On the night when Anthony had left for Camp Hooker one year before, all that was left of the beautiful Gloria Gilbert her shell, her young and lovely body moved up the broad marble steps of the Grand Central Station with the rhythm of the engine beating in her ears like a dream, and out onto Vanderbilt Avenue, where the huge bulk of the Biltmore overhung, the street and, down at its low, gleaming entrance, sucked in the many-colored opera-cloaks of gorgeously dressed girls.
Several times he went to a super-movie, a cinema palace on Broadway above Seventy-second Street, with an entrance in New York Colonial architecture, and crowds of well-to-do Jewish girls in opera-cloaks. On the two bright mornings of the week he wanted to play truant from the office, to be off with Ruth over the hills and far away.
I am afraid that Maud's lesson was not as thorough as it should have been, for Polly's head was such a chaos of bonnets, gloves, opera-cloaks and fans, that Maud blundered through, murdering time and tune at her own sweet will.
Only a very few people seemed to know that the fine old room was open. "Where is Connie?" said poor Mrs. Hooper fretfully when three o'clock had long struck. "I can't keep awake!" And now a midsummer sun was rising over Oxford. The last carriage had rumbled through the streets; the last merry group of black-coated men, and girls in thin shoes and opera-cloaks had vanished.
Women, in all the semi-barbaric costliness with which their sex loves to adorn itself of a night, stepped from limousines with their tiny silvery feet twinkling beneath the load of gorgeous furs and vivid opera-cloaks; while well-groomed men, in the smart insignificance of their evening clothes, guided the perilous passage of their fair consorts from the motor's step to the pavement.
There was a white cape in our vicinity, as well as one in the balcony; so our seats were probably as fashionable as those in the first and only circle; but behind us, stretching out to the doors and in under the gallery, was a dense mass unrelieved by opera-cloaks of any description; and that was the region of the unpretending -of those who came simply to enjoy, to see and not to be seen.
They passed out of the focus of my observation into their several forms in which they walk through common life. Putting on their opera-cloaks, their paletots, they put on, for me, that mark that hides the inner life, and the veil that conceals all hidden passions. It is said that there is, no longer, romance in real life. But the truth is that we live the romance that former ages told and sang.
There were the bright rows of pretty women and smiling men; the white and fanciful opera-cloaks; the gay rich dresses; the floating ribbons; the marvellous chevelures; the pearl-gray, the dove, and "tan" gloves, holding the jewelled fans and the beautiful bouquets the smile, the sparkle, the grace, the superb and irresistible dandyism that we all know so well in the days of golden youth they were all there, and the warm atmosphere was sweet with the thick odor of heliotrope, the very scent of haute societe.
The Audience is limited, and low-spirited, and may perhaps number including the Attendants eighteen. The only people in the front seats are, a man in full evening dress, which he tries to conceal under a caped cloak, and two Ladies in plush opera-cloaks. Fog is hanging about in the rafters, and the gas-stars sing a melancholy dirge. Each casual cough arouses dismal echoes.
The coupes and landaus formed in line under the reserved arcades, and stopped for a moment, and from them alighted fashionable and other women, in their opera-cloaks, trimmed with fur, feathers, and rare laces precious bodies, divinely set forth!
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