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Chateau of Prince Polignac
by [?]

Mrs. Thompson, holding Mimmy by the hand, walked into the room some few minutes after the last bell had been rung, and took the place which was now hers by custom. The gentlemen who constantly frequented the house all bowed to her, but M. Lacordaire rose from his seat and offered her his hand.

“And how is Mees Meemy this morning?” said he; for ’twas thus he always pronounced her name.

Miss Mimmy, answering for herself, declared that she was very well, and suggested that M. Lacordaire should give her a fig from off a dish that was placed immediately before him on the table. This M. Lacordaire did, presenting it very elegantly between his two fingers, and making a little bow to the little lady as he did so.

“Fie, Mimmy!” said her mother; “why do you ask for the things before the waiter brings them round?”

“But, mamma,” said Mimmy, speaking English, “M. Lacordaire always gives me a fig every morning.”

“M. Lacordaire always spoils you, I think,” answered Mrs. Thompson, in French. And then they went thoroughly to work at their breakfast. During the whole meal M. Lacordaire attended assiduously to his neighbour; and did so without any evil result, except that one Frenchman with a black moustache, at the head of the table, trod on the toe of another Frenchman with another black moustache– winking as he made the sign–just as M. Lacordaire, having selected a bunch of grapes, put it on Mrs. Thompson’s plate with infinite grace. But who among us all is free from such impertinences as these?

“But madame really must see the chateau of Prince Polignac before she leaves Le Puy,” said M. Lacordaire.

“The chateau of who?” asked Mimmy, to whose young ears the French words were already becoming familiar.

“Prince Polignac, my dear. Well, I really don’t know, M. Lacordaire;–I have seen a great deal of the place already, and I shall be going now very soon; probably in a day or two,” said Mrs. Thompson.

“But madame must positively see the chateau,” said M. Lacordaire, very impressively; and then after a pause he added, “If madame will have the complaisance to commission me to procure a carriage for this afternoon, and will allow me the honour to be her guide, I shall consider myself one of the most fortunate of men.”

“Oh, yes, mamma, do go,” said Mimmy, clapping her hands. “And it is Thursday, and Lilian can go with us.”

“Be quiet, Mimmy, do. Thank you, no, M. Lacordaire. I could not go to-day; but I am extremely obliged by your politeness.”

M. Lacordaire still pressed the matter, and Mrs. Thompson still declined till it was time to rise from the table. She then declared that she did not think it possible that she should visit the chateau before she left Le Puy; but that she would give him an answer at dinner.

The most tedious time in the day to Mrs. Thompson were the two hours after breakfast. At one o’clock she daily went to the school, taking Mimmy, who for an hour or two shared her sister’s lessons. This and her little excursions about the place, and her shopping, managed to make away with her afternoon. Then in the evening, she generally saw something of M. Lacordaire. But those two hours after breakfast were hard of killing.

On this occasion, when she gained her own room, she as usual placed Mimmy on the sofa with a needle. Her custom then was to take up a novel; but on this morning she sat herself down in her arm-chair, and resting her head upon her hand and elbow, began to turn over certain circumstances in her mind.

“Mamma,” said Mimmy, “why won’t you go with M. Lacordaire to that place belonging to the prince? Prince–Polly something, wasn’t it?”

“Mind your work, my dear,” said Mrs. Thompson.

“But I do so wish you’d go, mamma. What was the prince’s name?”