Newman continued to see his friends the Tristrams with a good deal of frequency, though if you had listened to Mrs. Tristram’s account of the matter you would have supposed that they had been cynically repudiated for the sake of grander acquaintance. “We were all very well so long as we had no rivals — we were better than nothing. But now that you have become the fashion, and have your pick every day of three invitations to dinner, we are tossed into the corner. I am sure it is very good of you to come and see us once a month; I wonder you don’t send us your cards in an envelope. When you do, pray have them with black edges; it will be for the death of my last illusion.” It was in this incisive strain that Mrs. Tristram moralized over Newman’s so-called neglect, which was in reality a most exemplary constancy. Of course she was joking, but there was always something ironical in her jokes, as there was always something jocular in her gravity.
“I know no better proof that I have treated you very well,” Newman had said, “than the fact that you make so free with my character. Familiarity breeds contempt; I have made myself too cheap. If I had a little proper pride I would stay away a while, and when you asked me to dinner say I was going to the Princess Borealska’s. But I have not any pride where my pleasure is concerned, and to keep you in the humor to see me — if you must see me only to call me bad names — I will agree to anything you choose; I will admit that I am the biggest snob in Paris.” Newman, in fact, had declined an invitation personally given by the Princess Borealska, an inquiring Polish lady to whom he had been presented, on the ground that on that particular day he always dined at Mrs. Tristram’s; and it was only a tenderly perverse theory of his hostess of the Avenue d’Iena that he was faithless to his early friendships. She needed the theory to explain a certain moral irritation by which she was often visited; though, if this explanation was unsound, a deeper analyst than I must give the right one. Having launched our hero upon the current which was bearing him so rapidly along, she appeared but half-pleased at its swiftness. She had succeeded too well; she had played her game too cleverly and she wished to mix up the cards. Newman had told her, in due season, that her friend was “satisfactory.” The epithet was not romantic, but Mrs. Tristram had no difficulty in perceiving that, in essentials, the feeling which lay beneath it was. Indeed, the mild, expansive brevity with which it was uttered, and a certain look, at once appealing and inscrutable, that issued from Newman’s half-closed eyes as he leaned his head against the back of his chair, seemed to her the most eloquent attestation of a mature sentiment that she had ever encountered. Newman was, according to the French phrase, only abounding in her own sense, but his temperate raptures exerted a singular effect upon the ardor which she herself had so freely manifested a few months before. She now seemed inclined to take a purely critical view of Madame de Cintre, and wished to have it understood that she did not in the least answer for her being a compendium of all the virtues. “No woman was ever so good as that woman seems,” she said. “Remember what Shakespeare calls Desdemona; ‘a supersubtle Venetian.’ Madame de Cintre is a supersubtle Parisian. She is a charming woman, and she has five hundred merits; but you had better keep that in mind.” Was Mrs. Tristram simply finding out that she was jealous of her dear friend on the other side of the Seine, and that in undertaking to provide Newman with an ideal wife she had counted too much on her own disinterestedness? We may be permitted to doubt it. The inconsistent little lady of the Avenue d’Iena had an insuperable need of changing her place, intellectually. She had a lively imagination, and she was capable, at certain times, of imagining the direct reverse of her most cherished beliefs, with a vividness more intense than that of conviction. She got tired of thinking aright; but there was no serious harm in it, as she got equally tired of thinking wrong. In the midst of her mysterious perversities she had admirable flashes of justice. One of these occurred when Newman related to her that he had made a formal proposal to Madame de Cintre. He repeated in a few words what he had said, and in a great many what she had answered. Mrs. Tristram listened with extreme interest.
“But after all,” said Newman, “there is nothing to congratulate me upon. It is not a triumph.”
“I beg your pardon,” said Mrs. Tristram; “it is a great triumph. It is a great triumph that she did not silence you at the first word, and request you never to speak to her again.”
“I don’t see that,” observed Newman.
“Of course you don’t; Heaven forbid you should! When I told you to go on your own way and do what came into your head, I had no idea you would go over the ground so fast. I never dreamed you would offer yourself after five or six morning-calls. As yet, what had you done to make her like you? You had simply sat — not very straight — and stared at her. But she does like you.”
“That remains to be seen.”
