A Poor Wise Man
"Well?" she demanded. "Go out for a minute, Castle."
Mademoiselle waited until the maid had gone.
"I have spoken to Ellen," she said, her voice cautious. "A young man who does
not care for women, a clerk in a country pharmacy. What is that, Mrs. Cardew?"
"It would be so dreadful, Mademoiselle. Her grandfather - "
"But not handsome," insisted Mademoiselle, "and lame! Also, I know the child.
She is not in love. When that comes to her we shall know it."
Grace lay back, relieved, but not entirely comforted.
"She is changed, isn't she, Mademoiselle?"
Mademoiselle shrugged her shoulders.
"A phase," she said. She had got the word from old Anthony, who regarded any
mental attitude that did not conform with his own as a condition that would pass.
"A phase, only. Now that she is back among familiar things, she will become
again a daughter of the house."
"Then you think this talk about marrying beneath her - "
"She 'as had liberty," said Mademoiselle, who sometimes lost an aspirate. "It is
like wine to the young. It intoxicates. But it, too, passes. In my country.
But Grace had, for a number of years, heard a great deal of Mademoiselle's
country. She settled herself on her pillows.
"Call Castle, please," she said. "And - do warn her not to voice those ideas of
hers to her grandfather. In a country pharmacy, you say?"
"And lame, and not fond of women," corroborated Mademoiselle. "Ca ne pourrait
pas etre mieux, n'est-ce pas?"