THE COUNTESS MADELAINE.
Early the next day I saw, through the partly open door, my father finishing his toilet.
He had already fastened over his black satin breeches his garters secured with large buckles of chased silver. Similar buckles were on his shoes. His silver-buttoned vest of white pique reached low down, and his black satin coat faced with white silk had large lappets cut square. Such dress seemed to me very warm for summer; but the fashion and etiquette allowed only silk and velvet for visits of ceremony, and though you smothered you had to obey those tyrants. At the moment when I saw him out of the corner of my eye he was sticking a cluster diamond pin into his shirt-frill and another diamond into his lace cravat. It was the first time I ever saw papa so fine, so dressed! Presently we heard him call us to arrange his queue, and although it was impossible for us to work up a club and pigeon wings like those I saw on the two young Du Clozels and on M. Neville Declouet, we arranged a very fine queue wrapped with a black ribbon, and after smiling at himself in the glass and declaring that he thought the whole dress was in very good taste he kissed us, took his three-cornered hat and his gold-headed cane and went out. With what impatience we awaited his return!
About two hours afterward we saw papa coming back accompanied by a gentleman of a certain age, handsome, noble, elegant in his severe suit of black velvet. He had the finest black eyes in the world, and his face beamed with wit and amiability. You have guessed it was the Baron du Clozel. The baron bowed to us profoundly. He certainly knew who we were, but etiquette required him to wait until my father had presented us; but immediately then he asked papa’s permission to kiss us, and you may suppose your grandfather did not refuse.
M. du Clozel had been sent by the baroness to oppose our sojourn at the inn, and to bring us back with him.
“Run, put on your hoods,” said papa; “we will wait for you here.”
Mr. and Mrs. Morphy were greatly disappointed to see us go, and the former declared that if these nobles kept on taking away their custom they would have to shut up shop. Papa, to appease him, paid him double what he asked. And the baron gave his arm to Suzanne, as the elder, while I followed, on papa’s. Madame du Clozel and her daughter met us at the street gate. The baroness, though not young, was still pretty, and so elegant, so majestic! A few days later I could add, so good, so lovable!
Celeste du Clozel was eighteen. Her hair was black as ebony, and her eyes a beautiful blue. The young men of the village called her Celeste la bien nommee [Celeste the well named]; and for all her beauty, fortune, and high position she was good and simple and always ready to oblige. She was engaged, we learned afterward, to the Chevalier de Blanc, the same who in 1803 was made post-commandant of Attakapas. Olivier and Charles du Clozel turned everything to our entertainment, and it was soon decided that we should all go that same evening to the theater.