“No, that is proved. What will come of it remains to be seen. That you should propose to marry her, without more ado, could never have come into her head. You can form very little idea of what passed through her mind as you spoke; if she ever really marries you, the affair will be characterized by the usual justice of all human beings towards women. You will think you take generous views of her; but you will never begin to know through what a strange sea of feeling she passed before she accepted you. As she stood there in front of you the other day, she plunged into it. She said ‘Why not?’ to something which, a few hours earlier, had been inconceivable. She turned about on a thousand gathered prejudices and traditions as on a pivot, and looked where she had never looked hitherto. When I think of it — when I think of Claire de Cintre and all that she represents, there seems to me something very fine in it. When I recommended you to try your fortune with her I of course thought well of you, and in spite of your sins I think so still. But I confess I don’t see quite what you are and what you have done, to make such a woman do this sort of thing for you.”
“Oh, there is something very fine in it!” said Newman with a laugh, repeating her words. He took an extreme satisfaction in hearing that there was something fine in it. He had not the least doubt of it himself, but he had already begun to value the world’s admiration of Madame de Cintre, as adding to the prospective glory of possession.
It was immediately after this conversation that Valentin de Bellegarde came to conduct his friend to the Rue de l’Universite to present him to the other members of his family. “You are already introduced,” he said, “and you have begun to be talked about. My sister has mentioned your successive visits to my mother, and it was an accident that my mother was present at none of them. I have spoken of you as an American of immense wealth, and the best fellow in the world, who is looking for something very superior in the way of a wife.”
“Do you suppose,” asked Newman, “that Madame de Cintre has related to your mother the last conversation I had with her?”
“I am very certain that she has not; she will keep her own counsel. Meanwhile you must make your way with the rest of the family. Thus much is known about you: you have made a great fortune in trade, you are a little eccentric, and you frankly admire our dear Claire. My sister-in-law, whom you remember seeing in Madame de Cintre’s sitting-room, took, it appears, a fancy to you; she has described you as having beaucoup de cachet. My mother, therefore, is curious to see you.”
“She expects to laugh at me, eh?” said Newman.
“She never laughs. If she does not like you, don’t hope to purchase favor by being amusing. Take warning by me!”
This conversation took place in the evening, and half an hour later Valentin ushered his companion into an apartment of the house of the Rue de l’Universite into which he had not yet penetrated, the salon of the dowager Marquise de Bellegarde. It was a vast, high room, with elaborate and ponderous mouldings, painted a whitish gray, along the upper portion of the walls and the ceiling; with a great deal of faded and carefully repaired tapestry in the doorways and chair-backs; a Turkey carpet in light colors, still soft and deep, in spite of great antiquity, on the floor, and portraits of each of Madame de Bellegarde’s children, at the age of ten, suspended against an old screen of red silk. The room was illumined, exactly enough for conversation, by half a dozen candles, placed in odd corners, at a great distance apart. In a deep armchair, near the fire, sat an old lady in black; at the other end of the room another person was seated at the piano, playing a very expressive waltz. In this latter person Newman recognized the young Marquise de Bellegarde.
Valentin presented his friend, and Newman walked up to the old lady by the fire and shook hands with her. He received a rapid impression of a white, delicate, aged face, with a high forehead, a small mouth, and a pair of cold blue eyes which had kept much of the freshness of youth. Madame de Bellegarde looked hard at him, and returned his hand-shake with a sort of British positiveness which reminded him that she was the daughter of the Earl of St. Dunstan’s. Her daughter-in-law stopped playing and gave him an agreeable smile. Newman sat down and looked about him, while Valentin went and kissed the hand of the young marquise.
“I ought to have seen you before,” said Madame de Bellegarde. “You have paid several visits to my daughter.”
“Oh, yes,” said Newman, smiling; “Madame de Cintre and I are old friends by this time.”
“You have gone fast,” said Madame de Bellegarde.
“Not so fast as I should like,” said Newman, bravely.
“Oh, you are very ambitious,” answered the old lady.
“Yes, I confess I am,” said Newman, smiling.
Madame de Bellegarde looked at him with her cold fine eyes, and he returned her gaze, reflecting that she was a possible adversary and trying to take her measure. Their eyes remained in contact for some moments. Then Madame de Bellegarde looked away, and without smiling, “I am very ambitious, too,” she said.
