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“Expect it every minute. Here comes Leà now with the soup and Mignon with hot plates.”

Louis caught sight of the two women, backed himself against the jamb of the fireplace, and opened wide his arms.

“Make way, gentlemen!” he cried. “Behold the lost saint—our Lady of the Sabots!—and the adorable Mademoiselle Mignon! I kiss the tips of your fingers, mademoiselle. And now tell me where that fisher-boy is—that handsome young fellow Gaston I heard about when I was last here. What have you done with him? Has he drowned himself because you wouldn’t be called in church, or is he saving up his sous to put a new straw thatch on his mother’s house so there will be room for two more?”

Pretty Mignon blushed scarlet and kept straight on to the serving-table without daring to answer—Gaston was a tender subject to her, almost as tender as Mignon was to Gaston—but Leà, after depositing the tureen at the top of the table, made a little bob of a curtsy, first to Herbert and then to Louis and Brierley—thanking them for coming, and adding, in her quaint Normandy French, that