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“Oh, for years,” he whispered back. “I did not tell you, for I wanted to see your surprise and surrender. It is always the same story with her. She does not live here except for a month or so in the autumn, when the small villa on the bluff above Buezval—two miles from here—is opened; a little box of a place filled with costly bric-à-brac. Her great château—the one in which she really lives—is on an estate of some thousands of acres near Rouen, and is stocked with big game—boar and deer. The marquis—and a great gentleman he was—died some twenty years ago. Madame paints, carves ivories, binds books, shoots, fishes, speaks five languages, has lived all over the world and knows everybody worth knowing. No one in her youth was more beautiful, but the figure has gone, as you see—and it is such a pity, for it was superb; only the eyes and the teeth are left—and the smile. That was always her greatest charm, and still is—except her charities, which never cease.”

Her musical voice was still vibrating through the room as I re-entered.

“No, I don’t agree with you, Monsieur Herbert,” she was saying. “It is shameful that