MADAME LA MARQUISE
bler must look to the cards—but not here among our peasantry”—and again she shot her glance at Lemois—“where a girl grows up as innocent as a heifer, her nature expanding, her only ambition being to find a true mate who will help her bear the burdens her station lays upon her.
“I resolved to see her for myself. If I had been wrong in my surmises—and it were true that so sweet and innocent a creature had of her own free will married a man twenty years her senior when her heart was wholly another’s—I should lose faith in girl nature: and I have looked into many young hearts in my time. That her father—big brute as he was—would have dared force her into such an alliance without her consent I did not believe, for the mother would then have risen up. These Norman peasants fight for their children as a bear fights for her cubs—women of the right kind—and she was one.
“My own father shrugged his shoulders when I sought his counsel, and uttered the customary man-like remark: ‘Better for her, I expect, than hoeing beets. All she has to do now is to see him comfortably fixed in his chair—a great blessing, come to think of it,