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Chapter 31

Lina was dressing, half-naked in a froth of lace petticoats, when, in response to imperious calls, Marie hastened into the bedroom, hiding a letter in her apron.

"Where have you been? How can I dress myself when you have not even laced my stays?"

"Mademoiselle "

"And don't say Mademoiselle. How many times must I teil you that now I like to be called Madame?"

"Madame, then. If Madame would only stay still a moment . . . there. I have here a letter from Monsieur Heinrich."

"Heinrich? I don't want to open it."

"But it is not for Mademoi—for Madame. It is for me. It was written to me."

"Give me my powder puff. Monsieur is waiting all this time. Why should Heinrich write to you?"

"But, Madame, he is distraught. He is at his wits' end! He begs only for ten minutes' interview with Madame. That, he says, will suffice. He "

"I don't want to hear anything about it. Why can't he leave me alone? Give me the cashmere shawl. Good heavens, am I unable to have even a few weeks' holiday without Heinrich pursuing me from morning till night?"

"But Madame has been down here for two months, now "

"If I stay two years, it's entirely my own affair. Teil him to leave me in peace, and you leave me in peace, too, Marie. All this time, while you are delaying me, Monsieur is waiting down in the garden, and he'11 scold me for taking so long to dress."