Now it is dark. The two great lamps in the salon are lighted. In the adjoining room they hear the servant laying the table. It is all over. Madame Fromont Jeune will not come.
Sidonie is pale with rage.
“Just fancy, that minx can’t come up eighteen steps! No doubt Madame thinks we’re not grand enough for her. Ah! but I’ll have my revenge.”
As she pours forth her wrath in unjust words, her voice becomes coarse, takes on the intonations of the faubourg, an accent of the common people which betrays the ex-apprentice of Mademoiselle Le Mire.
Risler is unlucky enough to make a remark.
“Who knows? Perhaps the child is ill.”
She turns upon him in a fury, as if she would like to bite him.
“Will you hold your tongue about that brat? After all, it’s your fault that this has happened to me. You don’t know how to make people treat me with respect.”
And as she closed the door of her bedroom violently, making the globes on the lamps tremble, as well as all the knick-knacks on the etageres, Risler, left alone, stands motionless in the centre of the salon, looking with an air of consternation at his white cuffs, his broad patent-leather shoes, and mutters mechanically:
“My wife’s reception day!”
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He fixed the time mentally when he would speak
Little feathers fluttering for an opportunity to fly away
No one has ever been able to find out what her thoughts were
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FROMONT AND RISLER
By ALPHONSE DAUDET
THE TRUE PEARL AND THE FALSE
“What can be the matter? What have I done to her?” Claire Fromont very often wondered when she thought of Sidonie.