A little tear-letting lightened her unrevealable burden, and she rose, rejoicing that Clotilde had happened to be out of eye-and-ear-shot. The scanty fire in the fireplace was ample to warm the room; the fire within her made it too insufferably hot! Rain or no rain, she parted the window-curtains and lifted the sash. What a mark for Love’s arrow she was, as, at the window, she stretched her two arms upward! And, “right so,” who should chance to come cantering by, the big drops of rain pattering after him, but the knightliest man in that old town, and the fittest to perfect the fine old-fashioned poetry of the scene!
“Clotilde,” said Aurora, turning from her mirror, whither she had hastened to see if her face showed signs of tears (Clotilde was entering the room), “we shall never be turned out of this house by Honore Grandissime!”
“Why?” asked Clotilde, stopping short in the floor, forgetting Aurora’s trust in Providence, and expecting to hear that M. Grandissime had been found dead in his bed.
“Because I saw him just now; he rode by on horseback. A man with that noble face could never do such a thing!”
The astonished Clotilde looked at her mother searchingly. This sort of speech about a Grandissime? But Aurora was the picture of innocence.
Clotilde uttered a derisive laugh.
“Impertinente!” exclaimed the other, laboring not to join in it.
“Ah-h-h!” cried Clotilde, in the same mood, “and what face had he when he wrote that letter?”
“Yes, what face?”
“I do not know what face you mean,” said Aurora.
“What face,” repeated Clotilde, “had Monsieur Honore de Grandissime on the day that he wrote—”
“Ah, f-fah!” cried Aurora, and turned away, “you don’t know what you are talking about! You make me wish sometimes that I were dead!”
Clotilde had gone and shut down the sash, as it began to rain hard and blow. As she was turning away, her eye was attracted by an object at a distance.
“What is it?” asked Aurora, from a seat before the fire.
“Nothing,” said Clotilde, weary of the sensational,—“a man in the rain.”
It was the apothecary of the rue Royale, turning from that street toward the rue Bourbon, and bowing his head against the swirling norther.
FROWENFELD KEEPS HIS APPOINTMENT
Doctor Keene, his ill-humor slept off, lay in bed in a quiescent state of great mental enjoyment. At times he would smile and close his eyes, open them again and murmur to himself, and turn his head languidly and smile again. And when the rain and wind, all tangled together, came against the window with a whirl and a slap, his smile broadened almost to laughter.
“He’s in it,” he murmured, “he’s just reaching there. I would give fifty dollars to see him when he first gets into the house and sees where he is.”