The American


VALENTIN DE BELLEGARDE’S announcement of the secession of Mademoiselle Nioche from her father’s domicile, and his irreverent reflections upon the attitude of this anxious parent in so grave a catastrophe, received a practical commentary in the fact that M. Nioche was slow to seek another interview with his late pupil. It had cost Newman some disgust to be forced to assent to Valentin’s somewhat cynical interpretation of the old man’s philosophy, and, though circumstances seemed to indicate that he had not given himself up to a noble despair, Newman thought it very possible he might be suffering more keenly than was apparent. M. Nioche had been in the habit of paying him a respectful little visit every two or three weeks, and his absence might be a proof quite as much of extreme depression as of a desire to conceal the success with which he had patched up his sorrow. Newman presently learned from Valentin several details touching this new phase of Mademoiselle Noémie’s career.

“ I told you she was remarkable,” this acute investigator declared, “ and the way in which she has managed this performance proves it. She has had other chances, but she was resolved to take none but the best. She did you the honor to think for a while that you might be such a chance. You were not; so she gathered up her patience and waited a while longer. At last her occasion came along, and she made her move with her eyes wide open. I am very sure she had no innocence to lose, but she had all her respectability. Dubious little damsel as you thought her, she had kept a firm hold of that; nothing could be proved against her, and she was determined not to let her reputation go till she had got her equivalent. About her equivalent she had high ideas. Apparently her ideal has been satisfied. It is fifty years old, bald-headed, and deaf, but it is very easy about money.”

“ And where in the world,” asked Newman, " did you pick up this valuable information ? ”

“ In conversation. Remember my frivolous habits. In conversation with a young woman engaged in the humble trade of glove - cleaner, who keeps a small shop in the Rue St. Roch. M. Nioche lives up six pair of stairs, across the court, in and out of whose ill-swept doorway Miss Noémie has been flitting for the last five years. The little glovecleaner was an old acquaintance; she used to be the friend of a friend of mine, whose follies, poor fellow, have been quenched in matrimony. I often saw her in his society. As soon as I espied her behind her clear little window-pane, I recollected her. I had on a spotlessly fresh pair of gloves, but I went in and held up my hands, and said to her, ‘ Dear mademoiselle, what will you ask me for cleaning these? ’ ‘ Dear count,’ she answered immediately, 'I will clean them for you for nothing.’ She had instantly recognized me, and I had to hear her history for the last six years. But after that, I put her upon that of her neighbors. She knows and admires Noémie, and she told me what I have just repeated.”

A month elapsed without M. Nioche reappearing, and Newman, who every morning read two or three suicides in the Figaro, began to suspect that, mortification proving stubborn, he had sought a balm for his wounded pride in the waters of the Seine. He had a note of M. Nioche’s address in his pocketbook, and finding himself one day in the quartier, he determined in so far as he might to clear up his doubts. He repaired to the house in the Rue St. Roch which bore the recorded number, and observed in a neighboring basement, behind a dangling row of natty inflated gloves, the attentive physiognomy of Bellegarde’s informant — a sallow person in a dressing - gown — peering into the street as if she were expecting that amiable nobleman to pass again. But it was not to her that Newman applied; he simply asked of the portress if M. Nioche were at home. She replied, as the portress invariably replies, that her lodger had gone out barely three minutes before; but then, through the little square hole of her lodge-window taking the measure of Newman’s fortunes, and seeing them, by an unspecified process, refresh the dry places of servitude to occupants of fifth floors on courts, she added that M. Nioche would have had just time to reach the Café de la Patrie, round the second corner to the left, at which establishment he regularly spent his afternoons. Newman thanked her for the information, took the second corner to the left, and arrived at the Café de la Patrie. He felt a momentary hesitation to go in; was it not rather mean to " follow up " poor old Nioche at that rate? But there passed across his vision an image of a haggard little septuagenarian taking measured sips of a glass of sugar and water, and finding them quite impotent to sweeten his desolation. He opened the door and entered, perceiving nothing at first but a dense cloud of tobacco smoke. Across this, however, in a corner, he presently descried the figure of M. Nioche, stirring the contents of a deep glass, with a lady seated in front of him. The lady’s back was turned to Newman, but M. Nioche very soon perceived and recognized his visitor. Newman had gone toward him, and the old man rose slowly, gazing at him with a more blighted expression even than usual.

“If you are drinking hot punch,” said Newman, “ I suppose you are not dead. That’s all right. Don’t move.”

M. Nioche stood staring, with a fallen jaw, not daring to put out his hand. The lady, who sat facing him, turned round in her place and glanced upward with a spirited toss of her head, displaying the agreeable features of his daughter. She looked at Newman sharply, to see how he was looking at her; then — I don’t know what she discovered— she said graciously, “ How d’ ye do, monsieur? won’t you come into our little corner? ”

“ Did you come — did you come after me? ” asked M. Nioche, very softly.

“I went to your house to see what had become of you. I thought you might be sick,” said Newman.

“ It is very good of you, as always,” said the old man. “ No, I am not well. Yes, I am seek.”

“ Ask monsieur to sit down,” said Mademoiselle Nioche. “ Garçon, bring a chair.”

“ Will you do us the honor to seat ? ” said M. Nioche, timorously, and with a double foreign ness of accent.

Newman said to himself that he had better see the thing out, and he took a chair at the end of the table, with Mademoiselle Nioche on his left, and her father on the other side. “ You will take something, of course,” said Miss Noémie who was sipping a glass of madeira. Newman said that he believed not, and then she turned to her papa with a smile. “ What an honor, eh? he has come only for us.” M. Nioche drained his pungent glass at along draught, and looked out from eyes more lachrymose in consequence. “But you didn’t come for me, eh? ” Mademoiselle Noémie went on. “ You did n’t expect to find me here? ”

Newman observed the change in her appearance. She was very elegant and prettier than before, she looked a year or two older, and it was noticeable that, to the eye, she had only gained in respectability. She looked “ lady-like.” She was dressed in quiet colors, and she wore her expensively inobtrusive toilet with a grace that might have come from years of practice. Her present self-possession and aplomb struck Newman as really infernal, and he inclined to agree with Valentin de Bellegarde that the young lady was very remarkable. “ No, to tell the truth, I did n’t come for you,” he said, “ and I did n’t expect to find you. I was told,” he added in a moment, “ that you had left your father.”

Quelle horreur ! ” cried Mademoiselle Nioche with a smile. “ Does one leave one’s father? You have the proof of the contrary.”

“ Yes, convincing proof,” said Newman, glancing at M. Nioche. The old man caught his glance obliquely, with his faded, deprecating eye, and then, lifting his empty glass, pretended to drink again.

