“Mais que dites vous mon brave homme!” screamed the Baronne and Heloise together. The man was quite annoyed.
“Je dis ce que je dis et je m’en fiche pas mal! la petite demoiselle blonde, dans la chambre de Monsieur le Comte de Tournelle.”
At that moment the Comtesse came in, so with another jerk of his thumb at her, “Comment! vous ne me croyez pas?” he said, “tiens—la voila!” and he bounced out of the room.
“Antoine” said it served them perfectly right, that he had warned them their reputations would suffer if husbands and wives camped together. Even a place like Vernon, he said, was sufficiently enlightened to find the situation impossible.
I don’t know what it all meant, but the Comtesse de Tournelle is now called “la demoiselle!”
The two young men leave us for the day, to do their duty at Versailles, but are to meet us again at Rouen in the evening, with leave for a few days. We are just going on board, so I will finish this presently.
5 p.m.—The scenery is too beautiful after you pass Vernon, and it was so interesting getting in and out of the locks. The Baronne and I and Jean talked together on the raised deck, while de Tournelle read to the Marquise in the bows. The old Baron is mostly with the sailors, and Heloise slept a good deal. Every now and then Hippolyte came out from his cooking place, and one saw his baboon face appearing on a level with the deck floor, and he would explain all the places we passed, and it always ended with: “Il ne faut pas que Mme. La Baronne pionce c’est tres tres interessant.”
I can’t tell you what a drole creature he is. Heloise woke up presently and talked to me; she said if it was not for the Tournelles she could not stand the Chateau de Croixmare and Victorine. It appears too, that when in Paris, Godmamma always drives in the Bois at the wrong times, and will have her opera box on the nights no one is there, and that irritates Heloise.
I can’t think why papa and she were such friends. I don’t believe if he had been alive now, and accustomed to really nice people like you and me, he would have been able to put up with her.
I shall post this directly we land, I am writing on the cabin table, and now good-bye.—Your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.
Saturday, 20th August.
[Sidenote: A Visit to Rouen]
Dearest Mamma,—To-day has been the loveliest I ever remember, not a cloud in the sky. We landed at Rouen the day before yesterday about six, and the hotel we stopped at was quite decent, and although the windows of my room looked upon the inner courtyard they at least had shutters. I wanted to go and see the marks the flames of Joan of Arc’s burning had made on the wall, but every one was so hungry, we had to have dinner so early, there wasn’t