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    Chapter 22

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    Chapter 22
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    Next day all sorts of practical ideas took possession of Helene's
    mind. She awoke impressed by the necessity of keeping watch over her
    happiness, and shuddering with fear lest by some imprudent step she
    might lose Henri. At this chilly morning hour, when the room still
    seemed asleep, she felt that she idolized him, loved him with a
    transport which pervaded her whole being. Never had she experienced
    such an anxiety to be diplomatic. Her first thought was that she must
    go to see Juliette that very morning, and thus obviate the need of any
    tedious explanations or inquiries which might result in ruining
    everything.

    On calling upon Madame Deberle at about nine o'clock she found her
    already up, with pallid cheeks and red eyes like the heroine of a
    tragedy. As soon as the poor woman caught sight of her, she threw
    herself sobbing upon her neck exclaiming that she was her good angel.
    She didn't love Malignon, not in the least, she swore it! Gracious
    heavens! what a foolish affair! It would have killed her--there was no
    doubt of that! She did not now feel herself to be in the least degree
    qualified for ruses, lies, and agonies, and the tyranny of a sentiment
    that never varied. Oh, how delightful did it seem to her to find
    herself free again! She laughed contentedly; but immediately
    afterwards there was another outburst of tears as she besought her
    friend not to despise her. Beneath her feverish unrest a fear
    lingered; she imagined that her husband knew everything. He had come
    home the night before trembling with agitation. She overwhelmed Helene
    with questions; and Helene, with a hardihood and facility at which she
    herself was amazed, poured into her ears a story, every detail of
    which she invented offhand. She vowed to Juliette that her husband
    doubted her in nothing. It was she, Helene, who had become acquainted
    with everything, and, wishing to save her, had devised that plan of
    breaking in upon their meeting. Juliette listened to her, put instant
    credit in the fiction, and, beaming through her tears, grew sunny with
    joy. She threw herself once more on Helene's neck. Her caresses
    brought no embarrassment to the latter; she now experienced none of
    the honorable scruples that had at one time affected her. When she
    left her lover's wife after extracting a promise from her that she
    would try to be calm, she laughed in her sleeve at her own cunning;
    she was in a transport of delight.

    Some days slipped away. Helene's whole existence had undergone a
    change; and in the thoughts of every hour she no longer lived in her
    own home, but with Henri. The only thing that existed for her was that
    next-door house in which her heart beat. Whenever she could find an
    excuse to do so she ran thither, and forgot everything in the content
    of breathing the same air as her lover. In her first rapture the sight
    of Juliette even flooded her with tenderness; for was not Juliette one
    of Henri's belongings? He had not, however, again been able to meet
    her alone. She appeared loth to give him a second assignation. One
    evening, when he was leading her into the hall, she even made him
    swear that he would never again visit the house in the Passage des
    Eaux, as such an act might compromise her.

    Meantime, Jeanne was shaken by a short, dry cough, that never ceased,
    but became severer towards evening every day. She would then be
    slightly feverish, and she grew weak with the perspiration that bathed
    her in her sleep. When her mother cross-questioned her, she answered
    that she wasn't ill, that she felt no pain. Doubtless her cold was
    coming to an end. Helene, tranquillized by the explanation, and having
    no adequate idea of what was going on around her, retained, however,
    in her bosom, amidst the rapture that made up her life, a vague
    feeling of sorrow, of some weight that made her heart bleed despite
    herself. At times, when she was plunged in one of those causeless
    transports which made her melt with tenderness, an anxious thought
    would come to her--she imagined that some misfortune was hovering
    behind her. She turned round, however, and then smiled. People are
    ever in a tremble when they are too happy. There was nothing there.
    Jeanne had coughed a moment before, but she had some _tisane_ to
    drink; there would be no ill effects.

