Newman continued to see his friends the Tristrams with a good deal o_requency, though if you had listened to Mrs. Tristram's account of the matte_ou would have supposed that they had been cynically repudiated for the sak_f grander acquaintance. "We were all very well so long as we had no rivals—w_ere better than nothing. But now that you have become the fashion, and hav_our pick every day of three invitations to dinner, we are tossed into th_orner. I am sure it is very good of you to come and see us once a month; _onder you don't send us your cards in an envelope. When you do, pray hav_hem with black edges; it will be for the death of my last illusion." It wa_n this incisive strain that Mrs. Tristram moralized over Newman's so-calle_eglect, which was in reality a most exemplary constancy. Of course she wa_oking, but there was always something ironical in her jokes, as there wa_lways something jocular in her gravity.
"I know no better proof that I have treated you very well," Newman had said,
"than the fact that you make so free with my character. Familiarity breed_ontempt; I have made myself too cheap. If I had a little proper pride I woul_tay away a while, and when you asked me to dinner say I was going to th_rincess Borealska's. But I have not any pride where my pleasure is concerned, and to keep you in the humor to see me—if you must see me only to call me ba_ames—I will agree to anything you choose; I will admit that I am the bigges_nob in Paris." Newman, in fact, had declined an invitation personally give_y the Princess Borealska, an inquiring Polish lady to whom he had bee_resented, on the ground that on that particular day he always dined at Mrs.
Tristram's; and it was only a tenderly perverse theory of his hostess of th_venue d'Iena that he was faithless to his early friendships. She needed th_heory to explain a certain moral irritation by which she was often visited; though, if this explanation was unsound, a deeper analyst than I must give th_ight one. Having launched our hero upon the current which was bearing him s_apidly along, she appeared but half-pleased at its swiftness. She ha_ucceeded too well; she had played her game too cleverly and she wished to mi_p the cards. Newman had told her, in due season, that her friend was
"satisfactory." The epithet was not romantic, but Mrs. Tristram had n_ifficulty in perceiving that, in essentials, the feeling which lay beneath i_as. Indeed, the mild, expansive brevity with which it was uttered, and _ertain look, at once appealing and inscrutable, that issued from Newman'_alf-closed eyes as he leaned his head against the back of his chair, seeme_o her the most eloquent attestation of a mature sentiment that she had eve_ncountered. Newman was, according to the French phrase, only abounding in he_wn sense, but his temperate raptures exerted a singular effect upon the ardo_hich she herself had so freely manifested a few months before. She now seeme_nclined to take a purely critical view of Madame de Cintre, and wished t_ave it understood that she did not in the least answer for her being _ompendium of all the virtues. "No woman was ever so good as that woma_eems," she said. "Remember what Shakespeare calls Desdemona; 'a supersubtl_enetian.' Madame de Cintre is a supersubtle Parisian. She is a charmin_oman, and she has five hundred merits; but you had better keep that in mind."
Was Mrs. Tristram simply finding out that she was jealous of her dear frien_n the other side of the Seine, and that in undertaking to provide Newman wit_n ideal wife she had counted too much on her own disinterestedness? We may b_ermitted to doubt it. The inconsistent little lady of the Avenue d'Iena ha_n insuperable need of changing her place, intellectually. She had a livel_magination, and she was capable, at certain times, of imagining the direc_everse of her most cherished beliefs, with a vividness more intense than tha_f conviction. She got tired of thinking aright; but there was no serious har_n it, as she got equally tired of thinking wrong. In the midst of he_ysterious perversities she had admirable flashes of justice. One of thes_ccurred when Newman related to her that he had made a formal proposal t_adame de Cintre. He repeated in a few words what he had said, and in a grea_any what she had answered. Mrs. Tristram listened with extreme interest.
"But after all," said Newman, "there is nothing to congratulate me upon. It i_ot a triumph."
"I beg your pardon," said Mrs. Tristram; "it is a great triumph. It is a grea_riumph that she did not silence you at the first word, and request you neve_o speak to her again."
"I don't see that," observed Newman.
"Of course you don't; Heaven forbid you should! When I told you to go on you_wn way and do what came into your head, I had no idea you would go over th_round so fast. I never dreamed you would offer yourself after five or si_orning-calls. As yet, what had you done to make her like you? You had simpl_at—not very straight—and stared at her. But she does like you."
"That remains to be seen."
"No, that is proved. What will come of it remains to be seen. That you shoul_ropose to marry her, without more ado, could never have come into her head.
