The Maid of Maiden Lane eBook

Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 302 pages of information about The Maid of Maiden Lane.

“But you would not marry a Frenchman?  That is an impossible thought, Arenta.”

“No more so than an Englishman.  In fact, Englishmen are not to be thought of at all; while Frenchmen are the fashion.  Just consider the drawing-rooms of our great American ladies; they are full of French nobles.”

“But they are exiles, for the most part very poor, and devoted to the idea of monarchy.”

“Ah, but my Frenchman is different.  He is rich, he is in the confidence of the present French government, and he adores republican principles.  Indeed he wore at Lady Griffin’s, last week, his red cap of Liberty, and looked quite distinguished in it.”

“I am astonished that Lady Griffin permitted such a spectacle.  I am sure it was a vulgar thing to do.  Only the san-culottes, make such exhibition of their private feelings.”

“I think it was a very brave thing to do—­and Lady Griffin, with her English prejudices and aristocratic notions, had to tolerate it.  He is very tall and dark, and he was dressed in scarlet, with a long black satin vest; and you may believe that the scarlet cap on his black curling hair was very imposing.”

“Imposing!  How could it possibly be that?  It is only associated with mobs, and mob law—­and guillotining.”

“I shall not contradict you—­though I could do so easily.  I will say, then, that it was very picturesque.  He asked me to dance a minuet with him, and when I did not refuse he was beside himself with pleasure and gratitude.  And after I had opened the way, several of the best ladies in the town followed.  After all, it was a matter of political opinion; and it is against our American ideas to send any man to Jersey for his politics.  Mr. Jefferson was in red also.”

“I wish to dance with Mr. Jefferson, but I now think of waiting till he gets a new suit.”

“I am sure that no one ever made a finer figure in a dance than I, in my white satin and pearls, and the Marquis Athanase de Tounnerre in his scarlet dress and Liberty cap.  Every one regarded us.  He tells me, to-day, that the emotion I raised in his soul that hour has not been stilled for a moment.”

“Have you thought of your father?  He would never consent to such a marriage—­and what will Rem say?”

“My father will storm, and speak words he should not speak; but I am not afraid of words.  Rem is more to be dreaded.  He will not talk his anger away.  Yes, I should be afraid of Rem.”

“But you have not really decided to accept the Marquis Tounnerre?”

“No.  I have not quite decided.  I like to stand between Yes and No.  I like to be entreated to marry, and then again, to be entreated not to marry.  I like to hesitate between the French and the Dutch.  I am not in the least sure on which side I shall finally range myself.”

“Then do not decide in a hurry.”

“Have I not told you I like to waver, and vacillate, and oscillate, and make scruples?  These are things a woman can do, both with privilege and inclination.  I think myself to be very clever in such ways.”

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The Maid of Maiden Lane from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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