    However, one afternoon old Doctor Bodin, who visited them in the
    character of a family friend, prolonged his stay, and stealthily, but
    carefully, examined Jeanne with his little blue eyes. He questioned
    her as though he were having some fun with her, and on this occasion
    uttered no warning word. Two days later, however, he made his
    appearance again; and this time, not troubling to examine Jeanne, he
    talked away merrily in the fashion of a man who has seen many years
    and many things, and turned the conversation on travelling. He had
    once served as a military surgeon; he knew every corner of Italy. It
    was a magnificent country, said he, which to be admired ought to be
    seen in spring. Why didn't Madame Grandjean take her daughter there?
    From this he proceeded by easy transitions to advising a trip to the
    land of the sun, as he styled it. Helene's eyes were bent on him
    fixedly. "No, no," he exclaimed, "neither of you is ill! Oh, no,
    certainly not! Still, a change of air would mean new strength!" Her
    face had blanched, a mortal chill had come over her at the thought of
    leaving Paris. Gracious heavens! to go away so far, so far! to lose
    Henri in a moment, their love to droop without a morrow! Such was the
    agony which the thought gave her that she bent her head towards Jeanne
    to hide her emotion. Did Jeanne wish to go away? The child, with a
    chilly gesture, had intertwined her little fingers. Oh! yes, she would
    so like to go! She would so like to go away into the sunny land, quite
    alone, she and her mother, quite alone! And over her poor attenuated
    face with its cheeks burning with fever, there swept the bright hope
    of a new life. But Helene would listen to no more; indignation and
    distrust led her to imagine that all of them--the Abbe, Doctor Bodin,
    Jeanne herself--were plotting to separate her from Henri. When the old
    doctor noticed the pallor of her cheeks, he imagined that he had not
    spoken so cautiously as he might have done, and hastened to declare
    that there was no hurry, albeit he silently resolved to return to the
    subject at another time.

    It happened that Madame Deberle intended to stop at home that day. As
    soon as the doctor had gone Helene hastened to put on her bonnet.
    Jeanne, however, refused to quit the house; she felt better beside the
    fire; she would be very good, and would not open the window. For some
    time past she had not teased her mother to be allowed to go with her;
    still she gazed after her as she went out with a longing look. Then,
    when she found herself alone, she shrunk into her chair and sat for
    hours motionless.

    "Mamma, is Italy far away?" she asked as Helene glided towards her to
    kiss her.

    "Oh! very far away, my pet!"

    Jeanne clung round her neck, and not letting her rise again at the
    moment, whispered: "Well, Rosalie could take care of everything here.
    We should have no need of her. A small travelling-trunk would do for
    us, you know! Oh! it would be delightful, mother dear! Nobody but us
    two! I should come back quite plump--like this!"

    She puffed out her cheeks and pictured how stout her arms would be.
    Helene's answer was that she would see; and then she ran off with a
    final injunction to Rosalie to take good care of mademoiselle.

    The child coiled herself up in the chimney-corner, gazing at the ruddy
    fire and deep in reverie. From time to time she moved her hands
    forward mechanically to warm them. The glinting of the flames dazzled
    her large eyes. So absorbed was she in her dreaming that she did not
    hear Monsieur Rambaud enter the room. His visits had now become very
    frequent; he came, he would say, in the interests of the poor
    paralytic woman for whom Doctor Deberle had not yet been able to
    secure admission into the Hospital for Incurables. Finding Jeanne
    alone, he took a seat on the other side of the fireplace, and chatted
    with her as though she were a grown-up person. It was most
    regrettable; the poor woman had been waiting a week; however, he would
    go down presently to see the doctor, who might perhaps give him an
    answer. Meanwhile he did not stir.

    "Why hasn't your mother taken you with her?" he asked.

    Jeanne shrugged her shoulders with a gesture of weariness. It
    disturbed her to go about visiting other people. Nothing gave her any
    pleasure now.

    "I am getting old," she added, "and I can't be always amusing myself.
    Mamma finds entertainment out of doors, and I within; so we are not
    together."

