“You have four,” interrupted Micheline. “Why do you complain?”
“I don’t complain,” retorted Madame Desvarennes, quickly.
“That’s right!” said Micheline, gayly.
Then going toward Jeanne:
“But you are not speaking, you are so quiet; are you ill?”
Jeanne shuddered, and made an effort to soften the hard lines on her face.
“It is nothing. A little fatigue.”
“And emotion,” added Micheline. “This morning when we entered the church, at the sound of the organ, in the midst of flowers, surrounded by all our friends, I felt that I was whiter than my veil. And the crossing to my place seemed so long, I thought I should never get there. I did so, though. And now everybody calls me ‘Madame’ and some call me ‘Princess.’ It amuses me!”
Serge had approached.
“But you are a Princess,” said he, smiling, “and everybody must call you so.”
“Oh, not mamma, nor Jeanne, nor you,” said the young wife, quickly; “always call me Micheline. It will be less respectful, but it will be more tender.”
Madame Desvarennes could not resist drawing her daughter once more to her heart.
“Dear child,” she said with emotion, “you need affection, as flowers need the sun! But I love you, there.”
She stopped and added:
“We love you.”
And she held out her hand to her son-in-law. Then changing the subject:
“But I am thinking, Cayrol, as you are returning to Paris, you might take some orders for me which I will write out.”
“What? Business? Even on my wedding-day?” exclaimed Micheline.
“Eh! my daughter, we must have flour,” replied the mistress, laughing. “While we are enjoying ourselves Paris eats, and it has a famous appetite.”
Micheline, leaving her mother, went to her husband.
“Serge, it is not yet late. Suppose we put in an appearance at the work-people’s ball? I promised them, and the good folks will be so happy!”
“As you please. I am awaiting your orders. Let us make ourselves popular!”
Madame Desvarennes had gone to her room. Carol took the opportunity of telling his coachman to drive round by the park to the door of the little conservatory and wait there. Thus, his wife and he would avoid meeting any one, and would escape the leave-taking of friends and the curiosity of lockers-on.
Micheline went up to Jeanne, and said:
“As you are going away quietly, dear, I shall not see you again this evening. Adieu!”
And with a happy smile, she kissed her. Then taking her husband’s arm she led him toward the park.
Jeanne left alone, watched them as they disappeared with the light and easy movements of lovers.