A quarter of an hour later the two sisters accompanied the Cure and Jean to the little gate of the park, which opened into the village a few yards from the vicarage; they had nearly reached the gate when Bettina said all at once to Jean:
“Ah! all this time I have had a question to ask you. This morning when we arrived, we met on the way a slight young man, with a fair mustache, he was riding a black horse, and bowed to us as we passed.”
“It was Paul de Lavardens, one of my friends; he has already had the honor of being introduced to you, but rather vaguely, and his ambition is to be presented again.”
“Well, you shall bring him one of these days,” said Mrs. Scott.
“After the 25th!” cried Bettina. “Not before! not before! No one till then; till then we will see no one but you, Monsieur Jean. But you, it is very extraordinary, and I don’t quite know how it has happened, you don’t seem anybody to us. The compliment is perhaps not very well turned, but do not make a mistake, it is a compliment. I intended to be excessively amiable in speaking to you thus.”
“And so you are, Miss Percival.”
“So much the better if I have been so fortunate as to make myself understood. Good-by, Monsieur Jean—till tomorrow!”
Mrs. Scott and Miss Percival returned slowly toward the castle.
“And now, Susie,” said Bettina, “scold me well, I expect it, I have deserved it.”
“Scold you! Why?”
“You are going to say, I am sure, that I have been too familiar with that young man.”
“No, I shall not say that. From the first day that young man has made the most favorable impression upon me; he inspires me with perfect confidence.”
“And so he does me.”
“I am persuaded that it would be well for us both to try to make a friend of him.”
“With all my heart, as far as I am concerned, so much the more as I have seen many young men since we have lived in France. Oh! yes, I have, indeed! Well! this is the first, positively the first, in whose eyes I have not clearly read, ’Oh, how glad I should be to marry the millions of that little person!’ That was written in the eyes of all the others, but not in his eyes. Now, here we are at home again. Good-night, Susie—to-morrow.”
Mrs. Scott went to see and kiss her sleeping children.
Bettina remained long, leaning on the balustrade of her balcony.
“It seems to me,” said she, “that I am going to be very fond of this place.”
ETEXT editor’s bookmarks:
Frenchman has only one real luxury—his revolutions
Great difference between dearly and very much
Had not told all—one never does tell all
In order to make money, the first thing is to have no need of it
To learn to obey is the only way of learning to command