You can form very little idea of what passed through her mind as you spoke; i_he ever really marries you, the affair will be characterized by the usua_ustice of all human beings towards women. You will think you take generou_iews of her; but you will never begin to know through what a strange sea o_eeling she passed before she accepted you. As she stood there in front of yo_he other day, she plunged into it. She said 'Why not?' to something which, _ew hours earlier, had been inconceivable. She turned about on a thousan_athered prejudices and traditions as on a pivot, and looked where she ha_ever looked hitherto. When I think of it—when I think of Claire de Cintre an_ll that she represents, there seems to me something very fine in it. When _ecommended you to try your fortune with her I of course thought well of you, and in spite of your sins I think so still. But I confess I don't see quit_hat you are and what you have done, to make such a woman do this sort o_hing for you."
"Oh, there is something very fine in it!" said Newman with a laugh, repeatin_er words. He took an extreme satisfaction in hearing that there was somethin_ine in it. He had not the least doubt of it himself, but he had already begu_o value the world's admiration of Madame de Cintre, as adding to th_rospective glory of possession.
It was immediately after this conversation that Valentin de Bellegarde came t_onduct his friend to the Rue de l'Universite to present him to the othe_embers of his family. "You are already introduced," he said, "and you hav_egun to be talked about. My sister has mentioned your successive visits to m_other, and it was an accident that my mother was present at none of them. _ave spoken of you as an American of immense wealth, and the best fellow i_he world, who is looking for something very superior in the way of a wife."
"Do you suppose," asked Newman, "that Madame de Cintre has related to you_other the last conversation I had with her?"
"I am very certain that she has not; she will keep her own counsel. Meanwhil_ou must make your way with the rest of the family. Thus much is known abou_ou: you have made a great fortune in trade, you are a little eccentric, an_ou frankly admire our dear Claire. My sister-in-law, whom you remember seein_n Madame de Cintre's sitting-room, took, it appears, a fancy to you; she ha_escribed you as having beaucoup de cachet. My mother, therefore, is curiou_o see you."
"She expects to laugh at me, eh?" said Newman.
"She never laughs. If she does not like you, don't hope to purchase favor b_eing amusing. Take warning by me!"
This conversation took place in the evening, and half an hour later Valenti_shered his companion into an apartment of the house of the Rue d_'Universite into which he had not yet penetrated, the salon of the dowage_arquise de Bellegarde. It was a vast, high room, with elaborate and ponderou_ouldings, painted a whitish gray, along the upper portion of the walls an_he ceiling; with a great deal of faded and carefully repaired tapestry in th_oorways and chair-backs; a Turkey carpet in light colors, still soft an_eep, in spite of great antiquity, on the floor, and portraits of each o_adame de Bellegarde's children, at the age of ten, suspended against an ol_creen of red silk. The room was illumined, exactly enough for conversation, by half a dozen candles, placed in odd corners, at a great distance apart. I_ deep armchair, near the fire, sat an old lady in black; at the other end o_he room another person was seated at the piano, playing a very expressiv_altz. In this latter person Newman recognized the young Marquise d_ellegarde.
Valentin presented his friend, and Newman walked up to the old lady by th_ire and shook hands with her. He received a rapid impression of a white, delicate, aged face, with a high forehead, a small mouth, and a pair of col_lue eyes which had kept much of the freshness of youth. Madame de Bellegard_ooked hard at him, and returned his hand-shake with a sort of Britis_ositiveness which reminded him that she was the daughter of the Earl of St.
Dunstan's. Her daughter-in-law stopped playing and gave him an agreeabl_mile. Newman sat down and looked about him, while Valentin went and kisse_he hand of the young marquise.
"I ought to have seen you before," said Madame de Bellegarde. "You have pai_everal visits to my daughter."
"Oh, yes," said Newman, smiling; "Madame de Cintre and I are old friends b_his time."
"You have gone fast," said Madame de Bellegarde.
"Not so fast as I should like," said Newman, bravely.
"Oh, you are very ambitious," answered the old lady.
"Yes, I confess I am," said Newman, smiling.
Madame de Bellegarde looked at him with her cold fine eyes, and he returne_er gaze, reflecting that she was a possible adversary and trying to take he_easure. Their eyes remained in contact for some moments. Then Madame d_ellegarde looked away, and without smiling, "I am very ambitious, too," sh_aid.
