even a tooth . . . and now let's examine the contents of this precious casket."
De Boussac grinned, waiting with every appearance of confidence for her approval. But Lina, gravely peering inside the little box, now looked up with the stricken gaze of one who is immeasurably distressed by the stupidity of her fellow creatures.
"My poor Gaston, what does this mean?"
"But what? What's the matter?"
"Oh, really, you know, Paride, young men nowadays are too stupid to live! Gaston, here, wants to make some sacrifice to show how much he loves me. Very well, I teil him that he may. I send him away vowing to me that he will return to-day with one of his front teeth extracted! And what does he do, I ask you? What does the imbecile do? Look, Paride, he can't even be bothered to listen when I talk to him, and so he brings me a back tooth!"
"But, Mademoiselle Lina, I assure you—you said "
began De Boussac, stuttering.
"Oh, don't trouble to make excuses! Be off with you, now, Gaston, and another time, when a lady is talking to you, at least do her the favor of listening to what she says."
"You have behaved outrageously to my cousin," De Beauvais pronounced pompously, when he called upon her later.
"I know, I know! Don't scold me, Pierre. I can't understand how it is, but lately I only seem to take pleasure in teasing people."
Sometimes, but rarely, she went to Fontainebleau to see her son. Paul was still a small undersized baby, with a precociously grave face and sad dark eyes.
"He doesn't smile much, does he?" Lina said doubtfully to the nurse.
"He's still so young, Madame. Only wait until he is a