    Silence ensued. The child shivered, and held her hands out towards the
    fire which burnt steadily with a pinky glare; and, indeed, muffled as
    she was in a huge shawl, with a silk handkerchief round her neck and
    another encircling her head, she did look like some old dame. Shrouded
    in all these wraps, it struck one that she was no larger than an
    ailing bird, panting amidst its ruffled plumage. Monsieur Rambaud,
    with hands clasped over his knees, was gazing at the fire. Then,
    turning towards Jeanne, he inquired if her mother had gone out the
    evening before. She answered with a nod, yes. And did she go out the
    evening before that and the previous day? The answer was always yes,
    given with a nod of the head; her mother quitted her every day.

    At this the child and Monsieur Rambaud gazed at one another for a long
    time, their faces pale and serious, as though they shared some great
    sorrow. They made no reference to it--a chit like her and an old man
    could not talk of such a thing together; but they were well aware why
    they were so sad, and why it was a pleasure to them to sit like this
    on either side of the fireplace when they were alone in the house. It
    was a comfort beyond telling. They loved to be near one another that
    their forlornness might pain them less. A wave of tenderness poured
    into their hearts; they would fain have embraced and wept together.

    "You are cold, my dear old friend, I'm certain of it," said Jeanne;
    "come nearer the fire."

    "No, no, my darling; I'm not cold."

    "Oh! you're telling a fib; your hands are like ice! Come nearer, or I
    shall get vexed."

    It was now his turn to display his anxious care.

    "I could lay a wager they haven't left you any drink. I'll run and
    make some for you; would you like it? Oh! I'm a good hand at making
    it. You would see, if I were your nurse, you wouldn't be without
    anything you wanted."

    He did not allow himself any more explicit hint. Jeanne somewhat
    sharply declared she was disgusted with _tisane_; she was compelled to
    drink too much of it. However, now and then she would allow Monsieur
    Rambaud to flutter round her like a mother; he would slip a pillow
    under her shoulders, give her the medicine that she had almost
    forgotten, or carry her into the bedroom in his arms. These little
    acts of devotion thrilled both with tenderness. As Jeanne eloquently
    declared with her sombre eyes, whose flashes disturbed the old man so
    sorely, they were playing the parts of the father and the little girl
    while her mother was absent. Then, however, sadness would all at once
    fall upon them; their talk died away, and they glanced at one another
    stealthily with pitying looks.

    That afternoon, after a lengthy silence, the child asked the question
    which she had already put to her mother: "Is Italy far away?"

    "Oh! I should think so," replied Monsieur Rambaud. "It's away over
    yonder, on the other side of Marseilles, a deuce of a distance! Why do
    you ask me such a question?"

    "Oh! because--" she began gravely. But she burst into loud complaints
    at her ignorance. She was always ill, and she had never been sent to
    school. Then they both became silent again, lulled into forgetfulness
    by the intense heat of the fire.

    In the meantime Helene had found Madame Deberle and her sister Pauline
    in the Japanese pavilion where they so frequently whiled away the
    afternoon. Inside it was very warm, a heating apparatus filled it with
    a stifling atmosphere.

    The large windows were shut, and a full view could be had of the
    little garden, which, in its winter guise, looked like some large
    sepia drawing, finished with exquisite delicacy, the little black
    branches of the trees showing clear against the brown earth. The two
    sisters were carrying on a sharp controversy.

    "Now, be quiet, do!" exclaimed Juliette; "it is evidently our interest
    to support Turkey."

    "Oh! I've had a talk about it with a Russian," replied Pauline, who
    was equally excited. "We are much liked at St. Petersburg, and it is
    only there that we can find our proper allies."

    Juliette's face assumed a serious look, and, crossing her arms, she
    exclaimed: "Well, and what will you do with the balance of power in
    Europe?"

