N the course of the
foregoing I have several times mentioned the pearl-doctor. He is the
beauty specialist to the trade, and a very important person indeed. His
art is a particular gift which few possess, and therefore a good
pearl-doctor never goes a-begging.
the half-dozen pearl-doctors of standing whom I have intimately known,
each one, curiously enough, was of a different nationality.
a Polish Jew in Vienna of the old days, was content to make a
precarious living by improving the shape of baroque pearls, although he
knew that some of his clients were getting rich on the labor of his
hands—these hands, by the way, having become so unsightly in the
course of his work that he always hid them behind his back whenever he
went into company.
Another was a gratteur de perles—a
Frenchman—and much patronized by the most important dealers in Paris.
He was able to amass a considerable fortune. But then he could dictate
his own terms, for he was uniformly successful and knew his worth. The
dealers believed that he had lucky hands, and that mud would turn into
gold at the touch of his fingers'. His secret, I believe, however, lay
in his discrimination rather than in his skill. He had a flair for the
kind of pearl that would turn out well. If after careful scrutiny of a
pearl submitted to him he said under his breath and with a slight
shrug of the shoulder, "Je ne la vois point," it meant that in
his opinion nothing worth while lay hidden below the nacreous folds,
and that he at any rate was not going to risk failure; nothing would
induce him to undertake the task.
But if he laid down his magnifying glass and said, "Je ferai