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The Idol Of Paris
by Sarah Bernhardt
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Esperance grew pale; she took the card from her mother's hands, fearing that she might be mistaken. It was indeed the Countess and not the Count. She breathed again! Marguerite and the maid carried the basket into the salon; then the young girl went into the library with her mother. The newspaper clippings were spread out on the table, and the two famous trinkets had been taken from their cases. Madame Darbois clasped and unclasped her hands.
In the dining-room of a fine house on the Boulevard Raspail all the Darbois family were gathered together about the round table, on which a white oil cloth bordered with gold-medallioned portraits of the line of French kings served as table cover at family meals. The Darbois family consisted of François Darbois, professor of philosophy, a scholar of eminence and distinction; of Madame Darbois, his wife, a charming gentle little creature, without any pretentions; of Philippe Renaud, brother of Madame Darbois, an honest and able business man; of his son, Maurice Renaud, twenty-two and a painter, a fine youth filled with confidence because of the success he had just achieved at the last Salon; of a distant cousin, the family counsellor, a tyrannical landlord and self-centered bachelor, Adhemar Meydieux, and the child of whom he was godfather, and around whom all this particular little world revolved.
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