The Living Present
Madame Balli has black eyes and hair, a white skin, a classic profile, and a smile of singular sweetness and charm. Until the war came she was far too absorbed in the delights of the world--the Paris world, which has more votaries than all the capitals of all the world--the changing fashions and her social popularity, to have heard so much as a murmur of the serious tides of her nature. Although no one disputed her intelligence--a social asset in France, odd as that may appear to Americans--she was generally put down as a mere femme du monde, self-indulgent, pleasure-loving, dependent--what our more strident feminists call parasitic. It is doubtful if she belonged to charitable organizations, although, generous by nature, it is safe to say that she gave freely.
[Illustration: MADAME BALLI President Réconfort du Soldat]
In that terrible September week of 1914 when the Germans were driving like a hurricane on Paris and its inhabitants w