MADAME LA MARQUISE
greatest deference. The exalted rank of his guest was a fact he never lost sight of.
“He is not here, madame,” he said in an apologetic tone; “I have sent him home to his mother.”
“Home!—to his mother?—and after my despatch. Oh!—but I could take so much better care of him here! Why did you do it?”
“For the best of reasons—first, because the doctor said he might go, and then because I”—and he lowered his voice and glanced around to see if Mignon had by any chance slipped into the room—“because,” he added with a knowing smile, “it is sometimes dangerous to have so good-looking a fellow about.”
“So good of you, Lemois,” she flashed back; “so thoughtful and considerate. Twenty years ago I might have lost my heart, but——”
“Oh, but, madame—I never for an instant—” He was really frightened.
“Oh, it was not me, then!” and one of her ringing, silvery laughs gladdened the room. “Who, then, pray?—certainly not that dear old woman with the white cap who— Oh!—I see!—it is that pretty little Norman maid. Such a winning creature, and so modest. Yes, I remember her distinctly. But why should not