“To my dressmakers, the Misses Mechinet. I want a dress.”
“Great God!” cried Aunt Adelaide, “the child is losing her mind!”
“I assure you I am not, aunt.”
“Then let me go with you.”
“Thank you, no. I shall go alone; that is to say, alone with dear grandpapa.”
And as M. de Chandore came back, his pockets full of bonds, his hat on his head, and his cane in his hand, she carried him off, saying,—
“Come, quick, dear grandpapa, we are in a great hurry.”
Although M. de Chandore was literally worshipping his grandchild on his knees, and had transferred all his hopes and his affections to her who alone survived of his large family, he had still had his thoughts when he went up stairs to take from his money-box so large a sum of money. As soon, therefore, as they were outside of the house, he said,—
“Now that we are alone, my dear child, will you tell me what you mean to do with all this money?”
“That is my secret,” she replied.
“And you have not confidence enough in your old grandfather to tell him what it is, darling?”
He stopped a moment; but she drew him on, saying,—
“You shall know it all, and in less than an hour. But, oh! You must not be angry, grandpapa. I have a plan, which is no doubt very foolish. If I told you, I am afraid you would stop me; and if you succeeded, and then something happened to Jacques, I should not survive the misery. And think of it, what you would feel, if you were to think afterwards, ’If I had only let her have her way!’”
“Dionysia, you are cruel!”
“On the other hand, if you did not induce me to give up my project, you would certainly take away all my courage; and I need it all, I tell you, grandpapa, for what I am going to risk.”
“You see, my dear child, and you must pardon me for repeating it once more, twenty thousand francs are a big sum of money; and there are many excellent and clever people who work hard, and deny themselves every thing, a whole life long, without laying up that much.”
“Ah, so much the better!” cried the young girl. “So much the better. I do hope there will be enough so as to meet with no refusal!”
Grandpapa Chandore began to comprehend.
“After all,” he said, “you have not told me where we are going.”
“To my dressmakers.”
“To the Misses Mechinet?”
M. de Chandore was sure now.
“We shall not find them at home,” he said. “This is Sunday; and they are no doubt at church.”
“We shall find them, grandpapa; for they always take tea at half-past seven, for their brother’s, the clerk’s sake. But we must make haste.”
The old gentleman did make haste; but it is a long way from the New-Market Place to Hill Street; for the sisters Mechinet lived on the Square, and, if you please, in a house of their own,—a house which was to be the delight of their days, and which had become the trouble of their nights.