“ Who told you that? ” Noémie demanded. “ I know very well. It was M. de Bellegarde. Why don’t you say yes? You are not polite.”

“ I am embarrassed,” said Newman.

“I set you a better example. I know M. de Bellegarde told you. He knows a great deal about me—or he thinks he does. He has taken a great deal of trouble to find out, but half of it isn’t true. In the first place, I have n’t left my father; I am much too fond of him. Isn’t it so, little father? M. de Bellegarde is a charming young man; it is impossible to be cleverer. I know a good deal about him too; you can tell him that when you next see him.”

“No,” said Newman, with a sturdy grin; “I won’t carry any messages for you. ”

“Just as you please,” said Mademoiselle Nioche. “ I don’t depend upon you, nor does M. de Bellegarde either. He is very much interested in me; he can be left to his own devices. He is a contrast to you.”

“ Oh, he is a great contrast to me, I have no doubt,” said Newman. “ But I don’t exactly knowhow you mean it.”

“ I mean it in this way. First of all, he never offered to help me to a dot and a husband.” And Mademoiselle Nioche paused, smiling. “ I won’t say that is in his favor, for I do you justice. What led you, by the way, to make me such a queer offer? You didn’t care for me.”

“ Oh yes, I did,” said Newman.

“ How so ? ”

“ It would have given me real pleasure to see you married to a respectable young fellow.”

“ With six thousand francs of income! ” cried Mademoiselle Nioche. “ Do you call that caring for me? I’m afraid you know little about women. You were not galant; you were not what you might have been.”

Newman flushed, a trifle fiercely. “ Come! ” he exclaimed, “that’s rather strong. I had no idea I had been so shabby.”

Mademoiselle Nioche smiled as she took up her muff. “ It is something, at any rate, to have made you angry.”

Her father had leaned both his elbows on the table, and his head, bent forward was supported in his hands, the thin white fingers of which were pressed over his ears. In this position he was staring fixedly at the bottom of his empty glass, and Newman supposed he was not hearing. Mademoiselle Noémie buttoned her furred jacket and pushed back her chair, casting a glance charged with the consciousness of an expensive appearance first down over her flounces and then up at Newman.

“ You had better have remained an honest girl,” Newman said, quietly.

M. Nioche continued to stare at the bottom of his glass, and his daughter got up, still bravely smiling. “ You mean that I look so much like one? That’s more than most women do nowadays. Don’t judge me yet awhile,” she added. “ I mean to succeed; that’s what I mean to do. I leave you; I don’t mean to be seen in cafés, for one thing. I can’t think what you want of my poor father; he ’s very comfortable now. It is n’t his fault, either. Au revoir, little father.” And she tapped the old man on the head with her muff. Then she stopped a minute, looking at Newman. “ Tell M. de Bellegarde, when he wants news of me, to come and get it from me!” And she turned and departed, the white-aproned waiter, with a bow, holding the door wide open for her.

M. Nioche sat motionless, and Newman hardly knew what to say to him. The old man looked dismally foolish. “ So you determined not to shoot her, after all,” Newman said, presently.

M. Nioche, without moving, raised his eyes and gave him a long, peculiar look. It seemed to confess everything, and yet not to ask for pity, nor to pretend, on the other hand, to a rugged ability to do without it. It might have expressed the state of mind of an innocuous insect flat in shape and conscious of the impending pressure of a boot-sole, and reflecting that he was perhaps too flat to be crushed. M. Nioche’s gaze was a profession of moral flatness. “ You despise me terribly,” he said, in the weakest possible voice.

“ Oh no,” said Newman, “ it is none of my business. It’s a good plan to take things easily.”

“ I made you too many fine speeches,” M. Nioche added. “I meant them at the time.”

“ I am sure I am very glad you did n’t shoot her,” said Newman. “ I was afraid you might have shot yourself. That is why I came to look you up.” And he began to button his coat.

“ Neither,” said M. Nioche. “ You despise me, and I can’t explain to you. I hoped I should n’t see you again.”

“Why, that’s rather shabby,” said Newman, “You shouldn’t drop your friends that way. Besides, the last time you came to see me I thought you particularly jolly.”

“Yes, I remember,” said M. Nioche, musingly; “ I was in a fever. I did n’t know what I said, what I did. It was delirium.”

“ Ah, well, you are quieter now.”

M. Nioche was silent a moment. “ As quiet as the grave,” he whispered softly.

“Are you very unhappy?” asked Newman.

M. Nioche rubbed his forehead slowly, and even pushed back his wig a little, looking askance at his empty glass. “ Yes — yes. But that ’s an old story. I have always been unhappy. My daughter does what she will with me. I take what she gives me, good or bad. I have no spirit, and when you have no spirit you must keep quiet. I shan’t trouble you any more.”

“Well,” said Newman, rather disgusted at. the smooth operation of the old man’s philosophy, “that’s as you please. ”

M. Nioche seemed to have been prepared to be despised, but nevertheless he made a feeble movement of appeal from Newman’s faint praise. “ After all,” he said, “ she is my daughter, and I can still look after her. If she will do wrong, why, she will. But there are many different paths, there are degrees. I can give her the benefit — give her the benefit” — and M. Nioche paused, staring vaguely at Newman, who began to suspect that his brain had softened — “ the benefit of my experience,” M. Nioche added.

“Your experience?” inquired Newman, both amused and amazed.

“My experience of business,” said M. Nioche, gravely.

“ Ah, yes,” said Newman, laughing, “ that will be a great advantage to her.” And then he said good-by, and offered the poor, foolish old man his hand.

M. Nioche took it and leaned back against the wall, holding it a moment and looking up at him. “ I suppose you think my wits are going,”he said. “ Very likely; I have always a pain in my head. That’s why I can’t explain, I can’t tell you. And she ’s so strong, she makes me walk as she will, anywhere! But there’s this — there ’s this.” And he stopped, still staring up at Newman. His little white eyes expanded and glittered for a moment like those of a cat in the dark. “ It’s not as it seems. I have n’t forgiven her. Oh, no! ”

“That’s right; don’t,” said Newman. “ She’s a bad case.”

“ It’shorrible, it’s terrible,” said M. Nioche; “ but do you want to know the truth? I hate her! I take what she gives me, and I hate her more. To-day she brought me three hundred francs; they are here in my waistcoat pocket. Now I hate her almost cruelly. No, I have n’t forgiven her.”

“ Why did you accept the money? ” Newman asked.

“ If I had n’t,” said M. Nioche, “ I should have hated her still more. That’s what misery is. No, I have n’t forgiven her. ”

“ Take care you don’t hurt her,” said Newman, laughing again. And with this he took his leave. As he passed along the glazed side of the café, on reaching the street, he saw the old man motioning the waiter, with a melancholy gesture, to replenish his glass.

