“Well, it shows I’m right not to believe in fairies any way. I really did think at first that the fairies had told you something, but——” suddenly she stopped as the remembrance of her adventure in the tapestry room returned to her mind. “Dudu may be a fairy, whether Marcelline has anything to do with fairies or not,” she reflected. It was better certainly to approach such subjects respectfully. “Marcelline,” she added, after a little silence, “there is only one thing I don’t like. I wish the little cousin were not going to sleep in the tapestry room.”
“Not in the tapestry room, Mademoiselle?” exclaimed Marcelline, “why, it is the best room in the house! You, who are so fond of stories, Mademoiselle—why there are stories without end on the walls of the tapestry room; particularly on a moonlight night.”
“Are there?” said Jeanne. “I wonder then if the little cousin will be able to find them out. If he does he must tell them to me. Are they fairy stories, Marcelline?”
But old Marcelline only smiled.
“I’ll take my
guinea-pig always to church.”
If it were cold just then in the thick-walled, well-warmed old house, which was Jeanne’s home, you may fancy how cold it was in the rumbling diligence, which in those days was the only way of travelling in France. And for a little boy whose experience of long journeys was small, this one was really rather trying. But Jeanne’s cousin Hugh was a very patient little boy. His life, since his parents’ death, had not been a very happy one, and he had learnt to bear troubles without complaining. And now that he was on his way to the kind cousins his mother had so often told him of, the cousins who had been so kind to her, before she had any home of her own, his heart was so full of happiness that, even if the journey had been twice as cold and uncomfortable, he would not have thought himself to be pitied.
It was a pale little face, however, which looked out of the diligence window at the different places where it stopped, and a rather timid voice which asked in the pretty broken French he had not quite forgotten since the days that his mother taught him her own language, for a little milk for his “pet.” The pet, which had travelled on his knees all the way from England—comfortably nestled up in hay and cotton wool in its cage, which looked something like a big mouse-trap—much better off in its way certainly than its poor little master. But it was a great comfort to him: the sight of its funny little nose poking out between the bars of its cage made Hugh feel ever so much less lonely, and when he had secured a little milk for his guinea-pig he did not seem to mind half so much about anything for himself.
Still it was a long and weary journey, and poor Hugh felt very glad when he was wakened up from the uncomfortable dose, which was all in the way of sleep he could manage, to be told that at last they had arrived. This was the town where his friends lived, and a “monsieur,” the conductor added, was inquiring for him—Jeanne’s father’s valet it was, who had been sent to meet him and take him safe to the old house, where an eager little heart was counting the minutes till he came.