Newman felt that taking her measure was not easy; she was a formidable, inscrutable little woman. She resembled her daughter, and yet she was utterl_nlike her. The coloring in Madame de Cintre was the same, and the hig_elicacy of her brow and nose was hereditary. But her face was a larger an_reer copy, and her mouth in especial a happy divergence from tha_onservative orifice, a little pair of lips at once plump and pinched, tha_ooked, when closed, as if they could not open wider than to swallow _ooseberry or to emit an "Oh, dear, no!" which probably had been thought t_ive the finishing touch to the aristocratic prettiness of the Lady Emmelin_theling as represented, forty years before, in several Books of Beauty.
Madame de Cintre's face had, to Newman's eye, a range of expression a_elightfully vast as the wind-streaked, cloud-flecked distance on a Wester_rairie. But her mother's white, intense, respectable countenance, with it_ormal gaze, and its circumscribed smile, suggested a document signed an_ealed; a thing of parchment, ink, and ruled lines. "She is a woman o_onventions and proprieties," he said to himself as he looked at her; "he_orld is the world of things immutably decreed. But how she is at home in it, and what a paradise she finds it. She walks about in it as if it were _looming park, a Garden of Eden; and when she sees 'This is genteel,' or 'Thi_s improper,' written on a mile-stone she stops ecstatically, as if she wer_istening to a nightingale or smelling a rose." Madame de Bellegarde wore _ittle black velvet hood tied under her chin, and she was wrapped in an ol_lack cashmere shawl.
"You are an American?" she said presently. "I have seen several Americans."
"There are several in Paris," said Newman jocosely.
"Oh, really?" said Madame de Bellegarde. "It was in England I saw these, o_omewhere else; not in Paris. I think it must have been in the Pyrenees, man_ears ago. I am told your ladies are very pretty. One of these ladies was ver_retty! such a wonderful complexion! She presented me a note of introductio_rom some one—I forgot whom—and she sent with it a note of her own. I kept he_etter a long time afterwards, it was so strangely expressed. I used to kno_ome of the phrases by heart. But I have forgotten them now, it is so man_ears ago. Since then I have seen no more Americans. I think my daughter-in- law has; she is a great gad-about, she sees every one."
At this the younger lady came rustling forward, pinching in a very slende_aist, and casting idly preoccupied glances over the front of her dress, whic_as apparently designed for a ball. She was, in a singular way, at once ugl_nd pretty; she had protuberant eyes, and lips strangely red. She reminde_ewman of his friend, Mademoiselle Nioche; this was what that much-obstructe_oung lady would have liked to be. Valentin de Bellegarde walked behind her a_ distance, hopping about to keep off the far-spreading train of her dress.
"You ought to show more of your shoulders behind," he said very gravely. "Yo_ight as well wear a standing ruff as such a dress as that."
The young woman turned her back to the mirror over the chimney-piece, an_lanced behind her, to verify Valentin's assertion. The mirror descended low, and yet it reflected nothing but a large unclad flesh surface. The youn_arquise put her hands behind her and gave a downward pull to the waist of he_ress. "Like that, you mean?" she asked.
"That is a little better," said Bellegarde in the same tone, "but it leaves _ood deal to be desired."
"Oh, I never go to extremes," said his sister-in-law. And then, turning t_adame de Bellegarde, "What were you calling me just now, madame?"
"I called you a gad-about," said the old lady. "But I might call you somethin_lse, too."
"A gad-about? What an ugly word! What does it mean?"
"A very beautiful person," Newman ventured to say, seeing that it was i_rench.
"That is a pretty compliment but a bad translation," said the young marquise.
And then, looking at him a moment, "Do you dance?"
"Not a step."
"You are very wrong," she said, simply. And with another look at her back i_he mirror she turned away.
"Do you like Paris?" asked the old lady, who was apparently wondering what wa_he proper way to talk to an American.
"Yes, rather," said Newman. And then he added with a friendly intonation,
"I can't say I know it. I know my house—I know my friends—I don't know Paris."
"Oh, you lose a great deal," said Newman, sympathetically.
Madame de Bellegarde stared; it was presumably the first time she had bee_ondoled with on her losses.
"I am content with what I have," she said with dignity.
Newman's eyes, at this moment, were wandering round the room, which struck hi_s rather sad and shabby; passing from the high casements, with their small, thickly-framed panes, to the sallow tints of two or three portraits in pastel, of the last century, which hung between them. He ought, obviously, to hav_nswered that the contentment of his hostess was quite natural—she had a grea_eal; but the idea did not occur to him during the pause of some moments whic_ollowed.
"Well, my dear mother," said Valentin, coming and leaning against the chimney- piece, "what do you think of my dear friend Newman? Is he not the excellen_ellow I told you?"
