Open main menu

Page:Harris Dickson--The black wolf's breed.djvu/107

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

per, and the edge being keen, I laid my own aside with sore misdoubtings, casting off an old friend to strap on a new. He now added a touch of rouge here and there, a black line to my brows and in the corners of my eyes, stepping back ever and anon to observe the effect. It galled me raw, yet I must perforce submit. When the whole job was finished, and I was allowed to sit, I gained no comfort. My clothes were too tight in some places, while in others I rocked about as loose as a washerwoman's arm in her scrubbing tub.

Jerome must now give me some lessons in deportment, he called it. It was but another name for a smirking and a-bowing and a-grimacing, what was denominated the "etiquette of the court." Jerome sat himself contented down, and put me through my paces like some farrier showing off a foundered nag. I more than half believed he was all the while making game of me, yet I knew no better. At any rate it was the veriest nonsense.

After a series of rehearsals Jerome withdrew to make himself ready, leaving me to practice my new acquirements of gait, of gesture, and of speech. What had taken me the better part of a laborious day he accomplished in a short half hour. Coming back unannounced he caught me bowing and scraping before a mirror, like a man stricken with idiocy. I felt as shamed as though I had been detected hiding in face of the enemy.

Jerome mocked and taunted me into a fine rage, which he deftly pacified in wonderment at himself. I should never have known him again for the plain Jerome.