But he merely nodded. “So do the Crocans, I fancy,” he said. “It is rumoured that he is preparing something against them.”

“You know that?” she exclaimed in surprise.

“Without being omniscient,” he answered smiling. “I heard it in Barbesieux. It was that, perhaps,” he continued shrewdly, “which you wished to tell your brother yesterday.”

On that she was near confessing all to him and telling him, in spite of her resolutions, where on the next day he could find her brother. But she clung to her decision, and a minute later he rose and moved away in the direction of the house.

When they met at table the mystery of the Vicomte’s sudden impulse to hospitality, which was something of a puzzle to her, began to clear.

It had its origin in nothing more substantial than his vanity; which was tickled by the opportunity of talking to a man who, with some pretensions to gentility, could be 杭州洗浴爽 patronised. A little, too, he thought of the figure he had made the night before. It was possible that the stranger had been unfavourably impressed. That impression the Vicomte thought he must remove, and to that end he laboured, after his manner, to be courteous to his guest. But as his talk consisted, and had long consisted, of little but sneers and gibes at the companions of his fallen fortunes, his civility found its only


vent in this direction.

Des Ageaux indeed would gladly have had less of his civility. More than once–though he was not fastidious–his cheek coloured with shame, and willingly would he, had that been all, have told the Vicomte what he thought of his witticisms. But he had his cards sorted, his course arranged. Circumstances had played for him in the dangerous game on which he was embarked, and he would have 杭州养生按摩会所 been unworldly indeed had he been willing to cast away, for a point of feeling–he who was no knight-errant–the advantages he had gained.

Not that he did not feel strongly for the two whose affection for one another touched him. Roger’s deformity appealed to him, for he fancied that he detected in the lad a spirit which those who knew him better, but knew only his gentler side, did not suspect. And the girl who


had grown from child to woman in the rustic stillness of this moated house–that once had rung with the tread of armed heels and been gay with festive robes and tourneys, but now was sinking fast into a lonely farmstead–she too awakened some interest in the man of the world, who smiled to find himself embedded for the time in a life so alien from his every-day experiences. Concern he felt for the one and the other; but 杭州夜生活论坛 such concern as weighed light in the balance against the interests he held in his hands, or even against his own selfish interest.

It soon appeared that the Vicomte had another motive for hospitality, in the desire to dazzle the stranger by the splendours of his eldest daughter, on whom he continued to harp. “There is still one of us,” he said with senile vanity–“I doubt if, from the specimens you have seen, you will believe it–who is not entirely as God made her! Thank the Lord for that! Who is neither clod nor clout, sir, but has as much fashion as goes to the making of a modest gentlewoman.”

His guest looked gravely at him. “I look forward much to seeing her, M. le Vicomte!” he said for the tenth time.

“Ay, you may say so!” the Vicomte answered. “For in her you will see a Villeneuve, and the last of the line!” with a scowl 杭州足疗一条街在哪里 at Roger. “Neither a lout with his boots full of hay-seeds–pah! nor a sulky girl with as much manner as God gave her, and not a jot to it! Nice company I have, M. des Voeux,” he continued bitterly. “Did you say des Voeux–I never heard the name?”

“Yes, M. le Vicomte.”

“Nice company, I say, for a Villeneuve in his old age! What think you of it? Before Coutras, where was an end of the good old days, and the good old gentrice—-”

“You were at Coutras?”

“Ay, to my cost, a curse on it! But before Coutras, I say, I had at least their mother, who was a Monclar from Rouergue. She had at any rate a tongue and could speak. And my daughter the Abbess takes after her, though may-be more after me, as you will think when you see her. She will be here, she says, to-morrow, for a night or two.” This he told for the fifth time that evening.