Newman felt that taking her measure was not easy; she was a formidable, inscrutable little woman. She resembled her daughter, and yet she was utterly unlike her. The coloring in Madame de Cintre was the same, and the high delicacy of her brow and nose was hereditary. But her face was a larger and freer copy, and her mouth in especial a happy divergence from that conservative orifice, a little pair of lips at once plump and pinched, that looked, when closed, as if they could not open wider than to swallow a gooseberry or to emit an “Oh, dear, no!” which probably had been thought to give the finishing touch to the aristocratic prettiness of the Lady Emmeline Atheling as represented, forty years before, in several Books of Beauty. Madame de Cintre’s face had, to Newman’s eye, a range of expression as delightfully vast as the wind-streaked, cloud-flecked distance on a Western prairie. But her mother’s white, intense, respectable countenance, with its formal gaze, and its circumscribed smile, suggested a document signed and sealed; a thing of parchment, ink, and ruled lines. “She is a woman of conventions and proprieties,” he said to himself as he looked at her; “her world is the world of things immutably decreed. But how she is at home in it, and what a paradise she finds it. She walks about in it as if it were a blooming park, a Garden of Eden; and when she sees ‘This is genteel,’ or ‘This is improper,’ written on a mile-stone she stops ecstatically, as if she were listening to a nightingale or smelling a rose.” Madame de Bellegarde wore a little black velvet hood tied under her chin, and she was wrapped in an old black cashmere shawl.
“You are an American?” she said presently. “I have seen several Americans.”
“There are several in Paris,” said Newman jocosely.
“Oh, really?” said Madame de Bellegarde. “It was in England I saw these, or somewhere else; not in Paris. I think it must have been in the Pyrenees, many years ago. I am told your ladies are very pretty. One of these ladies was very pretty! such a wonderful complexion! She presented me a note of introduction from some one — I forgot whom — and she sent with it a note of her own. I kept her letter a long time afterwards, it was so strangely expressed. I used to know some of the phrases by heart. But I have forgotten them now, it is so many years ago. Since then I have seen no more Americans. I think my daughter-in-law has; she is a great gad-about, she sees every one.”
At this the younger lady came rustling forward, pinching in a very slender waist, and casting idly preoccupied glances over the front of her dress, which was apparently designed for a ball. She was, in a singular way, at once ugly and pretty; she had protuberant eyes, and lips strangely red. She reminded Newman of his friend, Mademoiselle Nioche; this was what that much-obstructed young lady would have liked to be. Valentin de Bellegarde walked behind her at a distance, hopping about to keep off the far-spreading train of her dress.
“You ought to show more of your shoulders behind,” he said very gravely. “You might as well wear a standing ruff as such a dress as that.”
The young woman turned her back to the mirror over the chimney-piece, and glanced behind her, to verify Valentin’s assertion. The mirror descended low, and yet it reflected nothing but a large unclad flesh surface. The young marquise put her hands behind her and gave a downward pull to the waist of her dress. “Like that, you mean?” she asked.
“That is a little better,” said Bellegarde in the same tone, “but it leaves a good deal to be desired.”
“Oh, I never go to extremes,” said his sister-in-law. And then, turning to Madame de Bellegarde, “What were you calling me just now, madame?”
“I called you a gad-about,” said the old lady. “But I might call you something else, too.”
“A gad-about? What an ugly word! What does it mean?”
“A very beautiful person,” Newman ventured to say, seeing that it was in French.
“That is a pretty compliment but a bad translation,” said the young marquise. And then, looking at him a moment, “Do you dance?”
“Not a step.”
“You are very wrong,” she said, simply. And with another look at her back in the mirror she turned away.
“Do you like Paris?” asked the old lady, who was apparently wondering what was the proper way to talk to an American.
“Yes, rather,” said Newman. And then he added with a friendly intonation, “Don’t you?”
“I can’t say I know it. I know my house — I know my friends — I don’t know Paris.”
“Oh, you lose a great deal,” said Newman, sympathetically.
Madame de Bellegarde stared; it was presumably the first time she had been condoled with on her losses.
“I am content with what I have,” she said with dignity.
Newman’s eyes, at this moment, were wandering round the room, which struck him as rather sad and shabby; passing from the high casements, with their small, thickly-framed panes, to the sallow tints of two or three portraits in pastel, of the last century, which hung between them. He ought, obviously, to have answered that the contentment of his hostess was quite natural — she had a great deal; but the idea did not occur to him during the pause of some moments which followed.
“Well, my dear mother,” said Valentin, coming and leaning against the chimney-piece, “what do you think of my dear friend Newman? Is he not the excellent fellow I told you?”
