady Hilda. " Send ten
thousand francs to the public charities—you may
play aU night long in the cafes then."
" Madame, j'ai I'honneur de vous saluer,** mur¬
mured Della Eocca, bending low before her.
When the door had closed upon him and left
the others behind, a sudden blankness and dull¬
ness seemed to fall on her : she had never felt
the same thing before. Bored she had often been,
but this was not ennui, it was a kind of loneU-
ness—it was as if all about her grew grey and
cold and stupid.
More ladies came in, there were endless
laughter and chatter; Princess Olga wanted some
tea, and had it; the other women cracked bon¬
bons with their little teeth lUce pretty squirrels
cracking fir-cones; they made charming groups
in the firelight and lampUght; they made plans
for a himdred diversions; they were fuU of the
gayest of scandals; they dissected in the most
mercUess manner aU their absent friends; they