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ble against the rustic chairs or tables, much to do, her sister and I, to keep I felt my way with my walking stick. petulant Malle. Emma within bounds “ Are you going to cane me?” asked a during this interminable performance. saucy voice, so close, that I started; Mdme. Lambin's natural over-graciousand out came a merry laugh, and Malle. ness to me, who had been the means, in Emma. I had instantly recognised her fact, of procuring her her present tri
umph, was a ready-made theme of quiz“God forbid that I should," I an- zing at my expense, which Malle. Emma swered; “though I know somebody who varied abundantly. I parried and thrust would not be sorry if I did.”.
with a will, but with indifferent success. “ Who is it?" asked she.
I was on disadvantageous ground, and, “Who, but your victim, Mdme. Lam- dear me, what a wit she had ! bin ? " (the monopolizer of the bonbons). I was more fortunate, or rather better
Another merry laugh, and she said, armed, on our next encounter next morn“Are you going to stand up as Mdme. ing. We were, ten or twelve of us, Lambin's champion ?”
sitting al fresco as usual after breakfast, “Who knows ?" said I; “ perhaps I when Mdlle. Emma joined us. An arch have an interest in her trade : suppose I smile on her lips, as she turned to me to am a sharer in the spoil ?”
say good-day, warned me of a fresh “I am not sure you are not," said attack. “What a delicious evening we Malle. Emma, and she called out to had last night, thanks to you,” said the her sister to come and hear Mr. So-and sly hypocrite.. So avow a tender interest in Madame “Thanks, rather, to you," said I. « It Lambin. This brought to the window was at your pressing request alone that not only Malle. Emma's sister, but Mdme. Lambin consented to sing; I only nearly all the boarders who had win acted as your mouthpiece." dows in the front of the house, Mdme. “I was thinking,” she went on, “and Lambin included-she was fortunately I could scarcely sleep for thinking of rather deaf-who asked who wanted it, how nice it would be if you and her. Malle. Emma answered forthwith Mdme. Lambin gave us duets.” that it was I. I said it was I in fact “Let us do better, and have trios," who, yielding to Malle. Emma's earnest said I; “Mr. Eisenschmidt has a very request, had taken upon myself to beg her, fine bass voice ; use your influence with Mdme. Lambin, to give us, after supper, him to join us.” the Rantz des Vaches she had sung so “What influence can I have with admirably some nights before.
Mr. Eisenschmidt? I know so very I observed, during my harangue, that little of him.” Malle. Emma was preparing for an éclat “Not so little, perhaps, as you choose of hilarity, and, wishing to prevent that to say." at any cost, for Malle. Lambin was very “How so?” asked Malle. Emma, sharp and caustic, and having but one rather puzzled. tongue in my head, and that actually “Deny, if you dare,” said I, “ that employed, I stole quietly close to Malle. you make appointments with Mr. EisenEmma, caught her by the wrist, and schmidt in the garden every morning by pressed it rather tight. This diversion break of day.” had the effect I looked for—the young The charge, from its very absurdity, jester, in her unfeigned surprise, dropped had a success of hilarity, to which her threatened fit of merriment. Malle. Emma herself richly contri
Malle. Lambin declared that she was buted. Mr. Eisenschmidt, be it known, at the commands of the society, but that was a very worthy and very accomshe was never sure of her voice after her plished past-fortian of ... eightymeals—which did not hinder her from three years of age, who could sleep but giving us the “Rantz des Vaches ” and little, and was always in the garden by pers and flanne dressing-gown that very nothing, and I give you time : one, two, morning, tête à tête with Malle. Emma, thr..." herself an early riser.
