Sitting at the end of the piano, his elbow resting on the cover and his head on his left hand, Savinien admired Ursula, whose eyes, fixed on the paneling of the wall beyond him, seemed to be questioning another world. Many a man would have fallen deeply in love for a less reason. Genuine feelings have a magnetism of their own, and Ursula was willing to show her soul, as a coquette her dresses to be admired. Savinien entered that delightful kingdom, led by this pure heart, which, to interpret its feelings, borrowed the power of the only art that speaks to thought by thought, without the help of words, or color, or form. Candor, openness of heart have the same power over a man that childhood has; the same charm, the same irresistible seductions. Ursula was never more honest and candid than at this moment, when she was born again into a new life.
The abbe came to tear Savinien from his dream, requesting him to take a fourth hand at whist. Ursula went on playing; the heirs departed, all except Desire, who was resolved to find out the intentions of his uncle and the viscount and Ursula.
“You have as much talent as soul, mademoiselle,” he said, when the young girl closed the piano and sat down beside her godfather. “Who is your master?”
“A German, living close to the Rue Dauphine on the quai Conti,” said the doctor. “If he had not given Ursula a lesson every day during her stay in Paris he would have been here to-day.”
“He is not only a great musician,” said Ursula, “but a man of adorable simplicity of nature.”
“Those lessons must cost a great deal,” remarked Desire.
The players smiled ironically. When the game was over the doctor, who had hitherto seemed anxious and pensive, turned to Savinien with the air of a man who fulfills a duty.
“Monsieur,” he said, “I am grateful for the feeling which leads you to make me this early visit; but your mother attributes unworthy and underhand motives to what I have done, and I should give her the right to call them true if I did not request you to refrain from coming here, in spite of the honor your visits are to me, and the pleasure I should otherwise feel in cultivating your society. Tell your mother that if I do not beg her, in my niece’s name and my own, to do us the honor of dining here next Sunday it is because I am very certain that she would find herself indisposed on that day.”
The old man held out his hand to the young viscount, who pressed it respectfully, saying:—
“You are quite right, monsieur.”
He then withdrew; but not without a bow to Ursula, in which there was more of sadness than disappointment.
Desire left the house at the same time; but he found it impossible to exchange even a word with the young nobleman, who rushed into his own house precipitately.