"My acquaintance with Mr. Newman has not gone very far," said Madame d_ellegarde. "I can as yet only appreciate his great politeness."
"My mother is a great judge of these matters," said Valentin to Newman. "I_ou have satisfied her, it is a triumph."
"I hope I shall satisfy you, some day," said Newman, looking at the old lady.
"I have done nothing yet."
"You must not listen to my son; he will bring you into trouble. He is a sa_catterbrain."
"Oh, I like him—I like him," said Newman, genially.
"He amuses you, eh?"
"Do you hear that, Valentin?" said Madame de Bellegarde. "You amuse Mr.
"Perhaps we shall all come to that!" Valentin exclaimed.
"You must see my other son," said Madame de Bellegarde. "He is much bette_han this one. But he will not amuse you."
"I don't know—I don't know!" murmured Valentin, reflectively. "But we shal_ery soon see. Here comes Monsieur mon frere."
The door had just opened to give ingress to a gentleman who stepped forwar_nd whose face Newman remembered. He had been the author of our hero'_iscomfiture the first time he tried to present himself to Madame de Cintre.
Valentin de Bellegarde went to meet his brother, looked at him a moment, an_hen, taking him by the arm, led him up to Newman.
"This is my excellent friend Mr. Newman," he said very blandly. "You must kno_im."
"I am delighted to know Mr. Newman," said the marquis with a low bow, bu_ithout offering his hand.
"He is the old woman at second-hand," Newman said to himself, as he returne_. de Bellegarde's greeting. And this was the starting-point of a speculativ_heory, in his mind, that the late marquis had been a very amiable foreigner, with an inclination to take life easily and a sense that it was difficult fo_he husband of the stilted little lady by the fire to do so. But if he ha_aken little comfort in his wife he had taken much in his two younge_hildren, who were after his own heart, while Madame de Bellegarde had paire_ith her eldest-born.
"My brother has spoken to me of you," said M. de Bellegarde; "and as you ar_lso acquainted with my sister, it was time we should meet." He turned to hi_other and gallantly bent over her hand, touching it with his lips, and the_e assumed an attitude before the chimney-piece. With his long, lean face, hi_igh-bridged nose and his small, opaque eye he looked much like an Englishman.
His whiskers were fair and glossy, and he had a large dimple, of unmistakabl_ritish origin, in the middle of his handsome chin. He was "distinguished" t_he tips of his polished nails, and there was not a movement of his fine, perpendicular person that was not noble and majestic. Newman had never ye_een confronted with such an incarnation of the art of taking one's sel_eriously; he felt a sort of impulse to step backward, as you do to get a vie_f a great facade.
"Urbain," said young Madame de Bellegarde, who had apparently been waiting fo_er husband to take her to her ball, "I call your attention to the fact that _m dressed."
"That is a good idea," murmured Valentin.
"I am at your orders, my dear friend," said M. de Bellegarde. "Only, you mus_llow me first the pleasure of a little conversation with Mr. Newman."
"Oh, if you are going to a party, don't let me keep you," objected Newman. "_m very sure we shall meet again. Indeed, if you would like to converse wit_e I will gladly name an hour." He was eager to make it known that he woul_eadily answer all questions and satisfy all exactions.
M. de Bellegarde stood in a well-balanced position before the fire, caressin_ne of his fair whiskers with one of his white hands, and looking at Newman, half askance, with eyes from which a particular ray of observation made it_ay through a general meaningless smile. "It is very kind of you to make suc_n offer," he said. "If I am not mistaken, your occupations are such as t_ake your time precious. You are in—a—as we say, dans les affaires."
"In business, you mean? Oh no, I have thrown business overboard for th_resent. I am 'loafing,' as WE say. My time is quite my own."
"Ah, you are taking a holiday," rejoined M. de Bellegarde. "'Loafing.' Yes, _ave heard that expression."
"Mr. Newman is American," said Madame de Bellegarde.
"My brother is a great ethnologist," said Valentin.
"An ethnologist?" said Newman. "Ah, you collect negroes' skulls, and that sor_f thing."
The marquis looked hard at his brother, and began to caress his other whisker.
Then, turning to Newman, with sustained urbanity, "You are traveling for you_leasure?" he asked.'
"Oh, I am knocking about to pick up one thing and another. Of course I get _ood deal of pleasure out of it."
"What especially interests you?" inquired the marquis.
"Well, everything interests me," said Newman. "I am not particular.
Manufactures are what I care most about."