One day, a week after his visit to the Café de la Patrie, he called upon Valentin de Bellegarde, and by good fortune found him at home. Newman spoke of his interview with M. Nioche and his daughter, and said he was afraid Valentin had judged the old man correctly. He had found the couple hobnobbing together in all amity; the old gentleman’s rigor was purely theoretic. Newman confessed that he was disappointed ; he should have expected to see M. Nioche take high ground.

“ High ground, my dear fellow,” said Valentin, laughing; “there is no high ground for him to take. The only perceptible eminence in M. Nioche’s horizon is Montmartre, which is not an edifying quarter. You can’t go mountaineering in a flat country.”

“ He remarked, indeed,” said Newman, “ that he had not forgiven her. But she ’ll never find it out.”

“ We must do him the justice to suppose he doesn’t like the thing,” Valentin rejoined. “ Mademoiselle Nioche is like the great artists whose biographies we read, who at the beginning of their career have suffered opposition in the domestic circle. Their vocation has not been recognized by their families, but the world has done it justice. Mademoiselle Nioche has a vocation.”

“ Oh, come,” said Newman, impatiently, “ yon take the little baggage too seriously.”

“ I know I do; but when one has nothing to think about, one must think of little baggages. I suppose it is better to be serious about light things than not to he serious at all. This little baggage entertains me.”

“ Oh, she has discovered that. She knows you have been hunting her up and asking questions about her. She is very much tickled by it. That ’s rather annoying.”

“ Annoying, my dear fellow,” laughed Valentin; “ not the least.”

“ Hanged if I should want to have a little adventuress like that know I was giving myself such pains about her! ” said Newman.

“ A pretty woman is always worth one’s pains,” objected Valentin. “Mademoiselle Nioche is welcome to be tickled by my curiosity, and to know that I am tickled that she is tickled. She is not, by the way, so much.”

“ You had better go and tell her,” said Newman. “ She gave me a message for you, of some such drift.”

“ Bless your quiet imagination,” said Valentin, “ I have been to see her — three times in five days. She is a charming hostess; we talk of Shakespeare and the musical glasses. She is extremely clever and a very curious type; not at all coarse nor wanting to be coarse; determined not to be. She means to take very good care of herself. She is extremely perfect; she is as hard and clearcut as some little figure of a sea-nymph in an antique intaglio, and I will warrant that she has not a, grain more of sentiment or heart than if she were scooped out of a big amethyst. You can’t scratch her even with a diamond. Extremely pretty, — really, when you know her, she is wonderfully pretty, — intelligent, determined, ambitious, unscrupulous, capable of looking at a man strangled without changing color, she is, upon my honor, extremely entertaining.”

“ It’s a fine list of attractions,” said Newman; “ they would serve as a police-detective’s description of a favorite criminal. I should sum them up by another word than ' entertaining.’ ”

“ Why, that is just the word to use. I don’t say she is laudable or lovable. I don’t want her as my wife or my sister. But she is a very curious and ingenious piece of machinery; I like to see it in operation.”

“ Well, I have seen some very curious machines, too,” said Newman; “and once, in a needle factory, I saw a gentleman from the city, who had stepped too near one of them, picked up as neatly as if he had been prodded by a fork, swallowed down straight, and ground into small pieces.”

Reéntering his domicile, late in the evening, three days after Madame de Bellegarde had made her bargain with him — the expression is sufficiently correct — touching the entertainment at which she was to present him to the world, he found on his table a card of goodly dimensions bearing an announcement that this lady would be at home on the 27th of the month, at ten o’clock in the evening. He stuck it, into the frame of his mirror and eyed it with some complacency; it seemed an agreeable emblem of triumph, documentary evidence that his prize was gained. Stretched out in a chair, he was looking at it lovingly, when Valentin de Bellegarde was shown into the room. Valentin’s glance presently followed the direction of Newman’s, and he perceived his mother’s invitation.

“ And what have they put into the corner? ” he asked. “ Not the customary ‘ music,’ ‘ dancing,’ or ' tableaux vivants ’ ? They ought at least to put ‘ An American.’ ”

“ Oh, there are to be several of us,” said Newman. “ Mrs. Tristram told me to-day that she had received a card and sent an acceptance.”

“ Ah, then, with Mrs. Tristram and her husband you will have support. My mother might have put on her card ' Three Americans.’ But I suspect you will not lack amusement. You will see a great many of the best people in France. I mean the long pedigrees and the high noses, and all that. Some of them are awful idiots; I advise you to take them up cautiously.”

“ Oh, I guess I shall like them,” said Newman. “ I am prepared to like every one and everything in these days; I am in high good-humor.”

Valentin looked at him a moment in silence and then dropped himself into a chair with an unwonted air of weariness. “Happy man!” he said with a sigh. “ Take care you don’t become offensive.”

“ If any one chooses to take offense, he may. I have a good conscience,” said Newman.

“You are really in love, then, with my sister. ”

“ Yes, sir! ” said Newman, after a pause.

“ And she also ? ”

“ I guess she likes me,” said Newman.

“What is the witchcraft you have used? ” Valentin asked. “ How do you make love? ”

“ Oh, I haven’t any general rules,” said Newman. “ In any way that seems acceptable.’ ’

“ I suspect that, if one knew it,” said Valentin, laughing, “you are a terrible customer. You walk in seven-league boots.”

“ There is something the matter with you to-night,” Newman said in response to this. “ You are vicious. Spare me all discordant sounds until after my marriage. Then, when I have settled down for life, I shall be better able to take things as they come.”

“ And when does your marriage take place ?”

“ About six weeks hence.”

Valentin was silent a while, and then he said, “ And you feel very confident about the future? ”

“ Confident. I knew what I wanted, exactly, and I know what I have got.”

“ You are sure you are going to be happy? ”

“ Sure? ” said Newman. “ So foolish a question deserves a foolish answer. Yes!”

“ You are not afraid of anything? ”

“ What should I be afraid of? You can't hurt me unless you kill me by some violent means. That I should indeed consider a tremendous sell. I want to live and I mean to live. I can’t die of illness, I am too thundering tough; and the time for dying of old age won’t come round yet awhile. I can’t lose my wife, I shall take too good care of her. I may lose my money, or a large part of it; but that won’t matter, for I shall make twice as much again. So what have I to be afraid of? ”

“ You are not afraid it may be rather a mistake for an American man of business to marry a French countess? ”

“ For the countess, possibly; but not for the man of business, if you mean me! But my countess shall not be disappointed; I warrant the article! ” And as if he felt the impulse to celebrate his happy certitude by a bonfire, he got up to throw a couple of logs upon the already blazing hearth. Valentin watched for a few moments the quickened flame, and then, with his head leaning on his hand, gave a melancholy sigh. “ Got a headache? ” Newman asked.

