absolutely without sound that a young man sitting before her, who has been thrown by chance into the temple of decorum, is positively at a loss to know what she wants of him, while she for the sixth time breathes to him, 'Voulez-vous une tasse de thé?' In the corners are to be seen young, good-looking men; their glances are brightly, gently ingratiating; unruffled gentleness, tinged with obsequiousness, is apparent in their faces; a number of the stars and crosses of distinction gleam softly on their breasts. The conversation is always gentle; it turns on religious and patriotic topics, the Mystic Drop, F. N. Glinka, the missions in the East, the monasteries and brotherhoods in White Russia. At times, with muffled tread over the soft carpets, move footmen in livery; their huge calves, cased in tight silk stockings, shake noiselessly at every step; the respectful motion of the solid muscles only augments the general impression of decorum, of solemnity, of sanctity.
It is a temple, a temple!
'Have you seen Madame Ratmirov to-day?' one great lady queries softly.
'I met her to-day at Lise's,' the hostess answers with her Æolian note. 'I feel so sorry for her. . . . She has a satirical intellect . . . elle n'a pas la foi.'
'Yes, yes,' repeats the great lady . . . 'that