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The Lost Prince Frances Hodgson Burnett

XX Marco Goes to the Opera

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``She wants him to take her out,'' Marco thought. ``He will take her because he is good-natured.''

He saw him recall himself from his dream with a smile and then he rose and, after helping to arrange a silvery blue scarf round the girl's shoulders, gave her his arm just as Marco skipped out of his fourth-row standing-place.

It was a rather warm night and the corridors were full. By the time Marco had reached the balcony floor, the pair had issued from the little door and were temporarily lost in the moving numbers.

Marco quietly made his way among the crowd trying to look as if he belonged to somebody. Once or twice his strong body and his dense black eyes and lashes made people glance at him, but he was not the only boy who had been brought to the opera so he felt safe enough to stop at the foot of the stairs and watch those who went up and those who passed by. Such a miscellaneous crowd as it was made up of--good unfashionable music-lovers mixed here and there with grand people of the court and the gay world.

Suddenly he heard a low laugh and a moment later a hand lightly touched him.

``You DID get out, then?'' a soft voice said.

When he turned he felt his muscles stiffen. He ceased to slouch and did not smile as he looked at the speaker. What he felt was a wave of fierce and haughty anger. It swept over him before he had time to control it.

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A lovely person who seemed swathed in several shades of soft violet drapery was smiling at him with long, lovely eyes.

It was the woman who had trapped him into No. 10 Brandon Terrace.

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The Lost Prince
Frances Hodgson Burnett

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