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CHAPTER XX.

THE METROPOLIS FROWNS.


After the nuptial night, Paul disappeared from the knowledge of men. Ouida and Horatio Nugent took up their lives together. New York society indulged in a spasm of virtuous indignation; became monstrously shocked; entered a vigorous protest, and pronounced upon the guilty pair the judgment of condemnation. This mattered not to the lovers. They could see, feel comprehend, appreciate nothing but themselves, their love and devotion to each other. The outside world was naught to them. They builded their own universe, peopled with the inhabitants of their own imagination, and well satisfied and pleased, existed in it. But New York's frown, in time, practically meant much to them. It meant the withdrawal of art commissions to Ouida, and the absolute banishment of Mr. Nugent from the practice of his profession. As time relentlessly rolled on, their affairs grew complicated. She was compelled to sacrifice her art treasures, her valued property, her jewels, and still they awoke not from their fevered dream, The day came at last when poverty and want crept in and found them in rude, uncomfortable lodgings in a back street. By a strange fatality, of all her glorious possessious, Ouida had alone retained "A Modern Hercules," that piece of statuary done from the form of her discarded husband.