“The Count de Montbron,” said Georgette, opening the door. The count entered, and hastened to kiss Adrienne’s hand, with a sort of paternal familiarity.
“Come!” said M. de Montbron to himself; “let us try to discover the truth I am in search of, that we may escape a great misfortune.”
Mdlle. de Cardoville, not wishing to betray the cause of the violent feelings which agitated her, received M. de Montbron with a feigned and forced gayety. On the other hand, notwithstanding his tact and knowledge of the world, the count was much embarrassed how to enter upon the subject on which he wished to confer with Adrienne, and he resolved to feel his way, before seriously commencing the conversation. After looking at the young lady for some seconds, M. de Montbron shook his head, and said, with a sigh of regret: “My dear child, I am not pleased.”
“Some affair of the heart, or of hearts, my dear count?” returned Adrienne, smiling.
“Of the heart,” said M. de Montbron.
“What! you, so great a player, think more of a woman’s whim than a throw of the dice?”
“I have a heavy heart, and you are the cause of it, my dear child.”
“M. de Montbron, you will make me very proud,” said Adrienne, with a smile.
“You would be wrong, for I tell you plainly, my trouble is caused by your neglect of your beauty. Yes, your countenance is pale, dejected, sorrowful; you have been low-spirited for the last few days; you have something on your mind, I am sure of it.”
“My dear M. de Montbron, you have so much penetration, that you may be allowed to fall for once, as now. I am not sad, I have nothing on my mind, and—I am about to utter a very silly piece of impertinence—I have never thought myself so pretty.”
“On the contrary, nothing could be more modest than such an assertion. Who told you that falsehood? a woman?”
“No; it was my heart, and it spoke the truth,” answered Adrienne, with a slight degree of emotion. “Understand it, if you can,” she added.