I saw Jean at last in the distance, going round and round a large pond on his bicycle. He did look odd! in a thick striped jersey, and the tightest knickerbockers; almost as low as a “scorcher.” He jumped off and made a most polite bow, and explained he was doing it for exercise. But I do think that an idiotic reason—don’t you, Mamma? It would be just as much exercise on a road. However, he assured me that, like that, he knew exactly how many miles he went on the flat before breakfast, so I suppose it was all right.
I saw he wanted to continue his ride, so I walked on, and presently came to a summer-house, where Victorine and the dame de compagnie were doing their morning reading. There were also the two little girls building castles out of a heap of sand, and with them the most hideous German maid you ever saw. They are queer-looking little monkeys, Yolande is like Jean, but Marie—there are three years between them—is as black as ink—but where was I? Oh, yes!—well, by this time I was so hungry I could have eaten them, German bonne and all! Fortunately Godmamma turned up, and we strolled back to dejeuner. Heloise was in the salon, and she is charming, such a contrast to the rest of the party. She was beautifully dressed and so chic. We took to each other at once, she has not picked up that solid married look like Jean, so perhaps it is only the husbands who get it in France.
There was a good deal of ceremony going in to breakfast. Jean gave his mother his arm, and we trotted behind. The dining-room is a perfect room, except there is no carpet, and the food was lovely, only I do hate to see a great hand covered with a white cotton glove, plopping a dish down on the lighted thing in the middle, so that one has to look at the next course all the time one is finishing the last one. The way in which the two little monkeys and the German maid devoured their breakfast quite took one’s appetite away. There seemed to be numbers of men-servants, who wore white cotton gloves, and their liveries buttoned up to the throat, which takes away that nice clean-shirt-look of our servants at home.
[Sidenote: French Servants]
This afternoon we are going to pay a visit of ceremony to the Comte and Comtesse de Tournelle; we are going with them on their yacht down the Seine to-morrow. It is Jean and Heloise who have arranged to take me—it is kind of them, and it will be fun; and I am glad it is not considered proper for young French girls to go without their mothers, because we shall get rid of Victorine, and the voyage will be more agreeable. Agnes and the other maids and valets are going by train, and will meet us with the luggage at the different places we stop at each night, as the Sauterelle is too small to carry everything. I must go and get ready now, so good-bye, dear Mamma.—Your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.