“What have I seen?” repeated Mrs. Grivois, with amazement.
“Yes: what was it?”
“Where?” asked Georgette.
“I saw her run up the porch steps. I perfectly recognized her by her gait, by her hat, and by her mantle. To come home at eight o’clock in the morning!” cried Mrs. Grivois: “it is perfectly incredible!”
“See my lady? Why, you came to see her!” and Georgette burst out into fits of laughter: and then said: “Oh! I understand! you wish to out-do my story of the four-wheeler last night! It is very neat of you!”
“I repeat,” said Mrs. Grivois, “that I have this moment seen—”
“Oh! adone, Mrs. Grivois: if you speak seriously, you are mad!”
“I am mad, am I? because I have a pair of good eyes! The little gate that open’s on the street lets one into the quincunx near the pavilion. It is by that door, doubtless, that mademoiselle has re-entered. Oh, what shameful conduct! what will the Princess say to it! Ah! her presentiments have not yet been mistaken. See to what her weak indulgence of her niece’s caprices has led her! It is monstrous!—so monstrous, that, though I have seen her with my own eyes, still I can scarcely believe it!”
“Since you’ve gone so far, ma’am, I now insist upon conducting you into the apartment of my lady, in order that you may convince yourself, by your own senses, that your eyes have deceived you!”
“Oh, you are very cunning, my dear, but not more cunning than I! You propose my going now! Yes, yes, I believe you: you are certain that by this time I shall find her in her apartment!”
“But, madame, I assure you—”
“All that I can say to you is this: that neither you, nor Florine, nor Hebe, shall remain here twenty-four hours. The Princess will put an end to this horrible scandal; for I shall immediately inform her of what has passed. To go out in the night! Re-enter at eight o’clock in the morning! Why, I am all in a whirl! Certainly, if I had not seen it with my own eyes, I could not have believed it! Still, it is only what was to be expected. It will astonish nobody. Assuredly not! All those to whom I am going to relate it, will say, I am quite sure, that it is not at all astonishing! Oh! what a blow to our respectable Princess! What a blow for her!”
Mrs. Grivois returned precipitately towards the mansion, followed by her fat pug, who appeared to be as embittered as herself.
Georgette, active and light, ran, on her part, towards the pavilion, in order to apprise Miss de Cardoville that Mrs. Grivois had seen her, or fancied she had seen her, furtively enter by the little garden gate.
Adrienne at her toilet.
About an hour had elapsed since Mrs. Grivois had seen or pretended to have seen Adrienne de Cardoville re-enter in the morning the extension of Saint-Dizier House.