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And, as if fearing that he had said too much, he added :

"I tell you this, Celestine, because you are a good woman and an orderly woman, and because I have coniidence in you. It is between ourselves, you know."

After a silence :

"What a good idea it was of yours to come out here to-night! " he thanked me; " it is very nice of you; it flatters me."

Never had I seen him so amiable, so talkative. I bent over the little table very near him, and, stirring the sorted seeds in the plate, I answered coquettishly:

"It is true, too; you went away directly after dinner; we had no time to gossip. Shall I help you sort your seeds ? ' '

"Thank you, Celestine, I have finished."

He scratched his head.

" Sacristil" he exclaimed, with annoyance, "I ought to go and see to my garden-frames. The field-mice do not leave me a salad, the vermin! But then, no, indeed, I must talk with you, Celestine."

Joseph rose, closed the door, which had been left half open, and led me to the back of the harness- room. For a minute I was frightened. The little Claire, whom I had forgotten, appeared before my eyes on the forest heath, frightfully pale and bleed- ing. But there was nothing wicke