Je suis triste,” said Valentin, with simplicity.

“ You are sad, eh? Is it about the lady you said the other night that you adored and that you could n’t marry? ”

“ Did I really say that? It seemed to me afterwards that the words had escaped me. Before Claire it was bad taste. But I felt gloomy as I spoke, and I feel gloomy still. Why did you ever introduce me to that girl? ”

“ Oh, it’s Mademoiselle Nioche, is it? Lord deliver us! You don’t mean to say you are lovesick about her? ”

“ Lovesick, no; it’s not a grand passion. But the cold-blooded little demon sticks in my thoughts; she has bitten me with those even little teeth of hers; I feel as if I might turn rabid and do something crazy, in consequence. It s very low; it’s disgustingly low. She’s the most mercenary little jade in Europe. Yet she really affects my peace of mind; she is always running in my head. It’s a striking contrast to your noble and virtuous attachment, — a vile contrast. It is rather pitiful that it should be the best I am able to do for myself at my present respectable age. I am a nice young man, eh, en somme? You can't warrant my future, as you do your own.”

“ Drop that girl, short,” said Newman; “don’t go near her again, and your future will do. Come over to America and I will get you a place in a bank.”

“It is easy to say drop her,” said Valentin, with a light laugh. “You can’t drop a pretty woman like that. One must be polite, even with Mademoiselle Nioche. Besides, I 'll not have her suppose I am afraid of her.”

“ So, between politeness and vanity, you will get deeper into the mud ? Keep them both for something better. Remember, too, that I did n’t want to introduce you to her; you insisted. I had a sort of uneasy feeling about it.”

“ Oh, I don’t reproach you,” said Valentin. “ Heaven forbid ! I would n’t for the world have missed knowing her. She is really extraordinary. The way she has already spread her wings is amazing. I don’t know when a woman has amused me more. But excuse me,” he added in an instant; “ she does n’t amuse you, at second hand, and the subject is an impure one. Let us talk of something else.” Valentin introduced another topic, but within five minutes Newman observed that, by a bold transition. he had reverted to Mademoiselle Nioche, and was giving pictures of her manners and quoting specimens of her mots. These were very witty, and, for a voumt woman who six months before had been painting the most artless madonnas, startlingly cynical. But at last, abruptly, he stopped, became thoughtful, and for some time afterwards said nothing. When he rose to go it was evident that his thoughts were still running upon Mademoiselle Nioche. “Yes, she’s a frightful little monster! " he said.


The next ten days were the happiest that Newman had ever known. He saw Madame de Cintré every day, and never saw either old Madame de Bellegarde or the elder of his prospective brothers-inlaw. Madame de Cintré at last seemed to think it becoming to apologize for their never being present. “ They are much taken up,” she said, “ with doing the honors of Paris to Lord Deepmere.” There was a smile in her gravity as she made this declaration, and it deepened as she added, “ He is our seventh cousin, you know, and blood is thicker than water. And then, he is so interesting! " And with this she laughed.

Newman met young Madame de Bellegarde two or three times, always roaming about with graceful vagueness, as if in search of an unattainable ideal of amusement. She always reminded him of a painted perfume bottle with a crack in it; but he had grown to have a kindly feeling for her, based on the fact of her owing conjugal allegiance to Urbain de Bellegarde. He pitied M. de Bellegarde’s wife, especially since she was a silly, thirstily-smiling little brunette, with a suggestion of an unregulated heart. The small marquise sometimes looked at him with an intensity too marked not to be innocent, for coquetry is more finely shaded. She apparently wanted to ask him something or tell him something; he wondered what it was. But he was shy of giving her an opportunity, because, if her communication bore upon the aridity of her matrimonial lot, he was at a loss to see how he could help her. He had a fancy, however, of her coming up to him some day and saying (after looking round behind her), with a little passionate hiss, “ I know you detest my husband; let me have the pleasure of assuring you for once that you are right. Pity a poor woman who is married to a clock-image in papier-mâché!” Possessing, however, in default of a competent knowledge of the principles of etiquette, a very downright sense of the “ meanness " of certain actions, it seemed to him to belong to his position to keep on his guard; he was not going to put it into the power of these people to say that in their house he had done anything unpleasant. As it was, Madame de Bellegarde used to give him news of the dress she meant to wear at his wedding, and which had not yet, in her creative imagination, in spite of many interviews with the tailor, resolved itself into its composite totality. “ I told you pale blue bows on the sleeves, at the elbows,”she said. “ But to-day I don’t see my blue bows at all. I don’t know what has become of them. Today I see pink — a tender pink. And then I pass through strange, dull phases in which neither blue nor pink says anything to me. And yet I must have the bows. ”

“ Have them green or yellow,” said Newman.

Malheureux ! " the little marquise would cry. “ Green bows would break your marriage — your children would be illegitimate! ”

Madame de Cintré was calmly happy before the world, and Newman had the felicity of fancying that before him, when the world was absent, she was almost agitatedly happy. She said very tender things. “ I take no pleasure in you. You never give me a chance to scold you, to correct you. I bargained for that, I expected to enjoy it. But you won’t do anything dreadful; you are dismally inoffensive. It is very stupid; there is no excitement for me; I might as well be marrying some one else.”

“ I am afraid it ’s the worst I can do,” Newman would say in answer to this. “ Kindly overlook the deficiency.” He assured her that he, at least, would never scold her; she was perfectly satisfactory. " If you only knew,” he said, “ how exactly you are what I wanted! And I am beginning to understand why I wanted it; the having it makes all the difference that I expected. Never was a man better pleased with his bargain; never was a man more certain of having secured a ‘ high class of goods,’ ”

“ Ah, I’m a high class of goods?” said Madame de Cintré.

“ You are the best thing in the market. That was what I wanted. You have been holding your head for a week past just as I wanted my wife to hold hers. You say just the things I want her to say. You walk about the room just as I want her to walk. You have just the taste in dress that I want her to have. In short, you come up to the mark, and, I can tell you, my mark was high.”

These observations seemed to make Madame de Cintré rather grave. At last she said, " Depend upon it, I don’t come up to the mark; your mark is too high. I am not all that you suppose; I am a much smaller affair. She is a magnificent woman, your ideal. Pray, how did she come to such perfection ? ”

“ She was never anything else,” Newman said.

