December 11, 2015

the lights otherwise disposed


I wondered what they were going to do the first evening a change of entertainment was proposed: they spoke of playing charades, but in my ignorance I did not understand the term. The servants were called in, the dining-room tables wheeled away, the chairs placed in a semicircle opposite the arch.

While Mr. Rochester and the other gentlemen directed these alterations, the ladies were running up and down stairs ringing for their maids. Mrs. Fairfax was summoned to give information respecting the resources of the house in shawls, dresses, draperies of any kind; and certain wardrobes of the third storey were ransacked, and their contents, in the shape of brocaded and hooped petticoats, satin sacques, black modes, lace lappets, &c., were brought down in armfuls by the abigails; then a selection was made, and such things as were chosen were carried to the boudoir within the drawing-room Quality hotels in Hong Kong.

Meantime, Mr. Rochester had again summoned the ladies round him, and was selecting certain of their number to be of his party. Miss Ingram is mine, of course, said he: afterwards he named the two Misses Eshton, and Mrs. Dent. He looked at me: I happened to be near him, as I had been fastening the clasp of Mrs. Dent's bracelet, which had got loose reenex cps.

Will you play? he asked. I shook my head. He did not insist, which I rather feared he would have done; he allowed me to return quietly to my usual seat.

He and his aids now withdrew behind the curtain: the other party, which was headed by Colonel Dent, sat down on the crescent of chairs. One of the gentlemen, Mr. Eshton, observing me, seemed to propose that I should be asked to join them; but Lady Ingram instantly negatived the notion business travel to Hong Kong.

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