I love my things, said Mr Rosier as he sat there flushed with all his recognitions. But its not about them, nor about yours, that I came to talk to you. He paused a moment and then, with greater softness: I care more for Miss Osmond than for all the bibelots in Europe!
Madame Merle opened wide eyes. Did you come to tell me that?
I came to ask your advice.
She looked at him with a friendly frown, stroking her chin with her large white hand. A man in love, you know, doesnt ask advice.
Why not, if hes in a difficult position? Thats often the case with a man in love. Ive been in love before, and I know. But never so much as this timereally never so much. I should like particularly to know what you think of my prospects. Im afraid that for Mr Osmond Im notwell, a real collectors piece.
Do you wish me to intercede? Madame Merle asked with her fine arms folded and her handsome mouth drawn up to the left.
If you could say a good word for me I should be greatly obliged. There will be no use in my troubling Miss Osmond unless I have good reason to believe her father will consent.
Youre very considerate; thats in your favour. But you assume in rather an off-hand way that I think you a prize.
Youve been very kind to me, said the young man. Thats why I came.
Im always kind to people who have good Louis Quatorze. Its very rare now, and theres no telling what one may get by it. With which the left-hand corner of Madame Merles mouth gave expression to the joke.
But he looked, in spite of it, literally apprehensive and consistently strenuous. Ah, I thought you liked me for myself!
I like you very much; but, if you please, we wont analyse. Pardon me if I seem patronizing, but I think you a perfect little gentleman. I must tell you, however, that Ive not the marrying of Pansy Osmond.
I didnt suppose that. But youve seemed to me intimate with her family, and I thought you might have influence.
Madame Merle considered. Whom do you call her family?
Why, her father; andhow do you say it in English?her belle-mère.2
Mr Osmonds her father, certainly; but his wife can scarcely be termed a member of her family. Mrs Osmond has nothing to do with marrying her.
Im sorry for that, said Rosier with an amiable sigh of good faith. I think Mrs Osmond would favour me.
Very likelyif her husband doesnt.
He raised his eyebrows. Does she take the opposite line from him?
In everything. They think quite differently.
Well, said Rosier, Im sorry for that; but its none of my business. Shes very fond of Pansy.
Yes, shes very fond of Pansy.
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