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with Cherubin.

While Louise was making her preparations for de-
parture, Monsieur Gerondif took the nurse aside and said
to her in a grave and imposing tone :

" Now, virtuous Nicole, I must disclose a secret to you.
My main purpose in taking Louise to Paris is to remove



LOUISE IN PARIS 247

her from the seductions which it is proposed to employ
in order to triumph over her virtue and pluck the flower
of her innocence. In two words, here are the facts:
your foster-child Cherubin has become a great libertine
in Paris ; he will not endure resistance. Not long ago he
remembered Louise, the playmate of his boyhood, and he
exclaimed : ' She must be a charming girl by now ! I
am going to make her my mistress.' "

" Great God ! is it possible ? " cried Nicole, opening
her eyes to their fullest extent. " My little Cherubin has
got to be such a rake as that ? "

" It's as I have the honor to tell you. In Paris, with
lots of money, a man soon learns to be what they call
a lion, and lion means seducer."

" Cherubin, a lion ! And he used to be a perfect
lamb!"

" I tell you there are no lambs in Paris now. To
make a long story short, I thought that you wouldn't
lend a hand to the ruin of your adopted daughter, and
that you would approve my putting the child beyond the
reach of any attempt at seduction."

"Oh! you did just right, monsieur le professor, and
I approve of it."

" Now, when Cherubin comes to see Louise, you must
tell him that she's been in Bretagne a long while, with
a relation of yours, and that she's very happy there."

" All right, I'll tell him that ! Great God ! Cherubin
a rake! so that's why he's forgotten the village alto-
gether ! "

Louise soon had her parcel ready. She put on the
little hat of coarse straw, which she sometimes wore to
walk about the neighborhood, and beneath which, al-
though it was not of fashionable shape, her face was as
lovely as possible.



248 THE BASHFUL LOVER

She threw herself into Nicole's arms and whispered in
her ear:

" When I see him, I'll tell him that it's very wicked of
him not to come to see you ! "

Nicole covered Louise with kisses.

" If by any chance you should get sick of it, my child,"
she said, " if you ain't happy there, you know that there's
always a place for you here, and that we'll be very happy
if you conclude to come back."

Monsieur Gerondif speedily put an end to these fare-
wells by taking the girl's arm. Jacquinot was at the
wine-shop as usual. Louise cast a last glance at her
adopted mother and went away with Monsieur Gerondif,
who had incurred the expense of a cab by the hour, in
order to take the girl to Paris more quickly.

On the way he said to her:

" I must give you some preliminary instructions, my
lovely child, as to your behavior in the place you are to
fill. In the first place, if they ask you what you know
how to do, answer boldly : ' everything ! ' '

" Everything ! But that would not be true, monsieur,
for I know how to do very few things."

" You can learn the others ; you are saturated with
intelligence, therefore you will learn very rapidly; so
that it's the same as if you already knew. Do what I
tell you it is essential, to inspire confidence; in the
world you must never act as if you were uncertain of
yourself. Secondly, you must understand that you must
not speak of the young Marquis Cherubin and say that
you were brought up with him. The world is very un-
kind ! people might think things ; and you mustn't trifle
with your reputation."

"What, monsieur? What could people think, pray?
Is it wrong to love one's foster-brother, then ? "



LOUISE IN PARIS 249

" Foster-brother ! foster-brother ! as much as you
please ! I must make you understand me better : my
noble pupil does not want it to be known now that he
remained out at nurse until he was sixteen; that an-
noys him terribly. And then you must see that a mar-
quis can't be the friend of a a a lady's maid; if you
should talk about him, it might make him blush."

" Blush ! " cried Louise, putting her handkerchief to
her eyes. " What ! monsieur le Cherubin blush be-
cause of my friendship, my acquaintance? Oh! never
fear, monsieur ; I shall never speak of him, I shall never
mention his name."

" That is very well, flavia! No, you are not a
blonde. Come, come ! don't weep any more about that ;
what I say doesn't prevent the marquis from still being
interested in you, and myself as well. I will say no more
now, young Louise, but be virtuous and prudent ; do not
joke with the young men; if anyone should presume to
take any equivocal liberty with you, scratch the insolent
knave's face; for you must keep yourself free from
stain, like the Paschal Lamb, until But, mum's the
word I I will go no farther now."

Louise had ceased to listen; she was thinking of
Cherubin, who was ashamed of knowing her; and that
idea destroyed all the pleasure she had enjoyed in the
fact of going to Paris.

