Beside the row of carriages, in front of the porch in which I stood waiting, was planted, like some shrub of a rare species, a young page who attracted the eye no less by the unusual and harmonious colouring of his hair than by his plant-like epidermis. Inside, in the hall, corresponding to the narthex, or Church of the Catechumens in a primitive basilica, through which the persons who were not staying in the hotel were entitled to pass, the comrades of the “outside” page did not indeed work much harder than he but did at least execute certain movements. It is probable that in the early morning they helped with the cleaning. But in the afternoon they stood there only like a chorus who, even when there is nothing for them to do, remain upon the stage in order to strengthen the representation. The general manager, the same who had so terrified me, reckoned on increasing their number considerably next year, for he had “big ideas.” And this prospect greatly afflicted the manager of the hotel, who found that all these boys were simply “busybodies,” by which he meant that they got in the visitors’ way and were of no use to anyone. But between lunch and dinner at least, between the exits and entrances of the visitors, they did fill an otherwise empty stage, like those pupils of Mme de Maintenon who, in the garb of young Israelites, carry on the action whenever Esther or Joad “goes off.” But the outside page, with his delicate tints, his slender, fragile frame, in proximity to whom I stood waiting for the Marquise to come down, preserved an immobility mixed with a certain melancholy, for his elder brothers had left the hotel for more brilliant careers elsewhere, and he felt isolated upon this alien soil. At last Mme de Villeparisis appeared. To stand by her carriage and to help her into it ought perhaps to have been part of the young page’s duties. But he knew that a person who brings her own servants to an hotel expects them to wait on her and is not as a rule lavish with her tips, and that the same was true also of the nobility of the old Faubourg Saint-Germain. Mme de Villeparisis belonged to both these categories. The arborescent page concluded therefore that he could expect nothing from her, and leaving her own maid and footman to pack her and her belongings into the carriage, he continued to dream sadly of the enviable lot of his brothers and preserved his vegetable immobility.