Jos, however, remained behind over the play-table; he was no gambler, but not averse to the little excitement of the sport now and then, and he had some Napoleons chinking in the embroidered pockets of his court waistcoat. He put down one over the fair shoulder of the little gambler before him, and they won. She made a little movement to make room for him by her side, and just took the skirt of her gown from a vacant chair there.
"Come and give me good luck," she said, still in a foreign accent, quite different from that frank and perfectly English "Thank you," with which she had saluted Georgy's coup in her favour. The portly gentleman, looking round to see that nobody of rank observed him, sat down; he muttered — "Ah, really, well now, God bless my soul. I'm very fortunate; I'm sure to give you good fortune," and other words of compliment and confusion. "Do you play much?" the foreign mask said.
"I put a Nap or two down," said Jos with a superb air, flinging down a gold piece.
"Yes; ay nap after dinner," said the mask archly. But Jos looking frightened, she continued, in her pretty French accent, "You do not play to win. No more do I. I play to forget, but I cannot. I cannot forget old times, monsieur. Your little nephew is the image of his father; and you — you are not changed — but yes, you are. Everybody changes, everybody forgets; nobody has any heart."
"Good God, who is it?" asked Jos in a flutter.
"Can't you guess, Joseph Sedley?" said the little woman in a sad voice, and undoing her mask, she looked at him. "You have forgotten me."
"Good heavens! Mrs. Crawley!" gasped out Jos.
"Rebecca," said the other, putting her hand on his; but she followed the game still, all the time she was looking at him.
"I am stopping at the Elephant," she continued. "Ask for Madame de Raudon. I saw my dear Amelia to-day; how pretty she looked, and how happy! So do you! Everybody but me, who am wretched, Joseph Sedley." And she put her money over from the red to the black, as if by a chance movement of her hand, and while she was wiping her eyes with a pocket-handkerchief fringed with torn lace.
The red came up again, and she lost the whole of that stake. "Come away," she said. "Come with me a little — we are old friends, are we not, dear Mr. Sedley?"
And Mr. Kirsch having lost all his money by this time, followed his master out into the moonlight, where the illuminations were winking out and the transparency over our mission was scarcely visible.