Madame de Chantelle sat opposite, still a little wan and disordered under her elaborate hair, and clasping the handkerchief whose visibility symbolized her distress. On the young man's entrance she sighed out a plaintive welcome, to which she immediately appended: "Mr. Darrow, I can't help feeling that at heart you're with me!"
Darrow himself was in fact the only person who might possibly turn her from her purpose: Madame de Chantelle, at haphazard, had hit on the surest means of saving Owen if to prevent his marriage were to save him! Darrow, on this point, did not pretend to any fixed opinion; one feeling alone was clear and insistent in him: he did not mean, if he could help it, to let the marriage take place.
Darrow instantly perceived what dread suspicion again possessed her, and the sense that it was not wholly unjustified caused him a passing pang of shame. But it did not turn him from his purpose. "I'm an old friend of Mrs. Leath's. It's not unnatural that Madame de Chantelle should talk to me."
He strode on beside her in silence, but at the gate she checked him with the question: "Is it really all you mean?" "Of course," he heard himself declare. "Oh, then I think I shall convince you even if I can't, like Madame de Chantelle, summon all the Everards to my aid!" She lifted to him the look of happy laughter that sometimes brushed her with a gleam of spring.
Her long residence on Gallic soil had not mitigated her hostility toward the creed and customs of the race, but though she always referred to the Catholic Church as the Scarlet Woman and took the darkest views of French private life, Madame de Chantelle placed great reliance on her judgment and experience, and in every domestic crisis the irreducible Adelaide was immediately summoned to Givre.
Madame de Chantelle, across her knitting, discoursed of their afternoon's excursion, with occasional pauses induced by the hypnotic effect of the fresh air; and Effie, kneeling, on the hearth, softly but insistently sought to implant in her terrier's mind some notion of the relation between a vertical attitude and sugar.
Then, to avoid involving Anna, he answered: "Madame de Chantelle sent for me yesterday." "Sent for you to talk to you about me?" The colour rose to her forehead and her eyes burned black under lowered brows. "By what right, I should like to know? What have you to do with me, or with anything in the world that concerns me?"
Sophy Viner would evidently permit no recognition of the situation save that which it lay with Madame de Chantelle to accord; but meanwhile Miss Painter had proclaimed her tacit sense of it by summoning the girl to a seat at her side.
While he was away, the constable received from England and Spain news which made him enter actively upon his preparations; he heard at the same time that the king was having troops marched towards Bourbonness so as to lay violent hands on him if he did not obey; he, therefore, decided to go and place himself in security in his strong castle of Chantelle, where he could await the movements of his allies; he mounted his horse, did six leagues at one stretch, and did not draw bridle until he had entered Chantelle.
She had told him of her marriage to Fraser Leath, and of her subsequent life in France, where her husband's mother, left a widow in his youth, had been re-married to the Marquis de Chantelle, and where, partly in consequence of this second union, the son had permanently settled himself.