In spite of Victorine’s refusal to serve at the breakfast, she had not the least idea of letting Willan go away in the morning without being reminded of her presence. She was up before light, dressed in a pretty pink and white flowered gown, which set off her black hair and eyes well, and made her look as if she were related to an apple-blossom. She watched and listened till she heard the sound of voices and the horses’ feet in the courtyard below; then throwing open her casement she leaned out and began to water her flowers on the stairway roof. At the first sound Willan Blaycke looked up and saw her. It was as pretty a picture as a man need wish to see, and Willan gazed his fill at it. The window was so high up in the air that the girl might well be supposed not to see anything which was going on in the courtyard; indeed, she never once looked that way, but went on daintily watering plant after plant, picking off dead leaves, crumpling them up in her fingers and throwing them down as if she were alone in the place; singing, too, softly in a low tone snatches of a song, the words of which went floating away tantalizingly over Willan’s head, in spite of all his efforts to hear.
It was a great tribute to Victorine’s powers as an actress that it never once crossed Willan’s mind that she could possibly know he was looking at her all this time. It was equally a token of another man’s estimate of her, that when old Benoit, hearing the singing, looked up and saw her watering her flowers at this unexampled hour, he said under his breath, “Diable!” and then glancing at the face of Willan, who stood gazing up at the window utterly unconscious of the old ostler’s presence, said “Diable!” again, but this time with a broad and amused smile.
The fountain leaps as if its nearest
Were sky, and shines as if its life were light.
No crystal prism flashes on our sight
Such radiant splendor of the rainbow’s whole
Of color. Who would dream the fountain stole
Its tints, and if the sun no more were bright
Would instant fade to its own pallid white?
Who dream that never higher than the dole
Of its own source, its stream may rise?
See often hearts of men that by love’s glow
Are sudden lighted, lifted till they show
All semblances of true nobility;
The passion spent, they tire of purity,
And sink again to their own levels low!
The next time Willan Blaycke came to the Golden Pear he did not see Victorine. This was by no device of hers, though if she had considered beforehand she could not better have helped on the impression she had made on him than by letting him go away disappointed, having come hoping to see her. She was away on a visit at the home of Pierre Gaspard the miller, whose eldest daughter Annette was Victorine’s one friend in the parish. There was an eldest son, also, Pierre second, on whom Mademoiselle Victorine