Wenceslas was its object, and, a failure as an artist, he became in Madame Marneffe's hands a lover so perfect that he was to her what she had been to Baron Hulot. Valerie was holding a slipper in one hand, and Steinbock clasped the other, while her head rested on his shoulder.
Though Steinbock was nine-and-twenty, like many fair men, he looked five or six years younger; and seeing his youth, though its freshness had faded under the fatigue and stress of life in exile, by the side of that dry, hard face, it seemed as though Nature had blundered in the distribution of sex.
"And about my lover?" said Cousin Betty to Hortense, when the girl came back. "You never ask about him now?" "To be sure, what is he doing?" said Hortense. "He has become famous. You ought to be very happy," she added in an undertone to Lisbeth. "Everybody is talking of Monsieur Wenceslas Steinbock." "A great deal too much," replied she in her clear tones. "Monsieur is departing.
Within about twenty minutes she had brought back Adeline, whom she had told of the Marshal's threat to his brother. The Marshal, without looking at Hector, rang the bell for his factotum, the old soldier who had served him for thirty years. "Beau-Pied," said he, "fetch my notary, and Count Steinbock, and my niece Hortense, and the stockbroker to the Treasury.
And she clearly explained to the Pole that within twenty-four hours he might be clapped into prison for the rest of his days. It was a crushing blow. Steinbock sank into deep melancholy and total silence. In the course of the following night, Lisbeth hearing overhead some preparations for suicide, went up to her pensioner's room, and gave him the schedule and a formal release.
When the progress of affairs required that he should go to the studio at le Gros-Caillou to mould the clay and set up the life-size model, Steinbock found one day that the Prince's clock required his presence in the workshop of Florent and Chanor, where the figures were being finished; or, again, the light was gray and dull; to-day he had business to do, to-morrow they had a family dinner, to say nothing of indispositions of mind and body, and the days when he stayed at home to toy with his adored wife.
"And that you will send me tidings shortly, and that these tidings will be good. I shall await them here, at the Hotel Steinbock." "As you please; but, for the love of Heaven, let me sleep!" M. Camille Langis pressed his two arms and said, with much emotion: "I place myself in your hands; take care how you answer for my life!"
And besides she is in debt. How much do you owe?" asked Carabine, nipping Cydalise's arm. "She is worth all she can get," said the old woman. "The point is that she can find a buyer." "Listen!" cried Montes, fully aware at last of this masterpiece of womankind "you will show me Valerie " "And Count Steinbock. Certainly!" said Madame Nourrisson.
In point of fact, Stidmann was reflecting that if Steinbock were not his friend, Hortense, the young and superbly beautiful countess, would be an adorable mistress; it was this very notion, controlled by honor, that kept him away from the house. Lisbeth was quick to mark the significant awkwardness that troubles a man in the presence of a woman with whom he will not allow himself to flirt.
"He! a thousand crowns for a bronze group?" "Yes if you will sit for Delilah," said Steinbock. "He will not be there to see, I hope!" replied she. "The group would be worth more than all his fortune, for Delilah's costume is rather un-dressy." Just as Crevel loved to strike an attitude, every woman has a victorious gesture, a studied movement, which she knows must win admiration.