“My acquaintance with Mr. Newman has not gone very far,” said Madame de Bellegarde. “I can as yet only appreciate his great politeness.”
“My mother is a great judge of these matters,” said Valentin to Newman. “If you have satisfied her, it is a triumph.”
“I hope I shall satisfy you, some day,” said Newman, looking at the old lady. “I have done nothing yet.”
“You must not listen to my son; he will bring you into trouble. He is a sad scatterbrain.”
“Oh, I like him — I like him,” said Newman, genially.
“He amuses you, eh?”
“Do you hear that, Valentin?” said Madame de Bellegarde. “You amuse Mr. Newman.”
“Perhaps we shall all come to that!” Valentin exclaimed.
“You must see my other son,” said Madame de Bellegarde. “He is much better than this one. But he will not amuse you.”
“I don’t know — I don’t know!” murmured Valentin, reflectively. “But we shall very soon see. Here comes Monsieur mon frere.”
The door had just opened to give ingress to a gentleman who stepped forward and whose face Newman remembered. He had been the author of our hero’s discomfiture the first time he tried to present himself to Madame de Cintre. Valentin de Bellegarde went to meet his brother, looked at him a moment, and then, taking him by the arm, led him up to Newman.
“This is my excellent friend Mr. Newman,” he said very blandly. “You must know him.”
“I am delighted to know Mr. Newman,” said the marquis with a low bow, but without offering his hand.
“He is the old woman at second-hand,” Newman said to himself, as he returned M. de Bellegarde’s greeting. And this was the starting-point of a speculative theory, in his mind, that the late marquis had been a very amiable foreigner, with an inclination to take life easily and a sense that it was difficult for the husband of the stilted little lady by the fire to do so. But if he had taken little comfort in his wife he had taken much in his two younger children, who were after his own heart, while Madame de Bellegarde had paired with her eldest-born.
“My brother has spoken to me of you,” said M. de Bellegarde; “and as you are also acquainted with my sister, it was time we should meet.” He turned to his mother and gallantly bent over her hand, touching it with his lips, and then he assumed an attitude before the chimney-piece. With his long, lean face, his high-bridged nose and his small, opaque eye he looked much like an Englishman. His whiskers were fair and glossy, and he had a large dimple, of unmistakably British origin, in the middle of his handsome chin. He was “distinguished” to the tips of his polished nails, and there was not a movement of his fine, perpendicular person that was not noble and majestic. Newman had never yet been confronted with such an incarnation of the art of taking one’s self seriously; he felt a sort of impulse to step backward, as you do to get a view of a great facade.
“Urbain,” said young Madame de Bellegarde, who had apparently been waiting for her husband to take her to her ball, “I call your attention to the fact that I am dressed.”
“That is a good idea,” murmured Valentin.
“I am at your orders, my dear friend,” said M. de Bellegarde. “Only, you must allow me first the pleasure of a little conversation with Mr. Newman.”
“Oh, if you are going to a party, don’t let me keep you,” objected Newman. “I am very sure we shall meet again. Indeed, if you would like to converse with me I will gladly name an hour.” He was eager to make it known that he would readily answer all questions and satisfy all exactions.
M. de Bellegarde stood in a well-balanced position before the fire, caressing one of his fair whiskers with one of his white hands, and looking at Newman, half askance, with eyes from which a particular ray of observation made its way through a general meaningless smile. “It is very kind of you to make such an offer,” he said. “If I am not mistaken, your occupations are such as to make your time precious. You are in — a — as we say, dans les affaires.”
“In business, you mean? Oh no, I have thrown business overboard for the present. I am ‘loafing,’ as WE say. My time is quite my own.”
“Ah, you are taking a holiday,” rejoined M. de Bellegarde. “‘Loafing.’ Yes, I have heard that expression.”
“Mr. Newman is American,” said Madame de Bellegarde.
“My brother is a great ethnologist,” said Valentin.
“An ethnologist?” said Newman. “Ah, you collect negroes’ skulls, and that sort of thing.”
The marquis looked hard at his brother, and began to caress his other whisker. Then, turning to Newman, with sustained urbanity, “You are traveling for your pleasure?” he asked.’
“Oh, I am knocking about to pick up one thing and another. Of course I get a good deal of pleasure out of it.”
“What especially interests you?” inquired the marquis.
“Well, everything interests me,” said Newman. “I am not particular. Manufactures are what I care most about.”
“That has been your specialty?”