“ I really believe,” Madame de Cintré went on, “ that she is better than my own ideal. Do you know that is a very handsome compliment? Well, sir, I will make her my own! ”

Mrs. Tristram came to see her dear Claire after Newman had announced his engagement, and she told our hero the next day that his good fortune was simply absurd. “ For the ridiculous part of it is,” she said, " that you are evidently going to be as happy as if you were marrying Miss Smith or Miss Thompson. I call it a brilliant match for you, but you get brilliancy without paying any tax upon it. Those things are usually a compromise, but here you have everything, and nothing crowds anything else out. You will be brilliantly happy as well.” Newman thanked her for her pleasant, encouraging way of saying things; no woman could encourage or discourage better. Tristram’s way of saying things was different; be had been taken by his wife to call upon Madame de Cintré, and he gave an account of the expedition.

“ You don’t catch me giving an opinion on your countess this time,” he said; “ I put my foot in it once. That’s a d—d underhand thing to do, by the way — coming round to sound a fellow upon the woman you are going to marry. You deserve anything you get. Then of course you rush and tell her, and she takes care to make it pleasant for the poor, spiteful wretch the first time he calls. I will do you the justice to say, however, that you don’t seem to have told Madame de Cintré; or if you have she’s uncommonly magnanimous. She was very nice; she was tremendously polite. She and Lizzie sat on the sofa, pressing each other’s hands and calling each other chère belle, and Madame de Cintré sent me with every third word a magnificent smile, as if to give me to understand that I too was a handsome dear. She quite made up for past neglect, I assure you; she was very pleasant and sociable. Only in an evil hour it came into her head to say that she must present us to her mother,—her mother wished to know your friends. I didn’t want to know her mother, and I was on the point of telling Lizzie to go in alone and let me wait for her outside. But Lizzie, with her usual infernal ingenuity, guessed my purpose and reduced me by a glance of her eye. So they marched off arm in arm, and I followed as I could. W e found the old lady in her arm-chair, twiddling her aristocratic thumbs. She looked at Lizzie from head to foot; but at that game Lizzie, to do her justice, was a match for her. My wife told her we were great friends of Mr. Newman. The marquise stared a moment, and then said, ‘ Oh, Mr. Newman! My daughter has made up her mind to marry a Mr. Newman.' Then Madame de Cintré began to fondle Lizzie again, and said it was this dear lady that had planned the match and brought them together. ‘ Oh, ’t is you I have to thank for my American son-in-law,’ the old lady said to Mrs. Tristram. ‘ It was a very clever thought of yours. Be sure of my gratitude.’ And then she began to look at me and presently said, ' Pray, are you engaged in some species of manufacture? ’ I wanted to say that I manufactured broomsticks for old witches to ride on, but Lizzie got in ahead of me. ‘ My husband, Madame la Marquise,’ she said, ‘ belongs to that most unfortunate class of persons who have no profession and no business, and do very little good in the world.’ To get her poke at the old woman she did n’t care where she shoved me. ' Dear me,’ said the marquise, ' we all have our duties.’ ' I am sorry mine compel me to take leave of you,’ said Lizzie. And we bundled out again. But you have a mother-in-law, in all the force of the term.”

“ Oh,” said Newman, " my motherin-law desires nothing better than to let me alone.”

Betimes, on the evening of the 27th, he went to Madame de Bellegarde’s ball. The old house in the Rue de l’Université looked strangely brilliant. In the circle of light projected from the outer gate a detachment of the populace stood watching; the carriages roll in; the court was illumined with flaring torches and the portico carpeted with crimson. When Newman arrived there were but a few people present. The marquise and her two daughters were at the top of the staircase, where the sallow old nymph in the angle peeped out from a bower of plants. Madame de Bellegarde, in purple and fine laces, looked like an old lady painted by Vandyke; Madame de Cintré was dressed in white. The old lady greeted Newman with majestic formality, and, looking round her, called several of the persons who were standing near. They were elderly gentlemen, of what Valentin de Bellegarde had designated as the high - nosed category; two or three of them wore cordons and stars. They approached with measured alertness, and the marquise said that she wished to present them to Mr. Newman, who was going to marry her daughter. Then she introduced successivedy three dukes, three counts, and a baron. These gentlemen bowed and smiled most agreeably, and Newman indulged in a series of impartial handshakes, accompanied by a " Happy to make your acquaintance, sir.” He looked at Madame de Cintré, but she was not looking at him. If his personal self-consciousness had been of a nature to make him constantly refer to her, as the critic before whom, in company, he played his part, he might have found it a flattering proof of her confidence that he never caught her eyes resting upon him. It is a reflection Newman did not make, but wc may nevertheless risk it, that in spite of this circumstance she probably saw every movement of his little finger. Young Madame de Bellegarde was dressed in an audacious toilet of crimson crape, bestrewn with huge silver moons — thin crescents and full disks.

“You don’t say anything about my dress,” she said to Newman.

“I feel,” he answered, “ as if I were looking at you through a telescope. It is very strange.”

“ If it is strange it matches the occasion. But I am not a heavenly body.”

“ I never saw the sky at midnight that particular shade of crimson,” said Newman.

“ That is my originality; any one could have chosen blue. My sister-inlaw would have chosen a lovely shade of blue, with a dozen little delicate moons. But I think crimson is much more amusing. And I give my idea, which is moonshine.”

“ Moonshine and bloodshed,” said Newman,

“ A murder by moonlight,” laughed Madame de Bellegarde. " What a delicious idea for a toilet! To make it complete, there is the silver dagger, you see, stuck into my hair. But here comes Lord Deepmere,” she added in a moment. " I must find out what he thinks of it.” Lord Deepmere came up, looking very red in the face, and laughing. " Lord Deepmere can’t decide which he prefers, my sister-in-law or me,” said Madame de Bellegarde. " He likes Claire because she is his cousin, and me because I am not. But he has no right to make love to Claire, whereas I am perfectly disponible. It is very wrong to make love to a woman who is engaged, but it is very wrong not to make love to a woman who is married.”

“ Oh. it ’s very jolly making love to married women,” said Lord Deepmere,

“ because they can't ask you to marry them.”

“ Is that what the others do, the spinsters? ” Newman inquired.

“ Oh dear, yes,” said Lord Deepmere ; “ in England all the girls ask a fellow' to marry them.”

“ And a fellow brutally refuses,” said Madame de Bellegarde.

“ Why, really, you know, a fellow can’t marry every girl that asks him,” said his lordship.

“The countess won’t ask you. She is going to marry Mr. Newman.”

“ Oh, that’s a very different thing! ” laughed Lord Deepmere.

“ You would have accepted her, I suppose. That makes me hope that after all you prefer me.”

“ Oh, when things are nice I never prefer one to the other,” said the young Englishman. “ I take them all.”

“Ah, what a horror! I won’t be taken in that way; I must be kept apart,” cried Madame de Bellegarde. “ Mr. Newman is much better; he knows how to choose. Oh, he chooses as if he were threading a needle. He prefers Madame de Cintré to any conceivable creature or thing.”

