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Chapter 10

  • 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,
  • "Don't you?"
  • "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?"
  • "Yes, perfectly."
  • "Do you hear that, Valentin?" said Madame de Bellegarde. "You amuse Mr.
  • Newman."
  • "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."
  • "Hope what?"
  • "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.