Meanwhile, the cab had entered the city; Monsieur
Gerondif told the driver to take them to Faubourg Saint-
Honore, whereupon Louise exclaimed:

" Is it near Monsieur Cherubin's house ? "

" Not very far, my child ; in fact there are no distances
in Paris now; the six-sou carriages take you to all
quarters of the city, and you don't even need to know
the way, which is very convenient for strangers."



250 THE BASHFUL LOVER

The carriage stopped in front of a handsome house
which Monsieur Gerondif pointed out to the driver, very
near Rue de la Concorde. The tutor helped Louise to
alight and carried his gallantry so far as to offer to
carry her bundle.

" Follow me," he said ; " it's in this house, on the
second floor; a magnificent apartment; they're very
swell people. See how this staircase is polished! It
doesn't look much like our village hovels, which are
floored with mud."

As he spoke, the professor slipped down two stairs and
nearly broke his neck on the waxed staircase ; perhaps it
was a punishment from on high for his ingratitude to
the village. But he clung to the rail, muttering: " Ne
quid nimis! They put on too much wax."

Louise followed Monsieur Gerondif; she was slightly
tremulous and covered with confusion at the thought
that she was about to appear before people whom she
did not know, and that she must remain alone amid those
surroundings which were so strange to her. She heaved
a profound sigh and invoked the memory of Cherubin to
sustain her courage.

It was Comtois that was the name of Monsieur de
Noirmont's servant who received Monsieur Gerondif
when he introduced his protegee. Louise's aspect could
not fail to prepossess everybody in her favor, and the
valet smiled with satisfaction as he said:

" Ah ! mademoiselle seems to have every quality likely
to give pleasure here : a gentle, unaffected manner. I am
sure that she will please our young Mademoiselle Ernes-
tine, who has said to me several times : ' Above all things,
Comtois, I want a young lady's maid, because if I have an
old one, I shall not dare to give her any orders, or to
laugh in her presence ! ' Mademoiselle is a very merry



L O UISE IN PARIS 2 5 1

young person ; a little quick-tempered, a little whimsical ;
but that is perfectly natural at her age, and she isn't the
least bit unkind with it all. When she loses her temper,
she asks our pardon; that isn't common with masters,
I tell you ! "

" This servant is very talkative ! " thought Monsieur
Gerondif, as he blew his nose.

Comtois, after looking at Louise again with a satisfied
air, continued:

" I will present mademoiselle at once. By the way,
what is your name ? "

" Louise, monsieur," replied the girl timidly.

" Louise very good ; that is your Christian name.
And your family name? sometimes one is very glad to
know that."

The girl blushed and lowered her eyes, without reply-
ing; but Monsieur Gerondif made haste to say:

" Louise Frimousset ; Frimousset is the name of this
young woman's parents."

Louise glanced at the tutor; but he had assumed a
solemn air, which seemed to indicate that it would not
be proper to contradict him, and that it was only after
mature reflection that he had replied; so the girl said
nothing.

" Frimou Frimousse Friquet," said Comtois.
" That's a queer name ; however, I only asked so that I
might know it ; for you understand of course that made-
moiselle will always be called by her baptismal name here.
As I was saying, I am going to present you now. If
madame was here, I should naturally take you to her
first; but madame has been absent a fortnight; she has
gone to see an aunt of hers, who's sick. She wanted to
take her daughter, but monsieur insisted on keeping
Mademoiselle Ernestine with him ; for, although he looks



252 THE BASHFUL LOVER

very stern, monsieur is very fond of her he never re-
fuses her anything; and sometimes I've even known him
to be angry with madame, because he claimed that she
spoke to mademoiselle too sharply, and that she didn't
love her. But, to be just, I must say that monsieur is
mistaken; I am sure that madame's very fond of her
daughter. However, it's true that sometimes she hardly
speaks to her, she responds coldly to her caresses; but
we all have days when we're in ill humor, more or less."

Monsieur Gerondif blew his nose at great length, say-
ing to himself:

" Is this never going to finish ? My worthy man," he
said to Comtois, " excuse me if I interrupt you ; but it
seems to me that it is not necessary for me to be present
at the introduction of our young Louise, as you tell me
that the business is settled. So I will take my leave,
urging you to watch over this child, as if she were your
niece."

" Never fear, monsieur ; mademoiselle is in a good
family ; I am quite sure that she won't be unhappy here."