“ Well, you can’t help my being her cousin,” said Lord Deepmere to Newman, with candid hilarity.

“ Oh no, I can’t help that,” said Newman, laughing back. “ Neither can she!’ ’

“ And you can’t help my dancing with her,” said Lord Deepmere, with sturdy simplicity.

“ I could prevent that only by dancing with her myself,” said Newman. “But unfortunately I don’t know how to dance.”

“ Oh, you may dance without knowing how; may you not, milord?” said Madame de Bellegarde. But to this Lord Deepmere replied that a fellow ought to know how to dance if he did n’t want to make an ass of himself; and at this same moment Urbain de Bellegarde joined the group, slow - stepping and with his hands behind him.

“ This is a very splendid entertainment,” said Newman, cheerfully. “ The old house looks very bright.”

“ If you are pleased, we are content,” said the marquis, lifting his shoulders and bending them forward.

“ Oh, I guess every one is pleased,” said Newman. “ How can they help being pleased when the first, thing they see as they come in is your sister, standing there as beautiful as an angel? ”

“ Yes, she is very beautiful,” rejoined the marquis, solemnly. “But that is not so great a source of satisfaction to other people, naturally, as to you.”

“ Yes, I am satisfied, marquis, I am satisfied,” said Newman, with his protracted modulation. “ And now tell me,” he added, looking round, “ who some of your friends are.”

M. de Bellegarde looked about him in silence, with his head bent and his hand raised to his lower lip, which he slowly rubbed. A stream of people had been pouring into the salon in which Newman stood with his host, the rooms were filling up, and the spectacle had become brilliant. It borrowed its splendor chiefly from the shining shoulders and profuse jewels of the women, and from the voluminous elegance of their dresses. There were no uniforms, as Madame de Bellegarde’s door was inexorably closed against the myrmidons of the upstart power which then ruled the fortunes of France, and the great company of smiling and chattering faces was not graced by any very frequent suggestion of harmonious beauty. It is a pity, nevertheless, that Newman had not been a physiognomist, for a great many of the faces were irregularly agreeable, expressive, and suggestive. If the occasion had been different they would hardly have pleased him; he would have thought the women not pretty enough and the men too simpering; but he was now in a humor to receive none but agreeable impressions, and he looked no more narrowly than to perceive that every one was brilliant, and to feel that the sum of their brilliancy was a part of his credit. “ I will present you to some people,” said M. de Bellegarde after a while. “ I will make a point of it, in fact. You will allow me? ”

“ Oh, I will shake hands with any one you want,” said Newman. “ Your mother just introduced me to half a dozen old gentlemen. Take care you don’t tackle the same parties again.”

“ Who are the gentlemen to whom my mother presented you? ”

“ Upon my word, I forget them,” said Newman, laughing. “ The people here look very much alike.”

“ I suspect they have not forgotten you,” said the marquis. And he began to walk through the rooms. Newman, to keep near him in the crowd, took his arm; after which, for some time, the marquis walked straight along, in silence. At last, reaching the farther end of the suite of reception-rooms, Newman found himself in the presence of a lady of monstrous proportions, seated in a very capacious arm-chair, with several persons standing in a semicircle round her. This little group had divided as the marquis came up, and M. de Bellegarde stepped forward and stood for an instant silent and obsequious, with his hat raised to his lips, as Newman had seen some gentlemen stand in churches as soon as they had entered their pews. The lady, indeed, bore a very fair likeness to a reverend effigy in some idolatrous shrine. She was monumentally stout and imperturbably serene. Her aspect was to Newman almost formidable; he had a troubled consciousness of a triple chin, a small piercing eye, a vast expanse of uncovered bosom, a nodding and twinkling tiara of plumes and gems, and an immense circumference of satin petticoat. With her little circle of beholders this remarkable woman reminded him of the Fat Lady at a fair. She fixed her small, unwinking eyes at the new-comers.

“Dear duchess,” said the marquis, “let me present you our good friend Mr. Newman, of whom you have heard us speak. Wishing to make Mr. Newman known to those who are dear to us, I could not possibly fail to begin with you.”

“ Charmed, dear marquis; charmed, monsieur, said the duchess in a voice which, though small and shrill, was not disagreeable, while Newman executed his obeisance. “ I came on purpose to see monsieur. I hope he appreciates the compliment. You have only to look at me to do so, sir,” she continued, sweeping her person with a much-encompassing glance. Newman hardly knew what to say, though it seemed that to a duchess who joked about her corpulence one might say almost anything. On hearing that the duchess had come on purpose to see Newman, the gentlemen who surrounded her turned a little and looked at him with sympathetic curiosity. The marquis with supernatural gravity mentioned to him the name of each, while the gentleman who bore it bowed; they were all what are called in France beaux noms. “ I wanted extremely to see you,” the duchess went on. “ C'est positif. In the first place, I am very fond of the person you are going to marry; she is the most charming creature in France. Mind you treat her well, or you shall hear some news of me. But you look as if you were good. I am told you are very remarkable. I have heard all sorts of extraordinary things about you. Voyons, are they true? ”

“ I don’t know what you can have heard,” said Newman.

“ Oh, you have your légende. We have heard that you have had a career the most checkered, the most bizarre.

What is that about your having founded a city some ten years ago in the great West, a city which contains to-day half a million of inhabitants? Isn’t it half a million, messieurs? You are exclusive proprietor of this flourishing settlement, and are consequently fabulously rich, and you would be richer still if you did n’t grant lands and houses free of rent to all new-comers who will pledge themselves never to smoke cigars. At this game, in three years, we are told, you are going to be made president of America.”

The duchess recited this amazing “ legend ” with a smooth self-possession which gave the speech, to Newman’s mind, the air of being a bit of amusing dialogue in a play, delivered by a veteran comic actress. Before she had ceased speaking he had burst into loud, irrepressible laughter. “ Dear duchess, dear duchess,” the marquis began to murmur, soothingly. Two or three persons came to the door of the room to see who was laughing at the duchess. But the lady continued with the soft, serene assurance of a person who, as a duchess, was certain of being listened to, and, as a garrulous woman, was independent of the pulse of her auditors. “ But I know you are very remarkable. You must be, to have endeared yourself to this good marquis and to his admirable mother. They don’t bestow their esteem on all the world. They are very exacting. I myself am not very sure at this hour of really possessing it. Eh, marquis? To please you, I see, one must be an American millionaire. But your real triumph, my dear sir, is pleasing the countess; she is as difficult as a princess in a fairy tale. Your success is a miracle. What is your secret? I don’t ask you to reveal it before all these gentlemen, but come and see me some day and give me a specimen of your talents.”

