The same silver bell was again rung from without. Hebe moved towards the door of the dressing-room, to go and inquire what it was, and also to execute the order of her mistress as to the letter. But Florine precipitated herself, so to speak, before her, and so as to prevent her leaving the apartment; and said to Adrienne:
“Will it please my lady for me to send this letter? I have occasion to go to the mansion.”
“Go, Florine, then,” said Adrienne, “seeing that you wish it. Georgette, seal the letter.”
At the end of a second or two, during which Georgette had sealed the letter, Hebe returned.
“Madame,” said she, re-entering, “the working-man who brought back Frisky yesterday, entreats you to admit him for an instant. He is very pale, and he appears quite sad.”
“Would that he may already have need of me! I should be too happy!” said Adrienne gayly. “Show the excellent young man into the little saloon. And, Florine, despatch this letter immediately.”
Florine went out. Miss de Cardoville, followed by Frisky, entered the little reception-room, where Agricola awaited her.
When Adrienne de Cardoville entered the saloon where Agricola expected her, she was dressed with extremely elegant simplicity. A robe of deep blue, perfectly fitted to her shape, embroidered in front with interlacings of black silk, according to the then fashion, outlined her nymph-like figure, and her rounded bosom. A French cambric collar, fastened by a large Scotch pebble, set as a brooch, served her for a necklace. Her magnificent golden hair formed a framework for her fair countenance, with an incredible profusion of long and light spiral tresses, which reached nearly to her waist.
Agricola, in order to save explanations with his father, and to make him believe that he had indeed gone to the workshop of M. Hardy, had been obliged to array himself in his working dress; he had put on a new blouse though, and the collar of his shirt, of stout linen, very white, fell over upon a black cravat, negligently tied; his gray trousers allowed his well polished boots to be seen; and he held between his muscular hands a cap of fine woolen cloth, quite new. To sum up, his blue blouse, embroidered with red, showing off the nervous chest of the young blacksmith, and indicating his robust shoulders, falling down in graceful folds, put not the least constraint upon his free and easy gait, and became him much better than either frock-coat or dress-coat would have done. While awaiting Miss de Cardoville, Agricola mechanically examined a magnificent silver vase, admirably graven. A small tablet, of the same metal, fitted into a cavity of its antique stand, bore the words—“Chased by Jean Marie, working chaser, 1831.”
Adrienne had stepped so lightly upon the carpet of her saloon, only separated from another apartment by the doors, that Agricola had not perceived the young lady’s entrance. He started, and turned quickly round, upon hearing a silver and brilliant voice say to him-"That is a beautiful vase, is it not, sir?”