Gentle Julia (Chapter Three, page 2 of 21)


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Julia looked down with little favour upon the talkative caller. Florence was seated upon the shady steps of the veranda, and Julia, dressed for a walk, occupied a wicker chair above her. "Julia, dressed for a walk"--how scant the words! It was a summer walk that Julia had dressed for: and she was all too dashingly a picture of coolness on a hot day: a brunette in murmurous white, though her little hat was a film of blackest blue, and thus also in belt and parasol she had almost matched the colour of her eyes. Probably no human-made fabric could have come nearer to matching them, though she had once met a great traveller--at least he went far enough in his search for comparisons--who told her that the Czarina of Russia had owned a deep sapphire of precisely the colour, but the Czarina's was the only sapphire yet discovered that had it. One of Newland Sanders's longest Poems-to-Julia was entitled "Black Sapphires."

Julia's harmonies in black sapphire were uncalled for. If she really had been as kind as she was too often capable of looking, she would have fastened patches over both eyes--one patch would have been useless--and she would have worn flat shoes and patronized a dressmaker with genius enough to misrepresent her. But Julia was not great enough for such generosities: she should have been locked up till she passed sixty; her sufferings deserve no pity.

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