As I saw she was going to wet her Thus far the odd character of our feet, I went first, and handed her the first-spoken meeting determined the orchis, saying, “Allow at least that I am colour of our further intercourse. The the most chivalrous being in creation." key of the first notes was to remain the “The most conceited, you mean. Have key of the sonata to the last. Enfant you a penknife ?” terrible, as I nicknamed her, and Papa : “I have my stiletto," and I produced formidable, as she nicknamed me, were a charming little penknife in the shape for ever at daggers drawn, teasing, con- of a stiletto. tradicting, finding fault with, saying “I was sure you had,” said she. “How disagreeable things to each other, and many has it helped you to kill ?” constantly seeking each other's company “I ought to consult my register of notwithstanding. No wonder in a murders to know.” sportive, quick-witted thing of her age; “It is charming, though." rather less accountable, though, in a “Such as it is, it is at your comgrave past-fortian like me. Well, all I mand.” can say in my defence is, that it all came “I cannot deprive you of it; it is too of its own accord, without any the necessary to you.” least pre-determination, or effort to hu- “True-still, perhaps, by accepting of mour her childish moods, on my part- it, you may save some lives." far from it, I enjoyed the sport vastly. “That is a consideration ; out of
We had a tiff, of course, the first christian charity, then, I will take it. time we went out for a walk together. Here is a penny to break the evil charm. We were a large company, a dozen at But don't hope to have bribed me into least, mostly ladies; her sister was with giving you my nosegay. No such thing.” us, and her sister's husband, who came The nosegay, though, found its way down occasionally, and their two little somehow (through one of her little girls. Useless to say that I was on the nieces, as the child boasted next day) to best terms with all the family. Well, my table in the evening, carefully placed Malle. Emma, when out in the country, in a tumbler of water ; a graciousness used to pick flowers for ever to make which was acknowledged on the morrow nosegays, which she made prettily in- by a speech to the effect that I could deed, and, as I watched her supple form not thank her for having done merely sauntering right and left, and bending her duty, but that I could congratulate down gracefully, she reminded me of her upon knowing what her duty was. Dante's Matelda, in the twenty-eighth The nosegay, however, for being a dutycanto of the Purgatory—and, as I was offering, was not the less tended, and thinking of Matelda, she called out to watered, and exhibited upon my window. me to go and pick her some beautiful From that day I became her constant orchids, which grew on damp ground. Purveyor of fresh wreaths, and never My answer to this request was that, if once did she return from a walk in the the nosegay was meant for me, as it forest in my company, without a crown ought to be in justice and reason, I of honeysuckle, traveller's joy, or bright would; if not, I shouldn't slave for red cranberries on her hair, or on her Mr. Eisenschmidt or anybody else. bonnet, there deposited by my hands.
“What an ignoble selfish creature you Small presents keep friendship alive. are! obey, and reckon upon my gene- She was good-humour itself; nothing rosity.”
could put her out of her angelic patience "I might reckon without mine host, with me—not even such strictures on her if I did. Promise first."
weak points of beauty as few women could “Most vulgar sentiments most vul- have stood, be it only in jest, without piqued, and showed it. The occasion of skin. She turned round, and said with this little ebullition was this: Wewere fol- a little frown of defiance, “Why so, lowing a very narrow path in the forest, pray ?”. and ... but, to make it plain, I must “Why, because women, as I hear, briefly refer to a previous occurrence. hold less to their skin than to their We had been playing at ball with some finery." apples that lay strewn under a tree. Her eye flashed. “And you believe We vied with each other as to who should me to be one of those absurd persons ?” throw the apple highest for the other to “Possibly not,” said I. “I spoke of catch. It so happened that Malle. Emma women, and truly you are but a big miscalculated the parabola of one of my child.” most successful throws, and, instead of “Stuff and nonsense--a child at catching the apple in her hand, received seventeen !” it upon her face, a little under the left “Every thing is relative,” said I; eye. For once, I dropped my jesting "you are one in my eyes, the eyes of mood, arfd went up to her in some alarm, Papa formidable.” it would seem, for she laughed outright “I know of no worse coxcombs than at my elongated face, and said it was men of a certain age. They would fain nothing. It was something, though— give themselves out for Methuselahs in the skin was bruised on a surface as order to benefit by the contrast.” broad as a halfpenny, and there was a “Shall I, to benefit by it, tell you my scarcely perceptible scratch in the centre exact age ?” of it. I said how sorry I was-it was She put up both her hands to her so stupid of me to have thrown the ears, crying, “No such thing—if it is at apple so high. She begged me not to all in proportion with your tiresomeness, talk more nonsense ; the fault was hers, it must be a fine old age, indeed," and she said ; she was punished for her away she ran. awkwardness, and would hear of no The sky had quite cleared by the time water, and of no plaster. Only think, I joined her—that is, three minutes a bit of sticking-plaster under her eye! afterwards. She bid me, in her usual it would spoil her beauty-no such petulant way, help to pick oak leaves thing; and she insisted on going on and ivy twigs, and look sharp. She with her game.
