She sat in a large white claw foot bathtub. A pool of cool water just up to her waist. The white tile room was bright, though I can't remember where the light was coming from. Her skin was so white it could have blended into the walls were it(more) not for all the freckles. Freckles everywhere, all shapes and sizes, in the most beautiful brick red. As if some sunburned desert clay had been spattered on her from head to foot.
Her legs folded underneath her, she sat upright on her ankles. She had been sitting in this posture for so long that her torso and arms and hair were dry. Because she was so motionless, it seemed as if she could have been sitting there for years. Her hair was blonde but yellow in contrast to the white of the room and imagined I could almost see her black roots growing out of her scalp.
Her eyes followed my movements, though I don't recall exactly where I was standing in the room. She seemed to want to speak but something kept the words at bay. My growing fear was that she couldn't speak the words she wanted to say without making the most frightening sound imaginable and then I would run.
All at once I understood. She wanted me to say the words so that I wouldn't be frightened and I wouldn't run away from her. These are the words she wanted me to say:
Like the church bells on our wedding day, the music is far above us. Though we stand on this high balcony we are no nearer to it. We hear it in the distance and then it's gone. Why is it that when I hear music, it is inside of me?(less)
The master always wants to wear his best wig on salon nights, and rightfully so. It is the night to be seen, after all. I find myself wondering how many hands groom how many wigs, how much powder and oil and perfume is slathered about. How many hours, if each hour was(more) counted of its own merit, would be spent tarting up this crowd.
The heat and the sweat and the cognac and the wine make it all for nothing. The make-up will smear, the curls will fall and everyone will pretend not to see the sweat stains in the silk. Eyes will be made over flitting fans, skirts will be chased in anterooms. By the end of the night, everything will fall apart.
Master always has quite a lot to say by the end. The vicomte de so-and-so really shouldn't be wearing that color this season, it's tasteless. The marquise of who-knows-where was flirting shamelessly with that young son of the count of something or other, she really should be ashamed. He'll wipe his fat neck with his powder-smudged handkerchief and prattle on about all he saw.
How I envy the musicians. The whole world comes to the salon to be seen, and it's those who are heard that bring any real beauty. (less)