“ The secret is with Madame de Cintré,” said Newman. “ You must ask her for it. It consists in her having a great deal of charity.”

“Very pretty!” said the duchess. “That’s a very nice specimen, to begin with. What, marquis, are you already taking monsieur away? ”

“ I have a duty to perform, dear friend,” said the marquis, pointing to the other groups.

“ Ah, for you I know what that means. Well, I have seen monsieur; that is what I wanted. He can’t persuade me that he is n’t very strong. Farewell.”

As Newman passed on with Iris host, he asked who the duchess was. “ The greatest lady in France,” said the marquis. M. de Bellegarde then presented his prospective brother-in-law to some twenty other persons of both sexes, selected apparently for their typically august character. In some cases this character was written in a good round hand upon the countenance of the wearer; in others Newman was thankful for such help as his companion’s impressively brief intimation contributed to the discovery of it. There were large, majestic men, and small, demonstrative men; there were ugly ladies in yellow lace and quaint jewels, and pretty ladies with white shoulders from which jewels and everything else was absent. Every one gave Newman extreme attention, every one smiled, every one was charmed to make his acquaintance, every one looked at him with that soft hardness of good society which puts out its hand but keeps its fingers closed over the coin. If the marquis was going about as a bear-leader, if the fiction of Beauty and the Beast was supposed to have found its companion - piece, the general impression appeared to be that the bear was a very fair imitation of humanity. Newman found his reception among the marquis’s friends very “ pleasant; ” he could not have said more for it. It was pleasant to be treated with so much explicit politeness; it was pleasant to hear neatly turned civilities, with a flavor of wit, uttered from beneath carefullyshaped mustaches; it was pleasant to see clever Frenchwomen — they all seemed clever — turn their backs to their partners to get a good look at the strange American whom Claire de Cintré was to marry, and reward the object of the exhibition with a charming smile. At last, as he turned away from a battery of smiles and other amenities, Newman caught the eye of the marquis looking at him heavily; and thereupon, for a single instant, he checked himself. “ Am I behaving like a d—d fool?” he asked himself. “ Am I stepping about like a terrier on his hind legs? ” At this moment he perceived Mrs. Tristram at the other side of the room, and he waved his hand in farewell to M. de Bellegarde and made his way toward her.

“ Am I holding my head too high? ” he asked. “ Do I look as if I had the lower end of a pulley fastened to my chin ? ”

“ You look like all happy men, very ridiculous,” said Mrs. Tristram. “It’s the usual thing, neither better nor worse. I have been watching you for the last ten minutes, and I have been watching M. de Bellegarde. He does n’t like it.”

“ The more credit to him for putting it through,” replied Newman. “But I shall be generous. I shan’t trouble him any more. But I am very happy. I can’t stand still here. Please to take my arm and we will go for a walk.”

He led Mrs. Tristram through all the rooms. There were a great many of them, and, decorated for the occasion and filled with a stately crowd, their somewhat tarnished nobleness recovered its lustre. Mrs. Tristram, looking about her, dropped a series of softly-incisive comments upon her fellow-guests. But Newman made vague answers; he hardly heard her; his thoughts were elsewhere. They were lost in a cheerful sense of success, of attainment and victory. His momentary care as to whether he looked like a fool passed away, and left him simply with a rich sense of contentment. He had got what he wanted. The savor of success had always been highly agreeable to him, and it had been his fortune to know it often. But it had never before been so sweet, been associated with so much that was brilliant and suggestive and entertaining. The lights, the flownrs, the music, the crowd, the splendid women, the jewels, the strangeness even of the universal murmur of a clever foreign tongue, were all a vivid symbol and assurance of his having grasped his purpose and driven along his groove. If Newman’s smile was larger than usual, it was not tickled vanity that pulled the strings; he had no wish to be shown with the finger or to achieve a personal success. If he could have looked down at the scene, invisible, from a hole in the roof, he would have enjoyed it quite as much. It would have spoken to him about his own prosperity, and deepened that easy feeling, about life to which, sooner or later, he made all experience contribute. Just now the cup seemed full.

“ It is a very pretty party,” said Mrs. Tristram, after they had walked a while. “I have seen nothing objectionable except my husband leaning against the wall and talking to an individual whom I suppose he takes for a duke, but whom I more than suspect to be the functionary who attends to the lamps. Do you think you could separate them? Knock over a lamp! ”

I doubt whether Newman, who saw no harm in Tristram’s conversing with an ingenious mechanic, would have complied with this request; but at this moment Valentin de Bellegarde drew near. Newman, some weeks previously, had presented Madame de Cintré’s younger brother to Mrs. Tristram, for whose merits Valentin professed a discriminating relish and to whom he had paid several visits.

“ Did you ever read Keats’s Belle Dame sans Merci? ” asked Mrs. Tristram. “ You remind me of the hero of the ballad: —

‘ Oh, what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering? ’

“If I am alone, it is because I have been deprived of your society,” said Valentin. “Besides, it is good manners for no man except Newman to look happy. This is all to his address. It is not for you and me to go before the curtain.”

“ You promised me last spring,” said Newman to Mrs. Tristram, “that six months from that time I should get into a monstrous rage. It seems to me the time’s up, and yet the nearest I can come to doing anything rough now is to offer you a café glacé.

“I told you we should do things grandly,” said Valentin. “ I don’t allude to the cafés glacés. But every one is here, and my sister told me just now that Urbain had been adorable.”

“ He’s a good fellow, he ’s a good fellow,” said Newman. “I love him as a brother. That reminds me that I ought to go and say something polite to your mother.”

“ Let it be something very polite indeed,” said Valentin. “ It may be the last time you will feel so much like it! ”

Newman walked away, almost disposed to clasp old Madame de Bellegarde round the waist. He passed through several rooms and at last found the old marquise in the first saloon, seated on a sofa, with her young kinsman, Lord Deepmere, beside her. The young man looked somewhat bored; his hands were thrust into his pockets and his eyes were fixed upon the toes of his shoes, his feet being thrust out in front of him. Madame de Bellegarde appeared to have been talking to him with some intensity and to be waiting for an answer to what she had said, or for some sign of the effect of her words. Her hands were folded in her lap, and she was looking at his lordship’s simple physiognomy with an air of politely suppressed irritation.

Lord Deepmere looked up as Newman approached, met his eyes, and changed color.

“ I am afraid I disturb an interesting interview,” said Newman.

Madame de Bellegarde rose, and her companion rising at the same time, she put her hand into his arm. She answered nothing for an instant, and then, as he remained silent, she said with a smile, “It would be polite for Lord Deepmere to say it was very interesting.”

“ Oh, I ’m not polite! ” cried his lordship. “ But it was interesting.”

