The Man and the Moment HTML version

T HE Père Anselme was uneasy. Very little escaped his observation, and he saw at tea
that his much loved Dame d'Héronac was not herself. She had not been herself the night
before at dinner either—there was more in the coming of these two Englishmen than met
the eye. He had seen her with Michael in the morning in the summer-house from a corner
of the garden, too, where he was having a heated argument with the gardener in chief, as
well as when he met them on the causeway bridge. He felt it his duty to do something to
smooth matters, but what he could not decide. Perhaps she would tell him about it on the
morrow, when he met her as was his custom on days that were not saints' days interfered
with by mass.
"I shall be at the gate at nine o'clock, ma fille," he said, when he wished her good-day.
"With your permission, we must decide about the clematis trellis for the north wall
without delay."
Henry accompanied the old man on his walk back to the village—and they conversed in
cultivated and stilted French of philosophy and of Breton fisher-folk, and of the strange,
melancholy type they seemed to have.
"They look ever out to sea," the priest said; "they are watching the deep waters and are
conscious forever of their own and loved ones' dangers—they are de braves gens."
"It seems so wonderful that anything so young and full of life as Mrs. Howard should
have been drawn to live in such an isolated place, does it not, mon père?" Henry asked.
"It seems incongruous."
"When she came first she was very sad. She had cause for much sorrow, the dear child—
and the sea was her mate; together she and I, with the sea, have studied many things. She
deserves happiness, Monsieur, her soul is as pure and as generous as an angel's—if
Monsieur knew what she does for my poor people and for all who come under her care!"
"It will be the endeavor of my life to make her happy, Father," and Lord Fordyce's voice
was full of feeling.
"Happiness can only be secured in two ways, my son. Either it comes in the guise of
peace, after the flames have burnt themselves out—or it comes through fusion of love at
fever heat——"
"Yes?" Henry faltered, rather anxiously.