many ladies, did I take my eyes from the reader's countenance, and suffer them to roam about the company.
Feeling again the subtle influence of Agnes' gaze fixed full upon me, it caused my cheeks to flush, my knees to quake, and verily, my legs were as like to carry me away as to sustain me where I leaned against a tree. The girl was looking straight at me; I dared not return her stare which had something more than mere curiosity in it, and disturbed me greatly.
The reading was finished without my knowledge, a piece of buffoonery, or play acting gone through with, which I did not see, when my own name, called by Madame, brought me to my proper good sense again.
I found myself, before I was quite aware, bending before Madame and receiving her command that I should do something for the amusement of the company.
"M. Jerome has favoured us, you know—we have no drones here," she went on pleasantly, "and it is the rule at Sceaux that all must join our merriment."
"Jerome?" I answered in a bewildered fashion, for I had no recollection of seeing aught he did; then I remembered hearing him recite some languishing verses about a white rose, a kiss, a lady's lips—some sighs, and such other stuff that now escapes me—but I had paid no attention to it all.
Jerome, the villain, seconded Madame's request so vigorously I could not decline, though he well knew I was no carpet knight capable of entertaining ladies fair on the tourney field of wit.
"The Captain sings divinely, Madame, but is be-