Page:Othmar, by Ouida.djvu/13

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OTHMAR.

cessfully, in the end, vanquished his scruples, that the late sunbeams, slanting through the oak-leaves and on to that gay assemblage, had found out in it his handsome head and his crimson sash, and his blue eyes full of their keen and witty observation, and his white hands folded together on his knee.

In a semicircle whose wings stretched, right and left were ranged the gentlemen and ladies who formed momentarily the house party of the château; great people all; all the women young and all the men brilliant, no dull person amongst them, dulness being the one vice condemned there without any chance of pardon. They were charming people, distinguished people, handsome people also, and they made a gay and gracious picture, reclining or sitting in any attitudes they chose on these grassy slopes, which had seen the court of Francis and of both Marguerites.

Above their heads floated a silken banner, on which, in letters of gold, were embroidered the wise words, 'Qu'on m'aime, mais avec de l'esprit!'

'To return to our original demand—what is the definition of Love?' asked their queen