“I can’t say I have any specialty. My specialty has been to make the largest possible fortune in the shortest possible time.” Newman made this last remark very deliberately; he wished to open the way, if it were necessary, to an authoritative statement of his means.
M. de Bellegarde laughed agreeably. “I hope you have succeeded,” he said.
“Yes, I have made a fortune in a reasonable time. I am not so old, you see.”
“Paris is a very good place to spend a fortune. I wish you great enjoyment of yours.” And M. de Bellegarde drew forth his gloves and began to put them on.
Newman for a few moments watched him sliding his white hands into the white kid, and as he did so his feelings took a singular turn. M. de Bellegarde’s good wishes seemed to descend out of the white expanse of his sublime serenity with the soft, scattered movement of a shower of snow-flakes. Yet Newman was not irritated; he did not feel that he was being patronized; he was conscious of no especial impulse to introduce a discord into so noble a harmony. Only he felt himself suddenly in personal contact with the forces with which his friend Valentin had told him that he would have to contend, and he became sensible of their intensity. He wished to make some answering manifestation, to stretch himself out at his own length, to sound a note at the uttermost end of HIS scale. It must be added that if this impulse was not vicious or malicious, it was by no means void of humorous expectancy. Newman was quite as ready to give play to that loosely-adjusted smile of his, if his hosts should happen to be shocked, as he was far from deliberately planning to shock them.
“Paris is a very good place for idle people,” he said, “or it is a very good place if your family has been settled here for a long time, and you have made acquaintances and got your relations round you; or if you have got a good big house like this, and a wife and children and mother and sister, and everything comfortable. I don’t like that way of living all in rooms next door to each other. But I am not an idler. I try to be, but I can’t manage it; it goes against the grain. My business habits are too deep-seated. Then, I haven’t any house to call my own, or anything in the way of a family. My sisters are five thousand miles away, my mother died when I was a youngster, and I haven’t any wife; I wish I had! So, you see, I don’t exactly know what to do with myself. I am not fond of books, as you are, sir, and I get tired of dining out and going to the opera. I miss my business activity. You see, I began to earn my living when I was almost a baby, and until a few months ago I have never had my hand off the plow. Elegant leisure comes hard.”
This speech was followed by a profound silence of some moments, on the part of Newman’s entertainers. Valentin stood looking at him fixedly, with his hands in his pockets, and then he slowly, with a half-sidling motion, went out of the door. The marquis continued to draw on his gloves and to smile benignantly.
“You began to earn your living when you were a mere baby?” said the marquise.
“Hardly more — a small boy.”
“You say you are not fond of books,” said M. de Bellegarde; “but you must do yourself the justice to remember that your studies were interrupted early.”
“That is very true; on my tenth birthday I stopped going to school. I thought it was a grand way to keep it. But I picked up some information afterwards,” said Newman, reassuringly.
“You have some sisters?” asked old Madame de Bellegarde.
“Yes, two sisters. Splendid women!”
“I hope that for them the hardships of life commenced less early.”
“They married very early, if you call that a hardship, as girls do in our Western country. One of them is married to the owner of the largest india-rubber house in the West.”
“Ah, you make houses also of india-rubber?” inquired the marquise.
“You can stretch them as your family increases,” said young Madame de Bellegarde, who was muffling herself in a long white shawl.
Newman indulged in a burst of hilarity, and explained that the house in which his brother-in-law lived was a large wooden structure, but that he manufactured and sold india-rubber on a colossal scale.
“My children have some little india-rubber shoes which they put on when they go to play in the Tuileries in damp weather,” said the young marquise. “I wonder whether your brother-in-law made them.”
“Very likely,” said Newman; “if he did, you may be very sure they are well made.”
“Well, you must not be discouraged,” said M. de Bellegarde, with vague urbanity.
“Oh, I don’t mean to be. I have a project which gives me plenty to think about, and that is an occupation.” And then Newman was silent a moment, hesitating, yet thinking rapidly; he wished to make his point, and yet to do so forced him to speak out in a way that was disagreeable to him. Nevertheless he continued, addressing himself to old Madame de Bellegarde, “I will tell you my project; perhaps you can help me. I want to take a wife.”
“It is a very good project, but I am no matchmaker,” said the old lady.
Newman looked at her an instant, and then, with perfect sincerity, “I should have thought you were,” he declared.