herself, and all our party, and another She was a brave girl; this was not party ours had met, were busy gathering the last proof I had of her power of oak leaves and ivy. And, in a wonderendurance. Who knows how many fully short time, nimble fingers turned occasions of exercising it she had had al- those green materials into a variety of ready in her short experience of life, how shapes-wreaths, garlands, collars, wristmany self-denials she had had to inflict bands, scarfs, &c.—which were to serve upon herself, how many longings after a for a general masquerade. Then, under collar, or a gown, or a party of young Malle. Emma's direction, every one companions, to check and leave unsatis- changed outer garments with every one fied !
—the gentlemen, three in number, showWell, then, to return. Half an hour ing off, of course, in the garb of ladies, after, perhaps, we were treading a very and vice versa. I had on, for my part, narrow footpath skirting the forest; she Malle. Emma's broad straw hat and blue went foremost, and, as the skirts of her caraco, and she my flapping grey hat and gown were ample and long, according to summer paletot turned inside out—that the fashion, I had had more than one is, exhibiting red sleeves and yellow narrow escape of stepping upon the body, the colour of the lining; and, hem of her garment. I told her so, besides my share of green in common adding by way of jest that, if I damaged with all the rest, I gloried in a quantity her dress, I was not as sure of being of moss and ivy twigs hanging down my pardoned as for having damaged her face in the shape of ringlets. I was a sight indeed, and so we were all ; 'we between them. The prisoner was Malle: could not look at each other without Emma. laughing till we held our sides. In “What is it? what new crime has short, we had made ourselves such the most terrible of enfants terribles figures that, when we entered two by committed ?” cried I, jumping down, and two the precincts of the Baths, humming striding towards the door. a lugubrious chant, people fled at our “Come and see what a state she has approach, and we were at some pains to put herself in," said Malle. Emma's have our identity acknowledged even sister. by our fellow-boarders.
My blood gave a turn, as my eyes, I must now mention an incident which following in the direction of the elder wellnigh threw me off the rails of flirta- sister's, rested on Malle. Emma's shoultion, and down the precipice of amorous ders. They were the colour of brickinfatuation. A few days after the mas- dust, blistered all over as if by a scald. querade just mentioned, a little before “How was it done?” I asked. noon, I was sitting and reading my “By walking in the sun without a newspaper in a very odd place—the parasol,” said the sister ; " did you ever orchestra of the dancing-room. This hear of a piece of folly like this ?” orchestra was my refuge against the “Really, it is too bad," I began; “a heat-it was always pleasantly cool babe four years old...' there--and also my tent of Achilles “Don't scold,” interrupted Mülle. when I chanced to be out of sorts. I Emma. was somewhat so on this morning. I The tone in which she said it was. am very particular, perhaps I ought to neither petulant, as usual, nor propitiatsay fidgety, about my letters. Gentle ing; it sounded like a quiet warning. men past forty are apt to fidget about “You are right,” said I; “we can do many things. Well, then, I had a letter, something better than scold just now ;" which I wanted to go by the day's post and I ran to the kitchen, took hold of a -an end most easily secured by handing paper bag full of flour, and scattered it to the letter-carrier, when he called handfuls of it on the poor neck, shoulabout eleven A.M. As I could not do ders, lace tippet, and all, ending by so myself this time, having ordered a dabbing the tip of her nose, and her bath, which was ready, I begged Jung- left cheek, and this, and that, on which frau Madeleine to see to it for me. I pretended to notice signs of an inJungfrau Madeleine, to make assurance cipient sunburn. The upshot was doubly sure, put my letter in her pocket, what might be expected— Mdlle. Emma and ... forgot it there. I must say, in snatched with both hands the bag of fairness to her, that it was a washing-day, flour, turned it topsy turvy, and shook and poor Madeleine at her wits' end. out the remaining contents over my When apprised of the mischance, after head and face. I had seen flour used my bath, I grumbled a little--more, I with advantage, when nothing better am afraid, than necessary—but I would was at hand, as a sedative in cases of hear of no one being sent on purpose to slight scalds. If it did Malle. Emma the village-all bands were engrossed only the tenth part of the good which by the great wash-and withdrew she professed it did, flour is a wonderful moodily, paper in hand, to my elevated specific for sunburns. station in the dancing-room.
