“You are right, my dear child; quick! the letter.” Adrienne gave it to him.
“I tell him enough,” said she, “to calm his grief; and not enough to deprive me of the delicious happiness of the surprise I reserve for to morrow.”
“All this has as much sense as heart in it: I will hasten to the prince’s abode, to deliver your letter. I shall not see him, for I could not answer for myself. But come! our proposed drive, our evening’s amusement, are still to hold good.”
“Certainly. I have more need than ever to divert my thoughts till to morrow. I feel, too, that the fresh air will do me good, for this interview with M. Rodin has warmed me a little.”
“The old wretch! but we will talk further of him. I will hasten to the prince’s and return with Madame de Morinval, to fetch you to the Champs Elysees.”
The Count de Montbron withdrew precipitately, as joyful at his departure as he had been sad on his arrival.
It was about two hours after the interview of Rodin with Mdlle. de Cardoville. Numerous loungers, attracted to the Champs-Elysees by the serenity of a fine spring day (it was towards the end of the month of March) stopped to admire a very handsome equipage. A bright-blue open carriage, with white-and-blue wheels, drawn by four superb horses, of cream color, with black manes, and harness glittering with silver ornaments, mounted by two boy postilions of equal size, with black velvet caps, light-blue cassimere jackets with white collars, buckskin breeches, and top-boots; two tall, powdered footmen, also in light-blue livery, with white collars and facings, being seated in the rumble behind.
No equipage could have been turned out in better style. The horses, full of blood, spirit, and vigor, were skillfully managed by the postilions, and stepped with singular regularity, gracefully keeping time in their movements, champing their bits covered with foam, and ever and anon shaking their cockades of blue and white silk, with long floating ends, and a bright rose blooming in the midst.
A man on horseback, dressed with elegant simplicity, keeping at the other side of the avenue, contemplated with proud satisfaction this equipage which he had, as it were, created. It was M. de Bonneville—Adrienne’s equerry, as M. de Montbron called him—for the carriage belonged to that young lady. A change had taken place in the plan for this magic day’s amusement. M. de Montbron had not been able to deliver Mdlle. de Cardoville’s note to Prince Djalma. Faringhea had told him that the prince had gone that morning into the country with Marshal Simon, and would not be back before evening. The letter should be given him on his arrival. Completely satisfied as to Djalma, knowing that he could find these few lines, which, without informing him of the happiness that awaited him, would at least