“ Madame de Bellegarde was giving you some good advice, eh? ” said Newman; “ toning you down a little? ”

“ I was giving him some excellent advice,” said the marquise, fixing her fresh, cold eyes upon our hero. “It’s for him to take it.”

“Take it, sir, — take it,” Newman exclaimed. “ Any advice the marquise gives you to-night must be good. For to-night, marquise, you must speak from a cheerful, comfortable spirit, and that makes good advice. You see everything going on so brightly and successfully round you. Your party is magnificent; it was a very happy thought. It is much better than that thing of mine would have been.”

“If you are pleased I am satisfied,” said Madame de Bellegarde. “ My desire was to please you.”

“ Do you want to please me a little more?” said Newman. “Just drop our lordly friend; I am sure he wants to be off and shake his heels a little. Then take my arm and walk through the rooms.”

“ My desire was to please you,” the old lady repeated. And she liberated Lord Deepmere, Newman rather wondering at her docility. “ If this young man is wise,” she added, “he will go and find my daughter and ask her to dance.”

“ I have been indorsing your advice,” said Newman, bending over her and laughing, “ I suppose I must swallow that! ”

Lord Deepmere wiped his forehead and departed, and Madame de Bellegarde took Newman’s arm. “ Yes, it’s a very pleasant, sociable entertainment,” the latter declared, as they proceeded on their circuit. “ Every one seems to know every one and to be glad to see every one. The marquis has made me acquainted with ever so many people, and I feel quite like one of the family. It’s an occasion,” Newman continued, wanting to say something thoroughly kind and comfortable, “ that I shall always remember, and remember very pleasantly.”

“ I think it is an occasion that we shall none of us forget,” said the marquise, with her pure, neat enunciation.

People made way for her as she passed, others turned round and looked at her, and she received a great many greetings and pressings of the hand, all of which she accepted with the most delicate dignity. But though she smiled upon every one, she said nothing until she reached the last of the rooms, where she found her elder son. Then, “ This is enough, sir,” she declared with measured softness to Newman, and turned to the marquis. He put out both his hands and took both hers, drawing her to a seat with an air of the tenderest veneration. It was a most harmonious family group, and Newman discreetly retired. He moved through the rooms for some time longer, circulating freely, overtopping most people by his great height, renewing acquaintance with some of the groups to which Urbain de Bellegarde had presented him, and expending generally the surplus of his equanimity. He continued to find it all extremely agreeable; but the most agreeable things have an end, and the revelry on this occasion began to deepen to a close. The music was sounding its ultimate strains, and people were looking for the marquise, to make their farewells. There seemed to be some difficulty in finding her, and Newman heard a report that she had left the ball, feeling faint. “ She has succumbed to the emotions of the evening,” he heard a lady say. “ Poor, dear marquise; I can imagine all that they may have been for her! ” But he learned immediately afterwards that she had recovered herself and was seated in an arm - chair near the doorway, receiving parting compliments from great ladies who insisted upon her not rising. He himself set out in quest of Madame de Cintré. He had seen her move past him many times in the rapid circles of a waltz, but in accordance with her explicit instructions he had exchanged no words with her since the beginning of the evening. The whole house having been thrown open, the apartments of the rez-de-chaussée were also accessible, though a smaller number of persons had gathered there. Newman wandered through them, observing a few scattered Couples to whom this comparative seclusion appeared grateful, and reached a small conservatory which opened into the garden. The end of the conservatory was formed by a clear sheet of glass, unmasked by plants, and admitting the winter starlight so directly that a person standing there seemed to have passed into the open air. Two persons stood there now, a lady and a gentleman; the lady Newman, from within the room and although she had turned her back to it, immediately recognized as Madame de Cintré. He hesitated as to whether he would advance, but as he did so she looked round, feeling apparently that he was there. She rested her eyes on him a moment and then turned again to her companion.

“It is almost a pity not to tell Mr. Newman,” she said softly, but in a tone that Newman could hear.

“ Tell him if you like!" the gentleman answered, in the voice of Lord Deepmere.

“ Oh, tell me by all means! " said Newman, advancing.

Lord Deepmere, he observed, was very red in the face, and he had twisted his gloves into a tight cord, as if he had been squeezing them dry. These, presumably, were tokens of violent emotion, and it seemed to Newman that the traces of a corresponding agitation were visible in Madame de Cintré’s face. The two had been talking with much vivacity. “ What I should tell you is only to my lord’s credit,” said Madame de Cintré, smiling frankly enough.

“He wouldn’t like it, any better for that! ” said my lord, with his awkward laugh.

“ Come; what’s the mystery ? ” Newman demanded. “ Clear it up. I don’t like mysteries.”

“ We must have some things we don’t like, and go without some we do,” said the ruddy young nobleman, laughing still.

“ It’s to Lord Deepmere’s credit, but it is not to every one’s,” said Madame de Cintré. “ So I shall say nothing about it. You may be sure,” she added; and she put out her hand to the Englishman, who took it half shyly, half impetuously. “ And now go and dance! " she said.

“ Oh yes, I feel awfully like dancing!” he answered. “I shall go and get tipsy.” And he walked away with a sort of gloomy guffaw.

“ What has happened between you? ” Newman asked.

“ I can’t tell you — now,” said Madame de Cintré. “Nothing that need make you unhappy.”

“ Has the little Englishman been trying to make love to you? ”

She hesitated, and then she uttered a grave “No! he’s a very honest little fellow.”

“But you are agitated. Something is the matter.”

“ Nothing, I repeat, that need make you unhappy. My agitation is over. Some day I will tell you what it was; not now. I can’t now! ”

“ Well, I confess,” remarked Newman, “ I don’t want to hear anything unpleasant. I am satisfied with everything—most of all with you. I have seen all the ladies and talked with a great many of them; but I am satisfied with you.” Madame de Cintré covered him for a moment with her large, soft glance, and then turned her eyes away into the starry night. So they stood silent a moment, side by side. “ Say you are satisfied with me,” said Newman.

He had to wait a moment for the answer; but it came at last, low yet distinct: “ I am very happy.”

It was presently followed by a few words from another source, which made them both turn round. “ I am sadly afraid my lady will take a chill. I have ventured to bring a shawl. ” Mrs. Bread stood there, softly solicitous, holding a white drapery in her hand.

“ Thank you,” said Madame de Cintré, “ the sight of those cold stars gives one a sense of frost. I won’t take your shawl, but we will go back into the house.”

She passed back and Newman followed her, Mrs. Bread standing respectfully aside to make way for them. Newman paused an instant before the old woman, and she glanced up at him with a silent greeting. “ Oh, yes,” he said, “ you must come and live with us.”

“ Well then, sir, if you will,” she answered, “ you have not seen the last of me! ”

Henry James, Jr.