As she spoke there came a loud rap at the door, and Joyselle put in his head, crowned with a gold-tasselled red-velvet cap of archaic shape.
“You permit, ma fille?” Without awaiting an answer he came in, gorgeous from top to toe in a crimson garment between a dressing-gown and a smoking-costume, girdled round his waist with a gold cord.
“She eats, the most beautiful!” he cried joyously, “and petite mere and Yellow Dog look on! Is it not wonderful, ma vieille?”
Madame Joyselle smiled—sensibly. “It is delightful, my man, delightful. But I fear you should not have come in—she may not like it.”
“Not like it? Of course she does. Why should not the old beau-papa visit his most beautiful while she breakfasts? You are a goose, Felicite!”
Brigit, vastly amused by their discussing her as if she were not present, gave a bit of roll to the dog.
“A quaint little dog,” she observed to them both.
Joyselle laughed. “Yes, yes, il est bien drole, ce pauvre. But-ter-fly. And the name, too, hein? Some day I will tell you the story of why I have had nine dogs all named ‘But-ter-fly.’ There is so much to tell you, so much.”
He talked on, very rapidly, changing subjects with the rapidity of a child, using his square brown hands in vivid gesture, marching about the room, teasing the dog who, since his master had entered, had had eyes and ears for none but him.
“The concert, you know, yesterday, was a grand success. All the papers are full of it. Many play the violin to-day, you see, but there is only one Joyselle.”
“There is also a Kubelik,” suggested Brigit slily, to see what he would answer.
“My dear, yes; there is Kubelik, and there is Joachim still, thank God. Chacun dans son genre. But Kubelik is a boy, and he has ’violin hands’—fingers a kilometre long. Look at my hands, and you will see why I am not his equal in execution. In other things——”
He looked gravely at his hands as he held them out to her. This was in its turn different from the childlike vanity of a minute past; he was a creature of a thousand moods, each one absolutely sincere.
Theo, she saw, was like his mother. From her he had his gentle voice and quiet ways; from his father only the splendid dark eyes.
Joyselle was a remarkably handsome man in his somewhat flamboyant way, and even the clear morning light failed to show lines in his brown face, though his silky, wavy hair was very grey about his brow. He could be compared to no one Brigit had ever seen; he was, even in his absurd velvet gown, head and shoulders above anyone she knew, temperamentally as well as physically. He could, she saw, go anywhere, among people of any class, and find there an at least momentary niche for himself. Gentleman? She would not answer her own mental question, but great artist, man of the world, good fellow, remarkable man, most certainly.