The City of Fire (Chapter 8, page 1 of 8)


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Chapter 8

Opal Verrons was small and slight with large childlike eyes that could
look like a baby's, but that could hold the very devil on occasions.
The eyes were dark and lustrous with long curling black lashes framing
them in a face that might have been modeled for an angel, so round the
curves, so enchanting the lips, so lofty the white brow. Angelé Potocka
had no lovelier set to her head, no more limpal fire in her eye, than
had Opal Verrons. Indeed her lovers often called her the Fire Opal. The
only difference was that Angelé Potocka developed her brains, of which
she had plenty, while Opal Verrons had placed her entire care upon
developing her lovely little body, though she too had plenty of brains
on occasion.

And she knew how to dress! So simply, so slightly sometimes, so
perfectly to give a setting--the right setting--to her little self. She
wore her heavy dark hair bobbed, and it curled about her small head
exquisitely, giving her the look of a Raphael Cherub or a boy page in
the court of King Arthur. With a flat band of silver olive leaves about
her brow, and the soft hair waving out below, nothing more was
necessary for a costume save a brief drapery of silver spangled cloth
with a strap of jewels and a wisp of black malines for a scarf. She was
always startling and lovely even in her simplest costume. Many people
turned to watch her in a simple dark blue serge made like a child's
girded with a delicate arrangement of medallions and chains of white
metal, her dark rough woollen stockings rolled girlishly below white
dimpled knees, and her feet shod in flat soled white buckskin shoes.

She was young enough to "get away with it," the older women said
cattishly as they watched her stroll away to the beach with a new man
each day, and noted her artless grace and indifferent pose. That she
had a burly millionaire husband who still was under her spell and
watched her jealously only made her more interesting, and they pitied
her for being tied to a man twice her age and bulky as a bale of
cotton. She who could dance like a sylph and was light on her little
feet as a thistle down. Though wise ones sometimes said that Opal had
her young eyes wide open when she married Ed Verrons, and she had him
right under her little pink well manicured thumb. And some said she was
not nearly so young as she looked.

Her hands were the weakest point in Opal Verron's whole outfit. Not
that they were unlovely in form or ungraceful. They were so small they
hardly seemed like hands, so undeveloped, so useless, with the dimpling
of a baby's, yet the sharp nails of a little beast. They were so plump
and well cared for they were fairly sleek, and had an old wise air
about them as she patted her puffy curls daintily with a motion all her
own that showed her lovely rounded arm, and every needle-pointed
shell-tinted finger nail, sleek and puffy, and never used, not even
for a bit of embroidery or knitting. She couldn't, you know, with those
sharp transparent little nails, they might break. They were like her
little sharp teeth that always reminded one of a mouse's teeth, and
made one shudder at how sharp they would be should she ever
decide to bite.

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