Enfant terrible showed admirable enI had been there perhaps three- durance, good-humour, and cheerful wit quarters of an hour, when the door of throughout the day. She made light of the large hall, just in front of my what she called her bobo--nay, joked orchestra, was flung open, and there about it, parrying all the while with appeared on the threshold a group of much skill every hint aimed at drawing three ladies, two holding and dragging out from her the sort of errand on
been taking a walk, she said. I sug- presentiment of bad news in store for gested the probability of her having you." gone to the station, there to meet, by “You alarm me,” said I, with a look special appointment, Mr. Eisenschmidt, anything but alarmed; “what can it who had left the day before, and in the be?” natural flutter of her spirits having “A most disastrous piece of news for forgotten her parasol. She observed you,” she said ; “guess." what wonderful penetration novelists Her sister, from behind her, made me were gifted with, and gave me leave to guess, by a clever pantomime, that they use the situation in my next tale. were going away.
I had occasion to go to the village “Let me see," said I; “what can early next morning, and met the letter befall me so tremendous, unless it be carrier on the road. I presume he knew that you are going to stay another my fidgety ways, for he no sooner saw week.” me than he came up, and informed me She turned sharply round towards her that my letter of the day before had sister. “You have told him already." been brought to the office in time to “How could I," said the latter, start. Brought by whom? I asked. “when I have not seen him until He said, by the tall young lady.
now ?” Here was a discovery! A flask of “Well,” wound up Malle. Emma, the most generous Johannisberg, gulped “we are going to start within three at a draught, would have left me cool days." in comparison. Malle. Emma braving “Three days !" I repeated, with as the noonday heat of the dogdays, Malle. elongated a face as I could command at Emma getting a sunstroke-in fact, nearly so short a notice, “it is a long way off ; achieving martyrdom-for my sake; what so we are in for seventy-two more hours a rich premise to start inferences from ! of parched heat, and no hope of rain !" I confess, to my shame, that I started “It will rain ... tears enough when some of the wildest. The flesh is weak, I am gone,” said she. you know, especially at past forty. “May be tears of ... relief,” said I. Thank God, the paroxysm was short. Malle. Emma's stay at SchranksteinA misgiving soon stole upon me, a mis- bad having coincided with a constant giving that I tenderly nursed and helped drought, I had, of course, ascribed the on, that I was making a fool of myself. fact to some malignant influence of her A walk of four or five hours, my usual presence, and pretended to sigh for her medicine in cases of a conflict of feel. departure that the spell might cease. ing, being quite out of the question in The three days went off capitally. I the present broiling weather, I bethought had no momentary weakness to conquer, myself of a substitute. I went home not even the least effort to make, in and put myself under a cold shower order to keep my resolution faithfully bath until my teeth chattered ; then I of Jetting Malle. Emma ignore my took my head between both my hands, knowledge of her little secret. Withal and read myself a good lecture in front our sporting warfare raged fiercer and of my looking-glass. Thanks to this more continuous than ever. My happiest energetic treatment, I felt sufficiently hits are of that date. I kept cutting braced to go and meet my fair letter- jokes to the last, in the very omnibus carrier not at too great a disadvantage. which was taking the family to the
Had I still wanted sobering, the sight station, and to which I had craved adof her would have done so for me. mission on the plea that I must make There was so much of the child in her sure that Mdlle. Emma was off—it was looks; she had all the unconsciousness, too good to be believed unless seen, and the trustfulness, the archness of one, as so on. I was positively astonished at she said, shaking hands,
my own self-possession. “You have been keeping aloof in It forsook me a little, though, when