While Suzanne admired herself in the mirror I took her place. My headdress differed from hers in the ends of my feathers being blue, and in the rose being white, surrounded by pale blue violets and a few silver leaves. And now a temptation came to all of us. Alix spoke first:
“Now put on your ball-dresses and I will send for our friends. What do you think?”
“Oh, that would be charming!” cried Suzanne. “Let us hurry!” And while we dressed, Pat, always prowling about the cottage, was sent to the flatboat to get his parents and the Carlos, and to M. Gerbeau’s to ask my father and M. and Mme. Gerbeau to come at once to the cottage.... No, I cannot tell the cries of joy that greeted us. The children did not know us, and Maggie had to tell Pat over and over that these were Miss Souzie and Miss Francise. My father’s eyes filled with tears as he thanked Alix for her goodness and generosity to us.
Alas! the happiest days, like the saddest, have an end. On the morrow the people in the flatboat came to say good-bye. Mario cried like a child. Celeste carried Alix’s hands to her lips and said in the midst of her tears:
“O Madame! I had got so used to you—I hoped never to leave you.”
“I will come to see you, Celeste,” replied Alix to the young mulattress, “I promise you.”
Maggie herself seemed moved, and in taking leave of Alix put two vigorous kisses on her cheeks. As to our father, and us, too, the adieus were not final, we having promised Mario and Gordon to stop [on their journey up the shore of the bayou] as soon as we saw the flatboat.
“And we hope, my dear Carlo, to find you established in your principality.”
“Amen!” responded the Italian.
Alix added to her gifts two pairs of chamois-skin gloves and a box of lovely artificial flowers. Two days after the flatboat had gone, we having spent the night with Alix, came M. Gerbeau’s carriage to take us once more upon our journey. Ah! that was a terrible moment. Even Alix could scarce hold back the tears. We refused to get into the carriage, and walked, all of us together, to M. Gerbeau’s, and then parted amid tears, kisses, and promises.