The Emperor's Candlesticks: An Espionage, Fiction and Literature Classic By Baroness Emmuska Orczy! AAA+++by Baroness Emmuska Orczy
GAY, chic Vienna was en fête. What would you? Shrove Tuesday is the very last day, allowed by our Holy Mother the Church for revelry, before the long austere forty days of Lent, and if we do not make use of her full permission to enjoy ourselves, to the full extent of out capacity, we shall have nothing left to atone for to-morrow, when the
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GAY, chic Vienna was en fête. What would you? Shrove Tuesday is the very last day, allowed by our Holy Mother the Church for revelry, before the long austere forty days of Lent, and if we do not make use of her full permission to enjoy ourselves, to the full extent of out capacity, we shall have nothing left to atone for to-morrow, when the good fathers place the cross of ashes on our foreheads, and bid us remember that dust we are, to dust return.
Therefore Vienna was drinking the overflowing cup of pleasure to-day; had been drinking in it in its gaily lighted streets and boulevards, and was now enjoying its last drops at the opera ball, the climax to a carnival that had been unusually brilliant this year.
And in the hall, where but two nights ago the harmonious discords of Wagner's "Niebelungen" had enchanted and puzzled a seriously-minded audience, to-night Pierrots and Pierrettes, Fausts and Marguerites, nymphs, fairies, gnomes and what-nots chased each other with merry cries and loud laughter, to the sweet tunes of Strauss' melodious, dreamy waltzes; while the boxes, each filled with spectators eager to watch, though afraid to mingle in the giddy throng, showed mysterious dominoes and black masks, behind which gleamed eyes rendered bright with suppressed excitement at the intoxicating spectacle below.
"Come down, fair domino, I know thee," whispered a richly dressed odalisque, whose jewelled mask could not outshine the merry twinkle of her black eyes beneath. She had placed one dainty hand on the ledge of a pit tier box, in which two black dominoes had sat for some time, partially hidden by the half-drawn curtains, and had watched the gay throng beneath them for some half-hour or so, apparently unnoticed.
The taller of the two dominoes bent forward, trying to pierce the enterprising houri's disguise.
"Nay! if you know me, fair mask, come up to me, and let me renew an acquaintance that should have never been dropped!"
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