Might one then go naked provided only one had no rnark or
twist ? Vere wondered, and wondered at the world into which she
"I would never wear a costume like that," she said quietly
after a little pause.
" You will wear what I tell you," said her sweet little mother
sharply; " and for goodness' sake, child, don't be a prude whatever
you are. Prudes belong to Noah's Ark, like your bathing-gown."
Vere was silent.
"Is Mr. Vanderdecken here?" she asked at length, to change
the theme, and, finding her mother did not speak again, who, in¬
deed, was busy, thinking what her clothes were likely to cost, ani
also whether she would arrange a marriage for her with the young
Due de Tambour, son of the Prince de Chambree. The best
alliance she could think of at the minute—but then the poor child
had no dot.
_" Mr. Vanderdecken ? " said Lady Dolly waking to fact. " Oh,
he is on the sea going somewhere. He is always going somewhere;
it is Java or Japan, or Jupiter; something with a J. 'He makes
his money in that sort of way, you know. I never understand it
myself. Whenever people want money he goes, and he makes it
because the people he goes to haven't got any; isn't it queer?
Come here. Do you know, Vere, you are very pretty ? You will
be very handsome. Kiss me again, dear."
Vere did so, learning, by a kind of intuition, that she must
touch her mother without injuring the artistic work of the maids
and the " little secrets." Then she stood silent and passive.
" She is an uncomfortable girl," thought Lady Dolly once more.
" And, dear me, so like poor Vere! What a tall creature you are
getting! " she said aloud. " You will be married in another year."
" Oh no !" said Vere with a glance of alarm.
" You unnatural child! How on earth would you like to live,
if you don't want to be married ? "
"With the Fraulein in the country."
" All your life! And die an old maid ? "
" I should not mind."
Lady Dolly laughed, but it was with a sort of shock and
shudder, as an orthodox person laughs when they hear what is
amusing but irreverent.
" Why do you say such things ? " she said impatiently. " They
are nonsense, and you don't mean them."
" I mean them—quite."
" Nonsense!" said Lady Dolly, who never discussed with any¬
body, finding asseveration answer all purposes very much betterj
as, indeed, it does in most cases. " Well, good-bye, my love; you
want to rest, and you can't go out till you have something to wear,
and I have an immense deal to do. Good-bye; you are very