    The Eastern crisis was the absorbing topic in Paris at that moment;[*]
    it was the stock subject of conversation, and no woman who pretended
    to any position could speak with propriety of anything else. Thus, for
    two days past, Madame Deberle had with passionate fervor devoted
    herself to foreign politics. Her ideas were very pronounced on the
    various eventualities which might arise; and Pauline greatly annoyed
    her by her eccentricity in advocating Russia's cause in opposition to
    the clear interests of France. Juliette's first desire was to convince
    her of her folly, but she soon lost her temper.

    [*] The reader may be reminded that the period of the story is that of
    the Crimean war.

    "Pooh! hold your tongue; you are talking foolishly! Now, if you had
    only studied the matter carefully with me--"

    But she broke off to greet Helene, who entered at this moment.

    "Good-day, my dear! It is very kind of you to call. I don't suppose
    you have any news. This morning's paper talked of an ultimatum. There
    has been a very exciting debate in the English House of Commons!"

    "No, I don't know anything," answered Helene, who was astounded by the
    question. "I go out so little!"

    However, Juliette had not waited for her reply, but was busy
    explaining to Pauline why it was necessary to neutralize the Black
    Sea; and her talk bristled with references to English and Russian
    generals, whose names she mentioned in a familiar way and with
    faultless pronunciation. However, Henri now made his appearance with
    several newspapers in his hand. Helene at once realized that he had
    come there for her sake; for their eyes had sought one another and
    exchanged a long, meaning glance. And when their hands met it was in a
    prolonged and silent clasp that told how the personality of each was
    lost in the other.

    "Is there anything in the papers?" asked Juliette feverishly.

    "In the papers, my dear?" repeated the doctor; "no there's never
    anything."

    For a time the Eastern Question dropped into the background. There
    were frequent allusions to some one whom they were expecting, but who
    did not make his appearance. Pauline remarked that it would soon be
    three o'clock. Oh he would come, declared Madame Deberle; he had given
    such a definite promise; but she never hinted at any name. Helene
    listened without understanding; things which had no connection with
    Henri did not in the least interest her. She no longer brought her
    work when she now came down into the garden; and though her visits
    would last a couple of hours, she would take no part in the
    conversation, for her mind was ever filled with the same childish
    dream wherein all others miraculously vanished, and she was left alone
    with him. However, she managed to reply to Juliette's questions, while
    Henri's eyes, riveted on her own, thrilled her with a delicious
    languor. At last he stepped behind her with the intention of pulling
    up one of the blinds, and she fully divined that he had come to ask
    another meeting, for she noticed the tremor that seized him when he
    brushed against her hair.

    "There's a ring at the bell; that must be he!" suddenly exclaimed
    Pauline.

    Then the faces of the two sisters assumed an air of indifference. It
    was Malignon who made his appearance, dressed with greater care than
    ever, and having a somewhat serious look. He shook hands; but eschewed
    his customary jocularity, thus returning, in a ceremonious manner, to
    this house where for some time he had not shown his face.

    While the doctor and Pauline were expostulating with him on the rarity
    of his visits, Juliette bent down and whispered to Helene, who,
    despite her supreme indifference, was overcome with astonishment:

    "Ah! you are surprised? Dear me! I am not angry with him at all! he's
    such a good fellow at heart that nobody could long be angry with him!
    Just fancy! he has unearthed a husband for Pauline. It's splendid,
    isn't it?"

    "Oh! no doubt," answered Helene complaisantly.

    "Yes, one of his friends, immensely rich, who did not think of getting
    married, but whom he has sworn to bring here! We were waiting for him
    to-day to have some definite reply. So, as you will understand, I had
    to pass over a lot of things. Oh! there's no danger now; we know one
    another thoroughly."

