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charge of the villa grounds, and she is to manage the dairy and the linen and look after the chickens and the ducks. And the wedding is to take place just as soon as you give your consent; and if you don’t consent, it will take place anyway, for I am to be godmother and she is to have a dot and all the furniture they want out of what was saved from my house, and that’s all there is to it—except that both of them know all about it, for I sent Gaston down here last night with a note for you, and he told Mignon, and it’s all settled—now what do you say?”

A shout greeted her last words, and the whole room broke spontaneously into a clapping of hands, Louis, as was his invariable custom whenever excuse offered, on his feet, glass in hand, proposing the health of that most adorable of all women of her own or any other time, past, present, or future—at which the dear, penguin-shaped lady in black velvet and lace raised her dainty white palms in holy horror, protesting that it was Monsieur Lemois whose health must be drunk, as without him nothing could have been done, the clear tones of her voice rising like a bird’s song above the others as she sprang forward, grasped Lemois’