What did happen was, of course, quite unexpected; the door slowly opened and a small yellow dog appeared, a note tied to his collar.
A mongrel person, this dog, with suggestions of various races in him; his tail had intended to be long, but the hand of heredity had evidently shortened it, and the ears, long enough to lop, pricked slightly as his bright eyes smiled up at the girl, who laughed aloud as she took the note he had brought.
“Oh, you dear little monster!” she said to him. “I never saw anything so yellow as you in my life—except Lady Minturn’s wig. I believe you’re dyed!”
The note, written in a peculiarly dashing hand on thick mauve paper, was short:
“Ma Fille,” it ran, “good morning to you—the first of many happy ones with us. Yellow Dog Papillon brings this to you. He is an angel dog, and loves you already, as does your Victor Joyselle,
Yellow Dog Papillon, having come to stay, was sitting up, as if he never under any circumstances passed his time in another way. His rough, pumpkin-coloured front feet hung genteelly limp, and his tail slowly described a half circle on the highly polished floor.
Brigit laughed again, and patted his head. “Does he expect an answer?” she asked seriously; but before the dog could tell her what he thought the door opened, and Madame Joyselle entered, bearing a small lacquered tray, on which stood a tiny coffee-pot, cup and saucer, plate and cream-jug, of gleaming white porcelain, the edges of which glittered in a narrow gold line, and a tall glass vase containing a very large and faultless gardenia.
“I have brought you your coffee, Lady Brigit,” said the little woman, showing her beautiful teeth in a cheery smile, “and ’ard-boiled eggs. Theo told me you like them ’ard-boiled. The gardenia is from my ’usband.”
Her English was very bad, and the unusual exertion of speaking in the tongue which to her, in spite of twenty-five years’ residence in the country of its birth, still remained “foreign,” brought a pretty flush to her brown cheeks. “You sleep—well?”
As she ate her breakfast Lady Brigit studied this simple woman who was to be her mother-in-law. Madame Joyselle was, socially speaking, absolutely unpresentable, for she had remained in every respect except that of age what she had been born—a Norman peasant. She had acquired no veneer of any kind, and looked, as she stood with her plump hands folded contentedly on her apron-band, much less a lady than Mrs. Champion, the housekeeper at Kingsmead.
But one fault Brigit had not: she was no snob, and the least worthy thought roused in her as she contemplated her kindly hostess was that her mother would be very much annoyed when she met her daughter’s future mother-in-law.
“Such delicious coffee,” she said presently, “and the rolls!”
“Oui, oui, pas mal; c’est moi qui les ai faits. I make myself——”