" Adieu then, Louise, adieu ! I shall come to inquire
for you, to learn how you are getting on; in short, I
shan't lose sight of you ; you will always be my guiding
star, my object, my my polygon ! "

The girl offered her hand to Monsieur Gerondif, who
seemed inclined to kiss her, and said in an undertone:

" You will tell him that I am in Paris ; won't you,
monsieur? that I didn't hesitate to come, as he wished
it, but that it makes me very depressed not to see him,
and that my only desire "

" I shall say all that it is my duty to say," replied the
tutor, showing his teeth, although he had no desire to
smile. Then, turning quickly on his heel, he saluted
Comtois and went out.



L O UISE IN PARIS 253

The valet escorted him to the door, and Monsieur
Gerondif said in his ear:

" This girl is very pretty, and the men in Paris are
terribly licentious. I need not urge you to watch over
her innocence and not allow her to converse with floor-
washers."

" Monsieur," Comtois replied rather stiffly, " none but
respectable people are received in this house, and no
young girl will ever be ruined here. If the last lady's
maid was a giddy creature, it wasn't our fault; and at
all events she was discharged at once, as well as the
floor-washer."

" Your reply scatters all the clouds which might have
obscured my firmament. Adieu, excellent Comtois, I
repeat my assurances of esteem."

Monsieur Gerondif took his leave, and Comtois re-
turned to Louise, who was standing, lost in thought, in
the hall; he motioned to her to follow him, led her
through a salon, then opened the door of another room,
and said, standing in the doorway:

" Mademoiselle, this is the lady's maid I was expect-
ing; she has just arrived."

A voice replied at once from within the room :

" Oh ! let her come in, show her in at once ! I am
waiting so impatiently for her ! "

Comtois let Louise pass him; she stepped forward,
trembling and afraid to raise her eyes ; but she soon felt
reassured when young Ernestine exclaimed:

" Oh ! how pretty she is ! I like her very much !
Come, mademoiselle ; don't be afraid of me ; I am not a
bit terrible, am I, Comtois ? I am not stern, like mamma !
But, for all that, mamma's very kind, and papa too.
What is your name? "

" Louise, mademoiselle."



254 THE BASHFUL LOVER

" How old are you ? "

" Seventeen, mademoiselle."

" Seventeen ! Why, how tall you are ! and so strong !
I am fifteen I am rather small for fifteen, am I not ? "

Louise could not help smiling; and as she looked at
her who was to be her mistress, she felt a thrill of joy
at the aspect of that dainty creature, so like a child, whose
sparkling blue eyes were fixed on hers with a kindly
expression that instantly dissipated the terror that she
had felt on entering.

" Am I not very small for fifteen ? " repeated Ernestine,
after Louise had looked at her.

" You still have plenty of time to grow, mademoiselle."

" Oh, yes ! that is my only consolation. Have you been
in service in Paris before ? "

" No, mademoiselle, I am just from my village ; I
have never been in service anywhere, and I have no
doubt that I shall be very awkward at first ; but I promise
to pay close attention to whatever you tell me, so that
I may learn quickly and be able to satisfy you sooner."

Young Ernestine began to leap and dance about the
room; she seized Louise's hand and pressed it, crying:

" Oh ! I like to hear you talk like that ! I feel that
I shall love you dearly; indeed I love you already. I
either like a person instantly, or never! You will like
me too, won't you ? "

" That cannot be very difficult, mademoiselle, you seem
so kind and sweet ! "

" Ah ! I am very happy, Comtois. But has Louise
brought her bundle, all her clothes? Can she stay here
now?"

" Yes, mademoiselle," said Louise, " I have brought all
my clothes and I can stay with you now, if you care
to keep me."



L O UISE IN PARIS 255

" Certainly ; I don't mean to let you go. Comtois,
see that her chamber is prepared the little one behind
mine, you know. Be sure that she has everything that
she wants or needs."

" Never fear, mademoiselle."

" At all events, I will go myself to see if everything
is all right. You see," continued Ernestine with comical
gravity, " during mamma's absence I have to look out for
everything and take her place here. Go, Comtois, and
take Louise's things to her room; meanwhile I will take
her to my father. Is he in his study ? "

" Yes, mademoiselle."

" Come, Louise, don't be afraid ; he has rather a stern
manner, but he isn't unkind."

" Suppose that monsieur your father should not like
me ? " murmured Louise timidly ; " suppose he should
think me too young to be in your service, mademoiselle ? "

" Oh ! don't worry about that ; as soon as I tell him
that you suit me, father won't think of sending you away."

Ernestine led the way through her mother's bedroom,
then through another smaller room, and knocked at a
door, saying:

" It's I, papa."

