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The brunette is pretty and the blonde is charming — and bleached. But the brunette, dressed all in gray velvet with panels of flame-colored beads, a stole of silver foxes around her neck, shoes covered with sequins, feathers, and paste jewels, gloves that are embroidered and funnel-shaped, and a hat with a spray of aigrettes which hang, above two stars, like a threatening cloud, the brunette is resplendent with the somewhat harsh elegance people go for nowadays… The greedy, chattering women fall silent as she enters. They stare at her, and the envy in their eyes enhances her beauty the way a summer rain adds luster to the enameled feathers of a kingfisher. She is warm and drinks like a pigeon, her neck stretched out, her jabot hanging. She has two gestures which, though frequent as tics, are the result of a studied coquetry: with her forefinger she flicks a very light brown curl away from her eyebrow, displaying her almond-shaped fingernail, which glistens near her wide, tapering eye; she sticks a trident-shaped tortoiseshell comb into the hair at the nape of her neck, and as she raises her arm, the eye follows the roundness of her well-supported breast, which rises with the arm.
The blonde… the blonde is charming in her own way. She’s merely a blonde in black Moroccan crepe and a plush cape, a blonde with a short neck and a carnivorous mouth. Her mannerisms do not make her more attractive. She thrusts out her chin the way a pug does, and wrinkles up her nose like a baby seal as it comes blinking up out of the water. It’s not a pretty sight. I’d like to tell her so… another time. And now, beneath the fiery glances, she’s imitating her friend’s little game. She puffs out her chest and with one hand pats at her low, golden chignon. In the same way a younger sister unconsciously imitates an older sister already sure of her seductive power. What a delight to the eye it is to watch these two well-trained peahens!