    Her face beamed with a pretty smile, and she blushed slightly at the
    memories she conjured up; but she soon turned round and took
    possession of Malignon. Helene likewise smiled. These accommodating
    circumstances in life seemed to her sufficient excuse for her own
    delinquencies. It was absurd to think of tragic melodramas; no,
    everything wound up with universal happiness. However, while she had
    thus been indulging in the cowardly, but pleasing, thought that
    nothing was absolutely indefensible, Juliette and Pauline had opened
    the door of the pavilion, and were now dragging Malignon in their
    train into the garden. And, all at once, Helene heard Henri speaking
    to her in a low and passionate voice:

    "I beseech you, Helene! Oh! I beseech you--"

    She started to her feet, and gazed around her with sudden anxiety.
    They were quite alone; she could see the three others walking slowly
    along one of the walks. Henri was bold enough to lay his hand on her
    shoulder, and she trembled as she felt its pressure.

    "As you wish," she stammered, knowing full well what question it was
    that he desired to ask.

    Then, hurriedly, they exchanged a few words.

    "At the house in the Passage des Eaux," said he.

    "No, it is impossible--I have explained to you, and you swore to me--"

    "Well, wherever you like, so that I may see you! In your own house
    --this evening. Shall I call?"

    The idea was repellant to her. But she could only refuse with a sign,
    for fear again came upon her as she observed the two ladies and
    Malignon returning. Madame Deberle had taken the young man away under
    pretext of showing him some clumps of violets which were in full
    blossom notwithstanding the cold weather. Hastening her steps, she
    entered the pavilion before the others, her face illumined by a smile.

    "It's all arranged," she exclaimed.

    "What's all arranged?" asked Helene, who was still trembling with
    excitement and had forgotten everything.

    "Oh, that marriage! What a riddance! Pauline was getting a bit of a
    nuisance. However, the young man has seen her and thinks her charming!
    To-morrow we're all going to dine with papa. I could have embraced
    Malignon for his good news!"

    With the utmost self-possession Henri had contrived to put some
    distance between Helene and himself. He also expressed his sense of
    Malignon's favor, and seemed to share his wife's delight at the
    prospect of seeing their little sister settled at last. Then he turned
    to Helene, and informed her that she was dropping one of her gloves.
    She thanked him. They could hear Pauline laughing and joking in the
    garden. She was leaning towards Malignon, murmuring broken sentences
    in his ear, and bursting into loud laughter as he gave her whispered
    answers. No doubt he was chatting to her confidentially about her
    future husband. Standing near the open door of the pavilion, Helene
    meanwhile inhaled the cold air with delight.

    It was at this moment that in the bedroom up above a silence fell on
    Jeanne and Monsieur Rambaud, whom the intense heat of the fire filled
    with languor. The child woke up from the long-continued pause with a
    sudden suggestion which seemed to be the outcome of her dreamy fit:

    "Would you like to go into the kitchen? We'll see if we can get a
    glimpse of mamma!"

    "Very well; let us go," replied Monsieur Rambaud.

    Jeanne felt stronger that day, and reaching the kitchen without any
    assistance pressed her face against a windowpane. Monsieur Rambaud
    also gazed into the garden. The trees were bare of foliage, and
    through the large transparent windows of the Japanese pavilion they
    could make out every detail inside. Rosalie, who was busy attending to
    the soup, reproached mademoiselle with being inquisitive. But the
    child had caught sight of her mother's dress; and pointed her out,
    whilst flattening her face against the glass to obtain a better view.
    Pauline meanwhile looked up, and nodded vigorously. Then Helene also
    made her appearance, and signed to the child to come down.

    "They have seen you, mademoiselle," said the servant girl. "They want
    you to go down."

    Monsieur Rambaud opened the window, and every one called to him to
    carry Jeanne downstairs. Jeanne, however, vanished into her room, and
    vehemently refused to go, accusing her worthy friend of having
    purposely tapped on the window. It was a great pleasure to her to look
    at her mother, but she stubbornly declared she would not go near that
    house; and to all Monsieur Rambaud's questions and entreaties she
    would only return a stern "Because!" which was meant to explain
    everything.

    "It is not you who ought to force me," she said at last, with a gloomy
    look.