And Monsieur de Noirmont's sharp voice replied:

"Well! what is it now?"

The pretty minx opened the door of her father's study,
passed her head only through the opening, and said:

" Are you busy ? I have come to introduce someone."

"Who is it?"

"A new lady's maid who has been engaged for me,
and who has just arrived."

" The idea of disturbing me for a lady's maid ! What
have I to do with such matters? Really, Ernestine, you
wear out my patience."



256 THE BASHFUL LOVER

" Oh ! don't be cross with me, papa ! But as mamma
is away, you must see my new maid ; I can't manage the
house all alone ! " ? .

" Well ! bring her in," rejoined Monsieur de Noirmont
in a gentler tone ; " where is she ? let us have it over."

Ernestine led Louise into the room ; the girl cast down
her eyes, and felt that she was trembling, for Monsieur
de Noirmont's voice was far from being as sweet as his
daughter's.

After scrutinizing for some time the village maid who
stood before him, Monsieur de Noirmont asked her:

" How old are you ? "

Before Louise could reply, little Ernestine exclaimed:

" She is seventeen ; isn't she very tall for her age,
papa? and isn't she lovely? I like her so much! Her
name is Louise ; she has never been in service, but I am
glad of that, because I can train her according to my
ideas."

Monsieur de Noirmont with difficulty restrained a
smile, provoked by his daughter's speech.

" It seems to me," he said, " that this girl is too much
of a child to be in your service."

" Why so, papa ? On the contrary, see how sensible
she is! Besides, I tell you that I will train her, and
Comtois has had only the best reports of her."

" All right, if she suits you. What part of the country
do you come from ? "

" From Gagny, monsieur," replied Louise tremulously.

" Gagny ? Why, that is very near Paris. Your
parents are laboring people, no doubt?"

"Yes yes, monsieur," faltered Louise, in an almost
unintelligible voice.

" And instead of keeping their daughter at home, they
send her out to service in Paris ! However, it seems to



L O UISE IN PARIS 257

be the custom in the country! and still people extol the
morals of the rural districts! But you seem modest and
respectable, my girl, and I am glad to believe that your
conduct will not belie the promise of your face. Besides,
I know Comtois, and I rely upon his prudence. Go, go ! "

Monsieur de Noirmont motioned to them to leave him ;
but his daughter ran to him and kissed him; then she
hastened from the room with Louise, and closed the door,
saying :

" That's over ; I was sure that it would come out all
right."

Young Ernestine next took Louise to a pretty little
room which was to be her own. The sweet child made
sure that her new maid was provided with everything that
she needed, and displayed so much interest in her that
Louise, who was deeply touched, thanked heaven for
bringing her to that house.

The first day was employed by Ernestine in giving in-
structions to Louise, and she, not knowing how to lie,
frankly confessed to her young mistress that she was
entirely ignorant of the duties of her position, and that
she must beg her to be as indulgent as possible. Ernes-
tine repeated emphatically that she would have no diffi-
culty in training her and that she need not worry.

In Monsieur de Noirmont's family, the valet ordinarily
waited at table, unless there were many guests at dinner ;
so that the duties of the lady's maid were limited to wait-
ing on the two ladies, assisting them to dress, and work-
ing almost all the time for them, or at some household
work.

Louise could sew very well ; she was active and clever,
and she very soon learned what was expected of her;
moreover, Ernestine taught her to embroider, to make
tapestry, and to do innumerable little things that women



258 THE BASHFUL LOVER

do; things which are unknown in villages, but which it
is essential to know in Paris.

Louise made rapid progress, and Ernestine said to her
father :

" Oh ! if you knew how much I like my maid ! "

" Is she so very clever ? " inquired Monsieur de Noir-
mont.

" Clever yes ; but she knew nothing at all ; I have
shown her everything."

" What do you say ? that girl knew nothing ? "

" What difference does it make ? When I show her
anything, in two days she does it better than I do. Oh !
I am sure that mamma will congratulate me for engaging
her."

Louise's modest and serious manner eventually won
Monsieur de Noirmont's good-will as well as his
daughter's, and he spoke to her less coldly. Comtois was
delighted with his new fellow-servant, and the cook was
never tired of extolling her extreme sweetness of temper.
As for Ernestine, although she sometimes lost her pa-
tience and cried out, when her maid was awkward about
dressing her, the next moment she would run to her and
kiss her, and beg her not to be offended by her quick
temper. In fact, each day that passed increased her af-
fection for Louise, and the latter would have been happy
in her new position, had not the thought of Cherubin
constantly filled her mind. But she was beginning to lose
all hope of seeing him in Paris, for she very rarely left
the house, and only to do errands for her young mistress
in the shops nearby.