Madame de Bellegarde appeared to think him too sincere. She murmured something sharply in French, and fixed her eyes on her son. At this moment the door of the room was thrown open, and with a rapid step Valentin reappeared.
“I have a message for you,” he said to his sister-in-law. “Claire bids me to request you not to start for your ball. She will go with you.”
“Claire will go with us!” cried the young marquise. “En voila, du nouveau!”
“She has changed her mind; she decided half an hour ago, and she is sticking the last diamond into her hair,” said Valentin.
“What has taken possession of my daughter?” demanded Madame de Bellegarde, sternly. “She has not been into the world these three years. Does she take such a step at half an hour’s notice, and without consulting me?”
“She consulted me, dear mother, five minutes since,” said Valentin, “and I told her that such a beautiful woman — she is beautiful, you will see — had no right to bury herself alive.”
“You should have referred Claire to her mother, my brother,” said M. de Bellegarde, in French. “This is very strange.”
“I refer her to the whole company!” said Valentin. “Here she comes!” And he went to the open door, met Madame de Cintre on the threshold, took her by the hand, and led her into the room. She was dressed in white; but a long blue cloak, which hung almost to her feet, was fastened across her shoulders by a silver clasp. She had tossed it back, however, and her long white arms were uncovered. In her dense, fair hair there glittered a dozen diamonds. She looked serious and, Newman thought, rather pale; but she glanced round her, and, when she saw him, smiled and put out her hand. He thought her tremendously handsome. He had a chance to look at her full in the face, for she stood a moment in the centre of the room, hesitating, apparently, what she should do, without meeting his eyes. Then she went up to her mother, who sat in her deep chair by the fire, looking at Madame de Cintre almost fiercely. With her back turned to the others, Madame de Cintre held her cloak apart to show her dress.
“What do you think of me?” she asked.
“I think you are audacious,” said the marquise. “It was but three days ago, when I asked you, as a particular favor to myself, to go to the Duchess de Lusignan’s, that you told me you were going nowhere and that one must be consistent. Is this your consistency? Why should you distinguish Madame Robineau? Who is it you wish to please to-night?”
“I wish to please myself, dear mother,” said Madame de Cintre. And she bent over and kissed the old lady.
“I don’t like surprises, my sister,” said Urbain de Bellegarde; “especially when one is on the point of entering a drawing-room.”
Newman at this juncture felt inspired to speak. “Oh, if you are going into a room with Madame de Cintre, you needn’t be afraid of being noticed yourself!”
M. de Bellegarde turned to his sister with a smile too intense to be easy. “I hope you appreciate a compliment that is paid you at your brother’s expense,” he said. “Come, come, madame.” And offering Madame de Cintre his arm he led her rapidly out of the room. Valentin rendered the same service to young Madame de Bellegarde, who had apparently been reflecting on the fact that the ball dress of her sister-in-law was much less brilliant than her own, and yet had failed to derive absolute comfort from the reflection. With a farewell smile she sought the complement of her consolation in the eyes of the American visitor, and perceiving in them a certain mysterious brilliancy, it is not improbable that she may have flattered herself she had found it.
Newman, left alone with old Madame de Bellegarde, stood before her a few moments in silence. “Your daughter is very beautiful,” he said at last.
“She is very strange,” said Madame de Bellegarde.
“I am glad to hear it,” Newman rejoined, smiling. “It makes me hope.”
“That she will consent, some day, to marry me.”
The old lady slowly rose to her feet. “That really is your project, then?”
“Yes; will you favor it?”
“Favor it?” Madame de Bellegarde looked at him a moment and then shook her head. “No!” she said, softly.
“Will you suffer it, then? Will you let it pass?”
“You don’t know what you ask. I am a very proud and meddlesome old woman.”
“Well, I am very rich,” said Newman.
Madame de Bellegarde fixed her eyes on the floor, and Newman thought it probable she was weighing the reasons in favor of resenting the brutality of this remark. But at last, looking up, she said simply, “How rich?”
Newman expressed his income in a round number which had the magnificent sound that large aggregations of dollars put on when they are translated into francs. He added a few remarks of a financial character, which completed a sufficiently striking presentment of his resources.
Madame de Bellegarde listened in silence. “You are very frank,” she said finally. “I will be the same. I would rather favor you, on the whole, than suffer you. It will be easier.”
“I am thankful for any terms,” said Newman. “But, for the present, you have suffered me long enough. Good night!” And he took his leave.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:51