    But he told her that she would grieve her mother very much, and that
    it was not right to insult other people. He would muffle her up well,
    she would not catch cold; and, so saying, he wound the shawl round her
    body, and taking the silk handkerchief from her head, set a knitted
    hood in its place. Even when she was ready, however, she still
    protested her unwillingness; and when in the end she allowed him to
    carry her down, it was with the express proviso that he would take her
    up again the moment she might feel poorly. The porter opened the door
    by which the two houses communicated, and when they entered the garden
    they were hailed with exclamations of joy. Madame Deberle, in
    particular, displayed a vast amount of affection for Jeanne; she
    ensconced her in a chair near the stove, and desired that the windows
    might be closed, for the air she declared was rather sharp for the
    dear child. Malignon had now left. As Helene began smoothing the
    child's dishevelled hair, somewhat ashamed to see her in company
    muffled up in a shawl and a hood, Juliette burst out in protest:

    "Leave her alone! Aren't we all at home here? Poor Jeanne! we are glad
    to have her!"

    She rang the bell, and asked if Miss Smithson and Lucien had returned
    from their daily walk. No, they had not yet returned. It was just as
    well, she declared; Lucien was getting beyond control, and only the
    night before had made the five Levasseur girls sob with grief.

    "Would you like to play at _pigeon vole_?" asked Pauline, who seemed
    to have lost her head with the thought of her impending marriage.
    "That wouldn't tire you."

    But Jeanne shook her head in refusal. Beneath their drooping lids her
    eyes wandered over the persons who surrounded her. The doctor had just
    informed Monsieur Rambaud that admission to the Hospital for
    Incurables had been secured for his _protegee_, and in a burst of
    emotion the worthy man clasped his hands as though some great personal
    favor had been conferred on him. They were all lounging on their
    chairs, and the conversation became delightfully friendly. Less effort
    was shown in following up remarks, and there were at times intervals
    of silence. While Madame Deberle and her sister were busily engaged in
    discussion, Helene said to the two men:

    "Doctor Bodin has advised us to go to Italy."

    "Ah! that is why Jeanne was questioning me!" exclaimed Monsieur
    Rambaud. "Would it give you any pleasure to go away there?"

    Without vouchsafing any answer, the child clasped her little hands
    upon her bosom, while her pale face flushed with joy. Then,
    stealthily, and with some fear, she looked towards the doctor; it was
    he, she understood it, whom her mother was consulting. He started
    slightly, but retained all his composure. Suddenly, however, Juliette
    joined in the conversation, wishing, as usual, to have her finger in
    every pie.

    "What's that? Are you talking about Italy? Didn't you say you had an
    idea of going to Italy? Well, it's a droll coincidence! Why, this very
    morning, I was teasing Henri to take me to Naples! Just fancy, for ten
    years now I have been dreaming of seeing Naples! Every spring he
    promises to take me there, but he never keeps his word!"

    "I didn't tell you that I would not go," murmured the doctor.

    "What! you didn't tell me? Why, you refused flatly, with the excuse
    that you could not leave your patients!"

    Jeanne was listening eagerly. A deep wrinkle now furrowed her pale
    brow, and she began twisting her fingers mechanically one after the
    other.

    "Oh! I could entrust my patients for a few weeks to the care of a
    brother-physician," explained the doctor. "That's to say, if I thought
    it would give you so much pleasure--"

    "Doctor," interrupted Helene, "are you also of opinion that such a
    journey would benefit Jeanne?"

    "It would be the very thing; it would thoroughly restore her to
    health. Children are always the better for a change."

    "Oh! then," exclaimed Juliette, "we can take Lucien, and we can all go
    together. That will be pleasant, won't it?"

    "Yes, indeed; I'll do whatever you wish," he answered, smiling.

