The American eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 397 pages of information about The American.

“I would advise you not to be too fastidious,” said Newman.  “That’s all the advice I can give you.”

“I am very much vexed at what I have said!” cried the young girl.  “It has done me no good.  But I couldn’t help it.”

“What good did you expect it to do you?”

“I couldn’t help it, simply.”

Newman looked at her a moment.  “Well, your pictures may be bad,” he said, “but you are too clever for me, nevertheless.  I don’t understand you.  Good-by!” And he put out his hand.

She made no response, and offered him no farewell.  She turned away and seated herself sidewise on a bench, leaning her head on the back of her hand, which clasped the rail in front of the pictures.  Newman stood a moment and then turned on his heel and retreated.  He had understood her better than he confessed; this singular scene was a practical commentary upon her father’s statement that she was a frank coquette.

CHAPTER V

When Newman related to Mrs. Tristram his fruitless visit to Madame de Cintre, she urged him not to be discouraged, but to carry out his plan of “seeing Europe” during the summer, and return to Paris in the autumn and settle down comfortably for the winter.  “Madame de Cintre will keep,” she said; “she is not a woman who will marry from one day to another.”  Newman made no distinct affirmation that he would come back to Paris; he even talked about Rome and the Nile, and abstained from professing any especial interest in Madame de Cintre’s continued widowhood.  This circumstance was at variance with his habitual frankness, and may perhaps be regarded as characteristic of the incipient stage of that passion which is more particularly known as the mysterious one.  The truth is that the expression of a pair of eyes that were at once brilliant and mild had become very familiar to his memory, and he would not easily have resigned himself to the prospect of never looking into them again.  He communicated to Mrs. Tristram a number of other facts, of greater or less importance, as you choose; but on this particular point he kept his own counsel.  He took a kindly leave of M. Nioche, having assured him that, so far as he was concerned, the blue-cloaked Madonna herself might have been present at his interview with Mademoiselle Noemie; and left the old man nursing his breast-pocket, in an ecstasy which the acutest misfortune might have been defied to dissipate.  Newman then started on his travels, with all his usual appearance of slow-strolling leisure, and all his essential directness and intensity of aim.  No man seemed less in a hurry, and yet no man achieved more in brief periods.  He had certain practical instincts which served him excellently in his trade of tourist.  He found his way in foreign cities by divination, his memory was excellent when once his attention had been at all cordially given, and he emerged from dialogues in foreign tongues,

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The American from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.