“Oh, my good dear!” said the latter, with as much volubility as emotion, while her pretty blue eyes were filled with tears; “is it possible that you did so stupid a thing? Do not poor people help one another? Could you not apply to me? You knew that others are welcome to whatever is mine, and I would have made a raffle of Philemon’s bazaar,” added this singular girl, with a burst of feeling, at once sincere, touching, and grotesque; “I would have sold his three boots, pipes, boating-costume, bed, and even his great drinking-glass, and at all events you should not have been brought to such an ugly pass. Philemon would not have minded, for he is a good fellow; and if he had minded, it would have been all the same. Thank heaven! we are not married. I am only wishing to remind you that you should have thought of little Rose-Pompon.”
“I know you are obliging and kind, miss,” said Mother Bunch: for she had heard from her sister that Rose-Pompon, like so many of her class, had a warm and generous heart.
“After all,” resumed the grisette, wiping with the back of her hand the tip of her little nose, down which a tear was trickling, “you may tell me that you did not know where I had taken up my quarters. It’s a queer story, I can tell you. When I say queer,” added Rose-Pompon, with a deep sigh, “it is quite the contrary—but no matter: I need not trouble you with that. One thing is certain; you are getting better—and you and Cephyse will not do such a thing again. She is said to be very weak. Can I not see her yet, M. Agricola?
“No,” said the smith, with embarrassment, for Mother Bunch kept her eyes fixed upon him; “you must have patience.”
“But I may see her to-day, Agricola?” exclaimed the hunchback.
“We will talk about that. Only be calm, I entreat.”
“Agricola is right; you must be reasonable, my good dear,” resumed Rose Pompon; “we will wait patiently. I can wait too, for I have to talk presently to this lady;” and Rose-Pompon glanced at Adrienne with the expression of an angry cat. “Yes, yes; I can wait; for I long to tell Cephyse also that she may reckon upon me.” Here Rose-Pompon bridled up very prettily, and thus continued, “Do not be uneasy! It is the least one can do, when one is in a good position, to share the advantages with one’s friends, who are not so well off. It would be a fine thing to keep one’s happiness to one’s self! to stuff it with straw, and put it under a glass, and let no one touch it! When I talk of happiness, it’s only to make talk; it is true in one sense; but to another, you see, my good dear—Bah! I am only seventeen—but no matter—I might go on talking till tomorrow, and you would not be any the wiser. So let me kiss you once more, and don’t be down-hearted—nor Cephyse either, do you hear? for I shall be close at hand.”