Moreover, Queue-en-Brie was not a diverting place— a village of farriers and herd-girls with rough hands, a straggling row of squalid huts and cabins bordering the high-road for half a league— in short, a world’s end.

Fleur-de-Lys was his last flame but one, a pretty girl, a charming dot; and so one fine morning, being quite cured of his wound, and fairly presuming that after the interval of two months the business of the gipsy girl must be over and forgotten, the amorous cavalier pranced up in high feather to the door of the ancestral mansion of the Gondelauriers. He paid no attention to a very numerous crowd collecting in the Place du Parvis before the great door of Notre-Dame. Remembering that it was the month of May, he concluded that it was some procession— some Whitsuntide or other festival—tied his steed up to the ring at the porch, and gaily ascended the stair to his fair betrothed.

He found her alone with her mother.

On the heart of Fleur-de-Lys the scene of the gipsy with her goat and its accursed alphabet, combined with her lover’s long absences, still weighed heavily. Nevertheless, when she saw her captain enter, she found him so handsome in his brand-new doublet and shining baldrick, and wearing so impassioned an air, that she blushed with pleasure. The noble damsel herself was more charming than ever. Her magnificent golden tresses were braided to perfection, she was robed in that azure blue which so well becomes a blonde— a piece of coquetry she had learned from Colombe— and her eyes were swimming in that dewy languor which is still more becoming.

Phœbus, who in the matter of beauty had been reduced to the country wenches of Queue-en-Brie, was ravished by Fleur-de-Lys, which lent our officer so pressing and gallant an air that his peace was made forthwith. The Lady of Gondelaurier herself, still maternally seated in her great chair, had not the heart to scold him. As for Fleur-de-Lys, her reproaches died away in tender cooings.

The young lady was seated near the window still engaged upon her grotto of Neptune. The captain leaned over the back of her seat, while she murmured her fond upbraidings.

“What have you been doing with yourself these two long months, unkind one?”

“I swear,” answered Phœbus, somewhat embarrassed by this question, “that you are beautiful enough to make an archbishop dream.”

She could not repress a smile.

“Go to— go to, sir. Leave the question of my beauty and answer me. Fine beauty, to be sure!”

Well, dearest cousin, I was in garrison.”

“And where, if you please? and why did you not come and bid me adieu?”

“At Queue-en-Brie.”

Phœbus was delighted that the first question had helped him to elude the second.

“But that is quite near, monsieur; how is it you never once came to see me?”

This was seriously embarrassing.

“Because— well— the service— and besides, charming cousin, I have been ill.”

“Ill?” she exclaimed in alarm.

“Yes— wounded.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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