MADAME LA MARQUISE
lowered, her pretty head and throat aglow in the softened light, I saw that she was following her every gesture. Once, when the girl replenished her plate, the woman of birth, as if by accident, laid her fingers on the serving-woman’s wrist, and then there flashed out of her eyes one of those sympathetic glances which only a tender-hearted woman can give, and which only another woman, no matter how humble her station, can fully understand. It was all done so quickly and so deftly that I alone noticed it, as well as the answering look in Mignon’s eyes: full of such gratitude and reverence that I started lest she should betray herself and thus spoil it all.
With the coffee and cigarettes—madame refusing any brand but her own—“I dry every bit of my tobacco myself,” she offered in explanation, “and roll every cigarette I smoke”—we settled ourselves in pleased expectation, Herbert, as usual, in the Florentine; our guest of honor beside a small table which Lemois had moved up for her comfort, and on which he had placed a box of matches and an ashtray; Brierley stretched out on the sofa with a cushion at his back; Lemois on a low stool by the fire; Louis and I with chairs drawn