She had said only that very morning, that once she got back to England she would stay there for the rest of her life, she was too old to move about any more. "'And I, added Charlotte, with a fresh burst of weeping, 'I am to be sent to an English school as soon as aunt can settle about it. "'But you will be happier at school, dear, said Mademoiselle Eliane.
"Little Charlotte climbed over the railings," continued Dudu, "but she did not jump down on the other side, for Mademoiselle Eliane, who was tall, found that by standing half-way up the bank she could reach the child and hand her down to Mademoiselle Jeanne, a little way below.
But I did not like to speak to you unless you spoke to me. "'We never saw you, said Mademoiselle Eliane. 'We should have seen you now but for the funny way Dudu has been going on, as if he wanted to introduce us to each other. "I felt quite proud when Mademoiselle Eliane said that. It has always been a gratification to me to find myself understood.
"And in return, the poor little thing went out with her aunt's maid the next morning and bought two little keepsakes a scent-bottle for Mademoiselle Jeanne, and a fan for Mademoiselle Eliane. She spent on them all the money she had; and at this very moment," added Dudu, "the scent-bottle is downstairs in your mother's large old dressing-case, the dressing-case she got from her grandfather.
"I turned and looked at her reproachfully. I was not offended, I knew she was only joking, my character stood far above any imputation; but still, there are subjects on which jokes are better avoided, and there was a cousin of mine whose honesty, I am sorry to say, had been more than once suspected; altogether, I hardly thought the remark in good taste, and Mademoiselle Eliane was not slow to perceive it.
As he sat in the garden under the calm cedar tree he dreamed of a reconciliation with Eliane. He even speculated on the effect that the score of his opera would have upon her if he were to send it all that music composed in her honour. But which opera? Not "Connla and the Fairy Maiden," for a great deal of it was crude, thin, absurd. No; he could not send it. But he might send "Grania."
'My aunt has just told me. We return to England in a few days. To England, where I have no friends, where I shall be again all alone. O Mademoiselle Eliane! O Mademoiselle Jeanne! what shall I do without you, and your pretty garden, and your kindness, and poor old Dudu, and the flowers, and everything?
But there was even worse: a female laureate licensed by the Institute, Madame Augustus Craven, author of Recit d'une soeur, of Eliane and Fleaurange, puffed into reputation by the whole apostolic press. Never, no, never, had Des Esseintes imagined that any person could write such ridiculous nonsense.
I shall never love any friends as much as my dear Mademoiselle Jeanne and my dear Mademoiselle Eliane, sobbed Charlotte; and the only thing that consoled her at all was when the two young ladies found for her among their little treasures a very prettily painted 'bonbonnière, and a quaint little workcase, fitted with thimble, scissors, and all such things, which she promised them she would always keep, always, as souvenirs of their kindness.
"The faithful-hearted Charlotte and her husband were able to be of the greatest service to Mademoiselle Jeanne and her husband. They conveyed them in safety to the port and saw them on board a friendly vessel, and not many weeks passed before they were again with their children and the old Monsieur and Madame and Mademoiselle Eliane in their home for the time in Switzerland."