"That has been your specialty?"
"I can't say I have any specialty. My specialty has been to make the larges_ossible fortune in the shortest possible time." Newman made this last remar_ery deliberately; he wished to open the way, if it were necessary, to a_uthoritative statement of his means.
M. de Bellegarde laughed agreeably. "I hope you have succeeded," he said.
"Yes, I have made a fortune in a reasonable time. I am not so old, you see."
"Paris is a very good place to spend a fortune. I wish you great enjoyment o_ours." And M. de Bellegarde drew forth his gloves and began to put them on.
Newman for a few moments watched him sliding his white hands into the whit_id, and as he did so his feelings took a singular turn. M. de Bellegarde'_ood wishes seemed to descend out of the white expanse of his sublime serenit_ith the soft, scattered movement of a shower of snow-flakes. Yet Newman wa_ot irritated; he did not feel that he was being patronized; he was consciou_f no especial impulse to introduce a discord into so noble a harmony. Only h_elt himself suddenly in personal contact with the forces with which hi_riend Valentin had told him that he would have to contend, and he becam_ensible of their intensity. He wished to make some answering manifestation, to stretch himself out at his own length, to sound a note at the uttermost en_f HIS scale. It must be added that if this impulse was not vicious o_alicious, it was by no means void of humorous expectancy. Newman was quite a_eady to give play to that loosely-adjusted smile of his, if his hosts shoul_appen to be shocked, as he was far from deliberately planning to shock them.
"Paris is a very good place for idle people," he said, "or it is a very goo_lace if your family has been settled here for a long time, and you have mad_cquaintances and got your relations round you; or if you have got a good bi_ouse like this, and a wife and children and mother and sister, and everythin_omfortable. I don't like that way of living all in rooms next door to eac_ther. But I am not an idler. I try to be, but I can't manage it; it goe_gainst the grain. My business habits are too deep-seated. Then, I haven't an_ouse to call my own, or anything in the way of a family. My sisters are fiv_housand miles away, my mother died when I was a youngster, and I haven't an_ife; I wish I had! So, you see, I don't exactly know what to do with myself.
I am not fond of books, as you are, sir, and I get tired of dining out an_oing to the opera. I miss my business activity. You see, I began to earn m_iving when I was almost a baby, and until a few months ago I have never ha_y hand off the plow. Elegant leisure comes hard."
This speech was followed by a profound silence of some moments, on the part o_ewman's entertainers. Valentin stood looking at him fixedly, with his hand_n his pockets, and then he slowly, with a half-sidling motion, went out o_he door. The marquis continued to draw on his gloves and to smil_enignantly.
"You began to earn your living when you were a mere baby?" said the marquise.
"Hardly more—a small boy."
"You say you are not fond of books," said M. de Bellegarde; "but you must d_ourself the justice to remember that your studies were interrupted early."
"That is very true; on my tenth birthday I stopped going to school. I though_t was a grand way to keep it. But I picked up some information afterwards,"
said Newman, reassuringly.
"You have some sisters?" asked old Madame de Bellegarde.
"Yes, two sisters. Splendid women!"
"I hope that for them the hardships of life commenced less early."
"They married very early, if you call that a hardship, as girls do in ou_estern country. One of them is married to the owner of the largest india- rubber house in the West."
"Ah, you make houses also of india-rubber?" inquired the marquise.
"You can stretch them as your family increases," said young Madame d_ellegarde, who was muffling herself in a long white shawl.
Newman indulged in a burst of hilarity, and explained that the house in whic_is brother-in-law lived was a large wooden structure, but that h_anufactured and sold india-rubber on a colossal scale.
"My children have some little india-rubber shoes which they put on when the_o to play in the Tuileries in damp weather," said the young marquise. "_onder whether your brother-in-law made them."
"Very likely," said Newman; "if he did, you may be very sure they are wel_ade."
"Well, you must not be discouraged," said M. de Bellegarde, with vagu_rbanity.
"Oh, I don't mean to be. I have a project which gives me plenty to thin_bout, and that is an occupation." And then Newman was silent a moment, hesitating, yet thinking rapidly; he wished to make his point, and yet to d_o forced him to speak out in a way that was disagreeable to him. Nevertheles_e continued, addressing himself to old Madame de Bellegarde, "I will tell yo_y project; perhaps you can help me. I want to take a wife."
"It is a very good project, but I am no matchmaker," said the old lady.
Newman looked at her an instant, and then, with perfect sincerity, "I shoul_ave thought you were," he declared.
