Chivalrous—eh?—and innately so, evidently, for the girl was slightly deformed: hardly a hunchback, but weak and unattractive-looking, with melancholy eyes, and a pale, pinched face.
It was the thought of that little act of simple chivalry, witnessed the day before, which caused Juliette to provoke the scene which, but for Deroulede’s timely interference, might have ended so fatally. But she reckoned on that interference: the whole thing had occurred to her suddenly, and she had carried it through.
Had not her father said to her that when the time came, God would show her a means to the end?
And now she was inside the house of the man who had murdered her brother and sent her sorrowing father, a poor, senseless maniac, tottering to the grave.
Would God’s finger point again, and show her what to to next, how best to accomplish what she had sworn to do?
“Is there anything more I can do for you now, mademoiselle?”
The gentle, timid voice roused Juliette from the contemplation of the past.
She smiled at Anne Mie, and held her hand out towards her.
“You have all been so kind,” she said, “I want to get up now and thank you all.”
“Don’t move unless you feel quite well.”
“I am quite well now. Those horrid people frightened me so, that is why I fainted.”
“They would have half-killed you, if...”
“Will you tell me where I am?” asked Juliette.
“In the house of M. Paul Deroulede—I should have said of Citizen-Deputy Deroulede. He rescued you from the mob, and pacified them. He has such a beautiful voice that he can make anyone listen to him, and...”
“And you are fond of him, mademoiselle?” added Juliette, suddenly feeling a mist of tears rising to her eyes.
“Of course I am fond of him,” rejoined the other girl simply, whilst a look of the most tender-hearted devotion seemed to beautify her pale face. “He and Madame Deroulede have brought me up; I never knew my parents. They have cared for me, and he has taught me all I know.”
“What do they call you, mademoiselle?”
“My name is Anne Mie.”
“And mine, Juliette—Juliette Marny,” she added after a slight hesitation. “I have no parents either. My old nurse, Petronelle, has brought me up, and—But tell me more about M. Deroulede—I owe him so much, I’d like to know him better.”
“Will you not let me arrange your hair?” said Anne Mie as if purposely evading a direct reply. “M. Deroulede is in the salon with madame. You can see him then.”
Juliette asked no more questions, but allowed Anne Mie to tidy her hair for her, to lend her a fresh kerchief and generally to efface all traces of her terrible adventure. She felt puzzled and tearful. Anne Mie’s gentleness seemed somehow to jar on her spirits. She could not understand the girl’s position in the Deroulede household. Was she a relative, or a superior servant? In these troublous times she might easily have been both.