“The thrushes had nothing to do with it,” she replied, smiling. “A month hence I shall say as I do to-day. ‘It is either he or no one.’ And you shall choose.”
“Do not repeat that formula, I beg. Fixed resolves are the prison-house of the will. Promise me to reflect; reflection is an excellent thing. One thing more—grant me in advance what I am going to ask you.”
“It is granted.”
“You have a godmother—”
“Ah! now we are coming to the point,” she added.
“You cannot deny that Mme. De Lorcy is a woman of the world, a woman of good sense, a woman of experience, who is deeply interested in your welfare—”
“And who has decided from time immemorial, that I can only be happy on condition that I marry her nephew, M. Camille Langis.”
“Well, I admit that she is partial. That is no reason why we should not send her our Pole. She will inspect him, she will tell us her opinion; it will be a new element in the argument.”
“Ah! I know her opinion without asking it. This woman of experience and good sense is incapable of recognising merit in a man who is sufficiently impertinent to make Mlle. Moriaz love him, without having at least fifty thousand livres a year to offer her.”
“What does that matter? We will let her speak—we need not question her, an oracle; but she knows false jewellery. If she discover—”
“I would require proofs,” she interrupted, quickly.
“And if she furnish them?”
She was silent an instant, then she said: “Let it be so; do as you please.”
With these words they ended the conversation; then arose, and retook the road to Saint Moritz. M. Moriaz scarcely had reached there, when he entered a carriage to drive to Cellarina, provided with a portfolio given him by Antoinette. He found M. Larinski busy strapping his trunks, and waiting for the mail-coach that made the journey between Samaden and Chur by the Col du Julier.
M. Moriaz expressed his regret at having missed his visit, and asked if he would consent to charge himself with a commission for his daughter, who desired to send to her godmother, Mme. De Lorcy, a sketch of Saint Moritz.
“Cheerfully,” coldly replied Count Abel, and he promised, so soon as he reached Paris, to send the portfolio to Maisons Lafitte.
“Do better than that,” rejoined M. Moriaz, “and carry your good-nature so far as to take it yourself to its address. Mme. de Lorcy is an amiable woman, who will be charmed to make your acquaintance, and hear from you of us.”
The count bowed with a submissive air. There was so little ardour in this submission that M. Moriaz queried if his daughter had not been dreaming, if M. Larinski was as much in love with her as she fancied. He had not read the anonymous letter; Antoinette had refrained from even mentioning it to him.
He was returning to Saint Moritz, when he met midway a pedestrian, who, lost in thought, neither looked at him nor recognised him. M. Moriaz ordered the coachman to stop, sprang out of the carriage, went up to the traveller whom he seized by both shoulders, exclaiming: