“He was right. You are a bold robber, Scaramouche.”
“It is in the character,” said he. “Your father believes in having his mimes play upon the stage the parts that suit their natural temperaments.”
“Yes, you take everything you want, don’t you?” She looked up at him, half adoringly, half shyly.
“If it is possible,” said he. “I took his consent to our marriage by main force from him. I never waited for him to give it. When, in fact, he refused it, I just snatched it from him, and I’ll defy him now to win it back from me. I think that is what he most resents.”
She laughed, and launched upon an animated answer. But he did not hear a word of it. Through the bustle of traffic on the quay a cabriolet, the upper half of which was almost entirely made of glass, had approached them. It was drawn by two magnificent bay horses and driven by a superbly livened coachman.
In the cabriolet alone sat a slight young girl wrapped in a lynx-fur pelisse, her face of a delicate loveliness. She was leaning forward, her lips parted, her eyes devouring Scaramouche until they drew his gaze. When that happened, the shock of it brought him abruptly to a dumfounded halt.
Climene, checking in the middle of a sentence, arrested by his own sudden stopping, plucked at his sleeve.
“What is it, Scaramouche?”
But he made no attempt to answer her, and at that moment the coachman, to whom the little lady had already signalled, brought the carriage to a standstill beside them. Seen in the gorgeous setting of that coach with its escutcheoned panels, its portly coachman and its white-stockinged footman — who swung instantly to earth as the vehicle stopped — its dainty occupant seemed to Climene a princess out of a fairy-tale. And this princess leaned forward, with eyes aglow and cheeks aflush, stretching out a choicely gloved hand to Scaramouche.
“Andre-Louis!” she called him.
And Scaramouche took the hand of that exalted being, just as he might have taken the hand of Climene herself, and with eyes that reflected the gladness of her own, in a voice that echoed the joyous surprise of hers, he addressed her familiarly by name, just as she had addressed him.
“The door,” Aline commanded her footman, and “Mount here beside me,” she commanded Andre-Louis, in the same breath.
“A moment, Aline.”
He turned to his companion, who was all amazement, and to Harlequin and Columbine, who had that moment come up to share it. “You permit me, Climene?” said he, breathlessly. But it was more a statement than a question. “Fortunately you are not alone. Harlequin will take care of you. Au revoir, at dinner.”
With that he sprang into the cabriolet without waiting for a reply. The footman dosed the door, the coachman cracked his whip, and the regal equipage rolled away along the quay, leaving the three comedians staring after it, open-mouthed... Then Harlequin laughed.