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I was quite easy, therefore, and left this
important part of the business in their hands.
I called, on my way to the studio, at a
gardener's, and ordered from the gardener's
consumptive daughter an ivy-wreath for my hair.
I described what I wanted. Oh, yes, she
knew very well; she was sure she could
please me, for she had often made such for
the young queen. I saw an enchanting little
rose-tree which, with its one lovely rose and
its buds, seemed fitted to be an emblem of the
lovely queen herself; so I bought it out of
ideal love for her, and it now stands in my
window making my room fresh and beautiful.
I ordered my wreath and my rose-tree to be
sent home by four o'clock, and went to my
work.

Imagine me about that hour returned; my
ball dress of white, with white shoes and
gloves, all laid out ready, looking suggestive
of the evening's pleasure; my dinner just
over, and I, lying on my sofa for half an hour's
rest, when in came the F.s, to say we could
not go; they had got no tickets, they had got
no one to go with us. All their officer-
acquaintance were already engaged; people
were rushing wildly about the town after
tickets; people were already crowding into
the gallery; it would be the most amusing
ball of the season, but go we could not!
Was it not a pitywas it not disappointing,
and it would be so brilliant, so well worth
seeing!

"Oh, but we must go! " said I, feeling
quite desperate, " we can't be disappointed;
why, the town is half full of uniforms! What
a disgrace it is if we cannot make a uniform of
use for once in a way! I have an idea!"
exclaimed I, "a strange one it is true, but
never mind! My opposite neighbour, the
Countis an acquaintance of yours, though
he is not of mine; he goes to every ball that
is given; no doubt he is going to-night; can-
not you make use of him? No doubt he
would be charmed to accompany younay,
I am sure he would!"

We looked at each other and laughed
heartily. It was rather a strange idea; but
nevertheless, he was an acquaintance of theirs
from whom they could ask such a favour, and
they said they would do so. We sent across
the street to inquire; but he was out. He
was an erratic mortal, of whose movements
nobody could give any account; he might be
back in a quarter of an hour, he might not
return till midnight. A message was left
with the good woman of the house for him,
and the F.s would return in an hour, when our
fate must be decided, for if he did not return
before then, go we could not.

Scarcely were they gone, when I saw the
Herr Graf return, unlock the outer door, and
enter with a great clatter of spur and sword,
as usual. Three minutes after, the good
woman of the house was in my room. The
Herr Graf had not intended to go, but
now he would go with the greatest pleasure
with the greatest pleasure in the
world! He desired her to tell the gracious
lady, Madame F., that he would be
immediately ready. "Yes, Fräulein Anna!" said
he, "she is an old partner of mine. She
dances beautifullyvery beautifully! I know
her very well; I shall be most happy to go!"

All in a hurry the F.s came back, learned
the news, rushed away to dress, and at half-
past six were to call for me and my opposite
neighbour, the Herr Graf, in their carriage.
I dressed very comfortably, with the
gardener's poor consumptive daughter acting as
my maid, for which I was very thankful, as
poor dear old Fräulein Sanchen my usual tire-
woman's eyes being none of the best, she makes
a regular botheration of the tiny hooks and
eyes, a series of impotent attempts which
generally end in my doing the business myself,
to my great discomfort. But my little maid
was charming, and the wreath so entirely to
my mind, that when my toilet was completed
I thought the effect very fascinating.

All this time my opposite neighbour was
making his toilet, and, as I was taking a cup
of chocolate, a message came that he was
ready and very impatient to be off, as he
feared the gracious lady, Madame F., would
not find a place to sit down in the crowded
hall. At that moment the carriage stopped,
and in two seconds more the Herr Graf
was handing me down stairs, while poor
old Fräulein Sanchen lighted us with two
candles.

The Herr Graf is very young and good-
looking, and it was immediately so evident
that he was desperately smitten by Anna's
beauty, that I was half sorry for what I had
done. But never mind, thought I to myself,
it is something to keep the poor lad's mind
from stagnation, and Anna will have no
objection to have another worshipper added
to her train. These young officers are never
allowed by government to marry, unless they
and their bride have a certain sum of money
between themI don't know exactly what it
isand therefore the greater number of them
neither marry nor even think of it. They
spend their "young days," as my friend G.
would have said, in a series of flirtations and
hopeless passions, more or less serious; therefore
I will console myself if my unlucky
neighbour has had his heart wounded, for it
may as well be by her beautiful face and
saucy tongue as by any one else's.

At last we were at the entrance of the
Odeon, and as we were getting out of the
carriage, there was a cry of "the King! the
King;" but this, I believe, was only a ruse
of the crowd, collected on such occasions, for
their own private amusement; however, it
turned all eyes on our arrival. I felt almost
a shock when, on glancing up the broad staircase,
I saw it lined on either side by a row of
uniforms; it seemed like facing an army
itself. The Odeon Hall was filled with a
dense crowd, every man in regimentals.

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