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The Lost Prince Frances Hodgson Burnett

XIX "That Is One!"

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``What can such a poor-looking pair of lads be going to Paris for?'' some one asked his companion.

``Not for pleasure, certainly; perhaps to get work,'' was the casual answer.

In the evening they reached Paris, and Marco led the way to a small cafe in a side-street where they got some cheap food. In the same side-street they found a bed they could share for the night in a tiny room over a baker's shop.

The Rat was too much excited to be ready to go to bed early. He begged Marco to guide him about the brilliant streets. They went slowly along the broad Avenue des Champs Elysees under the lights glittering among the horse-chestnut trees. The Rat's sharp eyes took it all in--the light of the cafes among the embowering trees, the many carriages rolling by, the people who loitered and laughed or sat at little tables drinking wine and listening to music, the broad stream of life which flowed on to the Arc de Triomphe and back again.

``It's brighter and clearer than London,'' he said to Marco. ``The people look as if they were having more fun than they do in England.''

The Place de la Concorde spreading its stately spaces--a world of illumination, movement, and majestic beauty--held him as though by a fascination. He wanted to stand and stare at it, first from one point of view and then from another. It was bigger and more wonderful than he had been able to picture it when Marco had described it to him and told him of the part it had played in the days of the French Revolution when the guillotine had stood in it and the tumbrils had emptied themselves at the foot of its steps.

He stood near the Obelisk a long time without speaking.

``I can see it all happening,'' he said at last, and he pulled Marco away.

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Before they returned home, they found their way to a large house which stood in a courtyard. In the iron work of the handsome gates which shut it in was wrought a gilded coronet. The gates were closed and the house was not brightly lighted.

They walked past it and round it without speaking, but, when they neared the entrance for the second time, The Rat said in a low tone:

``She is five feet seven, has black hair, a nose with a high bridge, her eyebrows are black and almost meet across it, she has a pale olive skin and holds her head proudly.''

``That is the one,'' Marco answered.

They were a week in Paris and each day passed this big house. There were certain hours when great ladies were more likely to go out and come in than they were at others. Marco knew this, and they managed to be within sight of the house or to pass it at these hours. For two days they saw no sign of the person they wished to see, but one morning the gates were thrown open and they saw flowers and palms being taken in.

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The Lost Prince
Frances Hodgson Burnett

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