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Mór Jókai
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 252 pages of information about The Nameless Castle.

“I thank your ladyship; but I had rather stay where I am.”

“But why?”

“Because I should be a trouble to everybody over yonder.  I am a person that suits only herself.  I don’t know how to win the good will of other people.  I don’t keep a cat or a dog, because I don’t want to love anything.  Besides, I have many disagreeable habits.  I use snuff, and I can’t agree with anybody.  I am best left to myself, your ladyship.”

“But what will become of you when both your master and mistress are gone from the castle?”

“I shall do what I have always done, your ladyship.  The Herr Count promised that I should never want for anything to cook so long as I lived.”

“Don’t misunderstand me, Lisette.  I did not ask how you intended to live.  What I meant was, how are you going to get on when you do not see or hear any one—­when you are all alone here?”

“I am not afraid to be alone.  I have no money, and I don’t think anybody would undertake to carry me off!  I am never lonely.  I can’t read,—­for which I thank God!—­so that never bothers me.  I don’t like to knit; for ever since I saw those terrible women sitting around the guillotine and knitting, knitting, knitting all day long, I can’t bear to see the motion of five needles.  So I just amuse myself with these cards; and I don’t need anything else.”

“But surely your heart will grow sore when you do not see your little mistress daily?”

“Daily—­daily, your ladyship?  This is the second time I have laid eyes on her face in six years!  There was a time when I saw her daily, hourly—­when she needed me all the time.  Is not that so, my little mistress?  Don’t you remember how I had a little son, and how he called me chere maman, and I called him mon petit garcon?”

As she spoke, she laid the cards one by one on her snowy apron.  She looked intently at them for several moments, then continued: 

“No; I don’t need to know anything, only that she is safe. She will always be carefully guarded from all harm, and my cards will always tell me all I need know about mon petit garcon.  No, your ladyship; I shall not go with you; I cannot leave the place where my poor Henry died.”

“Poor Lisette! what a tender heart is yours!”

“Mine?” suddenly and with unusual energy interrupted Lisette.  “Mine a tender heart?  Ask this little lady here—­who cannot tell a lie—­if I am not the woman who has the hardest, the most unfeeling heart in all the world.  Ask her that, your ladyship.  Tell her, mon petit garcon,” she added, turning to Marie,—­“tell the lady it is as I say.”

“Lisette—­dear Lisette,” remonstrated Marie.

“Have you ever seen me weep?” demanded the woman.

“No, Lisette; but—­”

“Did I ever sigh,” interrupted Lisette, “or moan, or grieve, that time when we spent many days and nights together in one room?”

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