Percy turned toward the lower end of the room.
A young lady was entering, dressed in plain silk, and the color of it was a pale blue! Excepting a white rose at her breast, she wore no ornament of any sort. Doubly distinguished by the perfect simplicity of her apparel, and by her tall, supple, commanding figure, she took rank at once as the most remarkable woman in the room. Moving nearer to her through the crowd, under the guidance of the complaisant Major, young Linwood gained a clearer view of her hair, her complexion, and the color of her eyes. In every one of these particulars she was the living image of the woman described by Doctor Lagarde!
While Percy was absorbed over this strange discovery, Major Mulvany had got within speaking distance of the young lady and of her mother, as they stood together in conversation with Captain Bervie. "My dear Mrs. Bowmore, how well you are looking! My dear Miss Charlotte, what a sensation you have made already! The glorious simplicity (if I may so express myself) of your dress is--is--what was I going to say?--the ideas come thronging on me; I merely want words."
Miss Bowmore's magnificent brown eyes, wandering from the Major to Percy, rested on the young man with a modest and momentary interest, which Captain Bervie's jealous attention instantly detected.
"They are forming a dance," he said, pressing forward impatiently to claim his partner. "If we don't take our places we shall be too late."
"Stop! stop!" cried the Major. "There is a time for everything, and this is the time for presenting my dear friend here, Mr. Percy Linwood. He is like me, Miss Charlotte--_he_ has been struck by your glorious simplicity, and _he_ wants words." At this part of the presentation, he happened to look toward the irate Captain, and instantly gave him a hint on the subject of his temper. "I say, Arthur Bervie! we are all good-humored people here. What have you got on your eyebrows? It looks like a frown; and it doesn't become you. Send for a skilled waiter, and have it brushed off and taken away directly!"
"May I ask, Miss Bowmore, if you are disengaged for the next dance?" said Percy, the moment the Major gave him an opportunity of speaking.
"Miss Bowmore is engaged to _me_ for the next dance," said the angry Captain, before the young lady could answer.