Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/346

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


with a curtsy to the table and a gentle, furtive good-night to madame, had left the room. Then, quite as if their departure had started another train of thought, she turned and faced our landlord.

“What a dear old woman is Leà, Lemois,” she began in casual tones, “and what good care she takes of that pretty child; she is mother and sister and guardian to her. But she cannot be everything. There is always some other yearning in a young girl’s heart which no woman can satisfy. You know that as well as I do. And this is why you are going to give Mignon to young Gaston. Is it not true?” she added in dissembling tones.

Lemois moved uneasily in his chair. The question had come so unexpectedly, and was so direct, that for a moment he lost his poise. His own attitude, he supposed, had been made quite clear the night of the rescue, when he had denounced Gaston and forbidden Mignon to see him. Yet his manner was grave enough as he answered:

“Madame has so many things to occupy her mind, and so many people to help, why should she trouble herself with those of my maid? Mignon is very happy here, and has everything