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El Dorado

32.
Sisters
The morning found her fagged out, but more calm. Later on she managed to
drink some coffee, and having washed and dressed, she prepared to go out.
Sir Andrew appeared in time to ascertain her wishes.
"I promised Percy to go to the Rue de Charonne in the late afternoon," she said.
"I have some hours to spare, and mean to employ them in trying to find speech
with Mademoiselle Lange."
"Blakeney has told you where she lives?"
"Yes. In the Square du Roule. I know it well. I can be there in half an hour."
He, of course, begged to be allowed to accompany her, and anon they were
walking together quickly up toward the Faubourg St. Honore. The snow had
ceased falling, but it was still very cold, but neither Marguerite nor Sir Andrew
were conscious of the temperature or of any outward signs around them. They
walked on silently until they reached the torn-down gates of the Square du Roule;
there Sir Andrew parted from Marguerite after having appointed to meet her an
hour later at a small eating-house he knew of where they could have some food
together, before starting on their long expedition to the Rue de Charonne.
Five minutes later Marguerite Blakeney was shown in by worthy Madame
Belhomme, into the quaint and pretty drawing-room with its soft-toned hangings
and old-world air of faded grace. Mademoiselle Lange was sitting there, in a
capacious armchair, which encircled her delicate figure with its frame-work of dull
old gold.
She was ostensibly reading when Marguerite was announced, for an open book
lay on a table beside her; but it seemed to the visitor that mayhap the young girl's
thoughts had played truant from her work, for her pose was listless and
apathetic, and there was a look of grave trouble upon the childlike face.
She rose when Marguerite entered, obviously puzzled at the unexpected visit,
and somewhat awed at the appearance of this beautiful woman with the sad look
in her eyes.
"I must crave your pardon, mademoiselle," said Lady Blakeney as soon as the
door had once more closed on Madame Belhomme, and she found herself alone
with the young girl. "This visit at such an early hour must seem to you an
intrusion. But I am Marguerite St. Just, and--"
Her smile and outstretched hand completed the sentence.
"St. Just!" exclaimed Jeanne.
"Yes. Armand's sister!"
A swift blush rushed to the girl's pale cheeks; her brown eyes expressed
unadulterated joy. Marguerite, who was studying her closely, was conscious that
her poor aching heart went out to this exquisite child, the far-off innocent cause
of so much misery.
Jeanne, a little shy, a little confused and nervous in her movements, was pulling
a chair close to the fire, begging Marguerite to sit. Her words came out all the
while in short jerky sentences, and from time to time she stole swift shy glances
at Armand's sister.
 
 
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