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consequence from these premises, that he should get up, yet it was a very natural consequence; and he did so. He then began descending the stairs with a sort of thoughtful deliberation, as if he calculated the square inches in every step. before he put his foot upon it, and by the most accurate account, he had got down fourteen steps and a half, with his foot hanging over the fifteenth, when he heard something very French and light tripping after him, and turning round to take an observation, he perceived that it was the “ fair fille de chambre" of the baroness de S. There was but one thing to be done as a man of good breeding; but even if it had been ill-breeding, he would have done it; and therefore he turned round and asked her how her mistress was.
The girl hesitated not like a French girl, who seldom besitates at any thing; neither was it that she did not know how her mistress was, nor that she had not an answer ready; for in truth she had two. I 2
But the case was this: the baroness had told her, if she saw the gentleman who had assisted her from the carriage, to inform him that she wished his company for a few minutes. Now the fille de chambre translated that “ if she saw him," into a desire that she was to see him, and accordingly watched till he came from his own room; and when he spoke to her first, she hesitated whether to say that her mistress had told her to say so and so, or to place it as from herself, and say she was sure her mistress would be glad to see him. She had a tender regard for her mistress's reputation; but at the same time she was very diffident of her own talents; and therefore, as we have said, after a moment’s hesitation,she gave the straightforward message of the baroness, just as it was—“Madame is very well,” said she, with a slight courtesy, “ and has desired me to beg the favour of monsieur's company for a few minutes.” Charles found this too flattering to ap
pear at all strange; so he followed the maid into the apartments of the baroness. The lady was sitting on a sofa, with her large dark eyes fixed on the door; and as Mr. Melville entered, she came forward to meet him: her colour was higher than the day before, and rose still higher as they met, which, in adding to the beauty, took nothing away from the interest of her countenance. She begged him to sit down, and at once spoke of her message, saying, that she could not think of allowing him to depart, without expressing her sense of his attention and politeness, more fully than she had been able to do the evening before, and had therefore sent that she might personally thank him.
Neither Charles nor the baroness were very much in the habit of speaking French, and consequently, after he had made every sort of civil reply to her expression of
gratitude, their more general conversation was greatly assisted by the language of signs, and of the eyes. When she under
stood him, she gave him a glance of comprehension, and he answered her in the same manner.
There is nothing so delightful as to speak to a pretty woman in a foreign language, at which neither party is very much au fait; it calls so many beautiful expressions of countenance into action, produces so many changes from the hesitating look of doubt, to the bright sparkle of intelli. gence. It looks like a fine day in spring, whose light and momentary clouds make the sunshine seem more brilliant when they are past, and the face of heaven but the more clear for being obscured for a time.
The language of the eyes, however, is a dangerous one to be employed upon common occasions. We often say more than We mean; and perhaps both Charles and the baroness did so in the present instance, för in a few minutes Charles had told her, without saying a word, that she was un commonly lovely; and the baroness had
replied in the same mute way, that his thinking so was not disagreeable to her. But finding that this sort of conversation was carrying her further than she meant, she turned it towards other subjects. She asked if the other gentleman she had seen was his brother; if they were going to Paris; and told him that she should return thither herself in a few days.
At length a silence of some moments succeeded, and having no excuse to prolong the interview, Charles rose to take his leave.
The baroness seeing his intention, rose also, and gave him her hand, He could do no less than raise it to his lips, and as he did so, something put it into his head that there was a slight tremulous motion in the small elegant fingers he held in his. -“I think we shall meet again, Mr. Mel. ville,” said the baroness-" I have a sort of presentiment that we shall.”
" I hope it most sincerely, madam,” replied Charles. He was going to have