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LORD ARTHUR SAVILE'S CRIME
T was Lady Windermere's last reception before Easter, and Bentinck House was even more crowded than usual. Six Cabinet Ministers had come on from the Speaker's Levée in their stars and ribands, all the pretty women wore their smartest dresses, and at the end of the picture-gallery stood the Princess Sophia of Carlsruhe, a heavy Tartar-looking lady, with tiny black eyes and wonderful emeralds, talking bad French at the top of her voice, and laughing immoderately at everything that was said to her. It was certainly a wonderful medley of people. Gorgeous peeresses chatted affably to violent Radicals, popular preachers brushed on im coat-tails with eminent sceptics, a perfect bevy of bishops kept following a stout prima-donna from room to room, on the staircase stood several Royal Academicians, disguised as artists, and it was said that at one time the supperroom was absolutely crammed with geniuses.
As soon as she had gone, Lady Windermere
In fact, it was one of Lady Windermere's best
for pleasure which is the secret of remaining young.
Suddenly she looked eagerly round the room, and said, in her clear contralto voice, Where is my cheiromantist?'
'Your what, Gladys?' exclaimed the Duchess, giving an involuntary start.
'My cheiromantist, Duchess; I can't live without him at present.'
'Dear Gladys! you are always so original,’† murmured the Duchess, trying to remember what a cheiromantist really was, and hoping it was not the same as a cheiropodist.
'He comes to see my hand twice a week regularly,' continued Lady Windermere, and is most interesting about it.'
'Good heavens!' said the Duchess to herself, 'he is a sort of cheiropodist after all. How very dreadful. I hope he is a foreigner at any rate. It wouldn't be quite so bad then.'
'I must certainly introduce him to you.'
Introduce him!' cried the Duchess; 'you don't mean to say he is here?' and she began looking about for a small tortoise-shell fan and a -> very tattered lace shawl, so as to be ready to go
at a moment's notice.
'Of course he is here; I would not dream of giving a party without him. He tells me I have a pure psychic hand, and that if my thumb