Jeanne Of The Marshes
The Princess arranged her skirts so that they drooped gracefully, and turned
upon her companion with one of those slow mysterious smiles, which many
people described but none could imitate.
"Mr. De la Borne," she said, "I can talk to you as I could not talk to your brother,
because you are an older and a wiser man. You may not have seen much of the
world, but you are at any rate not a young idiot like Cecil. Will you listen to me,
"It seems to me," Andrew answered drily, "that I am already doing so."
"I am not going to ask you," she continued, "whether you are in love with my little
girl or not, because the whole thing is too ridiculous. I have no doubt that she has
some sort of a fancy for you. It is evident that she has. I want you to remember
that she is fresh from school, that as yet she has not entered life, and that a few
months ago she did not know a man from a gate-post."
"An admirable simile," Andrew murmured.
"What I want you to understand is," the Princess continued, "that as yet she
cannot possibly be in a position to make up her mind as to her future. She has
seen nothing of the world, and what she has seen has been the least favourable
side. She has a perfectly enormous fortune, so ridiculously tied up that although I
am never out of debt and always borrowing money, I cannot touch a penny of it,
not even with her help. Very soon she will be of age, and the amount of her
fortune will be known. I can assure you that it will be a surprise to every one."
Andrew bowed his head indifferently.
"Very possibly," he answered, "and yet, madam, if your daughter has the wisdom
to see that the matter of her wealth is after all but a trifle amongst the conditions