“It’s no good talking,” said she, greatly softened; “for you can’t have loved me, and treated me as you did this day, letting me walk all alone from St. Laud, without so much as a word or a look; and that before all the people: and I that went merely to walk back with you. Oh! I could have died on the roadside to find myself treated in such a way.”
“And what must I have felt to hear you talking as you did before them all? Do you think I felt nothing?”
“Talking, Jacques; what talk?”
“Why; saying that you loved Cathelineau better than any one. That he was the only man you admired; that you dreamed of him always, and I don’t know how much more about his eyes and whiskers.”
“Why now, Jacques; you don’t mean to be jealous?”
“Jealous; no I’m not jealous.”
“Jealous of a man you know I never saw,” said Annot, smiling through her tears.
“Jealous. No, I tell you I’m not jealous; but still, one doesn’t like to hear one’s mistress talking of another man’s eyes, and whiskers, and those sort of things; no man would like it, Annot; though I care about it as little myself as any man.”
“But don’t you know Cathelineau is a saint, Jacques?”
“Oh! but you said saints might marry, and have a lot of children, and so they may.”
“But I never saw Cathelineau, Jacques,” and she put her hand upon his arm.
And you are not in love with him, Annot?”
“How can I be in love with a man I never put eyes on?”
“And you won’t say again, that you’d like to have him for a lover?”
“That was only my little joke, Jacques. Surely, a girl may joke sometimes.”
“And you do love me, don’t you?” and Jacques now got very close to his mistress.
“Ah! but why did you let me walk home all the way by myself? You know I love you dearly; but you must beg my pardon for that, before I’ll ever tell you so again.”
And Jacques did beg her pardon in a manner of his own twenty times, sitting by the gurgling mill-stream, and to tell the truth Annot seemed well pleased with the way in which he did it; and then when the fountain of her love was opened, and the sluice gate of her displeasure removed, she told him how she would pray for him till he came back safe from the wars; how she would never speak a word to mortal man in the way of courting, till he came back to make her his wife; how she would grieve, should he be wounded; how she would die, should he be killed in battle: and then she gave him a little charm, which she had worked for him, and put it round his neck, and told him she had taken it with her to St. Laud, to give it him there beneath the cross, only he had gone away from her, so that she couldn’t do so: and then Jacques begged pardon again and again in his own queer way; and then, having sat there by the mill-stream till the last red streak of sunlight was gone, they returned home to the village, and Annot told her father that Dame Rouel had been so very pressing, she had made them stay there to eat bread and cheese. And so Annot, at last, went to bed without her supper, and dreamed not of Cathelineau, but of her own lover, Jacques Chapeau.