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“Is Monsieur serious ?" she asked, looking furtively at him from under her thick eyebrows.
Perfectly so, he assured her. He would give five Napoleons into her hand when the picture was made, if she would procure him the pleasure of painting Mademoiselle.
“And—and Monsieur had no other object than the making of the picture ?" shrewd Marcelline asked with some hesi. tation.
None, on his word of honour as a gentleman.
Then she would mention it to Mademoi. selle, but she knew not if it would be agreeable to her; and Marcelline curtsied and went off to the house.
Sir Guy looked thoughtful.
“ These Frenchwomen are not to be trusted,” he said to himself. “I daresay the mother thought she was leaving that
pretty child in safe hands when she went away, but this wretch would sell her tomorrow for gain.” But he wronged Marcelline most grievously, for the worthy soul, in spite of her fondness for money, would have given her life rather than see a hair of her charge's head injured. She went briskly into the house, where Dolores sat before her untouched breakfast.
“What! you have eaten nothing, little dainty one !—No saucisson, no sardines, no radishes, not even the petit pain sucré I made you. Tiens ! I shall have to send for M. Dumesnil.”
“I am not hungry.” .“ It is the heat. Your fine Monsieur will not eat or drink either. He is a gen. tleman, par exemple, ce Monsieur."
"Did I not tell you so ???
“He said you were like a picture in the Louvre in Paris, and he would like to paint
“Oh, Marcelline !” and the girl's colour came and went. “ Did he say so ?”
“Yes; but of course I said it was im. possible.”
“I hate you, Marcelline,” cried Dolores, looking ready to cry.
“But what would your Mamma say? She would be ready to turn me away for only letting him into the garden.”
“Mamma need not know.”
“Pierre is, at dinner, and Jeanneton is away in the back kitchen."
“But a picture is not to be painted all in one day, petite ?”
“Dear good Marcelline !" cried the girl, jumping up and throwing her arms round the substantial form,“ do let my picture be
made. I will be so good, and do just as you tell me all the rest of the time until Mamma comes home.”
“ Voyons !" said Marcelline. “On one condition then, only. I sit in the room, and you do not speak one word of English.”
"I promise,” cried Dolores ecstatically, and clapped her hands and danced about in unfeigned glee.
“ Then I will go and tell him.”
“But stop, Marcelline; I cannot be painted in this old cotton dress," and the girl's face fell. “And I have only my grey barége and my white muslin. What will he think ?"
“ Perhaps it is only the face he wants, and then he can fill in a satin or velvet gown to his fancy," answered Marcelline, thoughtfully.
“Go and ask him," and the woman went out, leaving Dolores in a state of troubled uncertainty as to whether the stranger would refuse to paint her when he found she had no grand clothes.
Presently Marcelline returned.
“Gone !” and big tears gathered in the childish blue eyes, as Dolores saw her worst fears realised.
“Silly child! he is only gone to fetch his portfolio. He had nothing large enough to paint you on. He will be back in an hour, and he begs you to keep on the same dress he saw you in, and to pass a blue ribbon through your hair.”
“Oh, Marcelline, I am so happy!" and the girl tripped off to the glass to make the desired improvement.