These were the last words of the interview which decided the destiny of Micheline, of the Prince, of Madame Desvarennes, and of Pierre. The mistress stretched out her hand and rang the bell. A servant appeared, to whom she gave instructions to tell Marechal to come down. She thought it would be pleasant for Pierre to pour out his griefs into the heart of his friend. A man weeps with difficulty before a woman, and she guessed that the young man’s heart was swollen with tears. Marechal was not far off. He arrived in a moment, and springing toward Pierre put his arms round his neck. When Madame Desvarennes saw the two friends fully engrossed with each other, she said to Marechal:
“I give you leave until this evening. Then bring Pierre back with you; I wish to see him after dinner.”
And with a firm step she went toward Micheline’s room, where the latter was waiting in fear to know the result of the interview.
A SIGNIFICANT MEETING
The mansion in the Rue Saint-Dominique is certainly one of the finest to be seen. Sovereigns alone have more sumptuous palaces. The wide staircase, of carved oak, is bordered by a bronze balustrade, made by Ghirlandajo, and brought from Florence by Sommervieux, the great dealer in curiosities. Baron Rothschild would consent to give only a hundred thousand francs for it. Madame Desvarennes bought it. The large panels of the staircase are hung with splendid tapestry, from designs by Boucher, representing the different metamorphoses of Jupiter. At each landing-place stands a massive Japanese vase of ‘claisonne’ enamel, supported by a tripod of Chinese bronze, representing chimeras. On the first floor, tall columns of red granite, crowned by gilt capitals, divide the staircase from a gallery, serving as a conservatory. Plaited blinds of crimson silk hang before the Gothic windows, filled with marvellous stained glass.
In the vestibule-the hangings of which are of Cordova-leather, with gold ground-seemingly awaiting the good pleasure of some grand lady, is a sedan-chair, decorated with paintings by Fragonard. Farther on, there is one of those superb carved mother-of-pearl coffers, in which Oriental women lay by their finery and jewellery. A splendid Venetian mirror, its frame embellished with tiny figure subjects, and measuring two metres in width and three in height, fills a whole panel of the vestibule. Portieres of Chinese satin, ornamented with striking embroidery, such as figures on a priest’s chasuble, fall in sumptuous folds at the drawing-room and dining-room doors.