Louise had been in Ernestine's service three weeks,
when her mistress said to her one morning :

" Mamma is coming home at last ! Papa has just told
me that she will be here in three days. I am awfully glad,



THE FIRST RENDEZVOUS 259

for she has been away nearly six weeks, and I long to see
her. Oh ! what joy ! Then I shall have everything I
want. And mamma will like you too; I am sure that
she will be as pleased with you as I am."

Louise made no reply, but she felt deeply moved; she
could not understand her own perturbation when she
learned that she was to see Madame de Noirmont.



XXI

THE FIRST RENDEZVOUS THE PERFUMERY

Cherubin followed Darena's advice; he wrote a very
amorous, but very timid, note for the young woman he
had seen at the play. On the following day Darena
called upon his friend in good season and found him
finishing his lovelorn espistle.

" Are you writing to the lovely foreigner ? " asked
Darena, dropping into an easy-chair.

" Yes, my dear fellow, I have just finished my letter,
which you have promised to forward to its destination."

" Parbleu ! cannot one do anything with money ? Do
not all obstacles vanish before it? Valets, maid-servants
can be bribed, duennas and concierges corrupted. I will
spend money in profusion."

As he spoke, the count slapped his pockets, then ex-
claimed :

" But in order to spend it, I must have it, and I find
that my pockets are empty."

Cherubin went to his desk and took out several rou-
leaux of gold pieces, which he handed to Darena, saying :



2<5o THE BASHFUL LOVER

" Take this, my dear fellow, take this ; don't spare it.
Reward generously all who help to forward my love."

" You do not need to give me that injunction ; I will
play the magnificent, the Buckingham ! After all, you are
rich, and if you did not use your fortune to gratify your
wishes, really it wouldn't be worth while to have it. Is
your note very ardent ? "

" Why, I think that it is very honorable "

" Honorable ! that's not what we want, my dear friend.
Come, read me what you have written, and let me see
if it's all right."

Cherubin took up the letter and read :

" ' I ask your pardon, madame, for the liberty that I
take in writing you, but ' "

Darena's roar of laughter interrupted Cherubin, who
inquired :

"What are you laughing at? Isn't it all right?"

" Ha ! ha ! ha ! Your innocence is enchanting ; one
would think that it was a letter from a boy to his aunt
on her birthday. Let's hear the rest."

Cherubin continued:

" ' But I should deem myself most fortunate if I might
have the pleasure of making your acquaintance. My
family is well known, I am received in the best society,
and ' "

" Enough ! enough ! " cried Darena, rising. " That
won't do, my dear fellow ; you are on the wrong track ! "
" Do you think that my letter is too bold ? "
" On the contrary, it isn't bold enough ! She would
laugh at you when she read it."



THE FIRST RENDEZVOUS 261

" Remember that this is the first time I ever wrote a
billet-doux, and I don't know how they are usually ex-
pressed."

" Take your pen again and write what I dictate."

" All right, I prefer that."

Cherubin seated himself at his desk again and Darena
dictated :

" O woman more than adored ! I burn, I wither, I
languish! Your eyes are the flame, your smile the
brazier, my heart the conflagration ! You have set fire to
my whole being. A word of love, of hope, or I will not
answer for the consequences I will kill myself at your
feet, before your eyes, in your arms ! Derision ! damna-
tion ! if you do not answer ! "

Cherubin ceased to write.

" Great heaven, my dear count ! " he exclaimed ; " why,
that is horrible ! "

" It is what you need."

" And then, I must admit that I don't clearly under-
stand the letter."

" If you understood it, the charm would be destroyed."

" Why not write simply, as one speaks ? "

" Because three-fourths of the women, who are im-
pervious to seduction by what is simple and natural,
are delighted when a man seems to have lost his head
for love of them. Trust me; this note will deliver the
heart of the lovely Pole into your keeping. Sign that
and give it to me."

Cherubin did as he was told.

" By the way," said Darena, as he took the letter,
" don't mention this intrigue to your Monsieur de Mon-
freville."



262 THE BASHFUL LOVER

"Why not?"

" In the first place, because an intrigue with such
distinguished persons as these Poles requires to be con-
ducted with the utmost secrecy. Monfreville is very in-
quisitive and very talkative; he would want to see the
lovely foreigner and that would spoil everything."


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