    Jeanne lowered her face, wiped two big tears of passionate anger and
    grief from her eyes, and fell back in her chair as though she would
    fain hear and see no more; while Madame Deberle, filled with ecstasy
    by the idea of such unexpected pleasure, began chattering noisily. Oh!
    how kind her husband was! She kissed him for his self-sacrifice. Then,
    without the loss of a moment, she busied herself with sketching the
    necessary preparations. They would start the very next week. Goodness
    gracious! she would never have time to get everything ready! Next she
    wanted to draw out a plan of their tour; they would need to visit this
    and that town certainly; they could stay a week at Rome; they must
    stop at a little country place that Madame de Guiraud had mentioned to
    her; and she wound up by engaging in a lively discussion with Pauline,
    who was eager that they should postpone their departure till such time
    as she could accompany them with her husband.

    "Not a bit of it!" exclaimed Juliette; "the wedding can take place
    when we come back."

    Jeanne's presence had been wholly forgotten. Her eyes were riveted on
    her mother and the doctor. The proposed journey, indeed, now offered
    inducements to Helene, as it must necessarily keep Henri near her. In
    fact, a keen delight filled her heart at the thought of journeying
    together through the land of the sun, living side by side, and
    profiting by the hours of freedom. Round her lips wreathed a smile of
    happy relief; she had so greatly feared that she might lose him; and
    deemed herself fortunate in the thought that she would carry her love
    along with her. While Juliette was discoursing of the scenes they
    would travel through, both Helene and Henri, indeed, indulged in the
    dream that they were already strolling through a fairy land of
    perennial spring, and each told the other with a look that their
    passion would reign there, aye, wheresoever they might breathe the
    same air.

    In the meantime, Monsieur Rambaud, who with unconscious sadness had
    slowly lapsed into silence, observed Jeanne's evident discomfort.

    "Aren't you well, my darling?" he asked in a whisper.

    "No! I'm quite ill! Carry me up again, I implore you."

    "But we must tell your mamma."

    "Oh, no, no! mamma is busy; she hasn't any time to give to us. Carry
    me up, oh! carry me up again."

    He took her in his arms, and told Helene that the child felt tired. In
    answer she requested him to wait for her in her rooms; she would
    hasten after them. The little one, though light as a feather, seemed
    to slip from his grasp, and he was forced to come to a standstill on
    the second landing. She had leaned her head against his shoulder, and
    each gazed into the other's face with a look of grievous pain. Not a
    sound broke upon the chill silence of the staircase. Then in a low
    whisper he asked her:

    "You're pleased, aren't you, to go to Italy?"

    But she thereupon burst into sobs, declaring in broken words that she
    no longer had any craving to go, and would rather die in her own room.
    Oh! she would not go, she would fall ill, she knew it well. She would
    go nowhere--nowhere. They could give her little shoes to the poor.
    Then amidst tears she whispered to him:

    "Do you remember what you asked me one night?"

    "What was it, my pet?"

    "To stay with mamma always--always--always! Well, if you wish so
    still, I wish so too!"

    The tears welled into Monsieur Rambaud's eyes. He kissed her lovingly,
    while she added in a still lower tone:

    "You are perhaps vexed by my getting so angry over it. I didn't
    understand, you know. But it's you whom I want! Oh! say that it will
    be soon. Won't you say that it will be soon? I love you more than the
    other one."

    Below in the pavilion, Helene had begun to dream once more. The
    proposed journey was still the topic of conversation; and she now
    experienced an unconquerable yearning to relieve her overflowing
    heart, and acquaint Henri with all the happiness which was stifling
    her. So, while Juliette and Pauline were wrangling over the number of
    dresses that ought to be taken, she leaned towards him and gave him
    the assignation which she had refused but an hour before.

    "Come to-night; I shall expect you."

    But as she at last ascended to her own rooms, she met Rosalie flying
    terror-stricken down the stairs. The moment she saw her mistress, the
    girl shrieked out:

    "Madame! madame! Oh! make haste, do! Mademoiselle is very ill! She's
    spitting blood!"
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