Madame de Bellegarde appeared to think him too sincere. She murmured somethin_harply in French, and fixed her eyes on her son. At this moment the door o_he room was thrown open, and with a rapid step Valentin reappeared.
"I have a message for you," he said to his sister-in-law. "Claire bids me t_equest you not to start for your ball. She will go with you."
"Claire will go with us!" cried the young marquise. "En voila, du nouveau!"
"She has changed her mind; she decided half an hour ago, and she is stickin_he last diamond into her hair," said Valentin.
"What has taken possession of my daughter?" demanded Madame de Bellegarde, sternly. "She has not been into the world these three years. Does she tak_uch a step at half an hour's notice, and without consulting me?"
"She consulted me, dear mother, five minutes since," said Valentin, "and _old her that such a beautiful woman—she is beautiful, you will see—had n_ight to bury herself alive."
"You should have referred Claire to her mother, my brother," said M. d_ellegarde, in French. "This is very strange."
"I refer her to the whole company!" said Valentin. "Here she comes!" And h_ent to the open door, met Madame de Cintre on the threshold, took her by th_and, and led her into the room. She was dressed in white; but a long blu_loak, which hung almost to her feet, was fastened across her shoulders by _ilver clasp. She had tossed it back, however, and her long white arms wer_ncovered. In her dense, fair hair there glittered a dozen diamonds. Sh_ooked serious and, Newman thought, rather pale; but she glanced round her, and, when she saw him, smiled and put out her hand. He thought he_remendously handsome. He had a chance to look at her full in the face, fo_he stood a moment in the centre of the room, hesitating, apparently, what sh_hould do, without meeting his eyes. Then she went up to her mother, who sa_n her deep chair by the fire, looking at Madame de Cintre almost fiercely.
With her back turned to the others, Madame de Cintre held her cloak apart t_how her dress.
"What do you think of me?" she asked.
"I think you are audacious," said the marquise. "It was but three days ago, when I asked you, as a particular favor to myself, to go to the Duchess d_usignan's, that you told me you were going nowhere and that one must b_onsistent. Is this your consistency? Why should you distinguish Madam_obineau? Who is it you wish to please to-night?"
"I wish to please myself, dear mother," said Madame de Cintre. And she ben_ver and kissed the old lady.
"I don't like surprises, my sister," said Urbain de Bellegarde; "especiall_hen one is on the point of entering a drawing-room."
Newman at this juncture felt inspired to speak. "Oh, if you are going into _oom with Madame de Cintre, you needn't be afraid of being noticed yourself!"
M. de Bellegarde turned to his sister with a smile too intense to be easy. "_ope you appreciate a compliment that is paid you at your brother's expense,"
he said. "Come, come, madame." And offering Madame de Cintre his arm he le_er rapidly out of the room. Valentin rendered the same service to youn_adame de Bellegarde, who had apparently been reflecting on the fact that th_all dress of her sister-in-law was much less brilliant than her own, and ye_ad failed to derive absolute comfort from the reflection. With a farewel_mile she sought the complement of her consolation in the eyes of the America_isitor, and perceiving in them a certain mysterious brilliancy, it is no_mprobable that she may have flattered herself she had found it.
Newman, left alone with old Madame de Bellegarde, stood before her a fe_oments in silence. "Your daughter is very beautiful," he said at last.
"She is very strange," said Madame de Bellegarde.
"I am glad to hear it," Newman rejoined, smiling. "It makes me hope."
"That she will consent, some day, to marry me."
The old lady slowly rose to her feet. "That really is your project, then?"
"Yes; will you favor it?"
"Favor it?" Madame de Bellegarde looked at him a moment and then shook he_ead. "No!" she said, softly.
"Will you suffer it, then? Will you let it pass?"
"You don't know what you ask. I am a very proud and meddlesome old woman."
"Well, I am very rich," said Newman.
Madame de Bellegarde fixed her eyes on the floor, and Newman thought i_robable she was weighing the reasons in favor of resenting the brutality o_his remark. But at last, looking up, she said simply, "How rich?"
Newman expressed his income in a round number which had the magnificent soun_hat large aggregations of dollars put on when they are translated int_rancs. He added a few remarks of a financial character, which completed _ufficiently striking presentment of his resources.
Madame de Bellegarde listened in silence. "You are very frank," she sai_inally. "I will be the same. I would rather favor you, on the whole, tha_uffer you. It will be easier."
"I am thankful for any terms," said Newman. "But, for the present, you hav_uffered me long enough. Good night!" And he took his leave.