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“Then Loyette confided in me. I had started to walk to the village and she had seen me cross the broad road and had followed. Poor child!—I can see her now, the tears streaming down her cheeks as she poured out her heart: how she and Henri had always loved each other; how fine and brave and truthful he was, and how kind and noble: she emptying her heart of her most precious secret—the story of her first love—a story, gentlemen”—here the marquise’s voice dropped into tones of infinite sweetness—“which the angels bend their ears to catch, for there is nothing more holy nor more sublime.

“I listened, her hand in mine—we were about the same age and I could, therefore, the better understand—her pretty blue eyes like wet violets searching for my own—and when her story was all told, I comforted her as best I could, telling her what I firmly believed—that no father with a spark of tenderness in his heart could be obdurate for long and not to worry—true love like hers always winning its way—whereupon she dried her eyes, kissed my hand, and I left her.

“What happened I do not know, for I went to Paris shortly after and was married myself,