“Where on earth will you stow ’em away?” cried Tynn, in her wonder. “You’ll want a length of rooms to do it in.”
“Where I stow ’em away!” retorted Mademoiselle Benoite, in her fluent speech, but broken English. “I stow ’em where I please. Note you that, Madame Teen. Par example! The chateau is grand enough.”
“What has its grandeur got to do with it?” was Mary Tynn’s answer. She knew but little of French phrases.
“Now, then, what for you stand there, with your eyes staring and your hands idle?” demanded Mademoiselle Benoite sharply, turning her attack on Phoeby.
“If you’ll tell me what to do, I’ll do it,” replied the girl. “I could help to put the things up, if you’d show me where to begin.”
“I like to see you dare to put a finger on one of these things!” returned Mademoiselle Benoite. “You can confine your services to sewing, and to waiting upon me; but not you dare to interfere with my lady’s toilette. Tiens, I am capable, I hope! I’d give up the best service to-morrow where I had not sole power! Go you down to the office, and order me a cup of chocolate, and wait you and bring it up to me. That maudite drogue, that coffee, this morning, has made me as thirsty as a panthere.”
Phoeby, glancing across at Mrs. Tynn, turned somewhat hesitatingly to pick her way out of the room. The housekeeper, though not half understanding, contrived to make out that the morning coffee was not approved of. The French mademoiselle had breakfasted with her, and, in Mrs. Tynn’s opinion, the coffee had been perfect, fit for the table of her betters.
“Is it the coffee that you are abusing?” asked she. “What was the matter with it?”
“Ciel! You ask what the matter with it!” returned Mademoiselle Benoite, in her rapid tongue. “It was everything the matter with it. It was all bad. It was drogue, I say; medicine. There!”
“Well, I’m sure!” resentfully returned the housekeeper. “Now, I happened to make that coffee myself this morning—Tynn, he’s particular in his coffee, he is—and I put in—”
“I not care if you put in the whole canastre,” vehemently interrupted Mademoiselle Benoite. “You English know not to make coffee. All the two years I lived in London with Madame la Duchesse, I never got one cup of coffee that was not enough to choke me. And they used pounds of it in the house, where they might have used ounces. Bah! You can make tea, I not say no; but you cannot make coffee. Now, then! I want a great number sheets of silk-paper.”
“Silk-paper?” repeated Tynn, whom the item puzzled. “What’s that?”
“You know not what silk-paper is!” angrily returned Mademoiselle Benoite. “Quelle ignorance!” she apostrophised, not caring whether she was understood or not. “Elle ne connait pas ce que c’est, papier-de-soie! I must have it, and a great deal of it, do you hear? It is as common as anything—silk-paper.”