Madame de Quinsac turned towards M. de Morigny, but he seemed to take no interest in it all. He was gazing fixedly at the fire, with the haughty air of a stranger who was indifferent to the things and beings in whose midst an error of time compelled him to live.

"She is still very beautiful," said he. "And then there's the daughter. It would be graver still if he were to marry her " "But the daughter's infirm?" "Yes, and you know what would be said: A Quinsac marrying a monster for the sake of her millions." This was their mutual terror.

General de Bozonnet, whom Gerard was to have brought with him, came in alone, explaining that Madame de Quinsac had felt rather poorly that morning, and that Gerard, like a good and dutiful son, had wished to remain with her.

You already have the support of the Baroness Duvillard, secure that of some others." Pierre, who was determined to fight on to the very end, saw in this suggestion a supreme chance. "I know the Countess de Quinsac," he said, "I can go to see her at once." "Quite so! an excellent idea, the Countess de Quinsac! Take a cab and go to see the Princess de Harn as well.

Duvillard received the congratulations offered him as if he were some king well pleased with his people; whilst Eve, with a supreme effort, put on an enchanting mien, and answered one and all with scarcely a sign of the sobs which she was forcing back. Then, on the other side of the bridal pair, Madame de Quinsac stood between General de Bozonnet and the Marquis de Morigny.

However, she was visibly irritated and feverish that evening, and, suddenly changing the subject, she began to speak of their mother and Gerard de Quinsac. "But what can it matter to you?" quietly retorted Hyacinthe; and, seeing that she almost bounded from the seat at this remark, he continued: "Are you still in love with him, then? Do you still want to marry him?"

General de Bozonnet, whom Gerard was to have brought with him, came in alone, explaining that Madame de Quinsac had felt rather poorly that morning, and that Gerard, like a good and dutiful son, had wished to remain with her. Still he would come to the bazaar directly after dejeuner.

But the truth was that Gerard de Quinsac, after shunning any further assignation, had for five days past avoided her in an embarrassed way. Still she was convinced that she would see him that morning, and so she had again ventured to wear the white silk gown which made her look so much younger than she really was.

That day, at three o'clock, Gerard de Quinsac, not knowing how to kill the time pending the appointment he had given Eve in the Rue Matignon, had thought of calling at Silviane's, which was in the neighbourhood. She was an old caprice of his, and even nowadays he would sometimes linger at the little mansion if its pretty mistress felt bored.

Next came Gerard, giving his arm to his mother, the Countess de Quinsac, he looking very handsome and courtly, as was proper, and she displaying impassive dignity in her gown of peacock-blue silk embroidered with gold and steel beads.