The Professor HTML version

Chapter 24
ONE fine, frosty Sunday in November, Frances and I took a long walk; we made
the tour of the city by the Boulevards; and, afterwards, Frances being a little tired,
we sat down on one of those wayside seats placed under the trees, at intervals,
for the accommodation of the weary. Frances was telling me about Switzerland;
the subject animated her; and I was just thinking that her eyes spoke full as
eloquently as her tongue, when she stopped and remarked--
"Monsieur, there is a gentleman who knows you."
I looked up; three fashionably dressed men were just then passing--Englishmen,
I knew by their air and gait as well as by their features; in the tallest of the trio I at
once recognized Mr. Hunsden; he was in the act of lifting his hat to Frances;
afterwards, he made a grimace at me, and passed on.
"Who is he?"
"A person I knew in England."
"Why did he bow to me? He does not know me."
"Yes, he does know you, in his way."
"How, monsieur?" (She still called me "monsieur"; I could not persuade her to
adopt any more familiar term.)
"Did you not read the expression of his eyes?"
"Of his eyes? No. What did they say?"
"To you they said, 'How do you do, Wilhelmina, Crimsworth?' To me, 'So you
have found your counterpart at last; there she sits, the female of your kind!'"
"Monsieur, you could not read all that in his eyes; He was so soon gone."
"I read that and more, Frances; I read that he will probably call on me this
evening, or on some future occasion shortly; and I have no doubt he will insist on
being introduced to you; shall I bring him to your rooms?"
"If you please, monsieur--I have no objection; I think, indeed, I should rather like
to see him nearer; he looks so original."
As I had anticipated, Mr. Hunsden came that evening. The first thing he said
"You need not begin boasting, Monsieur le Professeur; I know about your
appointment to -- College, and all that; Brown has told me." Then he intimated
that he had returned from Germany but a day or two since; afterwards, he
abruptly demanded whether that was Madame Pelet-Reuter with whom he had
seen me on the Boulevards. I was going to utter a rather emphatic negative, but
on second thoughts I checked myself, and, seeming to assent, asked what he
thought of her?
"As to her, I'll come to that directly; but first I've a word for you. I see you are a
scoundrel; you've no business to be promenading about with another man's wife.
I thought you had sounder sense than to get mixed up in foreign hodge-podge of
this sort."
"But the lady?"
"She's too good for you evidently; she is like you, but something better than you--
no beauty, though; yet when she rose (for I looked back to see you both walk