Through that “recommend’” of Chester, got by Thorndyke-Smith for the law firm, and by him shown to M. De l’Isle, the coterie knew that the pretty lady whom they welcomed in Castanado’s little parlor was of a family line from which had come three State governors, one of whom had been also his State’s chief justice. One of her pleasantest impressions as she made herself at ease among them, and they around her and Mme. Castanado, was that they regarded this fact as honoring all while flattering none. She found herself as much, and as kindly, on trial before them as they before her, and saw that behind all their lively conversation on such comparatively light topics as the World War, greater New Orleans, and the decay of the times, the main question was not who, but what, she was. As for them, they proved at least equal to the best her son had ever written of them.
And they found her a confirmation of the best they had ever discerned in her son. In her fair face they saw both his masculine beauty and the excellence of his mind better interpreted than they had seen them in his own countenance. A point most pleasing to them was the palpable fact that she was in her son’s confidence. Evidently, though arriving sooner than expected, her coming was due to his initiative. Clearly he had written things that showed a juncture wherein she, if but prompt enough, might render the last great service of her life to his. Oh, how superior to the ordinary American slap-dash of the matrimonial lottery! They felt that they themselves had taken the American way too much for granted. Maybe that was where they were unlike Mlle. Aline. But she was not there, to perceive these things, nor her aunts, to be seen and estimated. The evening’s outcome could be but inconclusive, but it was a happy beginning.
Its most significant part was a brief talk following the mention of the Castanado soldier-boy’s engagement. His expected letter had come, bringing many pleasant particulars of it, and the two parents were enjoying a genuine and infectious complacency. “And one thing of the largez’ importanze, Mrs. Chezter,” madame said with sweet enthusiasm, “—the two they are of the one ril-ligion!”
Was the announcement unlucky, or astute? At any rate it threw the subject wide open by a side door, and Mrs. Chester calmly walked in.
“That’s certainly fortunate,” she said. Every ear was alert and Beloiseau was suddenly eager to speak, but she smilingly went on: “It’s true that, coming of a family of politicians, and being pet daughter—only one—of a judge, I may be a trifle broad on that point. Still I think you’re right and to be congratulated.”