“What an eye for beauty you have!” cut short Madame Chalumeau ruthlessly. “Well, Jacques, I must now make myself presentable and go to the Rue d’Argentin. Berton will no doubt be very proud to have a lady in his inn—although many English people stop there. It is curious,” she added, putting her plate on his and carrying them to a distant table, “what an interest ces Anglais take in le Conquerant. As an enemy, one who conquered their country, one would think they would dislike his memory, but they do not. Very generous of them, I always think.”
Joyselle’s party arrived at Falaise the next evening, and leaving Brigit at the inn in the Rue d’Argentin, the others drove on to old M. Joyselle’s house in the Rue Victor Hugo.
Brigit was very tired and glad to rest, for the day’s journey had been long, and Joyselle’s interest in her interest in his country had taken the form of a restless desire to have her see everything possible from both sides of the compartment. For hours, therefore, she had been springing from one window to another, admiring everything to which he pointed, in a mad attempt to satisfy his pride in ici-bas.
Her coming at all had been entirely his idea, and her faint refusals he had laughed to scorn, easily enlisting Theo, and, with a trifle more difficulty, his wife, to his cause.
“Of course you will go with us,” he had cried, beaming with joy and tossing Papillon nearly to the ceiling as some outlet for his feelings, “and it will be glorious; and think of the ecstasy of my old people and the rest!”
“Remember, Victor—they are simple people,” Felicite had ventured, but he had laughed again.
“And so is she! They are peasants, and she is a great lady. Ca se comprend. But extremes meet, and Brigit has none of the British middle-class snobbism. It is well that she should see the people from whom we come. She shall go with us.”
And she had come.
Things had gone very well of late, and as she lay on her narrow bed resting and waiting for Theo to fetch her, she reviewed the events that had occurred since her great quarrel with Victor, and drew a deep breath of satisfaction at the state of affairs.
She and Joyselle, both of them remembering the horror of the quarrel, had been exceptionally gentle to each other, and as so often happens when a situation is apparently unbearable, it had suddenly become quite smooth and pleasant. Restraining himself from demonstrativeness, Joyselle had been able to keep his emotions well in hand, and the tacit avoidance of tetes-a-tete had also proved most helpful.
Felicite’s innocent interpretation of their feelings had gone far, too, towards quieting those feelings almost to her conception of them. There were times, Brigit had seen, not without amusement, when Victor had nearly felt for her the paternal solicitude his wife believed him to feel, and even though she smiled at this susceptibility to impression in him, the girl more than once caught herself semi-unconsciously playing the role of youthful hero-worshipper cast for her by the older woman.