I Will Repay HTML version
Chapter III. Hospitality
"Is there anything more I can do for you now, mademoiselle?"
The gentle, timid voice roused Juliette from the contemplation of the past.
She smiled at Anne Mie, and held her hand out towards her.
"You have all been so kind," she said, "I want to get up now and thank you all."
"Don't move unless you feel quite well."
"I am quite well now. Those horrid people frightened me so, that is why I fainted."
"They would have half-killed you, if..."
"Will you tell me where I am?" asked Juliette.
"In the house of M. Paul Déroulède--I should have said of Citizen-Deputy
Déroulède. He rescued you from the mob, and pacified them. He has such a
beautiful voice that he can make anyone listen to him, and..."
"And you are fond of him, mademoiselle?" added Juliette, suddenly feeling a mist
of tears rising to her eyes.
"Of course I am fond of him," rejoined the other girl simply, whilst a look of the
most tender-hearted devotion seemed to beautify her pale face. "He and
Madame Déroulède have brought me up; I never knew my parents. They have
cared for me, and he has taught me all I know."
"What do they call you, mademoiselle?"
"My name is Anne Mie."
"And mine, Juliette--Juliette Marny," she added after a slight hesitation. "I have
no parents either. My old nurse, Pétronelle, has brought me up, and--But tell me
more about M. Déroulède--I owe him so much, I'd like to know him better."
"Will you not let me arrange your hair?" said Anne Mie as if purposely evading a
direct reply. "M. Déroulède is in the salon with madame. You can see him then."
Juliette asked no more questions, but allowed Anne Mie to tidy her hair for her, to
lend her a fresh kerchief and generally to efface all traces of her terrible
adventure. She felt puzzled and tearful. Anne Mie's gentleness seemed
somehow to jar on her spirits. She could not understand the girl's position in the
Déroulède household. Was she a relative, or a superior servant? In these
troublous times she might easily have been both.
In any case she was a childhood's companion of the Citizen-Deputy-- whether on
an equal or a humbler footing, Juliette would have given much to ascertain.
With the marvellous instinct peculiar to women of temperament, she had already
divined Anne Mie's love for Déroulède. The poor young cripple's very soul
seemed to quiver magnetically at the bare mention of his name, her whole face
became transfigured: Juliette even thought her beautiful then.
She looked at herself critically in the glass, and adjusted a curl, which looked its
best when it was rebellious. She scrutinised her own face carefully; why? she
could not tell: another of those subtle feminine instincts perhaps.
The becoming simplicity of the prevailing mode suited her to perfection. The
waist line, rather high but clearly defined--a precursor of the later more
accentuated fashion--gave grace to her long slender limbs, and emphasised the