He gives me strength and courage every time I look at Him."
And pausing in front of the Divinity standing amidst the waters, she murmured:
"How handsome he is.
How afraid of Him those men are, and yet how they love Him.
Look at His head, His eyes--how simple yet how supernatural at the same time."
Susan exclaimed, "But He resembles you, Pretty-boy.
I am sure He resembles you.
If you had a beard, or if He was clean shaven, you would be both alike.
Oh, but it is striking!"
She insisted on his standing beside the picture, and they all, indeed, recognized that the two faces resembled one another.
Everyone was astonished.
Walter thought it very singular.
Madeleine, smiling, declared that Jesus had a more manly air.
Madame Walter stood motionless, gazing fixedly at the face of her lover beside the face of Christ, and had become as white as her hair.
During the remainder of the winter the Du Roys often visited the Walters.
George even dined there by himself continually, Madeleine saying she was tired, and preferring to remain at home.
He had adopted Friday as a fixed day, and Madame Walter never invited anyone that evening; it belonged to Pretty-boy, to him alone.
After dinner they played cards, and fed the goldfish, amusing themselves like a family circle.
Several times behind a door or a clump of shrubs in the conservatory, Madame Walter had suddenly clasped George in her arms, and pressing him with all her strength to her breast, had whispered in his ear,
"I love you, I love you till it is killing me."
But he had always coldly repulsed her, replying, in a dry tone:
"If you begin that business once again, I shall not come here any more."
Towards the end of March the marriage of the two sisters was all at once spoken about.
Rose, it was said, was to marry the Count de Latour-Yvelin, and Susan the Marquis de Cazolles.
These two gentlemen had become familiars of the household, those familiars to whom special favors and marked privileges are granted.
George and Susan continued to live in a species of free and fraternal intimacy, romping for hours, making fun of everyone, and seeming greatly to enjoy one another's company.
They had never spoken again of the possible marriage of the young girl, nor of the suitors who offered themselves.
The governor had brought George home to lunch one morning. Madame Walter was called away immediately after the repast to see one of the tradesmen, and the young fellow said to Susan:
"Let us go and feed the goldfish."
They each took a piece of crumb of bread from the table and went into the conservatory.
All along the marble brim cushions were left lying on the ground, so that one could kneel down round the basin, so as to be nearer the fish.
They each took one of these, side by side, and bending over the water, began to throw in pellets of bread rolled between the fingers.
The fish, as soon as they caught sight of them, flocked round, wagging their tails, waving their fins, rolling their great projecting eyes, turning round, diving to catch the bait as it sank, and coming up at once to ask for more.
They had a funny action of the mouth, sudden and rapid movements, a strangely monstrous appearance, and against the sand of the bottom stood out a bright red, passing like flames through the transparent water, or showing, as soon as they halted, the blue edging to their scales.
George and Susan saw their own faces looking up in the water, and smiled at them.
All at once he said in a low voice:
"It is not kind to hide things from me, Susan."
"What do you mean, Pretty-boy?" asked she.
"Don't you remember, what you promised me here on the evening of the fete?"
"To consult me every time your hand was asked for."
"Well, it has been asked for."
"You know very well."
I swear to you."
"Yes, you do.
That great fop, the Marquis de Cazolles."